That is not the point. The Government want an additional 17,000 men in the regular formations, but, apart from that, there is the civilian security force. I believe that there is no limit to the number to be recruited to this force. When Senator Crosbie interrupts Senator Quirke, it is abundantly clear that he is talking about the regular formations of the Army when he said that they would not be taken in. Surely that is the experience of everybody? I have been harassed for the last week by people coming to me, phoning to me and writing to me, and saying that they understand that the Government wants every man in, offering their services, and asking what they are to do. I understand, and I am ready to be corrected by the Minister, that at the moment, with regard to the regular formations of the Army, the Government is aspiring to only an additional 17,000 men. I personally wish that were made clear because young men are thinking of giving up their careers. They feel a sense of duty and think that they are bound to answer the Government's call, to go into the regular formations of the Army and I do not think that is what the Government wants.
In this time of emergency and crisis, it is very difficult to discuss this Bill in the ordinary way. I quite agree that when the earth is tottering under our feet, it is not an easy matter for us to tell the Government exactly what path it is to follow. I also quite agree that the Government itself, in the light of new circumstances, may have, from day to day, to change its policy, and I also recognise that we in the Opposition, when all this is over, can very easily point out all sorts of mistakes made during this time and that that might be done in a very unfair way because, in a time like this, when nothing is stable, you cannot build with any guarantee that what you build will be there to be built on tomorrow. It is very easy to be wise after the event, but in this country I think certain things are bad in tendency, though I do not propose to stress them very much.
There is this very word "emergency". This Government and its predecessor acted from the beginning on the assumption that there is a very special situation in the country. In 1927, arising out of the civil war, the strength of the Army and the expenditure upon it were regarded as abnormal, although the specific civil war had ended in April, 1923. In 1932, a Budget was brought in. It was what was called an ordinary Budget, and then there was a sort of emergency Budget following it, because things were quite abnormal. Everyone of us had his post cluttered up practically every day with emergency powers orders under a Bill passed in 1933 or 1934, and it does seem to me that not only this Government, but the Government in every country, has been assuming all the time that things are abnormal. When we initiated the Shannon scheme, we treated it as a capital expenditure. It was one of the few cases where I think it was legitimate, because the whole conception of it was that it was a capital expenditure which would produce something constructive and which would, over a period of years, pay interest and sinking fund until that capital expenditure was repaid.
Also, inasmuch as there is a certain amount of national debt, and as soon as you acquire national debt, you begin paying it back, I can conceive that the Government might argue that they are not only running the State at the moment but also paying debts accumulated in past years; but what has happened in the last eight years, and, if you like, since the State came into existence, is that the Government has, year after year, borrowed money, and borrowed money greater in amount than the actual amount it was paying in respect of a previous debt in interest and sinking fund; that is to say, the Government is taxing not only the people of this time but also future generations, and it means that you have to reach a stage where the people will have to be content with less than they have now, because we are living at present by pawning things which have not yet come into existence. We are putting in pawn the productive value of the labour of people in future years. In those future years, these people will have to live and they will have to pay the cost of living, the cost of government and accumulated debts, that is to say, unless they work harder and produce much more than we are producing now, they must accept a lower standard of living. Meanwhile, when you have the people of the country used to living on a particular standard, you will find it much harder to get them down to live on what they produce, and on rather less than what they produce, because out of it they will have to pay debts.
With regard to the matter of charity to which Senator Hayes referred, if you talk to anybody in the country, he will tell you that this continued taking over of extra business by the Government is becoming impossible, and the Government members themselves will eminently agree with that, but if you examine what that means, if you ask somebody why in the world we should have this blight of social services which are such an affliction in this country, he will tell you that nobody is going to provide them but the Government, because, if you leave it to public charity, nothing will be done. As Senator Hayes said, if a man proposes to give £50 a year to public charity, he finds that he has to give £75, because the Government is going to take £25 of it. It does not matter whether the figures are exact or not. Naturally, the feeling usually is: "If the Government is going to take so much of my income, why should I give to charity? The Government should look after that." Consequently, I hear people saying, when beggars come along, that the Government should be charitable towards these people and that they should not come to them. From every point of view, it is desirable that the people in this country should act through a spirit of charity to relieve distress. Their help should be given as an act of charity rather than under the coercive control of the Government. Here the Government is definitely going out of its way to prevent that and is discouraging the practice of charity. When somebody does something charitable they say: "That is not your business." The good-will and charitable disposition of the people is meeting difficulties in the State, yet the Government is taking that disposition away, and has discouraged the practice of charity in that way.
One notices that periods of emergencies become perpetual in this country. As in so many other countries, when you have a period of dire emergency, there can be no question of limiting Government control or Government expenditure. When, however, the Government has got a bit nearer to normality, the fact is that it still continues the increased degree of taxation and expenditure which was imposed during the emergency. The taxation of countries since the last war —per head or proportionately to national production — is enormously higher than it was before the last war; and I have no doubt that the taxation after the Napoleonic wars was much higher than it was before them. The taxpayer has to put his hand in his pocket to pay out money to Governments, but higher taxation is in itself necessarily an evil. It is bad for the whole people of the country and not bad merely for the financial interests.
Turning to Part III of the Bill— Death Duties—the Government is taking, as I calculate it, no less than one-third annually of all that the people produce by their labour. If you take the national income of the people—I should say it is something considerably less in latter years than £150,000,000 a year—you will find that the Government is spending something in the neighbourhood of £35,000,000 a year. That means that the Government seized roughly one-third of the total production. It lands the country into further debt by constant borrowing. Regarding these death duties, I do not expect the Minister to have all sorts of facts at hand now, but it may be said firstly that this particular tax is based upon a most immoral assumption that a man has an interest only in himself, or has a lesser interest in his family. Anybody who is moving amongst the normal people knows that, ordinarily, a man is prepared to suffer any amount of hardship himself, and is very much less inclined to allow that suffering to be imposed upon his children. The basis on which death duties depend is that after a man dies, the Government can seize anything they like and spend it. If a man dies worth £1,000,000, he did not acquire that in his lifetime. Very often such a man belongs to a family which owned large areas in past centuries. If he leaves £1,000,000, does anybody think that if the Government took that, his son—or some other man's son, at any rate— would have £1,000,000 to pay death duties on it afterwards?
There was a definite class of wealthy people in this country and in other countries under a condition of great stability and at a time when income-tax did not exist and when there were no death duties to be paid. Every time a person owning considerable capital dies now, the Government takes a considerable portion of it. I remember one particular person who had to pay over £140,000 out of his inheritance. When that man comes to die he will not have the same amount —he will not increase his capital to the extent that he will be able to pay that amount. The time is gone when men made easy fortunes as they did in England during the industrial revival of the nineteenth century and in the American industrial revival of the latter portion of the nineteenth century. When the Minister estimates how much he is going to get out of death duties this year, he is actually arranging to spend money which will not be available in future years; he is not only taking away the people's capital but destroying the means of taxation in future years.
I have consistently argued that, in the present emergency, the Government should take the fullest power and use it with prudence and wisdom. However, apart from the present emergency—and I plead guilty to it, also, when the Fine Gael Government was in power—the Government has increased the national debt, and that means putting the future in pawn and demands of a future generation—if the country is only producing the same amount as at the moment—that they shall accept a lower standard of living. The Government is seizing capital moneys and spending them within the 12 months.
Another defect of this type of taxation is a discouragement of thrift. Before the present emergency arose, and if the taxation in this and in other countries were down to about what it was in 1911, I could quite agree that unless the habit of thrift were amongst the people they might have been spending all the residue that remained after paying taxation. To increase suddenly the amount of taxation now would present difficulties. Actually, the forms of taxation we have are all calculated to discourage thrift. When there was a condition in which thrift was more encouraged or less discouraged, the people did exercise the virtue of thrift. Out of their savings of past times the Government is now making up its annual expenditure.
Whatever mental reservations one may have, one recognises that there is a National Government, that is to say, a legitimate Government, having received from above and not from below the legitimate authority to govern in this country and responsible for the promotion of the common good. I think the powers taken by the Government have to be conditioned by the existing circumstances of any time. Consequently, I would not lay down any hard and fast law, valid for all ages and under all circumstances, as to the limit of Government power. As I have said, I have consistently argued that the Government should take enormous powers to itself in this emergency and should decide how far they will exercise them, as the circumstances change from day to day. As always happened with regard to previous emergencies, the present emergency has been made, unfortunately, an opportunity to increase enormously the Government expenditure and other services. It is going to create a habit of mind which will lead definitely to higher increases.
We do not know what the position will be when this emergency is over but it should not be supposed that we will immediately slip back to normality. In 1927 the Army in this country was costing a tremendous amount, but that was inevitable, arising out of a minor affair in 1922-23, and this emergency is also going to cost us a tremendous amount and will require a lower standard of living for many years to come. I am intruding in this debate just now to try to remind the House that with the degree of taxation before this emergency, with all these fantastic social services and everybody talking about his rights to the money in other peoples' pockets or the land belonging to other people, we are not going to have satisfaction and content until all this is done away with and until the Government says that it is going to institute a regime of justice under which a man is going to get a fair price for his labour and that if a man does not labour, when he is physically able to do so, he has no right whatever to the fruits of another man's labour. If the Government does that, then it will find that an enormous amount of its present activities are completely unnecessary.
Last week I heard people here talk of this as a vocational body. Of course it is not, and the fact that this Bill is before us indicates that it is not a vocational body. People have talked as if a vocational body were going to make for some greater totalitarian functions than the Government has at the moment. The whole idea of vocationalism, as I see it, is that the Government should mind its own business and let the people mind their business. When the Government confines itself to its own business, a great number of the present Departments will disappear, the work of other Departments will diminish, and taxation, in consequence, will diminish. I am quite ready to vote any money they require to ensure the safety of the country. At the same time, Senator The McGillycuddy has referred to the cost of education in this country as reaching the very high sum of £5,000,000. I am completely convinced that half of that money might as well be poured down the drain because it is serving no useful purpose. Everybody here, or almost everybody, is in the habit of saying that he is ready to pay anything for education. We may be, but if we are going to take money in that way out of the pockets of the people, we should see that they are getting fair value for their money, and I say we are not getting value for that £5,000,000. I referred on previous occasions to other Departments which are costing the people large sums of money. People have to sacrifice to the Government a large part of the fruits of their labour, which rightfully belongs to themselves, for maintaining Departments which are more harmful than beneficial. I believe the Land Commission, as it is at the moment, does more harm than good. It has kept alive what I might call a moral sore in this country. People must recognise that what others have inherited, or what they have earned by the fruits of their labour, legitimately belongs to them. At the present moment, as long as the Land Commission operates as it does, a man who looks at another man's farm thinks it is the duty of the Government to take that farm and give it to him. Another Department whose disappearance would benefit the country, or the expenditure on which might as profitably be poured down the drain because of the harm it has done, is the Department of Industry and Commerce. If, during the past eight years, that Department had not existed, the bulk of the people would have been better off. At the present moment, I am ready to vote any money the Government wants and any degree of taxation it wants, because the Government has a certain responsibility and we must hope that it has the necessary prudence and wisdom to spend that money usefully, to protect the country in the present emergency.