“BY a very curious paradox, which it would be much too long to go into detail, but which it is amusing to notice, this power of taxing a very highly capitalist community is one of the things which is beginning to handicap our societies today against the Distributive societies. It used to be all the other way, and it seemed common sense that countries where you could levy large sums for State purposes of war or peace would win against countries where you could not levy such sums for public purposes. But the fact that you can tax so very highly a society of a few rich and many poor has been shown in the last few years to have most unexpected results. The very rich men pay all right; but the drain on the total resources of the wealth of the State weakens it.
“The money raised by taxation is spent on State servants – many of them inefficient and idle.
“Since it is so easy to raise large sums, there is a temptation to indulge in all sorts of expensive State schemes, many of which come to nothing. And this power of easy taxation, which was a strength, becomes a weakness.
“No one suspected this until taxation rose to its present height, but now it is clearly apparent; and we in England might perhaps be in a better way later on if there had been as much resistance to high taxation here as there has been in countries where property is better distributed.”
~H. Belloc: Economics for Helen, Chap. IV. (First published, 1924)