The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, August 30, 1907, Page 3, Image 3
". l "1ST' -?A' The Cbnimonerl AUGUST 30; 1907 "i c (? r"i5triji!y)tm'T rjim wi HERE IS A CALAMITY HOWL Professor Charles J. Bushnell of Washing ton, D. C, who recently made the statement that the American public was on the verge of bankruptcy because it expended $0,000,000,000 a year on the criminal, pauper and -vicious . classes, while the annual increase of wealth ag gregated only $5,000,000,000, is ready to back his assertion with an elaborate array of sta tistics. ' In discussing the subject with the Washing ton correspondent for ' the Chicago Itecord Herald, Professor Bushnell said: "Ten millions of our people, one-eighth of the population, are -now constantly in such pov erty that they are unable to maintain them selves in physical efficiency, and 4,000,000 of them are public paupers. In 1899, one of our prosperous years, eighteen per cent, or ifearly one-fifth of all the people of New York state, had to apply for charitable relief; in 1903 four teen per cent of all the families of Manhattan were evicted, and every year about ten per cent of all who die there have pauper burials. "The average wage of unskilled workmen throughout the country is less than the scientific minimum necessary for maintaining the average workingman's family in physical efficiency. And yet nearly 1,000,000 immigrants from the most backward sections of Europe, and with less than $20 each, are being annually dumped into our congested urban centers, where employment al ready is greatest, and where the immigrants have the very least opportunity to live in de cency and make themselves useful to the coun try. The transportation agencies are doing this. These agencies are the self-constituted nation makers for private gain. If we are thus de veloping in this country a white race problem we have to thank the same methods and agencies that in the past produced our now serious black race problem. "The last three United States censuses also show that the insane in this country have in creased faster than the population. We now have in the United States in continuous charit able care probably 6,000,000 abnormal depend ents, including, paupers, insane, blind, deaf and dumb, indigent and discouraged representing a dead loss to the nation every year equal to the total wealth we have invested in all the col leges, universities and technological schools of the whole country. If we could abolish this one item of abnornial expense we could double the facilities oX all our,, institutions of higher educa tion every year and do it with no extra effort at all.. "One large source of thisri abnormal de pendence is our vast aggregate of unnecessary industrial accidents. Few people begin to realize our annual national loss frpm this source. At a conservative figure 1,000,000 workers in tho United States every year aro killed or Injured in industry by accidonts, of which fully thrco quarters are proved by European experience to be wholly unnecessary and which cost tho nation annually in lost earning capacity and damage suits at tho lowest estimate an amount equal to the wholo wage incomo of the mine-workers or all tho farm laborers of tho entire country. "With the growing industrial disorder is asso ciated a startling recent increaso in crime and vice. Suicides, have increased in the nineteen years from 1885 to 1903 more than five times as fast as tho population. Murders and homi cides in the twenty years between 1885 and 1905 have increased more than three times as fast as the population. Even making allowance for the greater fullness of recent records, nearly 9,000 suicides and 900 murders occurring "in 1904 and 10,000 in 190G, is not a good record. Their growth has been almost steady, showing it is not the resultant of accidental causes, but of some sinister evil in the nation which is steadily working Increasing wrong. "Of professional criminals such as burg lars, footpads, gamblers and other crooks, there aro now known and estimated to bo some 300, 000 in the country, getting an average Incomo each of perhaps $1,500 a year, and causing an additional national expense for police protection, to say nothing of oxta oxponso for locks, safes, alarms, etc., of $2,000,000,000 more, making a total annual loss to the nation from thiB source more than counterbalancing tho value of all our annual exports of manufactures, or nearly equal to the annual running expenses of all our churches, benevolent Institutions, public schools, institutions of higher education and homo mis sions of every kind. "Of unprofessional crime in business and politics, in the form of graft It is impossible to make an accurate estimate, but the annual na tional loss from that source must be at least twice that from professional crime. This class consists of ,an oligarchy composed of thrco classes saloon-keepers, gamblers and others who engage in business that degrades; contrac tors, capitalists, bankers and others who can make money by getting franchises and other property of tho community cheaper by bribery than by paying tho community; politicians who are willing to seek and accept offlee with the aid and indorsement of tho classes already men tioned. These three classes combine and get control of the party machine, nominate and elect men who will agree to help them rob the city and state for tho benefit of themselves, and who will agree also not to enforce the laws in regard to the various businesses that degrade a community." SO DEMOCRATS CHARGED In his speech at Columbus Mr. Taft admit ted what . democrats have all along asserted, namely, that the Elkins law was favored by the railroads because it repealed the imprisonment clause of the interstate commerce law. On this point Mr. Taft said: "Under the 1889 amendment, however, the individuals con victed could have been sent to the penitentiary whereas under the Elkins act, the punishment by imprisonment was taken away while the fine was increased. The chief effect the Elkins law had on these particular prosecutions, which have' been given so much prominence, was to make it easier to convict the corporation and to increase Its fine, but to save the guilty individual perpe trators from imprisonment. It is well under stood that the Elkins bill was passed without opposition by, and with the full consent of, the railroads, and that the cliief reason for this was the elimination of the penitentiary penalty for unjust discriminations." Democrats will do well to keep this extract from Mr. .Taft's address conveniently at hand for the information of their republican friends. OOOO TAFT ON GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP , Secretary Taft gives three reasons for op posing government ownership, namely: "First Because existing government rail ways are not managed with either the efficiency or economy of privately managed roads and the rates charged are "not as low and therefore not as beneficial to the public. - - "Second Because it would' 'involve an ex penditure of certainly $12,000,000,000 to ac quire the interstate railways and the creation of an enormous national debt. "Third Because it would place in the hands of a reckless executive a power of con trol over business and politics that the imagina tion can hardly conceive, and would expose our popular institutions to danger." The first proposition is not sound. In the countries which have both systems tho govern ment roads are preferred by the people, as shown by the fact that government roads are being extended. It is not fair to compare government roads ABROAD with private roads HERE be cause conditlons; are different. If he will com pare municipal water and lighting plants in this country with plants owned by private corpora tions he will find that plants owned by the mu nicipalities are managed with, more efficiency and economy and charge lower rates. Mr. Taft's second objection is that govern ment ownership would Involve an enormous debt. It is sufficient to say that a government debt bears a lower rate of interest than rail road bonds and that, as the people now pay Interest on the railroad bonds (through railroad rates) their burdens would be actually de creased by government ownership. The saving would be even more than tho lower interest would indicate because the people are now pay ing on an inflated capitalization. The secretary conveniently overlooks the fact that the adop tion of the system would be gradual and that the people would be guided by experience as they proceeded. As for tho third objection it Is only neces sary to compare the mail service in tho hands ' ' of the government with the railway service in ' private hands. In 1896 there was a great deal moro coercion pragtlccd on tho railway em ployes than on tho railway mall clerks, arid oven thjs might bo lessoned by Improvements in the civil sorvlco. Thon, too, undor a dual owner ship, it would bo impossible for a national ad ministration to make a political uso of tho roads owned by tho soveral Btatos. But Socrotary Taft's discussion of govern ment ownership was immaterial, first, becausa it Is not a prosont Ibsuo, and hocoihI bocauHo ho admits that if tho remedy for present evils l nt(1,Cttl "TIII3N WE MAY CERTAINLY EX PECT THAT THE MOVEMENT TOWARD GOV 2JJE?JJ?N4T OWNERSHIP WILL BECOME A FORMIDABLE ONE THAT CAN NOT BE STAYED." In other words, tho ovlls of gov ernment ownership, oven as ho magnifies thorn, will bQ preferable to prosont ahuBcs. Tho rail roads, ho declares, "havo boon weighod In tho balance and found wanting." The secretary's remarks on this subject, while displaying considerable Ignoranco, will serve at least one useful purposo, namely, they will impress replibllcanB with tho nccossity of favoring oven moro radical rogulatlon than Mr, Taft suggests. OOOO EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK While sadly discommoded by tho strike of telegraph operators, tho general public should not forgot that tho striking operators aro asking for only that which seems reasonable and Just. They have asked for a reasonable wage, a rea sonable work day and equal pay for oqual -vork. Tho last contention is, porhaps, tho main ono, The operators demand It because it would put a stop to discrimination and thoy would base re muneration on ability and experience and not upon sex or favoritism. One of tho boat argu ments In favor of trades unions Is that thoy aro bringing about equal pay for equal work, with out regard to the sex of tho worker. OOOO SPIGOT AND BUNGHOLE Just now the government is engaged in tho task of "preserving and restoring American forests, spending for that purposo soveral mil lions of dollars a year. At tho same time It puts a premium on the destruction of American for ests in the shape of a protective tariff duty of $2 per thousand foet on lumber. Tho consum ers pay tho extra $2 per thousand feet, which hastens the total destruction of American for ests, and at tho same time they foot tho bills for tho forest reserve department. As a casd of saving at the spigot and wasting at the bung- hole this situation Is deserving of the premium' for utter foolishness. : .1 OOOO PROGRESSION , I- In 1884 Theodore Roosevelt was a radical froo trader and one of the leading members of tho Free Trade League. In 1904 he had "pro gressed" until he dubbed as "closet philosoph ers" those who denounced tho Iniquities of tho protective tariff. A Httl j later ho cut out of hi ' message all reference to tho tariff because the ' "standpatters" so advised, and for threo yeara last past he has utterly ignored the tariff In all of his public and official utterances. At this rate of "progression" towards tariff reform how long will it bo ere the tariff sched ules are revised in the Interests of tho people who foot the bills? OOOO WHAT DID THEY EXPECT? The Chicago papers which helped to defeat. Mayor Dunne aro complaining that Busso is running the city on tho wide open plan and that the traction question is still unsettled. What did they look for? They havo only them selves to blame. The Busse administration is just what might have been expected. OOOO IS IT A STRAW? , The recommendation of "national incorpor ation" by which the great corporations expeel to escape from the "hardship" of state regu lation is the first indication that tho preslden' might be persuaded to run again. OOOO THEY WOlIiD FORGIVE HIM , , . -If Wall Street' can get "national Jiicorpof. " atlonV-fof railroads and business' corporatibnsVii" can forgive thepresident for all the 'reforms' hi J ' has advocated. rr i 'M 44 imMmmStemmimmtoiM) (b ii yirtttrffriWi kiW;- gfamgkjfeji illBSiiililfali'ii.iiiiltfiiailitMi'iirtiiiiiti-i - iinrfiUMltt.iiTiftiMiiiii'"" "V"!