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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 8, 1907)
volume 7, Dumber 45
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'' Commoner readers may remember that at
(fit),rhogifhiiing of the Roosevelt administration
tboro vtia considerable talk about revision n'ld
some republican editors and members of tho
party's rank and file really imagined that there
la'h'ope'W that reform at the handfr d the Re
publican party. So great was this expectancy
that a. cabinet officer speaking to Walter Well
man, then Washington oorres'pondent for the
Chicago Record-Herald, frankly stated why
tariff revision under the republican party is im
possible. Without naming his authority Mr.
Wollman printed the interview in the Record
i Herald of August 12, 1902, and in the Record
, Herald of August 16 Mr. Wellman indicated that
tho cabinet offlcer referred to was Mr: Shaw,
then secretary of tho treasury.
In the beginning Mr. Wellman quoted a
member of President Roosevelt's cabinet as
''It is all nonsense to talk about a re--i
i. vision of tho tariff. It can not be done.
WO'fmay as well understand that at the
- outset. Republicans who are demanding
revision are demanding the impossible."
Two explanations were given for the state
ment that "It Is all nonsense to talk about the
revision of the tariff." The "first explanation
was that Senator Aldrich and other eminent
republicans in tire senate would. not permit, tariff
revision. The second explanation was that' tariff
revisjdn might result ill a panic lhaU would 4
"topple' over" all of the industrial combinations
It seems" that the action of the Iowa repub-1
lican state convention and the sentiments ex
pressed by a number of leading republican news
papers favorable to tariffi revision had impressed
upW'administration leaders: the -necessity of in
foTihirtg. their fellow republicans that' tariff" re
vision is .an impossibility and that it would, be
wise to abandon all hope on that line.
' Mr. Wellman said: . !'YQur conclusion then,
'. Mr -.Secretary, is that agitation for tariff revi
sion' 4s unwise at this time?" ' ! l J
The cabinet officer then made perhaps the
inosMnteresting of the several interesting state
ments in tho interview He said:
"Yes, agitation is the worst of it. One agi
tation is worse than two revisions, business men
say, but wo can't get one without having the
other. I -am well aware that I may fall under
the criticism of people who say the protectionists
wori't have the tariff revised in good times be
cause they don't want a. check to prosperity, and
won't have it revised in: hard times because the
country can't stand it. 'But 'I am opposed toiagl
V"j. .tan l! : jiii
tatlons7, notwithstanding the action of my party)
friends in tojf a.
"There is widespread belief that no7 danger
of panic "or; 'hard times exists in our country
now. Prosperity is bo great and so general that
the people' are unable to see any end of it. ,1
am not an alarmist, and I am not expecting
trouble, but it is true that wo have today all
the condition's for a sharp reverse. There is a
general supposition that both the banks and
tho people have so much money they do not
know what to do with it, and that therefore a
panic is an absolute impossibility.
"Let me give you some facts without com
ment. You go out to the farmers and ask them
how they are getting on. They will tell you that
they were never before so prosperous. They
are out of debt, and have plenty of money. Ask
them where their money is and they will tell
you it is in the local banks. Call at the country
banks and inquire into their condition, and their
officials will tell you they are all right. Money
plentiful and reserves above forty per cent.
'Where is your money?' 'Oh, it is in the banks
of Omaha, Minneapolis, Kansas City, etc'
"Next you xgo to the bankers in Omaha
Kansas City and 'Minneapolis, and they will tell
you the same thing, They are in good shape;
reserves thirty-five per cent, 'Where is your
money?' 'In Chicago. Now" go to Chicago.
Same story. .Banks all right. Reserves thirty
per cent. But the money is in New York
, ' "Finally, pursuing your inquiries in New"
York, you will find that both deposits and loans
have been enormous. The money 'is not in the
banks. There are only six national banks in
New York (that have not been below their re-
serves since!. January 1. . Yotf 'want to know1
whera;?thJs?money is? Well; $450,000,000' id
loaned by national banks on the bonds of indus
trial corporations. These corporations issued
bonds instead of stocks because the national
hanks can take the former andcan't take the
latter. Intrinsically they are no better than
stocks. In most of them there has been a lot
of water-curing. Here you see where $450,000,
000 of the country's surplus stands against a
lot of undigested, promotion-produced securities.
The "trust companies have put out millions more
in the same way.
("That is where we' stand. It is all right
as long, as it is all right. But I don't want to
see anything happen. I don't want to see these
industrials, begin to topple over, to fall against
one another and come down in a heap like
children's play-blocks. And this is one reason
t rf l
wliy I am opposed to a tariff., revision agitation
that might start things going the wrong way."
- It will be ,observ.ed that it -was not contend
ed that the tariff does not need revision. One '
objection was that Senator Aldrich and other re-
publican leaders would not permit tariff re-
vision and that the, republican party is impotent
to give tariff revision even though other party
leaders were unaniihdus as to the importance
of the reform. The other- objection was that
tariff revision would start a "topple" in Wall
How would tariff revision accomplish this
result? This member of Mr. Roosevelt's cabinet
explained it in a most interesting way. Repub
lican leaders have had much to say concerning
the immense amount of bank deposits and this
member of Mr. Roosevelt's cabinet traced these
bank deposits to New York where $450,000,000
is loaned; by national banks on the bonds of
industrial corporations. He admitted that these
corporations employed a trick whereby they
could borrow this money by issuing bonds in
stead of stock. He admitted that intrinsically
the bonds are no hetter than the stock. He ad
mitted further that in most of these industrial .
concerns there has been '"a lot of water-curing,"
and he pointed out that "$450,000,000 of the
country's money stands against a1 lot of undi
gested promo tion-produged securities." He
pointed out that the truBt companies have put
out millions of dollars mare in the same way.
"That is where ive stand," said this cabinet
officer. "It is all right as long as it is all right."
But this cabinet officer i)ointed out that tariff
revision agitation may result in the toppling
over of these water-cured concerns, and this
cabinet officer didn't want to "see anything hap
pen." He didn't want to see these water-cured
concerns topple over. He didn't want to see
them "fall against one another and come down
in a heap like children's play blocks." Ho
wanted the people to restrain. their disposition
to criticise -public policies and to provide rem
edies for public evils. He wanted them to trust
the republican party; to "leave tariff revision
to the tariff's friends;" to "wait until after the
election;" to depend upon the political party
which derives it campaign fijnds from the tariff
barons for a re-adjustment of tariff schedules in
the interests of the people. '
But now the panic has come. That threat
or fear as you please need no longer stand
in tho way of tariff revision. AVIiy not tariff re
vision immediately? Why wait until after tho
Stock Exchange ; GamBling. Must Go
All of the power of our dual form of -government
should be exercised in order that
gambling on the board of trade, deals in "fu
tu'rijs," options or bucket shop gambling' be
(ione away with. ' T' "
l; "To this end public sentiment -in every state
in the union should be aroused. In many states
legislation is nojt necessary, the law already
upon the statute books being sufficient. In such'
states an aroused public seht'lment will bring
about the enforcement of this law.
Speculation In securities is no part of legiti
mate banking and these board of trade deals
are nothing more nor less than organized con
spiracies against property. Stock exchange gamb
Jing lias no place' in legitimate business and it
must go if honest and safe methods are td be
restbrod in the, commercial circles of America.
While a member of congressi Mr. Bryan deliv
ered a speech in the house in favor of the anti
option bill. Following is an extract from that
"The object of the bill- and I shall speak
only of its general object, because if there are
any amendments to be offered to it which will
make it carry out its object better and at the
same: time make it less onerous upon those
whom wo do not desire to disturb, I am perfect
ly willing that such amendments should be
adopted the object of the bill, I say, is to
prevent gambling in certain products. Wo can
assume, to begin with, that there is gambling
in these products. Now, if there is gambling in
these products, the gambling either affects the
price" of tho products gambled in, or .it does not.
If it can be shown by the opponents of this bill
that gambling1 in the products named has abso
lutely no- effect whatever in raising or lowering
prices, thetf the only reason1 for passing the bill
would be tb' stop gambling because of its gen
eral demoralising effect upon the community.
"If, however, it is admitted that gambling
in these products has some effect on prices, how
ever small, then that effect must bo eith,er td
increase oi5 diminish the price of the product
gambled in. If the price of the product is in
creased to the man who buys it, then the
gambler has done a wrong to that man. If the
price of the product is decreased to the man
who sella it, then the gambler has. done wrong
to that man, and the only way that you can
escape this conclusion Is to assert, as was as?
sorted oy the gentleman from New York (Mr.
Warner), that the gambler helps the man who
sells hy raising the price of his commodity a
little, and helps the man who buys by lowering
his price a little, and takes his profit out .of
those who speculate.
Mr. Warner. Will the gentleman allow mo?
Mr. Bryan. Certainly.
Mr. Warner. I dd not believe that any
gambler ever helped anybody except by the
merest chance. Jt is the investors of funds
which might otherwise be idle, who put their
investments temporarily in the purchase of
wheat or cotton, that produce somewhat of. the
effect the -.gentleman, has suggested. j
.. Mr. Bryan. I care not whether, the purpose
pfj the gambler is to help or not. If the gentle-
mah could prove that the effect of gambling
was' to take the cost of handling and transport-'
ation out of the poclcet of 'somebody other than
the producer and consumer, then he might
justify gambling by showing that it is wise for
us to promote Jaws which enable gamblers to
take from the people who are willing to gamble
and give the benefit of their losses to the pro
ducer and consumer alike.
"But, Mr. Chairman I am not going to as
sume that the gamblej simply makes his money
out of the people who buy for speculation. I
am going to assume, upon evidence satisfactory
to me, that these gamblers increase or decrease
to some extent the price of the products specu
lated in, Increasing it to the - man who buys
or decreasing it to the man who sells. No citi
zen has a natural right to-injure any other cit
izen; and the government should neither enable
nor permit him to do so. Therefore, no man
has a right to lessen the value, of another man's
property, and the law should not give to a man,
or protect him in the exercise of -such a right.
"My district Is perhaps an average dis
trict; about half of my constituents live in cities
or towns, and about half are engaged In agri
culture. I have in my district the second largest
city in the state, Lincoln, the state's capital a
city of 60,000 inhabitants. My home is in that
city, and I have no hesitation in declaring that
it is one of the most beautiful and prosperous
cities of its size in the United States. The peo
ple who live in cities will, if gambling in farm
products reduces the price of such produce, be
the beneficiaries to that extent. But, sir, I do
not come here to lower the' price of. what my
city constituents have to buy, by enabling grain
gamblers to take it from the pqekets of those
-who raise farm products. My'dtiy1 jonstltuenta
do not ask that- of mo, and I would not assist
them in so unjiist an act if they did ask it.
- ."As" I said, about half of 'my constituents
live on farms, and they labor ,in a veritable
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