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and sixty-two, and all other United States bonds which have
Any bonds hereafter applied to said sinking fund, and all
In addition to other amounts that may be applied to the redemption or payment of the public debt, an amount equal to the interest on all bonds belonging to the aforesaid sinking fund shall be applied, as the Secretary of the Treasury shall from time to time direct, to the payment of the public debt, as provided for in section five of the act aforesaid. And the amount so to be applied is hereby appropriated annually for that purpose out of the receipts for duties on imported goods.
Fund, how man sged.
This was not an abandonment of the sinking fund, but only a different method of procedure in relation to it.
Under the requirements of this act, all bonds purchased for this fund are canceled and destroyed, but an accurate account is kept thereof, and of all subsequent purchases for the same purpose, and of the semi-annual interest on the whole, as though the bonds were in existence.
Within each fiscal year coin received from duties to the amount of one per cent. of the entire debt of every kind, including bonds, notes, and all other obligations, and also coin equal to the amount of the interest on all the bonds previously purchased for the same purpose and canceled, is applied to the purchase of outstanding bonds, and although the bonds themselves, the mere evidences of indebtedness, are destroyed, the amount thereof is carried to the account of the sinking fund, which is thus kept up and treated as a solemn obligation of the Government. The account fixes and determines the amount of coin equal to that which would be the interest on all the bonds purchased therefor, and which must be by law, and, in fact, is semi-annually a;
plied to the purchase of other bonds for the same account, in addition to the amount of one per cent. of the entire debt.
There have never been any trustees, managers, or commissioners of this fund, the whole business being done in the Treasury Department, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, without cost or expense of any kind to the Government. It was deemed best to cancel and destroy the bonds themselves, rather than keep them in existence in the custody of the Treasurer; the obligation of the Government
• to use an amount of coin equal to the interest thereon, in the purchase or payment of other bonds, being as well evidenced by the books of the Department as by printed securities, and the danger of reissue being thereby avoided.
The great revenues of the country in excess of the expenditures have enabled the Secretary to purchase bonds much more extensively than the sinking-fund law absolutely requires, and the debt has been more rapidly reduced than by the operation of that fund alone.
But the sinking fund itself will extinguish the entire will extinguish national debt in about thirty years, or soon after the close of the nineteenth century, the exact time depending upon the price at which the purchases may be made in future. If the Government should at any time be obliged to pay a large premium, as it has done heretofore to extinguish former debts, which premium in some cases has exceeded twenty per cent. in coin, the operation of the sinking fund will be somewhat less effective than it has been in the past.
The Government must, under this law, continue to be a regular purchaser of its bonds, thus making a constant, well known, and certain market for the same.
the debt in about thirty years.
TAXATION OF UNITED STATES BONDS AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS.
It was decided by the Supreme Court in the year 1829, Decisions of Subefore there were any statute provisions on the subject, in the preme Court. case of Weston v. The City Council of Charleston, (2 Peters, 449,) that a tax by a State on United States stock is unconstitutional and void. Chief Justice Marshall, in giving the
Taxation of banks holding bonds.
tal is invested in United States bonds.
opinion of the court, says: “The tax on Government stock is thought by this court to be a tax on the contract, a tax on the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, and consequently repugnant to the Constitution,' and that principle is recognized in the case of the Bank of Commerce v. New York City, (2 Black, 620,) and in other cases.
A tax by a State on State banks, upon a valuation equal to the amount of their capital stock paid in or secured to be paid in, was decided to be a tax on the property of the institution, and where that property consists of stocks of the Federal Government the law laying the tax is held void. (Bank of Commerce v. New York City, 2 Black, 620; Bark Tax Case, 2 Wallace, 200, explained in Provident Institution v. Massachusetts, 6 Wallace, 629.)
But national banks may be taxed by States without regard banks whoso cap to the fact that part of their capital is invested in United
States bonds, under the provisions of the national banking
law of June 3, 1864, section 41. (See notes to that section.) Savings banks A State law, taxing savings banks a percentage on the
average amount of their deposits, although a portion of the although invest- same is invested in securities of the United States, is a tax States securities. on the franchise of the bank and not on its property, and
so is valid. (Society for Savings v. Coite, 6 Wallace, 594;
Provident Institution v. Massachusetts, 6 Wallace, 611.) Laws expressly The act of February 25, 1862, chapter 33, section 2, exted States obliga. pressly provides that all stocks, bonds, and other securi
ties of the United States held by individuals, corporations, thority.
or associations, within the United States, shall be exempt from taxation by or under State authority;" the act of June 30, 1864, chapter 172, section 1, that "all bonds, treasury notes, and other obligations of the United States shall be exempt from taxation by or under State or municipal authority;" and several other acts contain similar provisions.
The Supreme Court, in the case of Bank v. Supervisors, (7 Wallace, 26,) decided that United States notes or legaltender notes are obligations within the meaning of the acts exempting United States obligations from State and municipal taxation.
may be taxed on their deposits,
ed in United
tions from taxation by Stats au
United States notes exempt from taxation.
As to all bonds and securities of the United States, except United States those of the Funded Loan, the exemption is only from taxa- tax bonds. tion by State or municipal authority, and not by the Federal Government; and the latter for many years did lay an income tax upon the interest received by its citizens on such securities, and has the right to do so again. But the bonds of the Funded Loan are by the express Except those of
the Funded Loan. terms of the act of July 14, 1870, and by the language of the bonds themselves, “exempt from the payment of all taxes or duties of the United States, as well as from taxation in any form, by or under State, municipal, or local authority.” This exemption is as extensive as the legislative power can make it, and entering into the original contract, by being incorporated into the act under which the bonds are issued and into the language of the bonds also, secures to the holders of the bonds of this loan, unlike those of any other loan ever issued by the Government, the full amount of interest thereon, without deduction by taxation in any form whatever, either by the States or the national Government itself.
ESTABLISHED POLICY OF THE COUNTRY, COEVAL WITH THE CON-
1. Extinguishment of the public debt.
11. Premiums paid to redeem debts before
EXTINGUISHMENT OF THE PUBLIC DEBT.
The following extracts from the messages of Presidents
resent the prevailing sentiment of the people who elect
WASIIINGTON'S SECOND ANNUAL MESSAGE TO CONGRESS, DECEM
BER 8, 1790.
“Allow me, moreover, to hope that it will be a favorite policy with you not merely to secure a payment of the interest of the debt funded, but as far and as fast as the growing resources of the country will permit ,to exonerate it of the principal itself. The appropriations you have made of