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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 21, 1909)
BIAT 21, 1S09
IP1Wlll"lWyBr"WWJia-YT" iHLfJflMIMMI'' " t-t-"
the Internal revenue collectors, thero-
re, do not protect a saloonkeeper
a 'dry county or town from the
rigid enforcement of local prohibi
tory laws by the local authorities.
The federal law, on the other hand,
does compol the levying of federal
taxes on a traffic that is illegal under
state statutes or municipal ordi
AN INTERESTING SUBJECT IN
A special dispatch to the Canton
'(Ohio) Morning News under date of
.Washington, D. C, May 5, .follows:
The suggestion of William J.
Bryan, through The Commoner, that
the government discontinue its ques
tionable policy of issuing liquor tax
receipts to persons desiring to en-
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iui uiscovery, auBomtoly freo
gage In tho liquor business In "dry"
territory is receiving considerable
attention In Washington.
Not that tho members of congress
aro considering tho advisability of
adopting tho Nebraskan's sugges
tion. Mr. Bryan's recommendation
is attracting attention of tho law
makers because his proposition Is a
matter of great moment to thom.
They do not want public opinion
focused at the evil, owing to the fact
that thoy are hostile to any legisla
tion that will correct it, and do not
desire to have their attitude become
a matter of public discussion.
The condition brought into the
light by Bryan Is one that tho aver
age person would not bellevo exist
ed. Although the matter has been
before congress on several occasions,
tho public has heard but little of
the debates, owing to the fact that
subjects involving the question of
prohibition receive but little atten
tion from tho great press associa
tions. The real point at issue, however,
really has nothing to do with pro
hibition. The principle Involved Is
whether the government should aid
enterprises in states where they are
made unlawful by state laws.
For instance the state of Maine
has been ma.de prohibition by a vote
of the people. Regardless of the
fact that it Is unlawful for persons
to engage In the sale of liquor with
in that state, the government has
issued 358 liquor tax receipts to per
sons within the state which gives
them the right to engage in illegal
traffic bo far as tho federal govern
ment is concerned. From federal
liquor tax receipts spring up count"
less "speak-easies" and "blind pigs."
In Baltimore, a city with license,
there are 2,340 saloons, In addition
to which there are 718 persons hold
ing liquor tax receipts. Kansas has
2,587 liquor tax receipts to bo used
in violation of its laws; Connecticut,
1,047; Philadelphia, 1,500.
In 1907 the federal government
issued 23C.448 liquor tax receipts
which authorized that number of per
sons to engage in the retail sale of
spirituous liquors, and 18,266 were
authorized to engage in the retail
sale of malt liquors.
Matthew B. O'Brien, representing
the national prohibition committee in
Washington, estimates that 84,571
persons are holding federal liquor
tax receipts and conducting "speak
easies" by the authority of the gov
ernment in "dry" territory, or in ter
rity where the people have declared
in favor of prohibition by the ballot.
The government issues the receipt
to anyone making application, upon
payment of $25, without making It
a point to ascertain whether the ap
plicant desires to sell liquor in "dry"
territory or not.
Bills have been introduced In con
gress ono was under discussion last
winter providing for the issuance of
federal liquor tax receipts only to
persons holding the necessary state
or city licenses.
Both revenue acts prior to the one
under which the government now is
sues liquor tax receipts provided
against the raising of taxes in viola
tion of the police powers of the
state. The language of the acts of
1794 and August 2, 1813, was as
"Provided always, that no license
shall be granted to any person to sell
wines or foreign-distilled spirits who
is prohibited to sell the same by the
laws of the state."
In discussing a bill before the
ways and means committee which
would have corrected the abuse
complained of by Mr. Bryan, Attor
ney O'Brien said:
"This bill does not pretend to in
terfere in any way with any' person
who has the right to engage in the
sale of intoxicating drink'. It does
not pretend to wipe out a single sa
loon. It is not a prohibition bill. It
Is simply a bill that provides for law
enforcement. Every person, flm or
corporation legally authorized to en
gago In business can continue In
business if it becomes a law and
every honest liquor dealer should bo
hero advocating tho passage of this
bill. In justice to tho men who pay
a state, county, municipal, or local
licenso fee, they should bo protected
from tho person who pays nothing
but tho ?25 to tho federal govern
ment for a liquor tax receipt."
O'Brien's plea was in vain. Tho
bill died in committee.
Had tho bill been able to roach
tho floor for a vote, there is llttlo
doubt but that it would have passed
and become a law.
assertions that "you can't mako a'
dollar out of 45 cents worth of sil
ver," actually proposing to mako
150,000,000 dollars out of a $100,
000,000 deficit in tho treasury. That
Is making n dollar out of 100 cents
lens than nothing, in other words a
It 1b a long straddle from a 45
cont dollar to a deficit dollar, but a
republican administration Is capablo
of such contortions.
WntdOH V.. ColtmnH)
D.C Ail vim and tmoka fr.
IHflliest references. Jk-st services.
Mr. Orwell C. Itiddlo of Columbus,
Ohio, has written to a number of
Ohio papers the following interest
During tho campaign of 1896 tho
republican newspapers and orators
had a' great deal to say about "cheap
They would not discuss the money
question fairly then, and havo never
dono so since.
They pooh-poohed the argument
that what tho country needed' was
more money and said all tho people
needed was more confidence.
They ridiculed tho proposition to
open tho mints for silver on the same
terras that tho mints have been open
to gold since 1873, and made jokes
about the 16 to 1 ratio in existence
then and in existence now.
They said with an air of great
seriousness that Uncle Sam couldn't
make a dollar out of 45 cents worth
of silver, notwithstanding tho fact
that Uncle Sam "was doing that very
thing then and has been doing so
They said that the "intrinsic val
ue" of a dollar must be tho same
as Its "face value," and that the
silver dollar ought to bo as big as a
cartwheel on account of tho "com
mercial value" of silver.
They said all this and a lot more'
rubbish that had nothing to do with
the question, which wasn't true then,
is not true now, and never will bo
But this little disBertion is not In
tended for a discussion of tho money
question. The only object in view Is
to remind you of the republican
"arguments" in 1896 and to show
up tho inconsistency of bno of the
first declared policies of a republi
can administration today in view of
In his three-minute message to
congress at the beginning of the
special session to "revise" the tariff
upward, downward and crossways
for the sole benefit of the trusts,
President Taft estimated that, by
July, Uncle Sam would have a de
ficit of $100,000,000.
To meet this deficit and to provide
temporarily against its continuance
it has been proposed to issue $150,-
000,00 in "treasury certificates," or
"debt certificates," or whatever name
the word jugglers at Washington
choose to call them.
The plain people are not supposed
to understand, but the fact is that
these "certificates" are to be put out
In the form of paper money.
Which means that when ono re
publican administration goes out of
office $100,000,000 in debt the next
republican administration that comes
along will turn that debt Into money
by issuing "certificates," which
doesn't reduce the debt because It
is merely an issue of bonds under an
Isn't that a fine example of "high
finance" to fool the gullible?
Here is a' republican administra
tion only a dozen years after all the
clamor about "dishonest dollars"
and "cheap money" and agonizing
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