Excerpt from National Finance in 1908 and After: Being a Review of the Past, a Forecast of the Future, an Appeal for True Accounts, a Plea for Retrenchment, a Protest Against Debt, and a Warning Against False Taxation
Present and to suggest the Future, with some hope that the... lessons afforded may be useful.
TO bring together items of receipt and expenditure so as to show a complete account, both of Expenditure and of Debt, is not easy; for many of these items are buried in concealment, and have to be painfully dug out of Official returns which in some respects are becoming less candid year by year, and which therefore render yearly harder the avoidance of errors in such a task. It has been performed, however, with care and with as much accuracy as is obtain able from accessible sources. In this the same method has been pursued as in my pamphlets published in 1904 under the title National Finance: An Imminent Peril, and in 1905 under the title National Finance in whereof this present writing is the natural successor. The result is to be found in the appended tables of Expenditure and Debt.
To array the facts thus, to point out brie¿y their significance, to enumerate the most serious faults in system or in practice, and to indicate the most pressing amendments needed in both, was the purpose of those pamphlets, as Of this. If I have not followed them up annually during the last two years, it has been because there seemed no need to do so. During those two years Mr. Asquith has done much to avoid the errors and to correct the faults Of his predecessors at the Exchequer. I hoped that a period of Parsimony, of Retrenchment, Of diminution at once of Expenditure and Of Debt, had set in, and that I might refrain from encroaching on the ground sacred to Chancellors of the Exchequer and Secretaries to the Treasury.
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