Resolved, That Congress was justified in passing a bill refunding the direct tax of 1861.
Brief for the affirmative:
F. H. HITCHCOCK and S. PARSONS.
Best general references: Cong. Record XIX. 344, 437, XX. 163, 196, XXI. 898, XXII. 3419 et seq.; N. Y. Weekly Tribune, March 11, 1891; Public Opinion V. 34, 35, X. 512; Phil. American, XV. 408.
I. History of the direct tax of 1861; paid promptly by the loyal states, but collected only in part and with great difficulty in the South: Quar. Jour. Econ. III. 436 et seq.
II. The difficulty may be treated in one of three ways: [a] By collecting the tax still unpaid; [b] By leaving things as they are; [c] By refunding the tax to those who have paid it and remitting what is still due. 1. The first method has no advocates and no advantages. 2. The second leaves unremedied the present unsatisfactory condition of affairs. 3. The third method is the only one worthy of a great and generous nation: [a] To satisfy the states' demands; [b] To straighten out the gov't accounts.
III. The measure is unobjectionable: 1. It is constitutional; Bryce Am. Commonwealth I 370 and note; 2. It is not sectional; [a] South Carolina benefits by it more than any other state: Quar. Jour. Ec. III. 455; [b] the Kentucky legislature has passed resolutions in its favor: Cong. Record XIX. 1514, 1518; 3. It is justified by precedent: Bourne. Hist. of Surplus Rev. pp. 22, 147, passim.
IV. The present is a favorable time for its passage: [a] The finances are in good condition; [b] A majority of the people wish it: Cong. Rec. XVIII. 2478, 3362; [c] It is in accordance with the demands of justice and equity.
Brief for the negative:
H. H. BAKER and A. S. HAYES.
Best general references: Charles F. Dunbar, "The Direct Tax of 1861," Quart. Jour. Economics, III, 436; Cleveland's veto message, Mar. 2, 1889, Senate Journal, 50th Cong., 2d Sess., p. 501.
I. The act is unconstitutional because it directs expenditure for purposes not mentioned or implied in the constitution: Veto message, p. 504.
II. The act is inexpedient: [a] Refund of tax aids in producing deficit which must be met by increased taxation or a loan: Nation, March 12, 1891; [b] Return of tax lawfully collected tends to discredit the government: Veto message, p. 505; [c] Leads necessarily to return of other war taxes, e. g. income tax: Veto message, p. 505; Q. J. E., III, 452, 456; [d] States will be demoralized by sudden filling of their treasuries, cf. results of "deposit of 1836" : Bourne, "History of the Surplus Revenue of 1837," 44 et seq.
III. The act will not secure justice: [a] Money collected from past generation is to be refunded to this which has made no sacrifice: Cong. Rec., X. X, 166; [b] Pays to the state, which was never liable money collected from the individual: Q. J. E., III, 452; [c] The refund will be proportionately unjust on account of the change in the population of the different states: Q. J. E., III, 459; Cong. Rec., XXII, 3421.