The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 25, 1902, Image 1

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    Hk A
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.Vol. 3. No. 14.
Lincoln, Nebraska, April 25, 1902.
Whole No. 66
Tho democrats of the house won a great vic
tory by a single move when they forced through a
hill that not only gave a degree of reciprocity to
Cuba, but also provided for the removal of the
sugar differential.
The house democrats are to be congratulated
because they voted solidly for this measure. As
the bill is now framed it suits neither the can9
sugar trust or the beet sugar trust. It is true
it is not exactly what the people would like to
have but it is a move in the right direction.
As we were instrumental in driving Spain
out of tho Western Hemisphere, and as
we are not willing for Cuba to annex herself
to any other nation, we are under a moral ob
ligation to treat her liberally with respect to
trade relations. The only protest against reci
procity came from the beet sugar industry, but
such a protest was to be expected. The manu-
facturers of beet sugar like other manufactur
ers have shown a disposition to look at legis
lation entirely from their own standpoint, and
they have been consistent champions of every
proposition that gave them a chance to get into
the public treasury. They have favored state
bounties and national bounties, and have clam
ored for high tariff. They are no worse than otti- ,
or protected Industrie's, but they have been as
insatiable as any.
They claim to represent the farmers, but the
farmers do not, as a rule, have stock in the fac
tories, and if a few farmers did hold stock
they ought not ask for a special benefit at tho
expense of all other farmers. Even if all the su
gar tariff went to farmers it would go to com
paratively few and would be insignificant as
compared with the total burden borne by the far
mers because of the high tariff system
1 It is a mistake for members of congress to
urge a tariff on sugar on the theory that "if we
are to have a tariff on some things, .the farmer
ought to have his share." The farmer can never
make as much out of a high tariff as he loses by
it, and it is a delusion to think that he can. A
farmer cann-t oppose protection to others while
he claims it for himself, and the sooner all the
farmers get out from under the protective sys
tem the -sooner it will fall. As long as beet su
gar is protected every factory will be a .center for
the propagation of a high, tariff sentiment, but
as soon as the tariff is reduced on sugar ' the
manufacturers of sugar will help reduce the tariff
on other things. Democrats can therefore wel
come every step toward lower tariff, no matter
from what source it comes. If we refuse a small re
duction in the hope of a greater one, or if we
k reject a proposed reducti-n because the adjust
ment of duties is not equitable, we shall make
B no progress- It is the part of wisdom to take
what reduction we can get and then set about to
I? secure more.
Every brick removed weakens the wall; every
industry exposed to competition will increase the
demand for tariff reductiop. Cuban reciprocity
is in the right direction, the removal of the differ
ential Is a yet greater move, and for such advanco
toward tariff reform, thanks. ,.
Senator Blackburn's Good Service.
Senator Blackburn did his country a service
when ho called attention to the fact that Senator
Depew is a conspicuous representative of the
railroad interests of the United States, and espec
ially of the Now York Central. Senator Depow's
votes reflect, not tho wishes of the people of Now
York, but the -wishes of the Now York Central
railroad, and the fact that senators like him aro
opposed to the popular election of United States
senators ought to bring to the support of this re
form every democrat of the senate and every re
publican who is not under obligations to the rail
roads for his election.
In his speech at Charleston, referring to the ac
tions of the United States in helping Cuba to es
tablish a free republic, President Roosevelt said,
"-We have kept our word and done our duty just
as an honest individual in private life keeps his
word and does his duty."
Is it not true that we would have -been in
honor bound to do "our duty" toward Cuba even
though we had not given "our word?" The dis
charge of a plain duty is, to "the honest individ
ual in private life," just as important as the ful
fillment of his word. We gave "our word" to
Cuba in Senator Teller's amendment to the war
resolution. This was a promise that wo woull
not exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control
over the island of Cuba except for the pacification
thereof, and after that was accomplished, then
it was our intention to leave the government of
that island to tho people thereof. This was "our
word" given, not C3 charity is bestowed, but in
recognition of our duty to the principles upon
which our own government was founded.
Testimony is conflicting as to whether we
really gave "our word" to tho Filipinos, and yet
there is sufficient uncontradicted testimony that
the Filipino leaders understand that the destruc
tion of Spanish authority by the co-operation of
Americans and Filipinos meant independence for
the Filipinos.
Even though nothing in the shape of a promise
was made in this respect, "our duty" remained
unchanged, and if, in ' helping the Cubans to es
tablish a free republic, "we have done our duty
just as an honest individual in private life does
his duty," then in refusing to help the Filipinos
to the establishment of a free republic, we havo
failed in that duty.
Referring to our conduct toward Cuba, Mr.
Roosevelt said, "It would be difficult to find a
parallel in the conduct of any other great state
that has occupied such a position as ours." Would
not the American people have great reason to be
proud if they could congratulate themselves upon
the discharge of their duty toward the Filipinos,
as they congratulate themselves because of tho
discharge of their duty toward the Cubans?.
Tho beef trust, under whose impositions tho
people aro now suffering, is not represented by
a single corporation into which a number of other
corporations havo been merged. It might prop
erly come under tho very charitable definition
provided by some trust magnates of "community
of interest." In truth, however, it is covered by
the definition in the Sherman anti-trust law and
may properly be termed a "conspiracy."
Every definition provided by tho Sherman
anti-trust law covers tho beef trust. It la a
"contract,", it is a "combination," it Is a "con
spiracy." Under that law tho agents of every,
packing house aro liable to fine and imprisonment.
Under that law the meat shipped from ono stato
to another is subject to confiscation by tho fed
eral authorities. And whatovor may bo the diffi
culties attending tho enforcement of the federal
anti-trust law against other trusts, there la
no conspiracy in existence that can bo required
more readily to yield to that law than this beef
trust if Mr. Roosevelt's administration is really
determined to enforce tho law, and to destroy
this conspiracy against tho welfare'' and the ex
istence of tho people.
The Kansas City Journal, a republican news
paper, in its issue of April 16, throws light upon
the methods of this combine. Tho Journal says:
The sales agents of the packers meet
every week and agree upon a scale of prices
for the next week. Any packer who cuts any
price thus decided upon is subject to a fine.
If it is suspected that any one of them has
been cutting prices they have an arbitrator
who is authorized to go over tho books for
the purpose of determining whether the sus
picion is well founded.
Tho Journal also points out that Monday,
April 14th, was tho first business day for eigh
teen months on which the packers did not Issuo
a list, the figures on which were identical with
each ether. It is shown by the Journal that on
that day tho packing 'houses in Kansas City
issued a price list In which the figures were some
what lower than those issued by the other pack
ing houses, and this, the Journal explained, was
evidently done for the purpose of refuting tho
idea that a combine existed.
The friends of the trust system have insisted
that the extraordinary increase in the price of
meat was due' to the increase in the price of corn
and of cattle, and that therefore the farmers ob
tain their proportionate share of the increase.
The Commoner has already referred to the claim
made by tho secretary of agriculture that the
advance in the price of wheat is due "to a large .
supply of prosperity and a small supply of corn."
It has also quoted the Chicago Tribune, an emi
nent republican organ, in indorsement of the
secretary's claim, tho Tribune having said that
this explanation was "undoubtedly the correct
one." The Tribune also insisted that if blame attached to anyone for the present high
price of meat; "let It be providence, and not tho
packers;" This seems to be . a very popular de
fense for the beef trust; and In the light of these .
protestations it would be well if every consumer
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