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It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will. Adam Smith
A tax on the vehicles of the fashionable ladies would do them no harm and they would be no less triumphant for it. I would like to see a useful tax on, for example, jewelry; likewise one on fashion that multiplies from morning to night and night to morning. Another tax, as wise as it is useful, could be imposed on servitude; the more valets a master keeps the more he will be taxed. A tax should be imposed on the number of horses kept, vehicles, monograms and coats of arms; a simple vehicle would symbolize a man who only keeps what is indispensable: monograms, luxury and coats of arms symbolize pride and thus should pay more than the modest and indispensable. An obvious tax, and one that has not yet been realized, is one that could be imposed on all the gambling in Paris, whether in Gaming Houses, private Residences or the Palaces of Lords and Princes. If another tax were required it would not be out of place to impose one on paintings and sculptures. Ordinary people do not have themselves painted or sculpted, nor do they decorate their apartments. A tax of this type cannot harm them nor can any of the others Olympe de Gouges
When a government finds itself in the calamitous circumstances where it … must tax its people heavily, it behooves it, so far as possible, to see that all those who are liable pay according to their means, and that a proper assessment is made of them. In this way, the middle class is not taxed in order to spare the rich, nor the poor so much more burdened that they no longer have any possibility of improving their condition. Labor is encouraged and industry not deterred. Trade remains free and restricted as little as possible, and so far as possible taxes are levied on objects which go beyond necessity, coming under the category of luxuries, and are therefore conditioned on the choice of the people . Isaac Jan Alexander Gogel