The federal government is paternalistic only in the administration of old-age pensions and in the fostering of genius and creative originality; the state governments are slightly more concerned with the individual citizen, while the local governments are much more paternalistic or socialistic. The city (or some subdivision thereof) concerns itself with such matters as health, sanitation, building regulations, beautification, water supply, lighting, heating, recreation, music, and communication.
In all industry first attention is paid to health; certain phases of physical well-being are regarded as industrial and community prerogatives, but individual and family health problems are matters of personal concern only. In medicine, as in all other purely personal matters, it is increasingly the plan of government to refrain from interfering.
Cities have no taxing power, neither can they go in debt. They receive per capita allowances from the state treasury and must supplement such revenue from the earnings of their socialistic enterprises and by licensing various commercial activities.
The rapid-transit facilities, which make it practical greatly to extend the city boundaries, are under municipal control. The city fire departments are supported by the fire-prevention and insurance foundations, and all buildings, in city or country, are fireproof—have been for over seventy-five years.
There are no municipally appointed peace officers; the police forces are maintained by the state governments. This department is recruited almost entirely from the unmarried men between twenty-five and fifty. Most of the states assess a rather heavy bachelor tax, which is remitted to all men joining the state police. In the average state the police force is now only one tenth as large as it was fifty years ago.
There is little or no uniformity among the taxation schemes of the one hundred comparatively free and sovereign states as economic and other conditions vary greatly in different sections of the continent. Every state has ten basic constitutional provisions which cannot be modified except by consent of the federal supreme court, and one of these articles prevents levying a tax of more than one per cent on the value of any property in any one year, homesites, whether in city or country, being exempted.
The federal government cannot go in debt, and a three-fourths referendum is required before any state can borrow except for purposes of war. Since the federal government cannot incur debt, in the event of war the National Council of Defense is empowered to assess the states for money, as well as for men and materials, as it may be required. But no debt may run for more than twenty-five years.
Income to support the federal government is derived from the following five sources:
1. Import duties. All imports are subject to a tariff designed to protect the standard of living on this continent, which is far above that of any other nation on the planet. These tariffs are set by the highest industrial court after both houses of the industrial congress have ratified the recommendations of the chief executive of economic affairs, who is the joint appointee of these two legislative bodies. The upper industrial house is elected by labor, the lower by capital.
2. Royalties. The federal government encourages invention and original creations in the ten regional laboratories, assisting all types of geniuses—artists, authors, and scientists—and protecting their patents. In return the government takes one half the profits realized from all such inventions and creations, whether pertaining to machines, books, artistry, plants, or animals.
3. Inheritance tax. The federal government levies a graduated inheritance tax ranging from one to fifty per cent, depending on the size of an estate as well as on other conditions.
4. Military equipment. The government earns a considerable sum from the leasing of military and naval equipment for commercial and recreational usages.
5. Natural resources. The income from natural resources, when not fully required for the specific purposes designated in the charter of federal statehood, is turned into the national treasury.
Federal appropriations, except war funds assessed by the National Council of Defense, are originated in the upper legislative house, concurred in by the lower house, approved by the chief executive, and finally validated by the federal budget commission of one hundred. The members of this commission are nominated by the state governors and elected by the state legislatures to serve for twenty-four years, one quarter being elected every six years. Every six years this body, by a three-fourths ballot, chooses one of its number as chief, and he thereby becomes director-controller of the federal treasury.