Economic Sophisms/211

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"to invoke the equilibrium of budgets. It would indeed be upset, but upset in such a way that the receipts should exceed the expenses. This is no affair of theory, of system, of statistics, of probability, of conjecture; it is an offer, an offer like that of a company which solicits the concession of a line of railway. The Treasury tells me what it derives from postages, salt-tax, and customs. I offer to give it more. The objection, then, cannot come from the Treasury. I offer to reduce the tariff of salt, postages, and customs; I engage not to raise it; the objection, then, cannot come from the taxpayers. From whom does it come, then? From monopolists? It remains to be seen whether their voice shall be permitted in France to drown the voice of the Government and the people. To assure us of this, I beg you to transmit my proposal to the Council of Ministers. Template:Float right

"P.S.—Here is the text of my offer:—

"I, Jacques Bonhomme, representing a company of bankers and capitalists, ready to give all guarantees and deposit whatever security may be necessary,

"Having learnt that the Government derives only 280 millions of francs from customs duties, postages, and salt-tax, by means of the duties at present fixed;

"I offer to give the Government 300 millions from the gross produce of these three sources of revenue;

"And this while reducing the salt-tax from 30fr. to 10fr.;

"Reducing the rate of postage from 42½ centimes, at an average, to a uniform rate of from 5 to 10 centimes,

" On the single condition that I am permitted not to raise (which will be formally prohibited), but to lower as much as I please the duties of cuatoms. Jacques Bonhomme.

"You are a fool," said I to Jacques Bonhomme, when he read me his letter. "You can do nothing with moderation. The other day you cried out against the hurricane of reforms, and here I find you demanding three, making one of them the condition of the other two. You will ruin yourself."

"Be quiet," said he, "I have made all my calculations; I only wish they may be accepted. But they will not be accepted."

Upon this we parted, our heads full, his of figures, mine of reflections which I forbear to inflict upon the reader.