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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 8, 1907)
NOVEMBER1 1, 1907 ' '
fn a triilv lilttor form. Will' IfcbeVh ceded oven
now when congress again convenes? . Are we
yet persuaded' where the evil rests and aro wo l
determined fearlessly to apply the axe to its
root or aro we not? That Is the question of
the present hdur."
Nearly every community knows what clear
ing house certificates aro because nearly every
community has been dealing In that Icind of
paper recently. The Public Ledger well de
scribes as3et currency as "approximately what
we are compelled to put out everywhere now in
the shape of clearing house certificates."
The trouble right now is that the business
of the country is absolutely dependent upon the
whim of the coterie of men who have obtained
a corner upon the available cash. This is a
temporary corner because the people will not
a-nd cannot long submit to It. But the asset
curroncy plan will require the people to per
manently place themselves subject to the whims
of the financiers. These financiers will be able
to Issue a considerable portion of the currency
without security, without expense upon their
part, and' then they will bo able to contract or
expand tho volume of currency as suits their
purpose. We shall see whether the .'American
people, with all of the striking lessons they
have had put before them, will permit this new
yoke to bo put upon them.
The value of the statistics put out by tho
government bureau of labor is readily seen after
studying the latest bulletin issued by the de
partment. The statisticians employed to prove
unexampled prosperity give figures to prove
that the wage rate per hour in 1906 was fully
twenty-five per cent higher than the wage rate
per hour in 1892. They prove tho fact, too;
and here is the way they do it:
During the last ten years the hours of
work have been materiallj reduced, especially
in the building and prtatong trades, without
reduction in pay. Thte has bpen accomplished
by thorough organization. The carpenter who
worked ten hours a day for $3 in 1892 earned $3
a day, which was at the rate of thirty cents an
hour,. In 190.6 that same carpenter made $3
a day, working only eight hours, which was at
the' rate of 37 cents an hour.. The 1906
hourly wage when compared with the 1892
hourly wage shows an increase of just twenty
five per cent. But the government statistician
will experience difficulty in convincing the car
penter., that the increase per hour has added
anything to the total daily, weekly, monthly or
PRESIDENT BUTLER'S DANGEROUS '.'
' u TEACHINGS ; ,,' ',
In an address delivered at Chicago Nicholas
Murray Butler, president of Columbia univer
"The character of a corporation does not
-depend upon its size, but upon the principles
and policies .which actuate its management.
Corporations the.mselves have no moral . quali
ties; it is corporate officers and managers who
are good or bad, honest or dishonest, as tho
case may be.
"The problem of creating and developing
a public service corporation that truly serves
the public Is simply the problem always and
everywhere present in our life of .securing for
positions of trust and power men who are not
only intelligent,' but upright, who are not only
efficient, but hWest. It is not combination and
co-operation1 that' are' to be feared and antago
nized, but only monopoly and discrimination. '
"We arB 'fade to face with economic con
ditions that tiro hew, and with economic abuses
that, though manif'oldr have grown up slowly
and in the dark. There is ample power in our ;
institutions, in our constitution and our laws
to check and to remedy them all.
"There is now reason to believe that the (
Sherman anil-trust law commits the nation to ,
a policy which is too extreme, to a policy that,
In putting an end to certain admitted dvils, .
also puts an end to certain demonstrable bene
fits. Many of us believe that the act unduly
. exalts the principle of competition and fails
to lay due1 emphasis upon the public benefits
which may follow from properly regulated and'
pf "The distinction between combinations' .
which are reasonable and may 'well be permit
s' tdd and those which are unreasonable and must
at all hazards b6 forbidden, is one which- ought
not to be surrendered or overlooked. It is a
most important question, therefore, whether
the time has not come when this act should bo
amended in order to relievo not corporations,
but the peoplo from limitations upon .their busi
ness activity which this act imposes, although
in reality they are not necessary , in, tho public
interest." , ,"
Prosidont' Butler asks in brief that tho
peoplo surrendor some of tho all too-small moas
ure of protection they now have. What has
been accomplished in the way of giving the
public material relief from tniHt imposition
which would justify an educator in saying Hint
the anti-trust law is "too extreme?" As a mat
ter of fact that Jaw is practically unenforced in
spite of the fact that tho peoplo aro overywhoro
complaining of trust impositions. Not ono con
spirator against the lives-xxf tho peoplo has been
placed behind the prison bars. We have had
talk and talk and talk; newspaper Interviews
galore and banquet speeches in plenty, but this
law which President Butler says is "too ex
treme" lies upon the statute books practically
unused so far as genuino relief to the public
is concerned. President Butler in referring to
"combinations which aro .reasonable and may
well bo permitted, and those which aro unreas-.
onablc and must at all hazards be forbidden,"
means to say that there aro good trusts and
bad trusts. But like all who make that claim ho
falls to designate ono good trust. lip is emi
nently correct when ho emphasizes the impor
tance of securing intelligent and upright men
for positions in these great corporations. Whou
ho says "the character of a corporation does
not depend upon Its size but upon .tho principle
and policies which actuate Its management," ho
means to say judged in tho light of other por
tions of his address that even though the whole
product be controlled public Interests aro secure
provided tho men in authority with the monop
oly are intelligent and honest. President But
ler ought to bo careful how ho teaches such
doctrine to the young men entrusted to his
care. Tho better doctrine Is "a private mon
opoly is Intolerable and indefensible," and how
ever intelligent and honest a coterie of men may
be they may not, so far as public interests aro
concerned, be trusted with the power of mon
opoly over a people's necessaries of life. This
is so because .however holiest one may be wo
aro all too apt to resolve theno questions along
tho lines of our own individual Interests, just
as some of the oppressors of tho American peo
ple today have preached to their Sunday school
classes the. absurd notion that these trust mag
nates are the trustees of Cod ordained to con
trol the wealth of the country and distribute
it for tho benefit of tho peoplo who create It
Thp Topeka (Kan.) Capital, a republican
paper,' makes strdrig"bid for a place ih tho
niollycoddle column when It says: "After all,
it looks as though Dr. William J. Long could
take care of hlmselC His description of thd
president heroically slaughtering ' weakened
'mother bears' in the spring and then turning
about and preachirfg 'to hunters to spare our
remaining bears Ironi destruction, Is good
enough. Unliko othpr4 members of tho'Ananlas
club, DrA Long Is ready to give Teddy blow for
blow, the rest of th'ti Jclub being milksops and
BE WARNED IN TIME
With every bank in the United States prac
tically closed, so far as active business Is con
cerned, it Is not difit'pult to make the average
man believe that there is something radically
wrong with our monqCary system. And the peo
plo will be told indeed they are already told
by financiers, big and little, and by tho local
echoes of the financiers'that what wo need is
"a more elastic currency" or "an emergency
"Elastic currency" or "emergency cur
rency," or by whatever name it may be known',
It Is the same old asset currency for which Con
gressman Fowler has for years contended; tho
same currency provided for in the Fowler bill,
in the McCleary bill, in tho Aldrich bill and in
similar measures, every one of which measures
was condemned by republican editors and re
pudiated by republican orators, the pdoplo be
ing assured that there was not the' slightest
danger that the republican party would adopt
such measures, ? ' ' ' ,
There are many' thoughtful men who really
believe that tho present day panic was brought
about for the purpose of forcing through con
gress an asset ourrohoy bill, thus giving, to tho-finunolors-.nbsolutcj
control ovor tho people':
money. And thcao financiers know, what many
of tho peoplo thomsolvea do not know, that con
trol ovor tho people's money means control over
time people. ,
, Tho nssct curroncy is tho thing for- whlah
tho money trust has for yearn contondod ijnd .
ono. of tho thingH it moBt dcslron. It will bo
a sorry day for tho Amorican people when lhy
sloop so soundly as to pormlt theao- money
gamblors to place upon the statute bookH mum.
a mcasuro as is contemplated by tho American,.
Bankers' Association. . . -
' Do not forgot to drop your representative,
and your senator a lino to lot him know that
your eyes aro upon him. Toll him frankly that,
tho man who goes on record with a voto In
ftlvor of asset curroncy placos upon him-.,
self an Indelible brand tho brand of Wall
"STAMPED WITH FRAUD"
. ' . . lit'
A Commonor render asks for information,-
concerning the Standard Oil-customs house Mica!
In New York. s ' .
In January, 1900, the New York Worl"d,$
ppoodtho fact that "Hie ropubllcan ndinfulotra-..
tlon, having sold tho old customs houno to tho
City National bank, better known as tho Stand
ard Oil bank, Instead Of collecting tho purchase
price of $3,205,000, nnd depositing it in tho
United States treasury according to lav, had
"directed" tho Standard Oil bank to "credit?" tho
United -States with $3,215,000. Tho World
showed that this uctually left tho purchase Trlco
in tho hands of the purchasers to loan out at
tho prevailing rato of four por cent, while tho
balance of tho purchase price, $50,000, wau loft
unpaid, oven by crediting It as a deposit and
this was done In order to enable the Standard.
Oil bank to avoid paying taxes to tho local au--
thorltles, on tho theory that It did not own tho
property. It will bo scon that by this arrange
mont, the bank obtained the use of all tho money
it wa3 presumed to have paid for tho purchase
'of the building and at the same tlmo avoided
paying taxes-on tho property while tho bank
further sought to compel tho jrovornmont tp
pay to tho bank ront for tho property, 'while"
tho now customs house was being erected.
In tho houso in February, 1905, an effort
was made under tho leadership of Ifoinmonway,,
(now senator) of Indiana, republican, and chair-'
man of the committee on appropriations to pay '
the' bank $130,000 for rent for the customs '
house. The Washington correspondent for t'hc ,
Detroit Free Press, describing tho fight on llio .
flodr df tho house said: "Tho opposition was
load by Mr. Sulzer of New York, supported by
Mr. Williams of Mississippi, tho minority leader,
both of whom denounced the expenditure as a
public scandal UtVd lrt the interest of Jhe stand
ard J Oil company, wlfcn, It was alleged, waa,
behrn'd tho National City bank, tho pu'rti&Jer"
of tho building 'from tho government. Although
the bduk was alleged to have bought tho prop-,
erty1 for $3,000,000' and to havo credited tho
amount to llQ government, It developed tlint'ij'd''
title had passed to It and that In consOafcorfcJ.
i was paying no taxes to the state of New York;
Tho failure of the government to give a deed wag '
ascribed to bo due to the Influence of the Stand
ard Oil company." ,
""Replying to a question submitted ' by Mr,.
Williams of Mississippi, Mr. Hemmcnway.aduilt- K
ted that no deed was passed from the govern
ment to tho bank and that the bank was not
paying taxes for the building. While admitting
that Secretary Gage made "a bad contract." Mr.
Hommcnway insisted that it was tho duty of
the government to comply with its terms', .,, .
' '' Mr. Williams declared that the wholq rji)B
action was stamped with "fraud and dishonor.''
' Mr. Sulzer, who made the motion to strlkq ,
out thd proposition for tho appropriation, said;
--. "It is a notorious scandal, a steal and'
a fraud, and I can not understand why tho
' City" National bank has not been compelled
to -pay to tho government tho three million
dollars purchase money for tho building, In
stead of tho money being simply transferred
on the bank's books, except that it wa9 duo '
to the influence behind the bank. Every
ono In this chamber knows what that in
,'flu.ence is. It is the influence of the great
.Standard Oil trust that owns that bank, M
and the influence 'that bank has had' Jh r
governmental affairs' of this country' ."" A "''
Mr, Sulzer's motion to strike out :io.apprqr
priation prevailed byJ a vote of 93 to 77. v
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