By J. Quinn, B.Sc. (Econ.) THIS year the economic commentators are stymied: they do not know what advice
to offer the Chancellor for his budget! And they are absolutely right.
Unless he decides on a major tax assessment upheaval, Mr. Selwyn Lloyd could very well leave things as they are. It is doubtful whether he will take either of these courses. Possibly he will try some purchase tax modifications but who knows except the Chancellor and does it really matter at the moment?
Our basic trouble is that the majority of our countrymen are looking for a purely mechanistic solution to our problems. They seem to imagine that the Chancellor should devise ways and means of raising output and exports. curing our balance of payments troubles and of distributing largesse to all and sundry.
Treasury wiles, they aver, should be sufficient to reach these objectives without asking any firm to drop sharp practices and without demanding that labour drop restrictive practices!
Fundamentally, it seems to me, the major difficulty of the British economy is not economic but the lack of moral principles in the people, both employers and employees.
The ideal of the "quick quid" and "number one" never ran anything except down. Acceptance of responsibilities and their concomitent sacrifices are essential if we are to have stable growth.
What we need are some "holy adventurers" who will go out for increased production and trade for the sake of the community with personal gain in second place. Only if property is used for the good of all as well as that of the owners will we be able to pull ourselves out of the endless round of inflation, stagnation, and balance of payments deficits.
If the Chancellor were to stand up in the House of Commons on Monday and declare "This is one buck I am passing to the R.C.s" He would be perfectly within his rights. It is our problem and this is where every Catholic should step in. If the social apostolate doesn't mean "action now" it means nothing.