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(h) Aids to Agriculture. - The national, State, and county governments all give aid to agricultural industry. For instance, the Federal Department of Agriculture has a division of plant introduction, with scientists, to introduce valuable plants into the United States e.g., hardy wheat from northern Russia which resists wheat rust and thrives in dry climates, a variety of alfalfa from the plains of Turkestan which
Courtesy, Virginia State Highway Department. A ROAD IN SPOTTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA, BEFORE IMPROVEMENT.
resists droughts, Smyrna figs in California after twenty-five years of experimentation, and dates which are now successfully grown in the Southwest.
The Agricultural Department prepares numerous bulletins for free distribution, which keep farmers informed as to the latest methods of farming. It also prepares bulletins for the wives of farmers, so many of whom are thin and old at thirty because they work fifteen hours a day without mechanical helps while the husband buys machinery for the fields, but none for the household. These bulletins give the housewife such information as how to have running water in the house, how to can fruits, and how to operate a community laundry by the waste steam from the creamery.
Roads are built by State or local governments, but the F national government contributes money to aid the State or ☆ local governments 1 and encourages these to have good roads.
Courtesy, Virginia State Highway Departmen THE SAME ROAD AFTER IMPROVEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT.
1 In 1916 and 1919 Congress appropriated $275,000,000 to aid the States in the construction of rural post roads — the first appropriated by the National Government for this purpose for nearly a century. In 1922 Congress appropriated $50,000,000 to be expended in 1923, $65,000,000 in 1924, and $75,000,000 in 1925. The National Government's share in road work in coöperation with the States is limited to 50 % of the cost of the road. The National aid is apportioned among the States in the following manner:
“One third in the ratio which the area of each State bears to the total area of all the States;
“One tbird in the ratio which the population of each State bears to the total population of all the States; and
“One third in the ratio which the mileage of rural delivery routes and star routes in each State bears to the total mileage of rural delivery routes and star routes in all the States."
Not many years ago it was found that the average cost of hauling one ton one mile in Europe was 10 cents; in the United States, 23 cents. Upon the number of tons hauled in this country the
difference in cost between 10 cents and 23 cents a mile was r about $250,000,000. The Agricultural Department of the
United States organized the Office of Public Roads. This office
has collected information from all parts of the world. It has also constructed sections of experimental road in various States. Any county or city building new roads can have the results of all this investigation free for the asking.
Since the national government began constructing irrigation plants, during the presidency of Roosevelt, it has constructed or is now constructing plants which water an area about equal in size to the State of Connecticut, thus bringing barren lands into a high state of cultivation. One irrigation tunnel
in Colorado is six miles long. The Roosevelt dam in Arizona, 280 feet high, sells electric power to Phoenix and Mesa and to large copper mines. The Elephant Butte dam in New Mexico holds enough water to cover 3,000,000 acres a foot deep. The Huntley project in Montana gives a demonstration of a canal which lifts itself by its own boot-straps. A waterfall furnishes power to raise a portion of the water to a plateau above and thus water it as well as the plains below.
Congress also aids animal industry by investigations. For instance, in 1921 it appropriated $510,000 for the investigation, treatment, and eradication of the hog cholera and other diseases of animals. The Agricultural Department protects this industry by preventing the shipment of stock from States in which a certain animal disease is prevalent to other States where it does not exist.
(5) Government Protects the Poor against the Oppression of the Wealthy. - Among the wealthy, business can be conducted on a large scale, and this tends to drive the smaller dealers out of business, especially when unfair means of competition are used. Until prohibited by law large organizations commonly sold their product at or below the cost of production, in regions where there was much competition, in order to drive the smaller dealers out of the business. The loss thus caused was covered by profits in the regions where there was little or no competition, because there the large organizations could raise the prices unreasonably. For example, on October 1, 1904, the Standard Oil Trust earned more than six cents a gallon on oil sold in Spokane, where there was no competition, and in New Mexico, where there was but little competition, while at the same time it was selling oil at a loss of more than a cent a gallon in New Orleans and more than three cents a 'gallon in Los Angeles, where it had determined to drive the smaller dealers from the field. But a law passed by Congress, under the influence of President Wilson, expressly made this practice illegal. Many similar practices have been prohibited by national and State laws.
(6) Government Performs Functions in the Interest of the Many Which as Private Ventures Would be Performed in the
Interest of the Few. - If the national government had not F built the Panama Canal it would likely have been built as a
private venture. Much of the western land irrigated by the national government would have been irrigated by private companies. If the national government had not built the Alaskan railroad, private capital would have; and if the United States had not established a postal system, private capital certainly would have organized such a system. All of these enterprises are now conducted in the interest of the people, whereas private companies would have conducted them in their own interest.
Of these national ventures the postal system is the most interesting. Originally such systems were maintained by governments of the Old World to carry messages for the king and ministers of state. The carrying of letters for the public was added later, and as late as 1860 the sole business of the United States post office was to carry letters, papers, and small packages from one office to another, where they were distributed from a window. Now it supplies city and rural carriers, special delivery messengers, street boxes, registry, postal cards, stamped paper, stamp books, and cancelling machines. It maintains a money-order system, a parcel post system, and a savings-bank system.
QUESTIONS ON THE TEXT
1. Why is government important?
2. How much is spent by our national government each year? By our State, county, and other local governments ?
3. What is the average cost of government per capita in the United States ?