CHAPTER I
PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION

§ 1. IN this Part the quantity of government expenditure, both exhaustive and transfer, is taken as given. Such part of it as is met out of fees is ruled out of account, and the device of borrowing, whether from the public or from the banks, is ignored. Moreover, except in Chapter VIII., we are con­ cerned solely with the problem of raising revenue, not with the wider problem of raising and spending it. In this first preliminary chapter our task is to seek for fundamental principles of policy.

§ 2. Under any tax system the actual provision of the taxes, the expenditure of the proceeds being left out of account, involves a certain burden of sacrifice upon each taxpayer, and the burdens upon different taxpayers bear certain relations to one another. For a comparison between different tax systems yielding equal revenues from a given community there are thus suggested prima facie two criteria of merit: first, the size of the aggregate sacrifice imposed: secondly, the nature of the relations between the several items that make up this aggregate. It must, indeed, be admitted that no test which is centred in sacrifice, in the sense of loss of satisfaction, goes quite to the root of things. For, of equal satisfactions, one may embody more good than another: as between a greater and a less sacrifice of satis­ faction, the greater may carry the smaller amount of evil. When this happens, it is, of course, the aggregate of good and evil, not the aggregate of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, to which a wise government will look. On this ground defence is sometimes made of special taxation upon the consumption of alcoholic drink. This consideration has

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