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A swollen Budget

by
09 May 2014

May 8th, 1914.

MR LLOYD GEORGE's Budget, whatever its other merits or demerits may be, may certainly claim credit for furnishing a topic for excited discussion. Time was, and that not remote time, when the Liberal Party stood for peace, retrenchment, and reform. The peace portion of its motto has been abandoned for coercion with the sword, and retrenchment has been displaced by the megalomania of reckless expenditure. Reform only is left, and that has assumed the shape of destructive change. Formerly it was a principle with our Chancellors of the Exchequer that the Income-tax should be treated as a method of raising money to which recourse might be had in emergencies. Now it is regarded as the normal means of wringing more and more money every year out of the pockets of the classes who, by hard work, talent and thrift, have attained to a taxable income, or have been able to invest some of their earnings, or who have inherited the earnings of their relatives. Some - even many - of these people are in anything but easy circumstances, in spite of their apparent affluence, but they are guilty in Mr Lloyd George's eyes of the wickedness of belonging to a class on whose votes he and his party cannot rely at the polls, and consequently they are required to pay another twopence in the pound. Those who are higher up in the scale are to be taxed, in time of peace, to such an extent that, if there were a war, there would be little left on which to tax them. It was once supposed to be a prime duty of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to keep an eye on the public expenditure with a view to economy. . . The new sources of revenue are expected to yield this year over ten millions of pounds and in future years eighteen millions, but how it is to be spent we shall not know until the various Bills which the Budget proposals involve are laid before Parliament.

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