Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

PREFACE

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The purpose of this volume is to show the executive agency of the Federal Government chargeable with the particular business in which a citizen may be concerned and to indicate the procedure involved therein.

These agencies comprise some two hundred bureaus and commissions, or similar establishments, whose functions have been accumulating for a century and a half and, as Secretary Hoover recently said, "for the most part * have been thrown hodgepodge into ten different executive departments. * * However justifiable the original assignment of newly created regulatory or service functions under federal control, we now have such anomalies as enforcement of the highly penal statutes in reference to intoxicating liquors and narcotics under the Secretary of the Treasury, who also has jurisdiction over such diverse activities as the Public Health Service and the "little navy,” otherwise known as the Coast Guard. Some further confusion arises in the seeming duplication indicated, to further quote the Secretary of Commerce, in wide dispersion of administrative functions: Public Works Construction and Direct Aids to Merchant Marine are each found in fourteen bureaus or establishments; Conservation of National Resources in eight; Direct Aids to Education in six; Direct Aids to Industry in five; Direct Aids to Veterans, Government of Territories and Dependencies, and Public Health each in four; while all the bureaus and establishments participate in the purchase of $250,000,000 of supplies annually.1

The extent of this medley organization may be estimated from the proportions of some of its minor activities. The Prohibition and Income Tax Units, for example, which, in the interests they touch, may be regarded as larger organizations than many of the national governments of the world, are only fractions of a bureau, which, in turn, is but the small part of an executive department. And if we measure the government upon the basis of resources it protects, it is said that this, the richest of nations, has a national wealth greater than the combined resources of the eight next richest countries. It is even significant of the vast reaches of this imperial republic that the national expense bill could vary from $5,115,927,689.30 in 1921 to $3,048,677,965.34 in 1924, running along with a reduction of taxes of $2,000,000,000 and an average yearly retirement of $1,000,000,000 of the public debt. The government's pay roll is $1,680,000,000 annually, while its last year's interest bill was $865,000,000. Its commercial fleet consists of 1,289 vessels, of 8,823,000 gross tonnage. The office that prints its public documents keeps more than 4,000 employees busy and consumes 25,000 tons of paper annually.3

1 Address of Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, before the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, May 21, 1925.

2 President Coolidge's address at the Government's Business Organization Meeting, Washington, D. C., January 26, 1925.

3 Address of Director Lord, of the Bureau of the Budget at the Government's Business Organization Meeting, January 26, 1925.

4

[ocr errors]

*

1

The government employs about 550,000 men and women, of whom some 2,000 are lawyers charged with the enforcement of 10,000 operative federal laws. In the departments in Washington are approximately 55,000 employees, of whom nearly 1,100 are lawyers.*

It is not surprising then that, in this immense and complicated organization of federal business, "the citizen is driven from pillar to post among the bureaus, seeking information he wants, settling the demands upon him, or determining the regulations by which he is required to conduct his business."1 It is common knowledge in the capital that many of the attorneys who come in legions on their clients' federal business, quit the labyrinthian maze often in disappointment because they have set out on their missions without information as to departmental organization and procedure. Perhaps the matter could have been attended to at or near the home town; perhaps the bureau may require certain documents that could have been obtained; or very likely the business could have been initiated by a letter and a hearing arranged for a specific date. In this connection it is significant that the Income Tax Unit was obliged to adopt a rule in 1923 that “conferences with taxpayers or their representatives without previous arrangement will be discontinued and they will be required to arrange conferences and file sworn statements

at least five days in advance of the conference date.”

Sometimes the citizen expects to find a "royal road” to expeditious accomplishment of government business, but he is certain to find that the shortest route is that which leads most directly to the proper office with the requisite documents and a definite conception of what he wishes to accomplish within his rights and the pertinent provisions of law.

These usually are thought of as regulatory or tax laws, and there is a disposition to speak of the growing tendency towards federal control of business, as well as of the citizen's private conduct. That the citizen is awake to protect his interests in such matters is suggested by the fact that some 15,000 attorneys are registered to practice in the Department of the Treasury, while there are similarly impressive lists in other departments.

But it is doubtful if the government's services are so generally appreciated, for it is safe to say that no other government approaches that of the United States in the generosity and diversity of its aids to nearly every phase of social life. To these services, it is not difficult to show, the nation owes much for its leadership in the world to-day. Is it not largely due to the Department of Agriculture that American farmers, only 4 per cent. of the farmers of the world, produce 12 tons of cereals per person engaged, while the remaining 96 per cent. of the world's farmers produce only 1.4 tons per person engaged? It scarcely need be hinted what American supremacy in commerce, industry, and finance owes to American agriculture.

So, also, the Department of Commerce, distinctly a federal service, aids various branches of business. Its "pathfinders, who blaze the way for the peaceful and beneficent penetration of American products into new markets,

[ocr errors]

*

1 Address of Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, before the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, May 21, 1925.

4 Information furnished by the Personnel Classification Board.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »