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been the worst victims. So unfavorable to capital has been some of the legislation of Oklahoma that the home offices of insurance and loan companies outside of the State have ordered their agents to take no more business. The possibility of such a result in New York State had doubtless much to do with the modification of similar bills at Albany.
Naturally, where there has been such a shameless disregard of the rights of corporations, little consideration has been shown for the rights of individuals. When a wave of despotic repression passes over a community it shows no favor; it treats all alike. One of the most characteristic bills of this class is that compelling school teachers to contribute a certain percentage of their salaries to a retirement or pension fund, to be managed by the municipalities in which they live. It is, of course, nothing less than a step toward the establishment of a system of civil-service pensions like the one that now exists in certain countries in Europe. The legislation against the wearing of hats by women in theaters, against playing football, against the organization of Greek-letter fraternities in State-aided institutions, etc., is equally worthy of the same despotisms.
It would be interesting to speak more at length of other legislation, proposed and enacted, such as the prohibition of gold contracts, the issue of scrip as money by State and county governments, the payment of bounties on agricultural products, and the exemption from taxation of certain manufacturing industries. Measures of this kind are sufficiently significant to merit special comment; they illustrate in a striking manner the growing tendency to interfere with private rights and to plunder one class for the benefit of another. Equally significant also is the New York State law to pay to every indigent family a certain sum for the care of each child; it is a practice that can not fail to revive in this country all the shocking social and economic evils of the old English poor law. Finally, it would be interesting to dwell upon the vicious assaults that have been made in New York, Illinois, and elsewhere upon civil-service reform; they indicate the same decadence in public opinion as to the requirements of good government that may be observed in the renewal of archaic legislation in the field of morals and economics.
But it is only possible to call special attention to the efforts made very generally to provide money to meet the alarming increase of expenditures that has followed the large addition to the duties of the State. Desperately pressed to discover new sources of income, legislators have resorted to many novel and extraordinary expedients. Of these the most iniquitous is the graduated inheritance tax enacted in New York and proposed in other States. Not only does it violate the fundamental principles of taxation, namely, uniformity and equity, but it is likely to serve, like all iniquitous legislation, as a precedent to violate still further the rights of individuals and of property.