The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, February 28, 1908, Page 3, Image 3

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FEBRUARY 28, 1908
of tho whole people, then the guaranteed bank
ought to come and come to stay. If, however,
legislation is to have for its object the securing
of privileges to a few of the community at tho
expense of the rest of the community, your arg
ument is sound.
1 believe that it would bo perfectly safo
for the federal government to guarantee de
posits in the national banks, collecting from all
the banks in proportion to deposits tho amount
that it 'would have to pay out to the depository
of banks that fail, and 1 believe that it would
be safo for states to adopt a similar system to
guarantee the depositor in state banks. In that
case, the government .would have back of it
the assets of all the banks. Experience shows
that the loss has been less than one-tenth of
one per cent in the case of national banks during
the last forty years, and it ought to bo even less
than that with the better regulation that would
come with a guaranteed system. But if objection
is made to an absolute guaranty by tho govorn
' ment, the same end can be reached by tho sys
tem adopted in Oklahoma whereby tho banking
board collects a guarantee fund and is then
empowered to make such further assessments as
may be necessary to restore the fund in case
money is drawn from it to pay the depositors
of a failed bank. This puts all of the banks
behind each bank, without involving tho gov
ernment in a direct guarantee.
I thank you for your letter. Your position
in the banking world is so prominent that I
can assume that you have said all that can be
said in opposition to the guaranteed" bank, and
when you fail so completely to make out a case
and show so conclusively that you take a one
sided view of the subject and ignore the welfare
of depositors and of the country at large, I need
not expect that any stronger arguments will be
presented by anyone else. I think your letter
will make an excellent campaign document be
cause it shows that the depositors must look out
for their own interests and secure legislation for
their own protection.
This letter, like yours, is intended for the
public as well as for the one to whom it is
addressed, and I shall, therefore, give it to the
press without waiting for it to reach you, and
I shall take pleasure in printing your letter in
full in The Commoner, that the readers of my
paper may have the benefit of your views.
Very truly yours,
Mr. Forgan's letter will bo found on page
14 of this issue of The Commoner.
Aside from the remedies which are aimed
at specific causes, there are some which are now
intended to deal with conditions as they now ex
ist. The inheritance tax, for instance, has been
proposed as a means of compelling the holders
of excessive wealth to turn over a part of it to
the government at death. There can be no
doubt of the right of the state governments to
regulate, as they will, the descent of property,
and many of the states now collect an inherit
ance tax. It is probable that the supreme court
would uphold a federal inheritance tax, although
since the adverse decision on the income tax it
is hazardous to say in advance just what tho
position of the court might be upon a question
of taxation. But while a federal inheritance
tax is justified by existing conditions, it can
hardly be defended as a permanent policy. It
is advanced as a means of reaching fortunes
already swollen, but it is wiser to prevent
swollen fortunes than to prevent them
to be accumulated and then seize upon a per
centage as a penalty. If the federal government
will cease to grant privileges to favored indi
viduals, and content itself with the equal pro
tection of all, there will be few fortunes large
enough to constitute a menace.
An income tax has also been suggested as
a means of reaching fortunes abnormally large.
While a graduated income tax would have this
i effect, an income tax can be defended as a per
manent part of our fiscal system. As both our
import duties and our internal revenue taxes
are collected on consumption, and, therefore,
bear most heavily upon the poor, we need an
income tax to equalize the burdens of govern
ment and to compel wealth to bear its share.
Upon a careful consideration of the subject
one must be convinced that the remedy for swol
len fortunes is to be found in a return to the
Jeffersonian doctrine: equal rights to all and
special privileges to none. Where we find un
earned fortunes, we find that in nearly every
case they rest upon favors granted by the gov
ernment, and in too many instances the injus
tice has been aggravated by inequalities in the
The Commoner.
tax law, so that the very ones who owe their
great wealth to tho generosity of tho govern
ment shirk their taxes and shift to tho shoulders
i 0P!,rs tho burdens which they themselves
should bear.
Now that public attention has been turned
to the ethics of money making, it is to be hoped
that tho awakening will result in the inaugura
tion of such thorough reform that all citizens
will bo put upon the same footing and treated
with equal consideration in tho creation of
wealth and in the payment of the taxes neces
sary to support the national government.
Herman Riddor, editor of a Now York paper,
recently traveled through tho south urging, so
tho New Orleans Times-Democrat says, the demo
crats of that section to see to it that Mr. Bryan
is not nominated at Denver. In an interview
with tho Times-Democrat Mr. Ridder says: "I
am convinced that Mr. Bryan can not carry a
northern state, and I would like to suggest to
our southern friends that they should not in
struct their delegates for Mr. Bryan, but that
they should go to Denver uninstructed, so that
the democrats all over the country may consult
and advise together In regard to the best man
to put at tho head of the ticket. Perhaps by
that time Mr. Bryan himself will come to the
conclusion that by his public utterances he has
made himself impossible and will agree with tho
other democrats in nominating a winning ticket."
But why should the rank and file of democ
racy leave to their representaties the ''uty of
doing what the rank and file should do? Tho
men whom Mr. Ridder represents would, ac
cording to tho Philadelphia Press, bo satisfied
with "anybody but Bryan." Why not trust the
rank and file to say what the party's course
shall be? So far as Mr. Bryan is concerned lie
has not asked and will not ask for the vote of
any man or of :.ny state. He does say, however,
that it is the duty of democrats in precinct,
county and state convention to instruct their
delegates as to their choice for the democratic
The New Orleans Times-Democrat puts it
well when in referring to Mr. Ridder's "no In
struction plan" it says: "We think that the
will of the constituencies can not be made tbo
plain. An uninstructed convention would pre
sent boundless possibilities of chicane. No can
didate should be considered, unless his record
will stand the probe of popular scrutiny. Under
our primary system, we have learned to judge
candidates on their merits and have forever fore
gone the assistance of the middlemen who used
to pack conventions and thwart the people's
will. We once labored under the delusion that
United States senators could not be chosen with
out days and weeks of wrangling in state legis
latures. But, happily, all that has been changed
and we can not see why the democracy's standard-bearer
should not be selected in like fash
ion. Whatever is done, lot it be done in tho
open. The dark horses should be kept in the
stable and so should the jockeys who are too
eager to mount."
Lovers of dogs Land who, indeed, Is not
the lover of a dog? will be interested in the
lines written by Edgar Howard, editor of the
Columbus (Neb.) Telegram in tribute to a faith
ful animal. Mr. Howard is one of Nebraska's
best known democrats. When Commoner read
ers have finished Mr. Howard's tribute to his
dog they will not need to be told that he is a
master of tho language of words, even as he
is a master of the language of love:
"Bix is dead. Bix was a dog in the animal
kingdom, but a tall man in tho attributes of
kindness and loyalty. He never spoke about
his own virtues, but he showed them in his
evry-day life. I wish I might know the man
who gave the deadly poison to my dog. I have
no desire to carry physical injury to that man,
but only a desire to make him a better and a
gentler man by painting for him a picture of
poor Bix and his sufferings. For many days,
under skillful treatment of a veterinary, and
the nursing of those who loved him, Bix fought
against the effects of the drug, never complain
ing, never showing resentment, rewarding every
effort in his behalf with a wag of his tail or
with an expression of thanks from his kindly
eye. In the lost effort of his life he dragged
himself to my feet, raised his drooping muzzle
and laid it in my hand, as oft I've seen a child
repose a weary head on mother's knee. Thus
he died, and in the death-glazo upon his brown
eyes I thought I read a message of pardon for
the whipping I gave him one day, when anger
had driven from my head that fair senso of rea
son which should direct tho movements of men,
if not of dogs. I have never been able to accept
the teaching of those ancients who held that
at death-time tho souls of men and women some
times are transfer-rod to the bodies of birds and
dogs, but if I could accept that view I should
then believe that one day there lived upon the
earth a rare and radiant soul within the body
of tho gentlest woman that ever came to bright
en and to bless the earth with her good presence,
and that when she died tho death of tho body
the gods transferred her soul to the body of
poor Iiix, so gracious and good he was. But I
can't believe such things, and all that is left
for mo now is to give to Bix in my memory
garden u jilnce among tho roses, with a promise
and a pledge to strive to make my own life
among men reflect somewhat the lessons in loy
alty and kindness acquired by contact with my
dog. And so, good Bix, goodbye."
The defenders of trusts are hiding Vflnrid
labor organizations they Insist that -u organi
zation of capital to control trade is identical
in principle with co-operation between laborers
or fanners. They overlook an important dis
tinction, namely, that laborers combine to pro
tect their own labor and that farmers v-wnnnim
to protect their own labor, transmitted Into
farm produce, while those who form trusts com
bine to control the labor or products of others.
Among our inalienable rights are tho right
to life, tho right to liberty and the right to J.he
pursuit of happiness. Men can lawfully com
bine to protect their own lives, their own liber
ties and their pursuits of happiness but they
can not combine to control the lives of others,
tho liberty of others or the pursuit of happiness
by others.
Those who unite for the protect Ion of life
liberty and the pursuit of happiness do so only
when driven to it by necessity and their organi
zations have not secured for the producing
masses more than a fair share of the wealth
produced. Trusts are founded upon greed not
upon necessity and these trusts have already
enabled a fe.v manipulators to amass enormous,
swollen and unearned fortunes.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in his annual ad
dress to the young people's society of the Fifth
Avenue Baptist church, New York, February 18,
deprecated the low standards of honesty In
business methods of the present day. "One ot
tho highest standards for us to follow is truth
fulness," said he. "We must always tell tho
truth whether it is expedient or not, whether
it is to our advantage or disadvantage, whether
it brings upon us success or ruin. Business hon
esty of the present age Is a pretty low grade of
goods. Our high standards should not be laid
away like Sunday clothes, to be worn only at
church and Sunday school. They should be like
the workingman's overalls used during the
whole week."
The Commoner commends this to the care
ful consideration of tho managers of the Stand
ard Oil trust.
Someone has discovered that Jn 1891
(March G) and during the time when Uncle Joo
Cannon was temporarily out of office Mr. Roose
velt said: "Wo cannot escape from the fact that
it was no credit to the republican party of the
House that Mr. Cannon of Illinois should be one
of its leaders."
Now that's a nice thing to be bringing up
just at this time. Hasn't the grand old party
enough trouble on Its hands without inviting
an open breach between the big stick and tho
house gavel?
The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal says: "If
Crusader Bryan were put into the Roosevelt
shoes his party would go back on him in a week's
But what is the republican party doing to
carry out the recommendations made by Cru
sader Roosevelt?
With 88,000 men out of work in Chicago
and 90,000 in New York the full-dinner-pail
argument is likely to bo badly battered up be
fore the next campaign opens.
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