Are We Entitled To Confiscate Enemy Private Property?

EDWIN M. BORCHARD, Yale Law School


INCOME AND CAPITAL UNDER A TRUST OR CORPORATE STOCK.-The precise definition of income as contrasted with capital, the marking out of its exact limits, is a problem of the greatest difficulty and prime importance. Obviously, it is a sine qua non of income taxation. In that connection, income has been well defined as "that amount of wealth which flows in during a definite period, exclusive of 'those merely temporary elements (gifts, inheritances, and the like) which constitute an addition to capital' and which is at the disposal of the owner for purposes of consumption so that in consuming it his capital remains unimpaired." While this rule is so general as to leave innumerable difficulties in its practical application, it is helpful as portraying the goal towards which tax-framers must strive. Doubtless this is also the economist's definition of income, but it is not only in problems of taxation and economics that the significance of the term is of vital import, and we should not be surprised to find different meanings attached to it in other fields. This is especially true as to wills or contracts where the probable intention of the parties as expressed in the instrument as a whole governs, rather than the technical meaning of the terms used.