It must not be forgotten that the primary concern of the state is to get revenue; hence considerations of justice often give way to those of expediency. Taxes are found in the fiscal system which cannot be justified on the basis of equality of sacrifice, and which must be considered in formulating a new scheme simply because they have been embedded there by age. The very fact that they have been able to endure is enough proof that they are good taxes. To fiscal students, the saying that an "old tax is a good tax," is almost trite. The ones who pay have become accustomed to the burden and little objection is made. It is a place where the goose may be plucked with little squawking.

The burden of indirect taxes is much greater upon the poorer classes than upon the rich, yet there is no evidence that they are being given up to obtain equality. The qualities of expediency are too evident to cast them lightly aside. Revenue is easily obtained at low cost and with little objection, since it is paid in the purchase price of goods, frequently without the knowledge of its being paid. The use of the income and inheritance tax by the Federal government, however, is evidence that less reliance will be placed upon indirect taxes in the future than has been placed upon them in the past. Fiscal authorities are often concerned in arriving at a workable scheme - one which will produce revenue at a reasonable cost, and which will arouse as little antagonism as possible. In formulating tax programs and in proposing tax reforms, however, public officials have given much attention to justice.

Additional Reading

Seligman, Progressive Taxation in Theory and Practice.