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TRANSMITTED TO CONGRESS,
LIST OF PAPERS, WITH AN ANALYSIS OF THEIR CONTENTS, AND
FOLLOWED BY AN ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF SUBJECTS.
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
To the Congress of the United States:
You are confronted at the threshold of your legislative duties, with a condition of the national finances which imperatively demands immediate and careful consideration.
The amount of money annually exacted, through the operation of present laws, from the industries and necessities of the people, largely exceeds the sum necessary to meet the expenses of the Government.
When we consider that the theory of our institutions guarantees to every citizen the full enjoyment of all the fruits of his industry and enterprise, with only such deduction as may be his share towards the careful and economical maintenance of the Government which protects him, it is plain that the exaction of more than this is indefensible extortion, and a culpable betrayal of American fairness and justice. This wrong inflicted upon those who bear the burden of national taxation, like other wrongs, multiplies a brood of evil consequences. The public treasury, which should only exist as a conduit conveying the people's tribute to its legitimate objects of expenditure, becomes a hoarding-place for money needlessly withdrawn from trade and the people's use, thus crippling our national energies, suspending our country's development, preventing investment in productive enterprise, threatening financial disturbance, and inviting schemes of public plunder.
This condition of our treasury is not -altogether new; and it has more than once of late been submitted to the people's representatives in the Congress, who alone can apply a remedy. And yet the situation still continues, with aggravated incidents, more than ever presaging financial convulsion and wide-spread disaster.
It will not do to neglect this situation because its dangers are not now palpably imminent and apparent. They exist none the less certainly, and await the unforeseen and unexpected occasion when suddenly they will be precipitated upon us.
On the 30th day of June, 1885, the excess of revenues over public expenditures after complying with the annual requirement of the sinking-fund act, was $17,859,735.84; during the year ended June