The subject of public revenues has always been given a prominent place in fiscal discussions. Early English writers gave little attention to any other part of the science. Germany is the only country which can be said to have given early and consistent attention to the entire subject matter of Public Finance. The lack of interest in the other phases than revenue can be partially accounted for by the laissez-faire doctrine which dominated England, France, and the United States. Even yet there has been comparatively little study of any field but revenues, while this is largely limited to a study of taxation. In this volume, expenditures, public indebtedness, and the administration of public funds will be given some attention. The major part of the space, however, will be devoted to public revenues.

Expenditures Important. - A more extensive interest is developing in regard to public expenditures, and it is highly important that the public should be informed as to the use which is being made of the funds which it has contributed. Public fiscal officials occupy a peculiar position in that they have the duty and opportunity of spending funds, the burden of which is not felt by themselves. Too often they fail to consider that the amounts which they demand and spend might have been used to better advantage had they been left with the individuals from whom they were taken. Public expenditures, moreover, may frequently be made for objects which are in themselves admirable, but which, at the same time, impose too heavy a burden upon the citizens. A temptation always exists with the expenditure of funds which are not one's own, and this temptation tends more often to unwise and extravagant expenditure than to parsimony. The surest means of control lies in the use of the ballot, and it is only through a knowledge of how and where expenditures are made that this can be intelligently and effectively used.

In the work of this volume, the first consideration will be given to public expenditures. Their growth and development will be noted, as well as the change in the character of the objects for which public funds have been used. Explanations of their enormous increase will be attempted. A comparison between the nature of public and private business will be made, as well as a comparison of the wants which the individual supplies directly for himself and those for which he makes indirect provision through the agency of the state. The relative increase in our Federal, state, and local expenditures will be noted, and some explanations of the increases will be given. Various classifications of expenditures will be considered, while particular consideration will be given to a classification according to the methods of conferring benefits.

Revenues and Indebtedness Considered. - The consideration of public revenues, which will follow that of expenditures, needs no justification, since such consideration has always been the topic of paramount importance in treatises on fiscal subjects. The needs of the early state will be taken up, and some attention will be given to the early attempts to classify revenues. Notice will be made of revenues from public domains and public industries, including a brief discussion of the public land policy of the United States. The development and justification of the various forms of taxes used by the different governmental units will command the most attention in the discussion of revenues.

Less space will be devoted to the indebtedness of states than to their revenues. The problem of indebtedness, however, is one of primary importance in present-day fiscal systems, because this method of securing funds is being called into use more and more to meet ordinary needs rather than the extraordinary ones, which were considered in earlier times the only legitimate purposes for borrowing. The enormous debts which were saddled upon the important nations of the world by the Great War make a study of this phase of the subject all the more interesting and necessary. Reasons for the gradual increase in public debts will be noted, together with some of their more important economic effects. The methods of securing loans and canceling indebtedness will be studied, while some comparisons of the indebtedness of the more important nations will be made.

The Administration of Funds. - The importance of the proper administration of public funds has but recently received general recognition. There is no question, however, as to the vital significance which this phase of Public Finance presents to all who contribute to the common fund of the state. The temptations with which public officials are surrounded have already been indicated, and it is imperative that temptation be removed as far as possible, while the consequences for yielding to temptations should be felt severely by those who are guilty. These results can be accomplished only through strict administrative measures. In the treatment of this phase of the work some attention will be given to the development of fiscal control, while particular attention will be given to the budget - its meaning, preparation, handling, and use, both abroad and in the United States. The handling of the public accounts will also receive consideration.

Because of the present interest in emergency or war financiering, and because of the administrative problems involved, some discussion will be devoted to this phase of fiscal problems. Some of the merits and defects of the possible methods for financing a war will be presented, together with the methods which were used by the important belligerent countries. An attempt will also be made to show what a tremendous cost war has been to the nations of the world and to the United States in particular. Some of the more modern fiscal problems will receive brief consideration.