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Resolved, That Congress should pass a bill refunding the direct tax levied in 1861.
Brief for the Affirmative.G. O. Swasey, '90, and C. W. Spencer, '90.
Best general references: Congressional Record, vol. 19, pp. 344, 437; vol. 20, pp. 163, 196; vol. 21, p. 861.
I. The state of affairs now existing being unfair and unjust, some settlement is necessary,-(a) to satisfy the demands of the states having paid the tax: Cong. Record, vol. 16, p. 1829; vol. 17, p. 3812. (b) To straighten out the flnancial accounts of the government: House. Mise, Doe,(?) 1883 4, No. 56, p. 354; Cong. Record, vol. 19, p. 437. (c) To uphold the dignity of the National Government: Cong. Record, vol. 20, p. 197.
II. Such a settlement can only be accomplished by a refunding measure, or by enforcing the law and collecting the amount unpaid. This latter would be (1) harsh and impracticable,-(a) on account of the condition of the delinquent states: Cong. Record, vol. 20, p. 163. (b) On account of the change of property in the states: Quar. Jour. of Econ., vol. 3, p. 457. (2) Uncalled for, since the government has no need of the funds. Sec'y Folger's letter, Cong. Record, vol. 19, p. 344.
III. A refunding measure is (a) feasible on account of the condition of the finances: Cong. Record, vol. 20, p. 201. (b) Justified by precedent: Cong. Record, vol, 20, p. 2039; I. Stat. at Large, 324. (c) And is in accordance with (1) the wishes of the majority of the states: Cong. Record, vol. 18, pp. 2438, 3362. (2) The principles of the constitution: Cong. Record, vol. 20, pp. 166, 196, 201. (3) The principles of justice and equity: Cong. Record, vol. 20, p. 2037.
Brief for the Negative.A. C. Burnham, '91, and E. S. Griffing, '90.
Best general references: Cong. Rec., vol. 20, pp. 195 et seq., 78 et seq., 163 et seq. Cleveland's veto message in Cong. Rec., vol. 20, p. 2610.
I. The refunding of the tax would be unconstitutional. (a) It was lawfully imposed and collected. Cong. Rec., vol. 20, p. 194 and 195. Cleveland's veto message, Cong. Rec., vol. 29, p. 2611. (b) Therefore there is no provision of the constitution which justifles its refunding. U. S. constitution, Art. 8, 31. Cong. Rec., vol. 20, p. 195. Cong. Rec., vol. 20, p. 78.
II. The proposition is to tax unconstitutionally this generatien to repay taxes legally collected from and expended by a past generation. Cong. Rec., vol. 20, p. 166.
III. (a) Such a course logically pursued would result in returning great amounts of municipal, state and national taxes, for taxes are seldom collected more than 90 per cent. Cong Rec., vol. 20, pp. 79, 161. (b) It would be far more just to refund the direc tax under the confederation, the direc tax under the confederation, the direc tax of 1836, and the cotton tax of 1866, and many other unequal taxes. Cong Rec., vol. 20, pp. 194 et seq. Tax list in Am. Almanac, 1889.
IV. The desire to get rid of the susplus is the true and only cause of the position to refund. Veto message, Cong. Rec., vol. 20, pp. 68 et seq. Public Opinion, vol. 5, p. 33.
V. If any action is to be taken, the only constitutional and equitable action would be the collection of the rest of the tax. U. S. Const., Art. 8. Cong. Rec., vol. 20, pp. 69 et seq.
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