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A FEW REMARKS ON THE BUDGET.

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A FEW REMARKS ON THE BUDGET. IT is a disadvantage in examining the finan- cial scheme which is annually placed before Parliament and the country, that it is too gene- rally either praised or condemned on party con. siderations. The present Budget is no excep- tion to the rule. It is too much viewed through party spectacles. Perhaps no financial scheme has ever been of more moment than the pre- sent, and while there is much to condemn in it, there is much to praise. The present Budget is not only extremely complicated in itself, but it is mixed up with an Anglo-French commercial treaty, which is of a very important and extensive character. Be- sides these two considerations there are two others. We commence the financial year with a deficit of 9,400,0001, while there is on every hand, as there generally is, a loud demand for decreased taxation. It must therefore be con- fessed that Mr. Gladstone had no easy task to adopt and adapt a commercial treaty, and to reconcile the efficiency of the public service with popular claims. Whether he has suc- ceeded is open to considerable doubt. The Chancellor of the Exchequer recom- mends the adoption of the commercial treaty jjljith prance. By this treaty Trance will re- the duties 6ri English coal and coke from July 1, 1860 on certain sorts of iron from October 11, 1861; and on other minor com- modities. In return we are to reduce the duties on French wines, brandies, and on seve- ral articles of French manufacture. He pro- poses to continue the war duties on tea (Is. 5d. per lb.), and on sugar (about 3s. per cwt.); and to raise the income tax to a duty of lOd. in the pound, on incomes of 150Z. a-year, and of 7d. in the pound on incomes of lOOl a-year—we presume, of course, not going lower, although it is remarkable that he does not say so. He also proposes a tax on chicory, a Id. tax on packages of import and export, and a small duty on notes for the sale of dock warrants, on licenses for beer, &c., to eating-houses and he (suggests that the malt and hop duties should 'be taken up. Several articles of common con- sumption are to be admitted free of duty—but- tter, eggs, tallow, cheese, oranges, lemons, cur- rants, nutmegs, dates, &c. The paper duty is to be abolished, as well as the impressed stamp on newspapers, while there is to be a modifi- cation of the book-post by introducing a Hd. 2 rate, which will be a great convenience in sending packets of newspapers over 4oz. and under 6oz. Dividing the Budget, as far as it can be done, from the French treaty, it may be broadly stated that the former is more- liked than the latter. There can be little doubt that the new treaty, if carried out, will be more to the ad- vantage of France than of England. They get substantial advantages which they want, and get them speedily; while we merely get com- TOodities which we do not urgently want, and we moreover have to wait for them. We are in fact, generous, but perhaps we can afford to vbe so. The treaty, at all events, is a step in favour of free trade, and, as increasing inter- r national trade, will doubtless be productive of increased friendly feeling. As the treaty is a tribute paid to free trade, so the Budget is a tribute to indirect taxation. The remission of duties on articles of consump- tion must as a matter of course reduce the cost of living, while the increased- and we fear permanent—income tax reduces the purchasing power. Mr. Gladstone maintains—and we think justly—that the decrease of these duties, by in- creasing the trade in the articles, increases em- ployment, and therefore adds to the power of the people to bear taxation. Be this as it may this income tax part of the scheme is very un- popular with its payers, and very popular with governments. It is, with all its discrepancies, an easy tax to collect, considering its amount, and Government having now almost perfected the machinery for its collection, are not at all likely to give it up. On the other hand, the remission of the paper duty, and of the duties j on the articles we have enumerated, give gene- ral satisfaction. Had Mr, Gladstone seen his way clear to remit the tea and sugar duty, we think the income-tax would not have aroused any serious opposition. On the whole, the scheme is too vast to sum up with a verdict either entirely favourable or adverse. There are good and bad features in it. It is not likely to pass in its entirety, but with some modifications it may be made subser- vient to the promotion of the national welfare.

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