Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/772

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

heat to the piki stone and the boiling pot, and enough to keep a fire on the hearth in the kiva. But now and then he must make a distant journey to that part of the mesa where the supply of stunted and scrubby pines and piñons has not already been exhausted; for by custom four kinds of fuel are prescribed for the kivas, and to keep the hearth replenished with these often necessitates long journeys. As the woman bends under her water jar, so the man staggers along under his load of fagots, often carried from a distance of several miles.

 

REFORM OF PUBLIC CHARITY.
By BIRD S. COLER,

COMPTROLLER OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

ABUSE of municipal charity in New York city has reached a stage where immediate and radical reform is necessary in order to prevent the application of public funds to the payment of subsidies to societies and institutions where professional pauperism is indirectly encouraged and sustained. More than fifty years ago the city began to pay money to private institutions for the support of public charges. The system has grown without check until to-day New York contributes more than three times as much public money to private or semiprivate charities as all the other large cities in the United States combined. The amounts so appropriated in 1898 by some of the chief cities were: Chicago, $2,796; Philadelphia, $151,020; St. Louis, $22,579; Boston, nothing; Baltimore, $227,350; Cincinnati, nothing; New Orleans, $30,110; Pittsburg, nothing; Washington, $194,500; Detroit, $8,081; Milwaukee, nothing; New York city, $3,131,580.51.

No serious attempt has heretofore been made to reform this system of using public funds for the subsidizing of private charities. One reason for this has doubtless been the fact that until recently the local authorities were powerless to avoid or modify the effects of mandatory legislation which has disposed of city moneys without regard to the opinions entertained by the representatives of the local taxpayers. It has always been easier to pass a bill at Albany than to persuade the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of the propriety of bestowing public funds on private charities, and the managers of private charities seeking public assistance have therefore generally proceeded along the line of least resistance. The effect of this system was to make beneficiaries the judges of their own deserts, for the bills presented by them