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Under the rule of an aristocracy it frequently happens, on the contrary, that while the high officers are receiving munificent salaries, the inferior ones have not more than enough to procure the necessaries of life. The reason of this fact is easily discoverable from causes very analogous to those to which I have just alluded. If a democracy is unable to conceive the pleasures of the rich, or to see them without envy, an aristocracy is slow to understand, or, to speak more correctly, is unacquainted with the privations of the poor. The poor man is not (if we use the term aright) the fellow of the rich one; but he is a being of another species. An aristocracy is therefore apt to care but little for the fate of its subordinate agents: and their salaries are only raised when they refuse to perform their service for too scanty a remuneration. - It is the parsimonious conduct of democracy towards its principal officers, which has countenanced a supposition of far more economical propensities than any which it really possesses. It is true that it scarcely allows the means of honorable subsistence to the individuals who conduct its affairs; but enormous sums are lavished to meet the exigencies or to facilitate the enjoyinents of the people.✻ The money raised by taxation may be better employed, but it is not saved. In ge
UNITED STATES. - FRANCE. Treasury Department. - - - Ministere des Finances. Messenger, . . . . $ 700 150l. Huissier, . . . 1500sr. 60l. Clerk with lowest salary, 1000 217 Clerk with lowest salary, 1000 to 1800 fr. 40 to 72
Clerk with highest salary, 1600 347 Clerk with highest - * salary, 3200 to 3600 fr. 128 to 144
Chief Clerk, . - . 2000 434 Secretaire-general, 20,000 fr. 800 Secretary of State, - 6000 1300 The Minister, 80,000 fr. 3200 The President, . . 25000 5400 The King, 12,000,000 fr. 480,000
I have perhaps done wrong in selecting France as my standard of comparison. In France the Democratic tendencies of the nation exercise an ever-increasing influence upon the Government, and the Chambers show a disposition to raise the lower salaries and to lower the principal ones. Thus the Minister of Finance, who received 160,000 fr. under the empire, receives 80,000 fr. in 1835: the Directeurs-Generaux of Finance, who then received 50,000 fr. now receive only 20,000 fr. ✻ See the American Budgets for the cost of indigent citizens and gratuitous instruction. In 1831, 50,000l. were spent in the State of New York for the maintenance of the poor: and at least 200,000l. were devoted to gratuitous instruction. (Williams's New York Annual Register, 1832, pp. 205 and 243.) The State of New York contained only 1,900,000 inhabitants in the year 1830: which is not more than double the amount of population in the Department du Nord in France:
neral, democracy gives largely to the community, and very sparingly to those who govern it. The reverse is the case in aristocratic countries, where the money of the State is expended to the profit of the persong who are at the head of affairs.
DIFFICULTY OF DISTINGUISHING THE CAUSES WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO THE ECONOMY OF THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT.
We are liable to frequent errors in the research of those facts which exercise a serious influence upon the fate of mankind, since nothing is more difficult than to appreciate their real value. One people is naturally inconsistent and enthusiastic; another is sober and calculating; and these characteristics originate in their physical constitution, or in remote causes with which we are unacquainted. There are nations which are fond of parade and the bustle of festivity, and which do not regret the costly gaieties of an hour. Others, on the contrary, are attached to more retiring pleasures, and seem almost ashamed of appearing to be pleased. In some countries the highest value is set upon the beauty of public edifices; in others the productions of art are treated with indifference, and everything which is unproductive is looked down upon with contempt. In some renown, in others money, is the ruling passion. Independently of the laws, all these causes concur to exercise a very powerful influence upon the conduct of the finances of the State. If the Americans never spend the money of the people in galas, it is not only because the imposition of taxes is under the control of the people, but because the people takes no delight in public rejoicings. If they repudiate all ornament from their architecture, and set no store on any but the more practical and homely advantages, it is not only because they live under democratic institutions, but because they are a commercial nation. The habits of private life are continued in public; and we - ought carefully to distinguish that economy which depends upon their institutions, from that which is the natural result of their manners and
whetheR THE EXPENDITURE OF THE UNITED STATES CAN BE COMPARED TO THAT OF FRANCE.
Two points to be established in order to estimate the extent of the public charges, viz. the national wealth, and the rate of taxation.—The wealth and the charges of France not accurately known.—Why the wealth and charges of the Union cannot be accurately known.—Researches of the author with a view to discover the amount of taxation in Pennsylvania.—General symptoms which may serve to indicate the amount of the public charges in a given nation.—Result of this investigation for the Union.
Many attempts have recently been made in France to compare the public expenditure of that country with the expenditure of the United States; all these attempts have, however, been unattended by success; and a few words will suffice to show that they could not have had a satisfactory result. In order to estimate the amount of the public charges of a people, two preliminaries are indispensable: it is necessary, in the first place, to know the wealth of that people; and in the second, to learn what portion of that wealth is devoted to the expenditure of the State. To show the amount of taxation without showing the resources which are destined to meet the demand, is to undertake a futile labor ; for it is not the expenditure, but the relation of the expenditure to the revenue, which it is desirable to know. The same rate of taxation which may easily be supported by a wealthy contributor, will reduce a poor one to extreme misery. The wealth of nations is composed of several distinct elements, of which population is the first, real property the second, and personal property the third. The first of these three elements may be discovered without difficulty. Among civilized nations it is easy to obtain an accurate census of the inhabitants; but the two others cannot be determined with so much facility. It is difficult to take an exact account of all the lands in a country which are under cultivation, with their natural or their acquired value; and it is still more impossible to estimate the entire personal property which is at the disposal of a nation, and which eludes the strictest analysis by the diversity and number of shapes under which it may occur. And, indeed, we find that the most ancient civilized nations of Europe, including even those in which the administration is most central, have not succeeded, as yet, in deter. mining the exact condition of their wealth.
In America the attempt has never been made ; for how would such an investigation be possible in a country where society has not yet settled into habits of regularity and tranquillity; where the national Government is not assisted by a multitude of agents whose exertions it can command, and direct to one sole end ; and where statistics are not studied, because no one is able to collect the necessary documents, or can find time to peruse them 7 Thus the primary elements of the calculations which have been made in France, cannot be obtained in the Union; the relative wealth of the two countries is unknown : the property of the former is not accurately determined, and no means exist of computing that of the latter. I consent therefore, for the sake of the discussion, to abandon this necessary term of the comparison, and I confine myself to a computation of the actual amount of taxation, without investigating the relation which subsists between the taxation and the revenue. But the reader will perceive that my task has not been facilitated by the limits which I here lay down for my researches. It cannot be doubted that the central administration of France, assisted by all the public officers who are at its disposal, might determine with exactitude the amount of the direct and indirect taxes levied upon the citizens. But this investigation, which no private individual can undertake, has not hitherto been completed by the French Government, or, at least, its results have not been made public. We are acquainted with the sum total of the State; we know the amount of the departmental expenditure; but the expenses of the communal divisions have not been computed, and the amount of the public expenses of France is unknown. If we now turn to America, we shall perceive that the difficulties are multiplied and enhanced. The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its expenditure; the budgets of the four-and-twenty States furnish similar returns of their revenues; but the expenses incident to the affairs of the counties and the townships are unknown.✻
✻ The Americans, as we have seen, have four separate budgets; the Union, the States, the Counties, and the Townships having each severally their own. During my stay in America I made every endeavor to discover the amount of the public expenditure in the townships and counties of the principal States of the Union, and I readily obtained the budget of the larger townships, but I found it quite impossible to procure that of the smaller ones. I possess, however, some documents relating to county expenses, which, although incomplete, are still curious. I have to thank Mr. Richards, Mayor of Philadelphia, for the budgets of thirteen of the counties of Pennsylvania, viz. Lebanon, Centre, Franklin, Fayette, Montgomery, Luzerne, Dauphin, Butler, Alleghany, Columbia, Northampton, NorthumThe authority of the Federal Government cannot oblige the provincial Governments to throw any light upon this point; and even if these Governments were inclined to afford their simultaneous co-operation, it may be doubted whether they possess the means of procuring a satisfactory answer. Independently of the natural difficulties of the task, the political organization of the country would act as a hindrance to the success of their efforts. The county and town magistrates are not appointed by the authorities of the State, and they are not subjected to their control. It is therefore very allowable to suppose, that if the State was desirous of obtaining the returns which we require, its design would be counteracted by the neglect of those subordinate of. ficers whom it would be obliged to employ.” It is, in point of fact, use
berland, and Philadelphia, for the year 1830. Their population at that time consisted of 495,207 inhabitants. On looking at the map of Pennsylvania, it will be seen that these thirteen counties are scattered in every direction, and so generally affected by the causes which usually influence the condition of a country, that they may easily be supposed to furnish a correct average of the financial state of the counties of Pennsylvania in general: and thus, upon reckoning that the expenses of these counties amounted in the year 1830 to about 72,330l., or nearly 3s. for each inhabitant, and calculating that each of them contributed in the same year about 10s. 2d. towards the Union, and about 3s. to the State of Pennsylvania, it appears that they each contributed as their share of all the public expenses, (except those of the townships,) the sum of 16s. 2d. This calculation is doubly incomplete, as it applies only to a single year and to one part of the public charges; but it has at least the merit of not being conjectural. * Those who have attempted to draw a comparison between the expenses of France and America, have at once perceived that no such comparison could be drawn between the total expenditure of the two countries; but they have endeavored to contrast detached portions of this expenditure. It may readily be shown that this second system is not at all less defective than the first. If I attempt to compare the French budget with the budget of the Union, it must be remembered that the latter embraces much fewer objects than the central Government of the former country, and that the expenditure must consequently be much smaller. If I contrast the budgets of the Departments to those of the States which constitute the Union, it must be observed, that as the power and control exercised by the States is much greater than that which is exercised by the Departments, their expenditure is also more considerable. As for the budgets of the counties, nothing of the kind occurs in the French system of finance; and it is, again, doubtful whether the corresponding expenses should be referred to the budget of the State or to those of the municipal divisions. Municipal expenses exist in both countries, but they are not always analogous. In America the townships discharge a variety of offices which are reserved in France to the Departments or to the State. It may, moreover, be asked, what is to be understood by the municipal expenses of America. The organization of the municipal bodies or townships differs in the several States: Are we to be guided by what occurs in New England or in Georgia, in Pennsylvania or in the State of Illinois 3