August 11, 1915

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

Revenue has ever been a issue in politics. The burden of that revenue falls on citizens. National revenue is spent upon national priorities, and frequently those priorities supersede the needs of the people. The cost of defense far outweighs the cost of infrastructure, as the Capital Journal notes in this editorial:


. . . [A]n editorial on “Warships and Roads” is worth of reprinting from a Medford paper:

“Congressman Gillett of the appropriations committee now a Medford visitor, when asked concerning the outlook for adequate appropriations for national parks, particularly to carry on the road building now in progress at Crater Lake, replied:

“‘With a deficit in the national treasury, with talk of large army and naval expenditures, I am afraid the outlook for national park expenditures is poor.’

“The jingoes ignore the national deficit or would make it still greater, as an excuse for restoring tariff duties. They would economize at the expense of national development to plunge the nation into debt to follow the insane program of militarism.

“The cost of a modern battleship is $15,000,000. This amount of money would pave all the main highways of Oregon including the projected roads of Crater Lake. It would be a constructive program of development. Yet if any such program was outlined, congress would promptly reject it, and vote as promptly for a battleship.

“The money spent for warships and enlarged army is gone – never to return. The money spent upon highways is distributed to the people in permanent improvements that benefits the nation for all time to come. Warships soon become obsolete or are sunk. Roads remain for ever.

“Back of all the militarist talk is predatory privilege whose patriotism seeks a renewal of graft – and cares nothing for the welfare or development of the nation.”


About whclarc

We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
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