Economic Sophisms/180

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"Template:Hwe. Let us cultivate union as regards that which constitutes our strength. If we give up a single point of the theory of protection, the whole theory falls to the ground.

"SHIPOWNER: For us shipowners protection has been a failure. I repeat that the merchant marine is at its lowest ebb.

"SHIPMASTER: Well, let us raise the surtaxe, and let the shipowner who now exacts 30 francs from the public for his freight, charge 40.

"A MINISTER; The government will make all the use they can of the beautiful mechanism of the surtaxe; but I fear that will not be sufficient.

"A GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONARY: You are all very easily frightened. Does the tariff alone protect you? and do you lay taxation out of account? If the consumer is kind and benevolent, the taxpayer is not less so. Let us heap taxes upon him, and the shipowner will be satisfied. I propose a premium of five francs to be levied from the public taxpayers, to be handed over to the shipbuilder for each ton of iron he shall employ.

"Confused voices: Agreed! agreed! An agriculturist: Three francs premium upon the hectolitre of corn for me! A manufacturer: Two francs premium on the yard of cloth for me! etc., etc.

"THE PRESIDENT: This then is what we have agreed upon. Our session has instituted a system of premiums, and it will be to our eternal honour. What branch of industry can possibly henceforth be a loser, since we have two means, and both so very simple, of converting our losses into gains—the tariff and the premium? The sitting is adjourned."

I really think some supernatural vision must have foreshadowed to me in a dream the near approach of the premium (who knows but I may have first suggested the idea to M. Dupin?) when six months ago I wrote these words:—

"It appears evident to me that protection, without changing its nature or the effects which it produces, might take the form of a direct tax, levied by the state, and distributed in premiums of indemnification among privileged branches of industry."

And after comparing a protective duty to a premium, I added,

"I confess candidly my preference for the last system. It

seems to me juster, more economical, and more fair. Juster,