TAXATION AND INEQUALITIES IN WEALTH
Before dismissing this subject of a national industrial organization and a better distribution of the fruits thereof brief references must be made to certain other aspects of the matter. The measures which the central and local governments could take for the purpose of adapting our economic and social institutions to the national economic and social interest would not be exhausted by the adoption of the proposed policy of reconstruction; and several of these supplementary means, which have been proposed to accomplish the same object, deserve consideration. Some of these proposals look towards a further use of the power of taxation, possessed by both the state and the Federal governments; but it must not be supposed that in their entirety they constitute a complete system of taxation. They are merely examples, like the protective tariff, of the use of the power of taxation to combine a desirable national object with the raising of money for the expenses of government.
It may be assumed that the adoption of the policy outlined in the last section would gradually do away with certain undesirable inequalities in the distribution of wealth: but this process, it is scarcely necessary to add, would do nothing to mitigate existing inequalities. Existing inequalities ought to be mitigated; and they can be mitigated without doing the slightest injustice to their owners. The means to such mitigation are, of course, to be found in a graduated inheritance tax—a tax which has already been accepted in principle by several American states and by the English government, which certainly cannot be considered indifferent to the rights of individual property owners.