This section of the book is from the "Introduction To Public Finance" book, by Carl Copping Plehn.
A serious war usually imposes a sudden, new burden upon the treasury, the exact, or even the approximate, size of which it is not possible to estimate at the outset. Many of
the expenses of war belong to that class which financiers call " extra-ordinary " to distinguish them from the usual or current expenses of the government. The amount by which the ordinary expenses are, increased in time of war depends upon many circumstances. Obviously, the chief factor is the size of the forces engaged and the duration of the struggle. Naturally, the chastisement of a few dozen hostile Indian braves in the immediate vicinity of the regular army posts involves practically no " extra-ordinary " expenses. Allowance is usually made in the ordinary budget for the expenses a war of that kind would occasion. But many circumstances less obvious than the size of the forces engaged enter into the determination of the amount of the "extra-ordinary" expenditures. Thus, for example, a naval war, unless it happens to become the occasion for the purchase of new ships, involves comparatively little addition to the ordinary expenses of maintaining the navy. A country which has a large standing army incurs relatively less "extra-ordinary" expense when engaging in war than a country which, like the United States, has only a small regular army.
The ordinary expenses being provided for by the regular budget, the financier's chief concern in time of war is the provision of the "extra-ordinary " funds. If the operations of the war are likely to interfere with the ordinary revenues, he must furthermore be prepared to treat a part of the ordinary expenses as "extra-ordinary," at least to the extent of furnishing new means to meet them. It is not often possible, and still less often expedient, to curtail the ordinary expenditures in any way for the purpose of saving money to meet the new expenses. How to increase the receipts of the treasury by an amount sufficient to insure the efficientconduct of the war, without too serious disturbance of the industries and commerce of the people, upon which all the revenues depend, is the problem for the finance minister to solve. The " extra-ordinary " demands come thick and fast, especially at the beginning of the war, and they must be met, and met at once. The amount which may be needed at any given time is not ascertainable. But in spite of that, sufficient funds must always be on hand. Upon this more than upon any other one thing depends the fate of war. The war financier can never plead that he has no funds, nor can he ask for time in which to collect. He must have the money when it is wanted and in the amounts required. No degree of skill on the part of officers, or bravery on the part of the men, no degree of self-sacrifice at the front, can compensate for failure on the part of the financier to provide the ways and means. His powers are, therefore, of the greatest and most unusual.