Economic Sophisms/192

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh""Good. Then you land yourself in a deficit of other thirty millions. You have doubtless invented a new tax?"

"Heaven forbid! And besides, I do not flatter myself with possessing an inventive genius."

"It will be very necessary, however … Ah! I see. What was I thinking of? You intend simply to reduce the expenditure. I did not think of that."

"You are not singular. I shall come to that; but for the present, that is not the resource on which I depend."

"What! you are to diminish the revenue without reducing the expenditure, and withal avoid a deficit!"

"Yes; by diminishing other taxes at the same time."

(Here the interlocutor, raising the forefinger of the right hand to his forehead, tossed his head, as if beating about for ideas.)

"By my faith! a most ingenious process. I pay over 100 francs to the Treasury; you relieve me to the extent of 5 francs upon salt, and 5 francs upon postages; and in order that the Treasury may still receive 100 francs, you relieve me to the extent of 10 francs on some other tax."

"Exactly; I see you understand what I mean."

"The thing seems so strange that I am not quite sure that I even heard you distinctly."

"I repeat, I balance one dégrèvement by another."

"Well, I happen to have a few minutes to spare, and I should like much to hear you explain this paradox."

"Here is the whole mystery. I know a tax which costs the taxpayer 20 francs, and of which not one farthing ever reaches the Treasury. I relieve you of one-half, and I see that the other half finds its way to the Hôtel des Finances."

"Truly you are an unrivalled financier. And what tax, pray, do I pay which does not reach the Treasury?"

"How much does this coat cost you?"

"100 francs."

"And if you procured the cloth from Verviers, how much would it cost you ?"

"80 francs."

"Why, then, did you not order it from Verviers?"

"Because that is forbidden."