The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 01, 1911, Page 7, Image 7

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Practical Tariff Talks
1 1 1
During the debate in the house on the wool
schedule the position taken by defenders of the
present law was that the duty on raw wool is so
small that it cuts no figure in the price of a
suit of clothes to the wearer. The same argu
ment will be brought forward on the stump. If
true, then a reduction in the duty would cut
no figure in the price, and, considered logically,
an increase would have the same effect. The
question is, does anybody believe that? A tariff
is placed on an article for the purpose of artifi
cially raising the price to the consumer for the
benefit of the producer. In the case of raw
wool, the tariff forces the man who buys wool
for the purpose of making it into cloth to pay
more for it than he would if there were no tariff.
It naturally follows that, being able to do so,
he will pass that Increased cost onto the next
It is true that there isn't very much wool in a
suit of clothing. The average suit contains
3 yaTds of cloth, and about two pounds of
wool to the yard is a good average. At 20 cents
a pound the cost would be about $1.40 for the
wool in the suit. By imposing a 45 per cent
tariff on wool the price has been arbitrarily in
creased that amount, and adds just that much to
the cost to the manufacturer for the wool
utilized. Does anybody believe that the 40 cents
more he must pay for his wool because of the
tariff cuts no figure in the price he makes for
his cloth? But this is not all. There is the
compensatory duty, levied to compensate the
manufacturer for this increased cost, but which
is figured on a false basis and enables him to
add materially to the price of his cloth.
If there were no duty on raw wool there
would be no compensatory duty, and if there
were no compensatory duties the American
manufacturer would have to sell his cloth at a
lower price. It Is ridiculous to assert that a"
duty on raw wool cuts no figure in the price a
man must pay for his clothing. At the least
.calculation, considering the fact that every per
son through whose hands the wool must pass
from the time it is taken off the sheep's back
until it is ready for delivery to the man's back
adds his percentage, this tariff adds several
dollars to the price. Nobody with a grain of
gray matter will believe that a tax upon a raw
material which admittedly does artificially raise
its price does not add to the price of the
finished article from which it is fashioned. The
manufacturers might be able, through trusts
or by price agreements, to prevent a reduction
of the tax from being reflected in the price of
the finished product but the prevalence of such
conditions is the best possible evidence that they
pass the whole of the tax and all In addition
that they can on to the consumer.
Another reason why the tariff on raw wool
does cut a considerable figure In the price of
clothing is that the schedule which Is' bottomed
wholly on the tariff on the raw material, was
so drawn that it discriminated in favor of that
section of the cloth industry which is dominated
by a gigantic organization of capital, and against
that section in which competition freely exists,
compelling the latter to follow the former and
permitting the former to dictate prices. These
preferences are Cunningly interwoven into the
schedule. In one case it consists of a differen
tial between unwashed wool on the skin In two
of the classes. In another case the preference
arises from the fact that, by arbitrarily assum
ing that all wools shrink alike which they do
not the worsted man gets his wool through at
a much less duty than does the woolen man. In
still another case the discrimination consists of
a difference in the rate on the wool products
which each consumes.
Summarized, it may be said that this is true:
That a straight reduction In the raw wool duty
might not atfect the present price of clothing,
but if along with it the compensatory duty were
abolished or .so amended as to be rid of all
excess compensation, and if the tops and yarn
schedules- were so amended as to place both
branches of the cloth-making industry on an
equality, nothing ought to be more certain. The
only preventative would be a combination of
manufacturers, but this .would be impossible
under such a revision. It Is a revision along
The Commoner.
these line tkat the democratic house has bogus,
and the opposition among woolgrowers and
clothmakers is substantial evidence that that
revision threatens pric. C. Q. D.
W. W. Chesley, Schaller, la. I am decidedly
in favor of tho movement on foot where tho
voters can know how their candidates stand on
public questions. Let tho candidate state his
position clearly and then win or lose in it. A
straddler is very soldom reliable if ho wins the
name with a dark horse. If a candidato is too
dignified to be questioned as to his position on
public questions and prefers to straddle his way
into office he deserves prompt rebuke and
should bo turned down the same as any other
imposter. Let the good work go on.
George Hall, Newport, R. I. As a reader of
The Commoner, I am more than pleased with
your civil service plan, in asking candidates for
president those questions. It makes me think
that when the wise men who made this a free
and independent country they did not want
this country governed as it was in some parts
of Europe where the nobility made the laws and
the poor had to submit to them whether they
liked them or not, so they put it up to the
people to make the laws indirectly, by voting
for the laws. What have the voters done?
Why, they have identified themselves with a
party, and let the party do their thinking for
them, and in a' great many cases they have
engrafted their party into their religion and
they believe they will go to hell if they vote
tho other way oven if their party places a dollar
per pound on beef. Keep up the lesson on
political civil service and tariff catechism.
Lee Mitchell, Carbon, Ind. I want to com
mend the splendid work you are doing1 to place
the democracy in an impregnable position for the
campaign of next year. Your latest move to get
presidential candidates to declare their positions
relative to important questions should prove of
unusual benefit to the party. Governor Thomas
R. Marshall's ready response to your list of
questions give particular sanction of your course
from an eminent source. Our governor ex
pressed willingness to rely upon the wisdom and
good sense of the party membership, and abide
by their wish as to the presidential nominations
betokens political sagacity and sound sense in
an important matter. Pure democratic ideals
would seem to require primaries for tho selec
tion of our presidential candidates, as other of
our public servants, and we shall have them,
doubtless, in the course of time. While we are
obliged to handle this business without the
aid of primaries, the utmost effort should be
made, nevertheless, for the nearest possible
approach to the same result that might be
gained by the primaries. It should be under
taken to secure the most able men, who may
afford a truly representative delegation for the
state and to have them instructed so as to serve
tho best interests of the people. T would "seem
that, considering the pitch to which the popular
interest has been aroused, it should be an easy
matter to secure nominations in the coming
campaign that will be entirely friendly to the
people, and it may be, too, If the popular will
can find a proper medium for its expression;
but, if the predatory interests by any means
can throttle public opinion, they will do so and
cheat the people of their victory. Careful watch
should be had of the methods by which dele
gates to the national convention may be chosen
and every effort put forth to make them duly
representative of the democracy rather than
trust to the agents of plutocracy. It means con
flict, of course, or, at least, that "eternal vigi
lance" which "Is the price of liberty." The
enemy camps continually "upon the ground,"
always ready to set up prior claims, and so the
brunt of battle is put upon the people to first
dislodge this brazen usurper. As I believe my
intuition true and Irrepressible, I can not de
cline to direct such effort as I may devote
along political lines very largely toward secur
ing the free expression of popular preference in
all governmental affairs. Such is the greatest
problem of American politics today, according
to my observation, and the greatest defect of
our political system Is the imperfect election
machinery which precludes the ready settle
ment of public questions. Fifty years ago a
costly civil war was precipitated In. this country,
because no. possible other way could be found
for settlement of ai matter of great public con
cern. I can not see that we have yet progressed
very far from the conditions of that day, and
do ot know that we kav how the way of
escape from a like catastrophe in a similar
In the house of representatives Mr. Foster
of Illinois submitted the following resolution,
which was referred to the committee on rule
and ordered to bo printed. It Is a good measure
and right to the point:
House Resolution 283 Resolved, that a com
mittee of nine members, to be elected by the
house, be, and is hereby, directed to make an
investigation for the purpose of ascertaining
whether or not there havo been violations of
tho anti-trust act of July second, olghtcen hun
dred and ninety, and the various acta amenda
tory thereof, by the International Harvester
company, incorporated under tho laws of tho
state of Now Jeroy, or the International Har
vester Company of America, organized under
tho laws of the state of Wisconsin, and the
various corporations controlled thereby or hold
ing stock theroin, or whoso stocks aTO held, In
whole or In part thereby, which said violations
have not been prosecuted by the executive ofllcors
of the government; and if such violations are
disclosed by the investigation herein provided,
said committee is directed to report the facts
and circumstances to the house.
Said committee is also directed to Investigate
the organization and operations of said Interna
tional Harvester company and the International
Harvoster company of America, and If, in con
nection therewith, violations of the aforesaid
laws are disclosed, to report tho same to the
Said committee shall also inquire whether the
organization and operations of the International
Harvester company or tho International Har
vester Company of America havo causod or had
a tendency to cause any of the following results:
First. The restriction or destruction of com
petition among manufacturers of harvesting and
other farm machinery, gas engines, or farm
Second. An Increase In price In the as
sembled machine and in the repair parts thereof
of harvesting machinery, gas engines, or farm
vehicles over tho prices paid for such machinory,
vehicles, and so forth, prior to tho organization
of the International Harvester company and tho
International Harvester Comimny of America.
Third. An Increase in the price of harvest
ing machinery, gas engines, and farm vehicles
over the price paid for like machinery, gas
engines, and farm vehicles in other countries.
Fourth. What relation tho International Har
vester company or the International Harvester
Company of America has to the so-called in
dependent harvester companies.
Fifth. What policy has been adopted by the
International Harvester company or tho Inter
national Harvester Company of America to se
cure control of the so-called independent fac
tories, that is, the Keystone Manufacturing com
pany, the D. M Osborne and company, and
other factories.
Sixth. What means the International Har
vester company or the International Harvester
Company of America takes to control the busi
ness of local agents of harvesting and other
farm machinery, gas engines, and farm
Seventh. To ascertain if the reported advance
in wages is being paid the employees of the
International Harvester company or the Interna
tional Harvester Company of America.
And said committee shall report to the house
whether by reason of the facts thus ascertained
there should be any further legislation by
Said committee as a whole, or any subcom
mittee thereof, is authorized to sit during the
sessions of the house and the recess of congress,
to employ clerical and other assistance, to send
for persons and papers, and to administer oaths
to witnesses.
And the speaker shall have authority to sign
and the clerk to attest subpoenas to secure evi
dence for said committee during the recess of
Insincerity is seldom admitted and not always
easily proven. The Douglas county democracy
has Inadvertently confessed IU insincerity. It
pretends Indignation because Mr. Bryan refused
to support a democratic candidate for governor
who bolted the party platform and then Indorsee
for president a man who refused to support a
democratic candidate for president who stood,
squarely on the democratic national platform.
Why did they not give their real reasons?