The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, January 01, 1914, Page 3, Image 3

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    The Commoner
Currency Reform at Last
Currency reform is accomplished at last. For
pmore than ten years different hodies, some offi
cial and some unofficial, have been investigating
the currency problem, but as the plans have
heretofore had in view the promotion of the
interests of the financiers, those back of them
have not dared to risk the opposition that they
were sure to excite.
No other president in recent years has been
free to undertake the reform from the people's
standpoint, but when the present executive took
the oath of office he entered upon his duties
k without obligation to special interests and there
fore in a position to urge a change which would
liberate the financial world from bondage to
the money trust. In a speech delivered at
Harrisburg, Pa., some months -before the Balti
more convention he had called attention to the
source of the trouble and by so doing had. ar
rayed against him all the powerful money mag
nates. It was fortunate for both him and the
country that he had this opposition to meet for
it proved that they are impotent when the people
are aroused. Tho president, after assisting in
the preparation of a bill, aroused tho public to
its support and overcame the opposition which
the money centers endeavored to organize. The
country has accepted the new law and tho banks
have commenced to adjust themselves to it. It
contains provisions of great value to tho banks
and yet provisions which impose no burden upon
the masses. Tho Glass-Owen law is a boon to
the business world giving it access to the gov
ernment in time of distress instead of making it
dependent upon the will of Wall Btreet.
The law is a marvel of constructive states
menship and will add to the confidence, already
great, which the people have in the president.
The law (1) recognizes tho right of govern
ment to issue money; (2) recpgnizes the right
of the government to regulate tho banking busi
ness in the interest of the people; (3) recognizes
the right of state banks to share wK'.i national
banks in the advantages extended to the busi
ness community through banking organizations;
(4) disintegrates the power of the great finan
ciers and transfers the controlling influence
from New York to Washington from a few, act
ing for themselves and in the dark, to govern
ment officials acting for tho people and in the
light. W. J. BRYAN.
The Work of the President's Cabinet
On the 8th of December the secretary of agri
culture published his annual report for the year
1913, which differs in many essentials from those
usually sent oufc by the department. Instead of
merely reviewing the agricultural situation,
many broad economic questions are presented in
the report. The secretary calls attention to the
facts that heretofore the department has of
necessity concerned itself merely with the prob
lems of production. He points out that these
problems will be most urgent for a long time.
Increased tenancy, absentee ownership, soils
still depleted and exploited, inadequate business
methods, the. relative failure to induce a great
majority of farmers to apply existing agricul
tural knowledge, and the suggestions of depend
ence on foreign nations for food supplies, accord
ing to the. secretary's report, warn us of our
shortcomings and incite us to additional efforts
to increase production.
The secretary says there is no ground for
thinking we have yet approximated the limit of
our output from the soil. As a matter of 'fact
we have just begun to attack the problem. Wo
have not even reached the end of the pioneering
stage, and have only in a few localities developed
conditions where reasonably full returns are
secured. We have, however, unmistakably
reached the period where we must think and
plan. He says that as a nation we are suffering
the penalty of too great ease of living and of
making a living. It is not singular, therefore,
that we should find ourselves in our present
plight. Recklessness and waste have been inci
dent to our breathless conquest, and we have
"had our minds too exclusively directed to the
establishment of industrial supremacy in the
keen race for competition with foreign nations.
We have been so bent on. building up great in
dustrial centers by every natural and artificial
device that we have had little thought for the
very foundations of our Industrial existence.
The secretary devotes one chapter of his re
port to the subject of marketing. He points out
that ULder existing conditions the farmer does
not get what he should for his product; that the
consumer is required to pay an unfair price for
the products and that unnecessary burdens are
imposed under existing systems of distribution.
Various marketing projects are outlined in the
Attention is called to rural credits as a feature
of co-operative effort, and also to the recent in
vestigations of the department to determine the
status of the farm woman. The secretary states
that the woman on the farm is a most important
economic factor and that on her attitude de
pends in agreat measure the important question
of whether the second generation will continue
to farm or will seek an easier life in cities.
Running through the secretary's report, is
constant argument for closer co-operation with
state institutions of agriculture. He points out
that1 the machinery for bringing about this co
operation is to be provided in an extension bill
introduced by Hon. Hoke Smith of Georgia in
the senate, and Hon. Asbury F. Lever of South
Carolina in the house.
In a short general review of the department's
activities during the year, special emphasis is laid
on the work of the forest service in administering
the national forests. It is pointed out that the
primary object of the national forests are to pro
tect the public timber, to produce a continuous
supply of timber on land not required for agri
culture, and, to protect the sources of water
used for navigation, irrigation, waterpower,
domestic supplies, etc. The administration of
the national forests is a large business enter
prise. The earnings last year were increased
about $300,000 or approximately 15 per cent.
Many forests now return more than their operat
ing cost.
The subject of good roads occupies a special
chapter in the secretary's report. State appro
priations for road work have increased from
two million ten years ago to forty-three million
in 1912. The federal government, says the secre
tary, should take the lead in investigational and
experimental work and should develop principles
of co-operation with the states in matters of
educational and demonstrational work.
The secretary calls attention to the construc
tive research of the department In connection
with tho various plant and animal diseases.
Very brief space is allotted to the crop produc
tion. Special emphasis however is laid on tho
fact that the figures quoted are estimates and
that this fact should be constantly kept in mind.
The" secretary concludes his report with a
number of specific recommendations, including
the bill that legislation be enacted for effective
ly conveying existing agricultural information
to the farmer.
The visit of the boy and girl champions of the
corn, potato and canning clubs of the various
states occupied considerable time of the office
of farmers' co-opolrative demonstration work
and the office of farm management from Decem
ber 11 to December 18. Moving pictures were
taken of the young people on their arrival, dur
ing a number of their excursions around the
capital and when they were presented their
diplomas by Secretary Houston. These pictures
will be used by the department to create Interest
in the club work throughout the country.
Two important orders regarding the admis
sion of foreign potatoes Into the United States
wore Issued Decombor 22 by the secretary of
agriculture. One of these orders provided for
the admission of disease-free potatoes from un
infected foreign districts under proper regula
tion and Inspection. The other order, to pro
tect Amorican potatoes from the powdery scab
and other diseases, temporarily extends the
quarantine effective since September 20, 1912,
against tho Importation of potatoes from New
foundland; the islands of St. Pierre and Mi
quolon in tho St. Lawrence river; Great Britain;
Germany and Austria-Hungary, to include also
tho rest of continental Europe and the Dominion
of Canada. Tho quarantine became effective Do
comber 24, excopt that shipments covered by
consular invoices on or prior to that date will
bo admitted up to January 15, 1914.
As soon as any country can be shown to bo
free from potato diseases the quarantine will be
liftod. It is possible that in the case of certain
provinces In Canada and certain districts In
Europe, tho absolute quarantine can be lifted in
timo to allow tho later movement of tho present
year's crop under regulation and Inspection.
The weekly news letter whfch the department
has been sending out since last August to crop
correspondents has proved so popular that its
circulation has been extended to includo tho
editors of county-seat and town newspapers.
This action was taken on request of a number
of crop correspondents who complained that fur
nishing their copies to editors made it impossible
for them to keep complete files. It therefore
will be no lojigor necessary for crop correspond
ent's to supply editors with their copies, al
though they can render excellent service by call
ing attention to items which will be of value for
local publication.
On December 27 the appointment of a com
mittee was announced "to conduct a general in
quiry into the various factors which have
brought about the present unsatisfactory condi
tions with respect to meat production in the
United States, especially In reference to beef,
with a view to suggesting possible method for
The committee will make a study of tho econ
omic questions involved in tho production, trans
portation, slaughter and marketing of meat.
Among the important considerations to bo gone
into will be the taking up of the public lands,
the effect of the capacity of the range, especially
on tho remaining public lands and forest re
serves with a view to suggesting changes in the
laws to make the public lands of greater use In
cattle raising.
On December 27 the Agricultural Outlook was
issued, in which was given the estimated farm
production of 1913. This shows that In mone
tary value, farm products have broken the an
nual record, although the volume of production
is materially below the average. The total esti
mated value for 1913 Is $9, 750,000, 000jnearly
one-half a billion dollars above' the Value for
1912, which was itself a record year; This
amount is far from being equivalent to the. total
sales of farm products, but its items are the
values of farm crops, of farm animals sold and
slaughtered, and of farm-animal products. Tho
crops of 1913 have an estimated value at the
farm of $6,100,000,000, an amount never before
equaled. In 1909 the valuo of crop3 was about
5 billions.
The Outlook gives the estimated production
and value of corn, cotton, hay, wheat, oats,
potatoes, tobacco, barley, sweet potatoes, sugar,
rye, rice, flax, seed, hops and buckwheat.
It is estimated that the farm animals sold and
slaughtered during the year had a farm value
of $2,206,000,000. Dairy products of 1913 aro
estimated at more than $814,000,000. The eggs
produced and fowls raised have an estimated
value of more than $578,000,000. The wool
production of 1913 has an estimated, value, at
a low average price, of over $51,000,000.
The common phenomenon of record yield and
crop value below the record, and of record crop
value with low production is presented y more
than ha,lf a dozen of the crops of 1913. If the
farmer gets a high price, perhaps a very high
price, per bushel or other unit of quantity in
case of a crop of low production, on the other
hand he usually gets but low .prices for the
crops which he produces in abundance.
The price of 14 principal crops average about
20.2 per cent higher than a year ago and 4.6
per cent higher than two years ago. Their total
values average about 3.8 per cent higher than
a year ago and 7.6 per cent higher than two
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