If, in taxing labor and manufactures, we exceed a certain proportion, we discourage industry, and destroy that labor and those manufactures. The like may be said of trade and navigation; they will bear but limited burdens: And we find by experience, that when higher duties are laid, the product is not increased; but the trade is lost, or the goods are run.

—John Trenchard. Cato’s Letters No. 10, The iniquity of late and new projects about the South-Sea considered. How fatally they affect the Public, Tuesday, January 3, 1721.

Businesses are run for the pursuit of profit. Heavy taxes make profit unattainable and so make many businesses unviable. Those businesses that can flee abroad will. Those that cannot, wither and die.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove