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. Credit: Library of Congress (Public domain)
As financial secretary to the treasury, Stanley Baldwin was alarmed by the size of the British debt arising from World War I. In 1919, he wrote an anonymous letter to The Times urging the wealthy to impose a voluntary tax upon themselves to help relieve the burden. Estimating the value of his own estate at some £580,000, Baldwin invested £150,000 in government war-loan stock—certificates which he then destroyed, thus rendering the purchase a gift to the treasury.

[The rich, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not rush to follow Baldwin's noble example.]

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