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THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA
Published Weekly by the
University of North Caro
lina for the University Ex
JULY 1, 1925
CHAPEL HILL, N C.
THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS
VOL. XI, NO. 33
Kdilorittl E. c. Branson. S- H. Hobbs, Jr.. L. R. Wilson, E. W. Knieht, D. D. Carrol], J. B, Bullitt, H. W. Odom.
Entorod a, second-class ..lattor Novombor W. 1914. at the Postoliice at Chapel Hill, N. C., under the act of August 24, 1912
FSOGIIAM FOl TAX STilDY CLUBS
S. W-HAT IS A TAX
As announced in last week’s issue of
this pubiicalion we are carrying in this
issue an outline of the first of a series
of thirteen topics that may be used as
giiij.s or program outlines for local
tax study clubs. Several requests have
been made for such an outline, and it
is hoped that these sketches will be
valuable aids to local tax study clubs
already organized, or that may be
organized in the future. The subject
of taxation is a live one, and of vital
interest to every taxpayer. Students
of tax probiemi are too few in North
I Carolina. Yet our tax problems can
never be intelligently settled until they
have been carefully studied. It is hoped
that scores of local tax study clubs will
spring up over North Carolina. Such
clubs have accomplished marvelous re
sults here and there over the United
States. A few local tax ’_study clubs,
like those of Nev# York, Illinois,
and California, could be equally
effective in this state. For;isucb local
tax study clubs this outline has been
prepared. It is suggested that two
members be, charged with preparing
the program for the first meeting.
A-1. Government as a Means to
Why we must have gavernment.
The advantages of democracy.
2. Functions of Government:
To define and make known the
rights and duties of individuals.
To keep order and protect life and
To Enforce the performance of
duties, and punish if necessary
those who disregard them.
To regulate and conduct numerous
activities which can be per
formed better by the govern
ment than by private activity.
3. Private Activities:
Those which can safely be left to
the judgment of the individ
ual, or in which the people
will voluntarily cooperate for
the common good.
4. Public Activities:
Whenever general welfare demands
it and public opinion will sus
0. Increasing Number of Public
B-1. Charge Services.
When easy to allocate the cost
to the user,—street car fares,
water rent, use of electricity,
postage, parcel post charges,
fees for having deeds and
mortgages recorded, etc.
2. Free Services:
When difficult to make the alloca
tion, when difficult to collect
the charge, or when it is de
sirable that all members of the
community enjoy the benefit of
a particular service,—use of
streets, bridges and parks;
police protection; fire protec
tion; public health service;
public education; care of delin-
.quents and defectives, etc.
S. Taxation Necessary to Support
A tax may thus be defined as:
‘ ‘An appropriation of private wealth
for public purposes.”
“A compulsory payment for the
the support of government.”
‘‘The individual’s contribution to
ward the support of a commun
ity enterprise. ”
4. Principles of Taxation:
Levied according to ability to pay.
lievied according to benefits re
Levied as a means of social control.
Used for the benefit of fithc i public
as a whole.
‘‘My tax is so high
U soars to the sky;
It takes all the coin from my pocket;
And what can I do
But sputter and stew,
And pay the blame thing, and then
So said Farmer Jones
In violent tones
With all the choice words injthe docket.
‘‘It’s stupid of us
To make such a fuss
Though taxes go up like a rockei :
If the money’s well spent
We should be content.
And if it is not we should block it,”
Farmer Brown quickly said
And lifted his head
With brains enough in it to stock it.
‘‘For.we are the State - •
And we fix the rate;
told the world that, it would
We should open the books.
And put all the crooks
In the calaboose. Then we should lock
Then gather the facts
And reckon our tax,
With the calaboose key incur pocket,
' B. Explanations
If a study of the tax books reveals
waste we should block it. It is our
government and we should take charge
of it. ‘‘We are the State,” and the
rate of taxes which we have to pay
depends very largely on the interest
which we, as citizens, take in our
government and the responsibility
which we are willing to assume. A
tax study club in a county would be a
great asset to that county.
At the outset it is necessary to com
prehend the purpose and nature of a
tax. It is not an exaction imposed upon
us by an external force. It is not trib
ute money. It is a self-imposed obli
gation to meet the expenses attached
to our collective activities. Some things
can be more economically and effec
tively done by collective action than by
individual action, and in that case the
individual must contribute his share of
the cost. That is a tax. Government
is nothing more nor less than the agency
through which that cooperation is
brought about. We could not depend
entirely on volunteer cooperation. Even
if everyone had a cooperative spirit and
followed the Golden Rule we should still
need government for without it there
would be no order or system.
As life becomes more complex the
number and variety of public services
must inevitably increase. When the
service can be easily measured and the
beneficiary is apparent it can be paid
for directly and it is called a charge
service. On'the other hand, when it
would be difficult or impossible to af
fix a direct charge, it must be made a
free service to all the people and paid
for through taxation. Naturally as the
number of free services increases the
Even were it possible to determine
what benefits each person receives from
government, it would not be desirable
or just to determine taxes on that basis
alone. Should a family with five chil
dren in the public schools pay five
times as much school tax as the family
with only one child? Or should a man
with no children be exempted from the
school tax? No, we are guided by an
other principle, namely, ‘‘the ability to
pay.” The rich should pay more than
the poor. Then there is another pur
pose for which a tax may be imposed.
It may be used to encourage or dis
courage certain practices, that is, for
purposes of social control. For instance,
the housing shortage in New York City
became so acute that all new houses
built were to be exempted from tax
ation for a period of ten years. The
tax may even’ be used to destroy an en
terprise. As an illustration, in 1914
Congress laid a tax of $300 a pound up
on the manufacture of opium to be
used for smoking and in this way de
stroyed the industry by taxation. What
ever the source of the tax, however, or
whatever its immediate purpose, only
one principle should obtain in its ex
penditure and that is, it should be used
for the benefit ' of the people as a
How are you personally served by the
federal government? by the state? by
Is there any relation between loyalty
to government and cheerful tax pay
When have we a right to object to[a
Which of the three definitions of a
tax do you prefer? Why?
Which of the following "should, in
your opinion, be operated by the pub-
It is through taxation that the
activities of government are sup
ported. Naturally, as we improve
our schools, build more and better
highways, assume a greater respon
sibility for public health and public
welfare, modernize our jails and
county homes, it means higher
taxes. Perhaps the return in service
is greater for each dollar paid intaxes
than when the taxes were lower.
But, even so, people feel, and
rightly, that taxes are becoming
burdensome, especially local taxes.
There is a general feeling that taxes
are high because of waste in the
collection and administration of
them, and undoubtedly there is a
reasonable basis for that belief. At
any rate, there is widespread com
plaint but few can offer intelligent
criticism or suggest any means of
relief. There should be a local tax
study club in every community
learning how taxes are raised and
how they are spent, and what, if
anything, is wrong vsfith our present
system. Only so will we acquire
correct attitudes .toward govern
ment and a true sense of our civic
responsibility. —Paul W. Wager.
publishing houses, and bookstores.
Many vague things have been written
I TENANT CHILDREN MOP OUT
j That children of parents ,who own
I their farms -reroain longer in school "‘bout the state of literature
i than the children of tenant farmers is 11"problem
I shown by a recent survey in J.;f[erson | "■'li'ng t“ dig
i County, Ga, In the first four grades Wilson. The li-
j of the schodl, children of tenant
, farmers compose 65.5 percent of the
I enrollment. After that they begin
^ to drop out, and tlie enrollment of chil-
' dren of tenant farmers in the fifth
, grade is only 35,5 percent of the whole
number. During the four years of high
school, children of farm-owning parents
make up 82 4 percent of the student
; body. The enrollment of children of
! tenant farmers decreases from 33 per
cent in the eighth grade to 3 percent
branaii pointed out various evidences
of our failure to use print. We can
only summarize: Our public libraries
are low in their quota of books; with
few exceptions libraries are small and
not highly specialized; the large col
lections we have grow slowly, Louisville
b‘ing the only 'city south of Washington
adding more than 16.000 volumes a year;
we do not read magazines and thenum-
ber of subscriptions is oppressively
^ compared with other sections of
: in the eleventh or last grade.—School I country; the South has proved “the
Life. . '
THE SUREST WAY
ATTENTION, CLUB WOMEN
Let me call your attention to the
announcement elsewhere in this issue
of the News Letter concerning the
Agriculture, said Herbert Hoover the
other day, is a better town builder
than industry. The remark is one
that deserves more than passing notice.
The chambers of commerce in nine out
of every ten towns in the United States
should have this very fact drilled into
their systems. The majority of the
American towns which now are strain
ing their suspenders in an effort to
pull factories in their direction will
make more healthful progress if they
forget the factories and extend a co
operative hand to the farmer.
Agriculture is the backbone of the
average small town, but the town
boosters are inclined to forget this
fact. They labor under the mistaken
notion that a good town means a big-
ger town and that a bunch of factories
would solve their problems. The good
will and noble-hearted support of the
graveyard of magazines” which have
been given birth, struggled for a year or
more and died; there are relatively few
publishing businesses; good book stores
From these evidences. Dr. Wilson
points out the significance of this
failure to use print. He finds that
educational progress is heavily
handicapped, that the doors are closed ,
to aspiring young writers who find diffi
culty in getting attractive publication,
that a “regenerating criticism” has
not been developed, and that the conse-
quence'of this situation is a loss of
intellectual freedom. A summary of
this sort is unfair both to the subject
and to Dr. Wilson’s careful presenta
tion. We wish the address might
be read by, all “first” hunters. Dr.
Wilson has pointed out some “lasts”
which need pondering.—Asheville Citi-
study outline on tax problems in North ! ^ - ^.u ^ a. , oi tne
Carclina. ‘“wn’s Wade territory
Carolina, state and local The Women’s
Clubs Section of the University Exten
sion Division is co-operating with the
News Letter in placing this study out
line before you. In it you will find a
are vastly more desirable than fac
tories for the average town. This good
will and this support will not come un
sought and uninvited. The boosting of
community’s agriculture will be
dithcult question treated in a Simple and I 4.u i. m,
^ bread cast upon the waters. The town
attractive sty e and we hope you will!
avail yourselves of the opportunity -Emporia Gaaette.
here ottered of becoming acquainted'
with a matter of great importance to I a
every North Carolinian. Let me urge j AUTOMOBILES AND BOOKS
you to make this a subject of study in ! automobile and a book. The one
your club work and, if possible, in-' cost perhaps a thousand dollars and the
elude it in your summer schedule.—Nel
lie Roberson, In Charge Women’s Clubs
Section of the University Extension
lie and which by private enterprise;
Schools, railroads, postal system, high
ways, bridges, hospitals, medical ser
vice, orphanages, poor relief, boll wee
vil control, fire protection, water power,
mines, oil wells. Muscle Shoals, tele
phones, merchant marine,, port termi
other two dollars. And yet in some of
the states theVe are more licensed cars
than there are books in the public li
braries. Actually more automobiles
than available books! The comment is
one brought forcibly to us by the read
ing of a little pamplet containning a
reprint of an address made at the Uni-
An active, spirited, intelligent body
of laborers in every department of in
dustry is an essential condition of a
high state of national prosperity. But
such a condition can never coexist with
general ignorance. For it is not nature
alone that makes the man. The living
spark can be first kindled only by
schools. It is the school that quickens
.curious thought, fills the mind with '
principles of science, and starts the in
ventive and creative powers into action.
Therefore I say, push your schools to
the highest possible limit of perfection.
Spare no pains, count no expense. Let
every talent, every type of genius in
every child be watched and nurtured\by
the State, as by a mother watching for
the signs of promise in her son. Rely
upon it that the State which would find
the readiest road to wealth must regard
it as among the very first of her duties.
HOSPITAL FACILITIES IN THE UNITED STATES
Inhabitants per Hospital Bed in 1923.
In the following table the states are ranked according to the number of in
habitants per bed in all hospitals in each state, exclusive of federal hospitals.
The table is based on Hospitals and Dispensaries, 1923, issued by the Federal
Department of Commerce. The number of persons per bed is derived by divid
ing the population of each state by the aggregate of beds in all hospitals in that
Colorado leads in hospital facilities with one bed forevery 193.8 inhabitants.
North Carolina ranks forty-first with one bed for every 610.3 inhabitants.
U. S. average, one bed for every 335 inhabitants. North Carolina needs
nearly twice her present hospital facilities to be on par with the average for all
versity of Virginia by Dr. Louis R. , ^ . .
Wilson, librarian of the University of j to develop the productive genius and
North Carolina Dr. Wilson took as his j energy of her people. No waste that
subject “Print in the service of the j society can suffer will, in the end, prove
1 o . , , South” and interpreted print broadly so expensive as the waste of talent and
® ^ based on to include libraries, books, magazines, creative skill.-Thomas'H. Burrowes.
“ability to pay .
Give an example of a tax based on
“benefits received”. How does this
differ from a charge service?
Should a tax be used as a means of
social control? Give illustration.
Compute the value of the services
you receive from each of the govern
ments to which you pay taxes and see
if you are getting value received.
If you are paying for more than you
receive, add to your debit account the
amount that you would be willing to
give extra in order to relieve the tax
burden on the widows, the poor and
If you are still short, make a study
of public expenditures and see if there
is not waste somewhere.
Remember that you are the govern'
ment and when you blame the govern
ment you are indicting yourself.
D. Sources of Information
Woodrow Wilson, The State. Allyn
and Baker, New York, 1898. pp. 612-
Frank A. Magruder, American Gov
ernment. Allyn and Baker, New York,
1918. p. 76.
R. O. Hughes, Community Civics.
Allyn and Baker, New York, 1917. pp.
11-12, pp. 289-293.
R. 0. Hughes, Economic Civics.
Allyn and Baker, New York, 1921. pp.
E. R. A. Seligroan, Why Do We Pay
Taxes. Country Gentleman, June 6,
Hastings Lyon, Principles of Taxa
tion. Houghton Mifflin Co., Cambridge,
Mass. 1914. pp. 1-30.
Or any good civics text Look. —Paul
Rank State Persons
1 Colorado 193.8
2 California 212.6
3 New York 216.4
New Mexico 234.2
Maryland 262 8
New Hampshire i 264.2
New Jersey 282.7
Rhode Island 303.5
South Dakota 304.9
Maine ... .314.3
North Dakota 875.1
West Virginia 451.6
North Carolina 610.3
South Carolina 821.6
Arkansas 1001.6 '