The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, August 14, 1908, Page 7, Image 7
ypwWPpwwwnfWW'n ifpummnnpiwuii." miwyi umi nii'Mimmijwiwi fWfiP mmmnmmmmmimmtmrTfimmmnmm wti'iiipjiwijip hi ypi w . k.i ''winawwuiinji ii mini ii mminHn AUGUST 1'4, 1908 The Commoner. 7 THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL PLATFORM k W t & We, the representatives of the democracy of the United States, in national convention as sembled, reafllrm our belief in, and pledge our loyalty to the principles of the party. We rejoice at the increasing signs of an awakening throughout the country. The various investigations have traced graft and political corruption to the representatives of predatory wealth and laid bare the unscrupulous methods by which they have debauched elections and preyed upon a defenseless public through the subservient officials whom they have raised to place and power. The conscience of the nation is now aroused and will free the government from the grip of those who have made it a busi ness asset of the favor seeking corporations; it must become again a people's government, and be administered in all its departments according to the Jeffersonian maxim, "equal rights to all special privileges to none." "Shall the people rule?" is the overshadow ing issue which manifests itself in all the ques tions now under discussion. ECONOMY IN ADMINISTRATION The republican congress in the session just ended made appropriations amounting to $1,008,000,000, exceeding the total expenditures of the past fiscal year by $90,000,000, and leav ing a deficit of more than $60,000,000 for the fiscal year just ended. We denounce the heedless waste of the peoples' money which has resulted in this appalling increase as a shameful violation of all prudent considerations of government and as no less than a crime against the millions of working men and women from whose earnings the great proportion of these colossal sums must be extorted through excessive tariff exactions and other indirect methods. It is not surprising that in the face of this shocking record the re publican platform contains v reference to economical administration, or promise thereof In the future. Wo demand that a stop be put to this frightful extravagance and insist upon the strictest economy in every department com patible with frugal and efficient administration. INCREASE OF OFFICEHOLDERS Coincident with the enormous increase In expenditures is a like addition to the number of officeholders. During the past year 23,784 were added, costing $16,150,000 and in the past six years of republican administration the total number of new offices created aside from many commissions has been 99,319, entailing an additional expenditure of nearly $70,000,000 as against only 10,279 new offices created under the Cleveland and McKinley administrations, which involved an expenditure of only six mil lion dollars. Wo denounce thi3 great and grow ing increase in the number of officeholders as not only unnecessary and wasteful, but also ag clearly indicating a deliberate purpose on the part of the 'administration to keep the republi can party in power at public expense by thus increasing the number of its retainers and de pendents. Such procedure we declare to be no less dangerous and corrupt than the open purchase of votes at the polls. ARBITRARY POWER THE SPEAKER The house of representatives was designed by the fathers of the constitution to be the pop- ular branch of bur government responsive to the public will. The house of representatives, as controlled in recent years by the republican party, has ceased to be a deliberative and legislative body, responsive to the will of a majority of its mem bers, but has come under the absolute domina tion of the speaker who has entire control of its deliberations and powers of legislation. We have observed with amazement the popular branch of our federal government help lesj to obtain either the consideration or en actment of measures desired by a majority of its members. Legislative control becomes a failure when one member in the person of the speaker is more powerful than the entire body. We demand that the house of representa tives shall again become a deliberative body, controlled by a majority of the peoples' repre sentatives and not by the speaker and we pledge ourselves to adopt such rules and regulations to govern the house of representatives as will enable a majoiity of its members to direct its deliberations and control legislation. MISUSE OF PATRONAGE We condemn as a violation of the spirit of our institutions, the action of the present chief executive in using tho patronago of his high office to securo tho nomination for tho presi dency of ono of his cabinet officers. A forced succession in tho presidency is scarcely leas repugnant to public sentiment than is lifo tenure in that office. No good intention on the part of the executivo and no virtuo in tho ono selected can justify tho establishment of a dynasty. The right of the people to freely select their officials is inalienable and can not bo delegated. PUBLICITY OF CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS We demand federal legislation, forever ter minating tho partnership which has existed be tween corporations of tho country and the repub lican party under tho expressed or implied agree ment that in return for the contribution of great sums of money wherewith to purchaso elections they should bo allowed to continue substantially unmolested in their efforts to en croach upon the rights of tho people. Any reasonable doubt as to the existence of this Telation has been dispelled by tho sworn testimony of witnesses examined in the Insur ance investigation In New York and tho open admission of a single individual unchallenged by the republican national committee that he himself at tho personal request of tho then republican candidate for the presidency raised over a quarter of a million dollars to bo used in a single state during tho closing hours of tho last campaign. In order that this practice shall bo stopped for all time wo demand tho passage of a statute punishing by imprisonment any officer of a corporation who shall either cont.Ibuto on behalf of or con sent to the contribution by a corporation of any money or thing of value to bo used in further ing tho election of a president or vice president of the United States or of any member of the con gress thereof. We denounce tho republican party, having complete control of tho federal gov ernment for its failure to pass tho bill, intro duced in the last congress to compel the publi cation of the names of contributors and tho amounts contributed toward campaign funds and point to tho evidence of tho insincerity of republican leaders when they sought by an abso lutely Irrelevant and impossible amendment to defeat the passage of tho bill, as a further evi dence of their intention to conduct their cam paign in the coming contest with vast sums of money wrested from favor-seeking corpora tions. We call attention to the fact that tho recent republican national convention at Chicago refused, when the issue was presented to it, to declare against such practices. We pledge the democratic party to tho en actment of a law prohibiting any corporation from contributing to a campaign iunC and any Individual from contributing an amount above a reasonable maximum and providing for the publication before election of all such contribu tions above a reasonable minimum. THE RIGHTS OF THE STATES Believing, with Jefferson, in "tho support of the state governments in all their rights as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies," and in "the preservation of tho general government in its whole constitutional vigor, as tho sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad," we are opposed to the centralization Implied in' tho suggestion, now frequently made, that the pow ers of the general government should be ex tended by judicial construction. There is no twilight zone between the nation and tho state in which exploiting 'interests can take refugo from both; and it is as necessary that the fed eral government shall exercise the powers dele gated to it as it is that the state governments shall use the authority reserved to them; but we insist that federal remedies for the regula tion of interstate commerce and for the preven tion of private monopoly shall be added to, not substituted for, state remedies. POPULAR ELECTION OF SENATORS We favor the election of United States sen ators by direct vote of the people and regard this reform as tho gateway to other national reforms. TARIFF We welcome the belated promise of tariff reform now offered by the republican party as a tardy recognition of the righteousness of tho democratic poiitlon on this question. Hut tho people can not safely entrust the execution of this important work (o it party which Is ho deeply obligated to Hip highly protected Interest as is tho republican parly, Wo call attention to the significant fact that the promised relief Is postponed until nfter the coming election- -an election to succeed in which tho republican party must have tliat same support from the beneficiar ies of the high protective tariff as It has always heretofore received from thorn; and to tho further fact that during years of unk.torruptod power no action whatovcr has boon tnkon by tho republican congress to correct the admitted ly existing tariff Iniquities. We favor Immediate revision of tho tariff by tho reduction of Import duties. Articles en tering into competition with trupt controlled products should bo placed upon the froo list; material reductions should bo made In the tariff upon tho necessaries of lifo. especially upon articles rompetlng with such American manufac tures as are sold abroad more cheaply than at homo, and gradual reductions should bo mndo in such other schedules as may bo rrcccssary to restore tho tariff to a revenuo basis. Existing duties have given tho manu facturers Of paper a shelter behind which they I.ave organized combinations to raise tho prlco of pulp and of paper, thus imposing a tax upon tho spread of knowledge. We demand tho im mediate repeal of .tho tariff on yodel pulp, print paper, lumber, timber and logs and that these articles be placed upon tho free list. INCOME TAX Wo favor an incomo tax as part of our revenue system and wo urgo the submission of a constitutional amendment specifically author izing congress to levy and collect a tax upon individual and corporate incomes to the end that wealth may boar its proportionate sharo of tho burdens of tho federal government. TRUSTS A private monopoly is indofonslblo and In tolerable; wo therefore favor tho vigorous en forcement of tho criminal law against gulty trust magnates and officials and demand tho on actment of such additional legislation as may bo necessary to make it impossible for a private monopoly to exist in tho United States. Among tho additional remedies, wo specify threo: First, a law preventing a duplication of direc tors among competing corporations; second a Hcense system which will, without abridging tho fight of each state to create corporations, or Its right to regulate as it will foreign ccrporations doing business within its limits, make it neces sary for a manufacturing or trading corporation engaged in interstate commerce to tako out a federal license before it shall be permitted to control as much as twenty-flvo per cent of tho product in which it deals, tho license to protect tho public from watered stock and to prohibit tho control by such corporation of more than fifty per cent of tho total amount of any product consumed In tho United States, and, third, a law compelling such licensed corporations to sell to all purchasers in all parts of tho country or th same terms, after making due allowance for cost of transportation. RAILROAD LEGISLATION We assert the right of conpresB to exercise complete control over interstate commerce and the right of each state to exercise like control over commerce within its borders. Wo demand such enlargement of the pow ers of the interstate commerce commission as may bo necessary to enable it to compel rail roads to perform their duties as common car riers and prevent discrimination and extortion. Wo favor tho efficient supervision and rate regulation of railroads engaged in interstate commerce. To this end we recommend the val uation of railroads by the interstate commerce commission, such valuation to tako into con sideration tho physical value of the property, the original cost, tho cost of production, and all elements of value that will render tho valua tion fair and just. We favor such legislation as will prohibit the railroads from engaging in business which brings them into competition wi'". their ship pers; also legislation preventing the over-issuo of stocks and bonds by interstate railroads, and legislation which will assure such reduction in transportation rates as conditions will permit, care being taken to avoid reduction that 11 .... . r K utMv-fj-t- jfifiiiijfffr'fi-itiirtiii''MT'ip'iiflii jfiugfJ'"-'