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National Expenditure for Maintaining Health and Saving Life


1. Province of government in caring for the health of the people.

2. Inspection laws.

3. Same subj ect.

4. Inspection of steamboats.

5. Same subject.

6. Expenditure for these purposes.

1. The question may be asked, What ought the Na tional Government to do to protect the people from dis ease ? And where shall the line be drawn between gen eral and local action? Clearly there should be co-opera tion. With some diseases only the National Government can cope effectively. Accordingly, quarantine regulations have been established. Whatever may be said concern ing the efficiency of those who enforce them, the duty of the Government to protect the people from the invasion of small-pox and other diseases of that character will not be questioned.

2. Inspection laws, intended to guard against the im portation and use of unhealthful food, fall under the same service. Putting aside the question of the loss of life, surely the health of the Nation compensates for such inspections. It must be done by the Government, or not at all. To some degree individuals can inspect their pur chases, but not fully.' 3. For the same reason the expenditures incurred by the Department of Agriculture for the inspection of cat tle and the study of their diseases, etc., are needful. Pos sibly an objector might ask, Ought not this expenditure to be incurred by the States, instead of the National Gov ernment? ' One reason which seems to justify a Na tional expenditure is, no State could do the work so effec tively. Perhaps State inspection might be made effective

through united action.

4. Another expenditure, hardly less justifiable, is for steamboat inspection. The need of inspecting them will not be questioned, but perhaps one may ask, Why should this service be undertaken by the National Government rather than by the States? That it should be undertaken by some competent authority will hardly be questioned, as the object of the inspection primarily is to prevent ac cidents to life and property. On the other hand, ought not the owners to pay for the cost of the service? 5. The troublesome question arises, Suppose the Gov ernment has an incompetent inspector, and a conscien tious steamboat owner, besides paying him, also pays for the service of another competent inspector whom he em ploys? Stated more broadly, suppose a person cares for his property, and complies with the law, why should he be compelled to pay for the support of an official who performs no service? 6. The amount expended for these purposes in 1899 was : 'See debate in Congress on pure food bill, especially 33 Cong. Record, 5376 and 6870.

inspection, government, service and people