Excelsior 10 février 1924

The double decimation has not yet been voted on. It will only cover certain categories of taxes. Its application is only planned for the next financial year. So why are traders already announcing an increase resulting from the new taxes?
An investigation has allowed us to note, in recent days, price increases ranging from 10 to 30%, an increase that nothing justifies, particularly with regard to goods of French origin, which have not yet increased. to production.
Some examples whose authenticity we guarantee attest to the unfortunate state of mind of certain traders, determined to take advantage of an ambiguity tending to make the public, ignorant of the incidences of the tax, believe that the 20 0/0 in addition to the current taxes must result in an increase of 20 0/0 in the price of the goods.
The day before yesterday, a watch factory sent its representative to all the jewelry houses holding its brand to announce that from February 15 the price of its watches should be increased by 20%.
The jewelers immediately decided to increase the increase on these items to 30%, in anticipation of the tax increase, which has not yet been voted on, let us repeat.
In a large brasserie in the center, the “half” of French beer, served last week at 1 fr. 25, yesterday cost the consumer 1 fr. 50, an increase of 20 0/0.
A large hairdresser, having received notice from his suppliers of a 10 0/0 increase, informed his customers of a 20 0/0 increase in his prices.
Some traders, less in a hurry, proceed in successive stages. Thus, in a major grocery store, the goods in stock were marked up by 5 to 10 0/0 and their labels corrected to cents. The jar of jam, sold for 6 fr. 50 last week, was yesterday modestly sold for 7 francs.
Same observation in a coffee depot, whose owner was threatened with dismissal if he did not increase his stock in store by 10%, as well as his future deliveries.
These are still only regrettable exceptions, which cannot bring discredit to all conscientious traders. But we must not allow these exceptions to become widespread, in the very interest of trade. who would see the unjustified increases, determined by a few unscrupulous mercantiles, turn against him.
Let traders remember the year of crazy growth in 1920, followed by a general stagnation of business, which caused many bankruptcies in 1921.
If the public authorities did not take energetic measures to repress illicit increases, consumers would have to defend themselves through cooperative groups, abstention from exaggerated prices and any other means that could be justified by the circumstances.
Consumers cannot ignore any longer that the 20 0/0 in addition to taxes only covers the smallest part of the general costs of the producer, manufacturer, intermediary and retailer.
Calculations, established by technicians, demonstrate that a product of French origin, having been the subject of four or five transactions between the producer and the consumer, only suffers a price increase of 4 as a result of the new taxes. at 5 0/0.
This rational increase, which leaves commerce its ordinary margin of normal profits, can reach a maximum of 8 to 9% on certain imported goods, due to the increase in transport and customs tariffs.
It is a far cry from this average of 4 to 9 0/0 to 20 and 30 0/0 general price increases with which consumers are threatened without a shadow of justification!
The great inequity would be if the heaviest increase concerned the products that France obtains from its soil. We cannot forget that, in the current tax system, agriculture contributes only a very small part of budget resources. The envisaged double decimation cannot therefore be invoked as a significant aggravation of its charges.
The possible increase resulting from the double decime must only relate to the wholesale and retail trade of agricultural products, which implies a maximum increase of 2 to 3% on the sales prices of these products to consumers.
These calculations, naturally, only relate to the increases attributable to the double decima... when it is voted on! The exchange rate also has its influence on the general price index. But this influence is slow and progressive. Experience has demonstrated this. It remains unrelated to the sudden rise which has just been triggered.
French commerce must understand that the sacrifices asked of the country must be borne by all and that slowing down the increase is a question of social order and French solidarity.

warning to the consumers