This section is from the "The Science Of Wealth" book, by Amasa Walker.
Excise are the opposite of custom-house duties, being laid wholly upon articles of domestic production, and paid first by the producer; and, after the articles have passed through the hands of the merchants, with their profits added, the sum total is paid by the consumers.
This mode of taxation is obnoxious to the same objections that may be made to customs. Excise is unequal, because it falls on rich and poor alike; not in proportion to their wealth, but what they consume. The merchants' profits are not quite so large on these as on custom duties, because home products do not ordinarily pass through as many hands as foreign merchandise. The expense of collection, though only perhaps about one-fourth part as great, is still a heavy charge upon the revenue; but the most popular objection to excise is the espionage which it necessarily requires. It is, notwithstanding, a very productive source of revenue, and must be resorted to by governments heavily indebted. Domestic manufacturers are not injured by excise duties, unless they so increase the cost of their commodities as. to expose them to foreign competition. Profits upon such duties are charged upon commodities as a part of the general expense of their production.