The Best Methods of Taxation.
In considering how funds can be raised with the least interference with the moral and material development of the citizen, we must eliminate the objectionable methods and reduce the problem to its simplest form. The first principle is that all inquisitorial and arbitrary methods are abhorrent to the people and inconsistent with the maintenance of honor and freedom, for they foster selfishness and encourage perjury. The second principle is that no power should tax property out of its own territory and out of reach of its protection. Some property in this country is taxed both where it is and where its owner is. Again, it should be clearly understood that nothing is property which is not the embodiment of applied labor and which cannot be bought or sold. It is a notion in this country that legislation can make something out of nothing. Deeds represent a right to property but are not additional property. A good rule for legislators would be never to tax anything that could be of value to their state that could or would run away. Simplicity of taxation and collection is desirable, but Henry George's single tax is too simple. By the laws of diffusion of taxes they finally fall on consumers in the proportion that the aggregate consumption of the consumer bears to the aggregate consumption of the community. A law which does not allow of diffusion of taxes is a bad one. A good system would be to tax land, building rentals, earnings of corporations, and whatever else was necessary could be levied upon spirits and tobacco.