This section of the book is from the "Introduction To Public Finance" book, by Carl Copping Plehn.
On account of the large returns obtainable from an excise on luxuries, and in view of the fact that any repressive effect of such excises is not felt to be harmful, but is often desired, it is probable that these taxes will be long retained. They are applicable to any luxury the consumption of which is large and of which the production is sufficiently simple or concentrated to allow of supervision. But in general, excises as taxes on expenditure or consumption are unfair. What a man spends is no indication of his ability to pay taxes, and what a man spends on a certain limited list of commodities is less so. When these taxes are made a subordinate part of a system and due allowance is made in the other taxes for the existing burdens, there is less objection to them.