Another characteristic of the new era, as marked as those which have just been considered, is the present widespread interest which fiscal considerations have succeeded in arousing. This can be accounted for partially by the rapid expansion in the number of activities which the state has undertaken. The individual has kept demanding that the state increase its sphere of activities, and the supplying of these demands has caused expenditures and revenues to mount higher and higher. There are few who did not cringe at our first billion dollar Congress, while if such a small amount would be spent by Congress in any year in the future, the event would, no doubt, be looked upon with astonishment. That a citizen does not agree in the propriety of the activities of the government should not detract from his interest in the fiscal aspect; rather, this very situation should stimulate a greater interest, the result of which would be to demand investigation, reform, and, if necessary, a retrenchment in expenditures.
As concrete evidence of the interest which is being shown in fiscal subjects, the numerous commissions which are working in the field furnish examples. A majority of our states have tax commissions, while the Federal government has directed many investigations into problems of a fiscal nature. The numerous reports of these regular and special investigating commissions provide some of the most helpful literature in the field of Public Finance. Another evidence of this rise in the general interest is the large number of conferences which are continually being held for the purpose of investigating and discussing fiscal problems. Neither this recent literature nor the deliberations of the conferences are of a technical nature, but are admirably adapted to furnish enlightenment for the average citizen on the expenditures and revenues of the various political units to the support of which he is contributing.