Friday, August 23, 2013

Quote of the day - on Napoleon and taxes

Another in an occasional series. From the Legal Post, our quote of the day is in bold (hat tip: @jthorndike)
William Pitt the Younger (Great Britain’s youngest prime minister at 24) introduced the first income tax in 1799, based on the nation’s fervour to fight France and Napoleon. He said it was necessary “to repress those evasions [of excise taxes] so disgraceful to the country, so injurious to those who honourably discharge their equal contribution, and, above all, so detrimental to the great advantage which it is intended to promote.” No political speechwriter has said anything new about tax avoidance ever since. 
Or, as we would put it, tax justice is based on timeless principles. The article contines:
The British supported Pitt’s income tax on the basis that it was better to lose some of their property to the government than to lose all of it to Napoleon.
Enough said, for now at least.

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