Do we mean to go on to the end of the war with this muddling policy of bad finance? If we still insist on believing that the war cannot last another six months, and there is therefore no need to pull ourselves up short financially and put things in order, then we certainly shall do so. But we should surely recognise that there is at least a chance that the war may go on for years, that if so our present financial methods will leave us with a burden of debt which is appalling to consider, and that in any case, whether the war lasts another six months or another six years, a reform of our financial methods is long overdue, is inevitable some time, and will pay us better the sooner it is set about.
WAR FINANCE AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN—II
The Changed Spirit of the Country—A Great Opportunity thrown away—What Taxation might have done—The Perils of Inflation—Drifting stupidly along the Line of Least Resistance—It is we who pay, not “Posterity.”
In the November number of Sperling’s Journal I dealt with the question of how our war finance might have been improved if a longer view had been taken from the beginning concerning the length of the war and the measures that would be necessary for raising the money. The subject was too big to be fully covered in the course of one article, and I have been given this opportunity of continuing its examination. Before doing so I wish to remind my readers once more of the great difference in the spirit of the country with regard to financial self-sacrifice in the early days of the war and at the present time, after three years of high profits, public and private extravagance, and successful demands for higher wages have demoralised the public temper into a belief that war is a time for making big profits and earning big wages at the expense of the community. In the early days the spirit of the country was very different, and it might