Monday, 5 March 2018

QotD: Making tariffs great again

“We can inform [Donald] what are the inevitable consequences of being too fond of glory; TAXES upon every article which enters into the mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the foot--taxes upon every thing which it is pleasant to see, hear, feel, smell, or taste--taxes upon warmth, light, and locomotion--taxes on every thing on earth and the waters under the earth, on everything that comes from abroad, or is grown at home--taxes on the raw material--taxes on every fresh value that is added to it by the industry of man--taxes on the sauce which pampers man's appetite, and the drug that restores him to health--on the ermine which decorates the judge, and the rope which hangs the criminal--on the poor man's salt, and the rich man's spice--on the brass nails of the coffin, and the ribands of the bride. At bed or board, couchant or levant, we must pay--the schoolboy whips his taxed top--the beardless youth manages his taxed horse, with a taxed bridle, on a taxed road;--and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine, which has paid 7 per cent., into a spoon that has paid 15 per cent.--flings himself back upon his chintz bed, which has paid 22 per cent--and expires in the arms of an apothecary who has paid a licence of a hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death. His whole property is then immediately taxed front 2 to 10 per cent. Besides the probate, large fees are demanded for burying him in the chancel; his virtues are handed down to posterity on taxed marble; and he is then gathered to his fathers--to be taxed no more."
~ Sydney Smith, writing in 1820, on the results of Britain’s
’patriotic zeal’ at the time for tariffs

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