This section of the book is from the "Introduction To Public Finance" book, by Carl Copping Plehn.
Old-age pensions for officials whose lives have been spent in the public service, or for soldiers whose health has suffered, for the good of all, are but the proper recognition of those services. They may be regarded as sums reserved from the wages from year to year and paid over in this form. In that case this expenditure should be placed under class one. This is the case with most of the pensions in England, and there they are generally, correctly classed under the expenditure for the departments to which the men pensioned belonged before they retired. But when this expenditure becomes, as it has in too large measure in America, a means of reward for political services rendered to candidates for public office, it cannot be placed anywhere but in class two, being then an expenditure for the benefit of certain persons considered as though it were for the benefit of all. The rapid increase of expenditure for this purpose in the United States, as well as the curious features of that increase, show that it cannot all be justified by any rule of economy. In this country only soldiers are pensioned. Under general laws, which require only that there shall be sufficient proof that the applicant is entitled to a pension, all those who base their claims on inability to work or excellent services are pensioned. But many others are pensioned by special acts of Congress. The amount of pensions has increased since the Civil War, rapidly, but irregularly. The following table shows the highest and the lowest points of each fluctuation :
1884 ... ... 55,429,228
1896..... " 141,581,5701 Great Britain spends £535,454, on "superannuations and retired allowances," but special pensions for distinguished services, military and naval, civil and judicial, amount to £116,837, and some others are covered by the supplies for the different departments.