As you would have seen, the minister could not find anything better than creating four new contributions on beverages in order to cover the deficit created by our policies.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works volume I, page 43 (in French)
Letter dated January the 2nd, 1841

Frédéric Bastiat was a vineyards owner and today’s quote reflects his irritation in having to bear new taxes. The letter from which it is extracted mentions his ambition to create what we would call a “lobby” nowadays, in order to defend the interests of the wine industry in parliament.

I chose today’s quote for what seems to be a universal characteristic, at least in France. Indeed, the government has the distressing tendency to try and solve all problems by the creation of new levies. It does it even (or should I write especially?) when the problem has been created by the government itself. Actually, if there is a deficit to cover, this is because some past policy had not been thought out properly (best case scenario) or that it was totally ill-conceived (in most cases maybe?). Rethinking the way things are done is generally the best way to correct one’s mistakes. Unfortunately, the government has another option that it exercises without restraint, viz. to increase taxes and levies and to pile up a new more or less faulty policy on top of the one that has been implemented already.

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