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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, April 12, 1917, LAST EDITION, Image 5

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1917-04-12/ed-2/seq-5/

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x RICHEST MEN MAY GET A CHANCE TO SHOW
THEY ARE NOT SO WORSE AFTER ALL
BY GILSON GARDNER.
Washington, April 12. "Conscrip
tion of wealth" is likely to become
the official administration plan for
financing the war. President Wilson
set forth the idea in his famous war
message, and it has found a strong
supporter in Claude Kitchin, chair
man of the ways and means com
mittee of the house, where all reve
nue legislation must originate. Kitch
in is a pioneer in the direction of in
creased income tax, profit tax and
inheritance taxes.- He differs radical
ly with Sec'y of the Treasury Mc
Adoo, who always has favored the
conventional bond issues and taxes
on sugar, tea, coffee, gasoline and
flivvers. So far Kitchin's plans have
prevailed with congress.
The plan of the American commit
tee on war finance, of which Amos
Pinchot is head, -would tax private in
comes substantially as follows:
Two and a .half per cent on in
comes of $5,000 to $10,000 per year.
On incomes over $10,000 a tax on
a sliding scale, beginning at 10 per
cent and rising tota point which will
allow no individual to retain an an
nual income in excess of $100,000
during the war.
Also restriction of profits on war
supplies to 3y3 per cent aet, the de
livery of defective supplies to be
made a criminal offense punishable
by imprisonment
It is possible that this war will dis
close America's rich men in a new
light. A letter from one rich man to
another reads, in part, as follows:
"The rich men of the country are,
largely, men whose large fortunes
are purely an incident of the vigor
and force that impelled them to do
great things, not for the purpose of
making money, but only for the de
light they experience in doing big
things. These men, to a large extent
at least, suffer extremely from what
they feel is the unjust judgment of
the great mass of people. They fee
that, while they have made great
wealth for themselves, they have
been of great service to the public,
and that there is no way of their
continuing their great activities for
the benefit of the public and them
selves without continuing and in
creasing their fortunes.
' "When men by the practice of bus
iness acquire the habit of investing
money profitably, it is very difficult
for them, really very painful, to pour
out their money in so-called philan
thropy, because their own experience
and observation have proved to them
that the methods of philanthropy are
generally very wasteful; that it takes
from 50 to 75 cents of every dollar so
invested to pay the middleman and
the overhead charges, so that only
from 25 to 50 cents of the dollar
spent ever becomes a reaL invest
ment. To such men it is a godsend
to have" the government come along
and .take away as an income or an
inheritance tax their burdensome
surplus.
"But we all know that we are con
demned. Now, all of a sudden, there
is presented tojis an opportunity
the nation's great need for great
sums of money to, show our patriot
ism, to "show that we are really un
selfish. "If our war with Germany should
cost the United States as much per
annum as it is costing England, and
if our rich people are made to pay for
it out of their income, the financial
burden of the country will be nil. The
country will be gainer by tapping and
reducing the great fortunes. And,
once the people learn how easy it is
and how beneficial to all parties con
cerned it is to get several billions a
year by income tax, the country may
be depended upon, hereafter, to raise
most, if n"ot all, of the revenue for the
nation and the states and the cities
from this source,"

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