Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub
[graphic][graphic][subsumed]

THE GROWTH OF AMERICAN CITIES UPPER PICTURE: JACKSONVILLE, FLA., AFTER THE CONFLAGRATION OF 1901; LOWER PICTURE: THE SAME VIEW IN 1913. THE POPULATION OF JACKSONVILLE IN 1900 WAS 28,000; IN 1910, 57,000, AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 100 PER CENT. IN TEN YEARS

HE most signitarif bilt "marks first tentio of it let he hasteno them, emned he

thaense of the many, Pighed are the de

wo this old-fashioned majuspicion. As he

AN HONEST TARIFF

the Ways and Means Committee to ask

that, in reducing the tariff on his articles, HE most significant fact about the it be reduced equally on the raw and Underwood tariff bill is that it is manufactured products. Before the Com

an honest bill. It marks the mittee decided upon the point an uninbeginning of a new era. It is the first tentional “joker” crept into the bill, taking honest tariff since the Civil War; for in a care of it. As soon as the manufacturer republic a tariff can not be called honest saw the joker he hastened to the Comthat is designed to enrich a few at the mittee and showed it to them, explainexpense of the many, particularly if the ing that so far as he was concerned he few that are to be enriched are the de- would rather lose his point than gain it signers of the schedules. In the past, in this old-fashioned manner which would Mr. Dingley, a woolen manufacturer, was leave him open to suspicion. As he the leader of the House of Representatives expressed it, “this bill has been made that raised the woolen schedule. Later with all the cards on the table." Mr. Aldrich, as leader of the Senate, al- It is a change in principles and methods, lowed his cotton and woolen manufactur- not so much a change in men. The ing constituents to prepare the cotton framers of this bill are not necessarily and woolen schedules to their own liking. better men personally than the framers of

In the making of an honest tariff Mr. the dishonest tariffs. These measures Underwood, representing an iron and steel were passed with the votes and support district, reduces the rates on these articles. of many of the most distinguished statesAs he put it, if he had to be a special men and honorable men of the last fifty pleader for the interests that happen to be years. But this is not inconsistent. To located in his district, he “would be un- find a parallel you have only to look back worthy to bear a commission from the to another economic fallacy of special great Democratic party of this country." privilege — the institution of slavery. It, It is a contrast that tells dramatically also, was maintained by as honest and as the changed attitude toward the tariff. high-minded men as were in the country. It would be more encouraging if all the It cost a war to rid us of that economic Democratic members of Congress were as error. If the Underwood bill is the becourageous as Mr. Underwood. Some of ginning of a new era in tariff making, as them, though elected on a low tariff plat- it seems to be, we are getting rid of this form, dare not advocate a reduction on the second practice of privilege very cheaply. products of their own districts for fear of But it is not a perfect tariff bill. It is losing their seats. They present a sorry not even a scientific tariff bill. The men spectacle, and their lack of courage will who framed it have been struggling over leave them with diminished influence tariff schedules for four years. They among their fellows. But in spite of these probably know more about them than men, the new tariff is honestly conceived any one else in the country. But, in the for the benefit of all the people of the strict sense of the word, the bill is not a United States.

scientific tariff. There can be no such Here, for example, is a little incident thing. The ramifications of trade are so that is an indication of the difference be- infinite and so inter-related that no human tween the spirit in which this tariff bill mind can prophesy all the results of a was prepared and the spirit in which its change in the rates in even one schedule. predecessors were made. Ever since the Any tariff is a restraint of trade that dams Payne-Aldrich tariff became law (even or deflects the currents of commerce from while it was being passed) "jokers” have their natural channels. The rates in the been coming to light — little phrases Underwood bill are not fair, one compared cunningly devised to look as if they meant with another. It is impossible that they one thing and to effect another result. should be. But they represent an honest While this present bill was under dis- effort at fairness, an endeavor to get rid cussion a manufacturer appeared before of the most glaring schedules of favor

cheaply.

who from a scientificerect tariff

itism, an attempt to lighten the load of the national expenditures. Certainly in this common man.

new era of a low tariff and an income tax It is noticeable that the fear of tariff we shall not be forced to devise wasteful revision is not nearly so extreme as it means to dissipate surpluses in the Federal was four years ago. When a cry of Treasury that were collected under a calamity would block the revision of the tariff that was designed as protection for tariff, the cry was forthcoming. Now that favorite industries. it would not be effective, it is not made; and in private conversation you may hear A RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT manufacturers saying, even with pride, “Well, let 'em take the tariff off, I guess HE coöperation between the leadI can get along.” And, of course, with

ers in Congress and the President few exceptions they will; for there is in the handling of the tariff much more of the American spirit of inde- measure and the attitude that all conpendence and success in our manufacturers cerned hold toward the currency question than they themselves have been willing give the Democratic party a new aspect. to admit. Leaning upon the charity of In spite of the Democratic stand-pat Senathe tariff had begun to sap their manhood. tors, the Democratic party is fairly well But in the face of a changed condition, knit together. It more nearly approaches which many of them have wisely dis- being a responsible party than did its precounted already, there is little fear of their decessor. There is a tendency toward fulfilling their own direful prophecies. coöperation between Congress and the Not that such changed conditions are President concerning the tariff which makes easy to meet; for it is impossible to tell it more nearly like a British government just what effect reductions in rates will measure than we are accustomed to see. have on any one particular factory: but The President and the Democratic Coneven the most fearful beneficiary of pro- gress were elected upon the same platform tection has no serious apprehension con- to do ihe same thing, and the obvious thing cerning the prosperity of the great bulk is to get together and do it. Mr. Wilson of our industry.

revived an old custom as a graceful way of

making the first move in the harmonious THE INCOME TAX

coöperation between the legislative and

administrative branches of the GovernIKE the rates of the new tariff, the ment. And the President has not usurped provisions of the income tax bill the functions of the House nor trod upon

are not perfect. That bill is an the dignity of the Senate. Mr. Undereffort to raise revenue in a fairer fashion wood's position as chairman of the Comthan by the tariff. Probably in time mittee of Ways and Means is certainly as experience will point the way to a better powerful and as useful to the public, now income tax law. But in the meantime that Mr. Wilson goes to the Capitol, as there is a fundamental merit which this Mr. Payne's position was when he visited income tax measure has in common with Mr. Taft at the White House. The next any other income tax bill: It is a direct obvious step is, not only to allow but on tax that sharply brings home to the certain occasions to require the Cabinet people the fact that they furnish the members to be present on the floor of the money that the Government spends. House and the Senate. In their hands is The old humbug that the foreigner paid the information upon which many of the the tariff can not be applied to the income laws should be based, and in their hands, tax. Because the tariff tax was merged also, is the administration of the laws in the price of our purchases we could not after they are passed. The coördination tell just how much it was. There is no of the Government's activities demands such vagueness about the income tax. that Congress be able to get at the adminIts directness is likely gradually to edu- istrative parts of the Government more cate us to a less extravagant idea of intimately and easily. At present, when

L

provisionates of the

it wishes to know anything from a Depart- become Presidents of the United States. ment it makes a request for documents and And such simplification and added strength it gets documents instead of facts; or in the Government is not impossible to else it goes through the cumbersome pro- conceive in this forward-looking era. cess of appointing an investigating committee which half the time is not ready

FOR FLEXIBLE FINANCE to report until after the immediate use for the facts has passed. Congress constitutes HE bone and sinew of reconstructhe board of directors of the people's

tion as well as of war is money. business, and certainly it ought to have 1 The first need of the flood district free, easy, and intimate access to the work was money, and the normal place to go ing of the business which it directs. Fre- for it was the local banks. To meet the quent human contact between Congress immediate demands for cash these banks and the Cabinet would clear away many drew upon the balances which they had unfortunate misunderstandings and jeal- in banks elsewhere. But that, of course, ousies between the legislators and the was comparatively small. Normally their administrators which have been too com- next step would have been to endorse local mon in the past. Nor would this change commercial paper and send it to their entail either loss or transfer of powers; it corresponding banks outside the flood would merely put better bearings in the district and get cash in return. But our machinery of the Government.

national banking law provides a rigid ratio between cash reserves and liabilities.

The correspondent could not send the There is, however, a reform in the cash to the flood district, no matter what machinery of Congress itself which would the security, without depleting its reserves give it a prestige which it does not now below the legal limit. The current of possess, and a wider opportunity for cash that should have flowed to the disleadership. Mr. Underwood is a national trict where it was most needed was figure because he stands for a great public artificially stemmed. To relieve the situapolicy. Mr. Fitzgerald, the chairman of tion the Secretary of the Treasury had to the Appropriations Committee, can hardly take the clumsy means of depositing be so classed, nor as yet Mr. Glass, of the several million dollars in the banks of the Currency Committee; nor do the names stricken district. of Senators usually bring to the public T here are plenty of other examples of mind the committees of which they are a need of a reform in our currency laws chairmen or any great public policy of even if the need were not generally recogwhich they are individually master expo- nized. What currency reform needs above nents. The machinery of legislation is everything is a sponsor who commands the cumbersome. There are thousands and public confidence. It is a hopeful sign, thousands of private bills introduced every therefore, that the President is so keenly year for private pensions, local building — interested in the subject. Whether a all the "pork barrel” measures — and measure will come up during this extra many precious days and weeks are spent session of Congress is doubtful, but at in "log-rolling" them through. Within least the hearings have begun and begun the halls of Congress itself lies the remedy. under auspicious circumstances. There It is its own master. The day it throws seems to be substantial agreement between off the encumbrance of private business Senator Owen, chairman of the Senate bills and rids its members of the annoy- Committee on Banking and Currency, ances these things entail, it will give its Representative Glass, of the corresponding members the opportunity to stand for House committee, and the President. The great national policies, to train big men on two Cabinet members with whom the big questions. We might then oftener President is chiefly consulting on this find men who in Congress so stamped their measure are Secretary McAdoo, of the individuality upon the public mind as to Treasury, a man of experience in finance, and Secretary Houston, of the Depart- ful if men without a broader sympathy with ment of Agriculture, one of the country's the general public than these men had foremost economists.

would be elected by popular vote. Prob. Few bills begin life under so favorable ably, also, men of the type represented by auspices for producing a good measure, Senator Lorimer will disappear perman. and as it will be a party measure it will ently from the Senate. have a good opportunity of becoming law. On the other hand, many people fear

that the change will lose to the Senate POPULARLY CHOSEN SENATORS able men who have not a personality that

appeals to the public and that their places T HE recent amendment to the Con- are likely to be taken by men who are

stitution providing for the popular skilful politicians and little else, and whose

election of United States Senators, usefulness in a body of constructive lawfollowing close upon the heels of the makers would be negligible. Such men amendment making an income tax con- are painfully in evidence at times in Ameristitutional, is another indication of the can public life but they do not frequently well balanced wisdom of the framers of reach the higher places. Presidents have our government. The men of backward- been elected practically by direct popular looking minds have leaned upon the Con- vote for 125 years and during that time stitution as a safeguard against change. the office has been held several times by Temperamentally they felt "change and men of great dignity and only mediocre decay" to be synonymous. Yet the Con- ability, but never by a shallow demagogue. stitution has been changed under its own Of course the Senate, directly elected, will provisions. Surely we have lost nothing “ have a certain amount of demagoguery in in dignity or soundness when change is it. It has now, but under the new method made in this way.

of election it should more than offset any On the other hand the reformers, men of increase in this evil by a more direct immediate mind, demanding almost in- interest in the whole public's business. stantaneous decrees to right this evil and to solve that problem, have caviled at THE CYCLES OF BUSINESS AND the Constitution as a refuge of "the

POLITICS interests," a document for conditions that we have outgrown. Yet under its pro D IFTEEN years ago we were in the visions an amendment really desired by H midst of an industrial renaisthe people of the land is made in our T sance. Business was the prefundamental law in ten months from the dominant note in American life. So long time it passed Congress. Surely that is as business prospered, the public bothered quick enough.

little about the Government. In fact, The change, on the whole, is likely to business took care of that as a kind of side improve the personnel of the Senate some issue. Between that time and now is the what, and greatly improve the esteem in period of the activity of Mr. Theodore which it is held by the public. The real Roosevelt and Mr. William Jennings Bryan, demand for popular election of Senators and it is not an exaggeration to credit those grew out of the impregnable position of two vigorous characters with a large part the "old guard” Senators, whose political of the changed attitude that now prevails. hold upon the legislatures of their states Now the Government is the dominant note was much stronger than their hold upon the and, incidental to its other functions, it is public. With direct elections it ought busy making laws for business. And the not to be possible again to have a Senate force of the revolution that has to a large so much controlled by private interests as measure freed national politics from busithat body was during President Roosevelt's ness control threatened to carry us very administration and during the first part of much farther than that. So large a part President Taft's. Senator Foraker, Sena- of the public as the Progressive party is in tor Penrose, Senator Aldrich - it is doubt favor of having commissions to regulate

« PředchozíPokračovat »