Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/747

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OCTOBER, 1889.


By General M. M. TRUMBULL.

IN the wondrous literature of the time there is hardly anything so glaring and sensational as the report of the Commissioner of Pensions explaining the work of his department for the year ending June 30, 1888. In that report he says: "The total amount expended for all purposes by the Bureau of Pensions was $82,038,386.59. The total expenditures of the Government for the fiscal year 1888 were $267,924,801.13. Thus it will be seen that the amount expended for and on account of pensions was nearly thirty-one per cent of the entire outlay of the Government."

In round numbers, one third of the public payments goes for pensions, and it is gravely proposed that the pensioners have the other two thirds also. A few days ago the Governor of Illinois, speaking to the Illinois department of the Grand Army, said, "If the Government paid $1,000,000 daily for pensions, the nation as a nation would be just as rich at the end of the year as it was before, as the money would still be in the hands of our own people."

To take a million dollars a day from industry and bestow it upon idleness is a patriotic form of dragoonade much recommended by politicians like the Governor of Illinois. The "nation as a nation" is not injured by it; the money is still in the hands of our own people. It is merely taken out of the hands that earned it and put into other hands to spend it.

In Whittier's delightful poetry we are cheered by the information that

"... Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
And the rebel rides on his raids no more,"

True, the rebel raiders have dismounted, but the "boys in blue" have sprung into the vacant saddles and the raids go on.