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lars. It is so far beyond our arithmetical grasp that the doubling it into two billions and then adding on a mere two hundred and thirty-one millions more, scarcely seem to alter the impression which the figures make. But we can very well see that it is $113,000,000 more than was appropriated by the preceding Congress, and $177,000,000 more than was appropriated by the last Republican Congress, whose WASTE OF THE MONEY WRUNG FROM THE PEOPLE was so bitterly denounced by the Democratic platform. Such is the inglorious end of the promised reform, such the "DEMOCRATIC SIMPLICITY" whose return was demanded by the same interesting doc
surplus, reduced the handsome Republican Treasury balance to a very nervous figure, and creates a heavy deficiency, even on the basis of estimated receipts, which are almost certain to prove disappointing. The estimated revenue for the year 1916 is $1,055,470,000. The amount ap
propriated for the same period (omitting several important items) is $1,115,121,408.68. The revenue estimates are almost certain to prove disappointing. THE appointing. The appropriations, on the other hand, are insufficient and under-estimated.
In a time of general distress, and in the face of lowered revenues, in spite of solemn pledges for economy and reform, the stupendous sum of one hundred and thirteen million
dollars was added to the national expense account, by the Congress recently ended. In spite of this huge addition to the burdens of taxation (a burden that under our system is almost instantaneously added to the cost of living), the real needs of the country are not cared for. The head of nearly every Department is disappointed and chagrined. He sees his plans checked, his administration starved. Great undertakings are left to languish. Nothing creative has been done. There is no Panama Canal to show, as is the case with the last Republican Congresses. Worst of all, there has been no provision made for the expenses incurred, and nobody knows where the money is to come from-that is left to the future.
It was not, as were the appropriations of the preceding Republican Congresses, an expenditure of funds actually accruing, of revenues created by the Republican fiscal policy. It did not, as did the Republican appropriation bills so complained of, leave a surplus in the treasury. It has expended the whole of the Republican
No feature of all this unhappy story is more annoying to a business man than its uncertainty. There is nothing definite about it. The nation is doing business on a mammoth scale with no knowledge of how it actually stands. No one would be surprised to find the facts much worse than they appear to be. Supplementary appropriations appear to be inevitable. The revenues are in a state of almost unprecedented uncertainty. The increases are in departmental expenses that it will be difficult to eradicate. Extravagances have been inaugurated that are almost certain to perpetuate themselves, unless some such drastic action as Congresses do not love to make, and are not in the habit of making, shall restore them.
In brief, the figures as given compare the expenditures of a Congress which was practically through with Panama Canal expenses, with a Congress that was carrying out that monumental and beneficial work. It omits
figures unobtainable, but certain to swell the amount. It does not add that this was not an expenditure of surplus revenues rolled up by prosperity, but a debt incurred, a deficiency created, an expenditure, in a lean year, a year of much distress, of funds that did not exist. Good people of genuine patriotism, are inexpressibly shocked by this uncalled for and untimely prodigality. Soundminded business men are disgusted.
It has not been much talked about, but it has struck in.
Somebody is responsible for this thing. The question of the hour is, who?
Friends of the administration would be quite willing, were it possible to do so, to throw the whole responsibility on Congress. Unhappily, there are difficulties in the way of doing this. In the first place, the amounts asked for by the administration were in excess of those actually appropriated. Congress was more inclined to economy than the administration. Congress, in fact, saved the country. more than seventy-two million dollars, by cutting the administration estimates. ($72,763,490.38), according to Congressman Fitzgerald's careful estimate. This is in spite of the fact that the administration failed to ask for many things that were known to be desirable and of public utility. In the second place, the President is distinctly called upon by law to advise Congress, "How, in his judgment, the estimated appropriations could with least injury to the public service be reduced so as to bring the appropriations within the estimated revenues," -an enactment which places responsibility quite definitely.
Does the administration attempt to deny the expenditure of these vast sums? Has it any explanation to make? If so, we should give careful heed to what is said. I do not learn that any effort has been made to deny the facts. In the face of no denial, they may be regarded as substantially true. Indeed, they are probably understated. Congressman Gillett, in an able speech, places the amount cut by Congress from administration estimates at eighty-four instead of seventy-two millions ($84,404,664.10). In his annual message, the President meets the situation, most characteristically, by a bit of pleasant rhetoric: "I assert with the greatest confidence that the people of the United States are not jealous of the amount their government costs if they are sure that
they get what they need and desire for the outlay." Yes, yes-but what were the needs and desires that justified this untimely extravagance? Information on that point lies outside the province of pretty rhetoric, and we are therefore not informed. We are left to surmise that the "people" "needed and desired" these expenditures. The "people" would like to be told a little more specifically what it is that they needed and desired. They have been imagining that they "needed and desired" careful governmental economy. They had been told by the Democratic platform that that was exactly what they needed and desired, and that they should have it. The Republican administration had been soundly berated for its vast expenditure, in spite of the fact that it was building the Panama Canal, and had something to show for the money spent something of which every American is justly proud. But the expenditures of expenditures of this administration. have exceeded those of the last Republican administration by more than one hundred millions. We still await specific information as to the "needs and desires" of "the people" which forced the administration to make a new record of national extravagance in a time of national stringency, to wipe out a surplus left by Republican management, and reduce the Treasury balance below the accepted danger mark.
The actual appropriations made for the fiscal year 1916 amount to the grand total of $1,115,121,408.68, not including $37.400,000 authorized on contracts, and placing the Indian and post office appropriations (on account of the failure to pass the necessary bills) at the figure at which they were carried for the year 1915, although it is quite certain that the post office at least will need more money.
The expenses of the Government during the fiscal year ending March 2. exceeded its revenues (according to Congressman Fitzgerald) by $103,431,443.71, with four months of the
year yet to run. If the present rate of excess of expenditures over ceipts continues, there will be at the full end of the fiscal year, July 1st, a deficit for the year of $133,000,000. The receipts from the income tax in June are expected to substantially reduce this deficit. No one imagines. No one imagines that they will wipe it out. In other words, in spite of all extraordinary sources of income, including those somewhat hypocritically called "war taxes," a deficit has been created where a surplus existed before the present administration.
The much-reviled Taft administration, whose extravagance the Democratic platform denounced so unsparingly, left a Treasury balance of $166,000,000, with revenues in excess of expenditures in spite of its heavy Panama Canal outlay. The Treasury balance March 2nd was but $45,000,ooo, with an increasing excess of expenditures over receipts.
At the same time it is an open secret that the public service has deteriorated at almost every point. The naval development plans have been seriously interrupted, and their continuity so broken that the broad and sane purposes of their projectors are badly weakened. Important harbor improvements have been neglected, while huge sums have gone to worthless dredgings of unheard of rivers. The administration is embarrassed and cramped for funds. Most of the department heads are obviously disappointed.
It was not difficult to pardon the extravagance of the first year of the Wilsonian regime. New fiscal laws had been passed, and it was not known what their results might be, in the way of revenue production. Their framers were sanguine. According to their theories, there should have been an actual increase instead of decrease of
revenue. The new Secretaries were inexperienced and enthusiastic. They relieved that they were going to work great reforms, each with his pet nostrum. They asked for much,-and got it. We are a great country. We are rich. We can afford to be good natured. We allowed it to pass. Here and there a warning voice was raised, but on the whole little was said. The extravagances of the last session of Congress arise from another source, and have been perpetrated in the face of a very clear understanding of the decreased and decreasing revenues. They call for a very different treatment.
Well, the upshot of it all is that we are tired of having the business of the country incompetently managed. We long for a trained business man in the presidential chair. We are beginning to see that the actual work of administration of this great country and its huge business concerns needs trained business brains. We are beginning to realize that such careful administration is quite as important as the fancy politics and petty axe grindings and wordy utterances over vague and supposedly great questions of policy which seem to take up so much of the time and thought of our chief executives. We are the more annoyed that the Wilson administration has made a wreck of the business of government because it has been so ardent about telling private business how to conduct its affairs, and we call it no less strictly to account for this reason, than because it so definitely promised decided reform where it has outcaesared Caesar-promised radical betterment of the government expenditures where it has actually brought about such a regime of extravagance as the nation never knew in all its previous history.