Taxation in American States and Cities

By Richard T. Ely | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X.
THE TESTIMONY OF REASON.

STATES NOT INDEPENDENT IN MATTERS OF TAXATION.

WE must now turn from actual experience and ask whether there are any reasons in the nature of things which make experience what it is. It is not enough to show that a thing never has been done, to induce a rational man to desist from efforts to accomplish it, for we all know that brilliant success has often waited on him who refused to be convinced by a thousand failures. It is necessary to show that a thing cannot in all probability be done.

It should first be remembered in any treatment of the subject of taxation, that any single American commonwealth like Maryland is not an industrial unit, but simply a part of a larger whole -- the United States. Even the United States in its economic affairs is not by any means entirely independent, but it must often have regard to proceedings of other governments if it would act wisely. Still, the United States, taken together as one country, may fairly be regarded as an industrial unit, and in matters of direct taxation it need not inquire very minutely into the industrial situation in foreign lands. A single state is in an essentially different position, and may be well-nigh ruined by a failure to take into consideration interstate relations.

-217-

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