THE GOVERNMENT AS EXPLOITER
The title of this chapter may arouse false expectations in those accustomed to the well financed diatribes of chamber of commerce propagandists who wail about the increase of taxation, the wastes of government, and the encroachments of governmental agencies upon the field of business. The government as exploiter has come to suggest the taxpayer as the exploited and to call to mind the cartoonist's familiar figure of the woe-begone little man, clad in a barrel because the government has taken his shirt.
As a matter of fact this picture is all out of focus. Government is an exploiter and the citizens are exploited. But this is true in those activities of government which are most ancient and least challenged by chambers of commerce rather than in respect to those services which a modern government renders to its citizens. It is the immemorial rôle of government as war maker which gives it hideous supremacy among the actual or potential agents of exploitation. It is a scarcely less ancient rôle of government as administrator of what passes for justice, which in times of peace most frequently reveals it as cursed with traditionalism, and tainted by its nature and origin as the executive committee of a dominant class. On the other hand, in respect to what may broadly be called social services, taxpayers, and indeed the whole body of citizens, get more for their money from government than from any equivalent expenditure. This statement is entirely compatible with the recognition of inefficiency, waste and corruption in government service.