organizations here and there, to distribute powers and responsibilities among increasing numbers of boards and commissions, to create numerous agencies for paternal supervision and control, and thus to increase the cost of government far beyond the benefits it actually returns to the citizens whose welfare is its supreme reason for existence.
In trying to answer the question "How much government is essential to the people's welfare?" theorists may philosophize, economists may accumulate mountains of mathematical formulae, and public servants may sweat and agonize. But it seems to me that the answer may be found in a continuous attempt to bring government back to the essentials of human welfare--the protection of life and property, the administration of justice, the encouragement of education and public welfare and the guaranteeing of the blessing of liberty, at a cost which can reasonably be borne by all according to each citizen's resources and ability to pay.
In 1913 the cost of the state government in North Carolina was $5,500,000. By 1918 it had reached $23,500,000. Last year--1930--the cost reached $100,- 000,000. In the meantime, the bonded debt of the State and its subdivisions has grown stupendously. Much of this increase in expenditure and obligations represents genuine and needed progress--the kind of which North Carolina is justly proud. But such figures merit close study to see if they represent essentials, and if they are within our ability to sustain.
We set out in North Carolina to bring about some sweeping changes. A general assembly, which will no doubt go down in the books as one of the Old North State's truly great legislatures, worked constructively with me on the program of revision and reconstruction. Some observers have declared the results revolutionary.