Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/147

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134

The Green Bag

ber of appointive positions are sensible even if unlikely to be popular. Professor Munro has brought together a collection of fifteen papers written from various points of view, pro and contra, and bearing upon various phases of the subject of direct government. Some of the papers are new, but the majority, such as those of President Lowell and Col. Roosevelt, aie reprints. Professor Munro's compilation is of use because of the information brought together with regard to the actual working of direct government where it has been tried. Needless to say, some of the papers have also the higher value that comes from impartial scholarly research. Pro fessor Munro's introduction offers a clear statement of the issues, and a moderate, cautious estimate of what is sound and what unsound in the new pro posals. Discussion of statutory provisions is omitted, and this need is supplied by the technical and comparative study made in Professor Beard's and Mr. Schultz's timely compilation of documents. Dr. Oberholtzer's treatise is of course recognized as an indispensable book giving facts, figures, and theories of the various schemes of direct government applied in this countiy. The new edi tion is a useful re-issue of a standard treatise. Another book of value be cause of its documentary information is that prepared by Messis. Bacon and Wyman, merely in order to give definite information regarding the origin and progress of the devices of direct govern ment. The authors offer no specific comment, but make some appropriate quotations from Woodrow Wilson and other well qualified experts. Of works of less value, we may men tion first that of William L. Ransom of Brooklyn, N. Y. Mr. Ransom comes for ward as a protagonist of radical democ racy, and offers a lawyer's argument in

favor of what is popularly known as the "recall of judicial decisions," or more accurately defined, the settlement by popular vote of the validity of social legislation involving the scope of the due process clause. A believer in the wisdom of majorities, he has made about as strong an argument as is possible in support of his dubious position, without falling into the greater error of endors ing the recall of judges. Dr. Wilcox also appears as a partisan of the newer democracy, and argues from a theoretical study of the shortcomings of our constitutional system, rather than from facts and figures, that popular government really calls for the new machinery to render it effective. He too defends the referendum on judicial decisions.

TAXATION IN MASSACHUSETTS Taxation in Massachusetts: A treatise on the assessment and collection of taxes, excises and special assessments under the laws of the Common wealth of Massachusetts. By Philip Nichols. Finan cial Publishing Company, Boston. Pp. 826. (S6 net.) THE brief references to taxation in the Massachusetts constitution were a summary of the practice of Colonial days in an agricultural com munity where all property was visible to the assessors and easily valued. Old decisions of the courts have fixed a rigid interpretation upon these clauses ill adapted to modern conditions. The functions of the state have multiplied, thereby increasing the state's demand for revenue. There has developed deep antagonism between the citizen and his representative, the tax gatherer, until tax evasion has been followed by more complicated tax laws and those by more evasion. The revision of our Tax Sta tutes in 1909 showed a surprising growth in a few years. Hence the need of a local book expounding the local practice.