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The Cost of Whisky.
The revenue statistics show some striking particulars as to the follies and extravagance of the public. The national debt contracted during a prodigious war, and with one-half the territory of the Union in the hands of the enemy, after deducting what has been redeemed, reaches the sum of $2,600,000,000; and the Democracy, to suppress whose rebellion this whole debt was incurred, are greatly concerned lest the people should forget how oppressively that debt bears upon them. We have shown in a former article that, within the three years which followed the close of the war, the share of the debt falling to each head of the population has decreased from eighty to sixty-five dollars, and that in 1870 it will be reduced to sixty-three per head without the payment of any portion of the principal.
In the meantime, the annual taxation has been reduced two hundred millions, and farther reductions will follow. We invite the attention of these declaimers against the “enormous burden” of the national debt, to the statement of the Special Commissioner of the Revenue, Mr. Welles, as to the retail sales of spirituous liquors, wines, ale and beer, in the United States during the last year. We do not refer to the sales of wholesale, but to those at retail, sworn to by the retailers, who have paid the license tax on their sales. We give the table by States, and the figures represent the amount paid by the drinkers and consumers to the retailers over the counter:
Thus it will be seen that during the fiscal year of 1866-67, the people of the United States paid for strong drinks over the counter to retail dealers, the sum of fourteen hundred and eighty-three millions four hundred and ninety-one thousand and eight hundred and sixty-five dollars. —
That sum is more than equal to one-half the principal, and the annual interest of the public debt. That sum if applied to the payment of the debt, would redeem it all in gold in two years. The amount of money paid by actual consumers for this strong drink in three years, would equal the entire debt of the Union, of all the States, and of all the cities, counties and towns of the United States. — [Chicago Tribune.]
The Hillsdale Standard (Hillsdale, Michigan) Jun 9, 1868