The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 01, 1914, Page 9, Image 9

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The Commoner
MARCH, 1914
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collent security ought to bo salable at a de
cidedly lower rate of interest than is. necessary
for the usual farm mortgage.
The plan proposed in the Fletcher bill Is
modeled upon the cooperative farm banks which
have been in successful operation in Europe for
many years. It seems to follow more closely
than any other the plan of the Landschaften of
Germany. The Landschaften in 1909 issued
bonds to the amount of over six hundred and
fifty dollars. The loans are repayable almost
entirely by instalment payments, though the
borrower is at liberty to repay in whole or in
part whenever he pleases. The yearly payments
which the borrower makes to the Landschaft,
known as annuities, are made up of four parts,
interest, and contributions to a sinking fund,
a guaranty fund, and an expense fund. The
annuities in recent years have averaged about
four per cent. When they are four per cent the
interest would be three per cent, sinking fund
one-half of one per cent, guaranty fund one
quarter of one per cent, expense fund one
quarter of one per cent. These figures compare
favorably with the average cost of money to the
American farmer, cited above, of eight and one
half per cent.
The Fletcher bill is a long step in the right
direction. Whether in all its details it is as
good as it can be made, we do not pretend to
say. That is a matter for experts who have
made a careful study of the subject.
But in view of the tremendous importance of
the improvement of the credit facilities of the
American farmer, it is a measure that shotiH
receive the most serious attention of congress
and that without delay.
It will throw open to the farmer for the de
velopment of his plant an abundant source of
cheap money.
It will enable him to use the credit which he
possesses in abundant measure, but which under
present conditions he can often avail himself of
only at a ruinous cost.
It will introduce the tremendously valuable
principle of cooperation into our rural life at a
vital point.
It will help to keep the money which the
faJnmer makes1 'in the regions where it -is made
instead" of' encouraging its concentration in. the
big financial centers as is so largely the cose
under our present system or lack of it. The
provision for the deposit of postal savings funds
in the farm-land .banks is particularly well
adapted to secure this end.
The United States has long been far behind
the countries of Europe in its development of a
system of agricultural credit. The. country Is
rapidly awakening to its lack in this regard.
The national platforms of the three great
political parties contained planks calling for
legislation to supply the need. The farm-land
bank, on the Fletcher plan, or some modification
of it, should speedily become a part of our na
tional banking system. The Independent.
The government will build a line of railroad
In Alaska largely because the people have out
grown the idea that it is good policy to permit
private capital to do what they can do better
themselves. In the sixties the government built
the Pacific railroads and then turned them,
along with millions of acres of land, to private
ownership. It will keep the one in Alaska, after
it has built it, and will also reap the profits from
the increased value of lands along the line that
it was once thought was necessary in order to
get a road built.
Former Congressman L. N. Littauer, recently
convicted of smuggling, was one of the eminent
republicans who wrote the glove schedule in the
Payne-Aldrich tariff law. Mr. Littauer was a
glove manufacturer; and, therefore, particularly
qualified to write glove schedules in republican
tariff bills, but he overstepped his privileges
when he tried to evade the law which he helped
to write. Maybe this will explain why ho was
also compelled to resign as regent of the New
York state university, which is teaching youths
of the east the value of ideals.
The interstate commerce commisslqn-has noti
fied the eastern railroads that are asking for an
increase of 5 per cent in freight rates that they
will not be perpaitted to recoup themselves in in
creased freight rates for the milliqns qt money
lost by the giving of, free passes oyer passenger
trains. After awhile, we suppose, even', the? rl(jh
men down past willhaye to pay for riding' pn he
Bteam cars just like they do' in the west.
The Work of the President's Cabinet
The following, from a message of Postmaster
General Burleson, read before the democratic
achievement banquet held at Minot, N. D., Feb
ruary 17, tells of tho work of the postofllco de
partment during the first year of thi administra
tion: Of all tho internal activities of the govern
ment, none touches the people more intimately
than the postal service. Tho record of what
has been done by the Wilson administration
through the instrumentality of tho postofllco
department will be a fair sample of the achieve
ment in tho other departments.
On March 4th, last, the mail service of tho
United States was in an impoverished and dis
organized condition. Tho admitted object of
the last administration had been to reduce the
cost of the service to tho amount of the revenue.
This mistaken policy ignored tho duty of tho
government to provide in every community ade
quate and satisfactory postal facilities. Needed
extensions and improvements had not been made
and tho forco of clerks and carriers was in
adequate. Every interest of the service and the
public had been sacrificed to the enforcement of
a ruthless program of retrenchment. The neces
sity of meeting and correcting this situation and
of conducting the new parcel post was made
more difficult by the lack of sufficient appropria
tions. In April therefore an emergency appro
priation of $1,000,000 was secured that enabled
the department to effect some immediate im
provement in the general condition of the mall
service and to assimilate the great volume of
parcel post mail.
The fiscal year closed with an actual surplus
of revenues over expenditures and outstanding
obligations amounting to $3,841,000. There has
been no surplus since 1803 when the revenues
'and expenditures of the department were less
than one-seventh the present amount.
The policy of the department now is to con
duct the postal uorvice for the convenience of
the public and not to attempt profit making; to
extend service wherever its benefits, social and
commercial, warrant the necessary expenditure,
and not to require each such extension to pay its
own way; and to standardize the personnel,
equipment and methods of the whole service and
not to permit future growth and development
to continue without any logical coordination of
work and uniformity of organization. In accord
ance with these general ideals a detailed and
specific program has been mapped out and much
already accomplished.
By granting additional clerks and carriers,
normal mail facilities have been restored in
many cities.
By rearrangement and increase of force, over
work and delay in the railway mail service have
been avoided.
Important extensions have been authorized in
tho rural mail service, the importance of which
has been greatly enhanced by parcel post. The
great future of this service and tho probability
of employing motor vehicles eventually for
transportation on these routes is tho justifica
tion for important work done by the department
In connection with tho department of agriculture
for the improvement of road3 and the encour
agement of the good roads movement. The
greatest advancement of our country depends
on the proper development of the parcel post,
the rural mail service and the national system
of highways. By means of these three the cost
of distributing food products may bo greatly re
duced and the conditions of farm life improved.
The weight limits for parcel post have twice
been increased and at the same time reductions
in tho rates have been authorized. The special
delivery and C. O. D. features have been added.
The restrictions on the mailing of books and
miscellaneous printed matter have been re
moved. The popularity of the parcel post can not be
doubted. Its facilities are better and its rates are
generally lower than those of the private com
panies, whose exorbitant charges and unsatis
factory service finally provoked an agitation so
insistent as to overcome legisjative inertia be
hind wftich the express monopoly lay intrenched.
Parcel post reaches everywhere, whereas private
expresses extend their operations only to profit
able torrltory. Twenty millions of rural resi
dents now have house to house delivery and col
lection of parcels, a service formerly to bo had
only in cities and towns. Tho benefits of parcel
post applied to tho rural dollvory service work
both ways. Manufactured articles and the
means of culture and education aro brought to
tho farm, while tho smallor agricultural pro
ducts aro returned from tho farm to tho city,
swelling tho supply of tho necessities of Ufa and
reducing tho cost of living.
A survey made In the opening weeks of tho
present administration disclosed tho fact that
sorvlco of differing kinds had beon accorded com
munities whoso requirements wero in general
tho same. It hns beon tho policy of tho present
administration not to withdraw service already
in operation, but to adjust those inequalities in
the enjoyment of postal facilities by judlciouo
discrimination In authorizing extensions. An
impartial administration requires a full recog
nition of this principle.
Whilo extending in the manner to each com
munity postal facilities adequato to its needs
and similar to thoao rendered other communities
of llko sizo, population, and relative importance,
tho department is ondeavoring to apply the
principle of standardization to tho Internal af
fairs of tho service. Not only should equipment
bo uniform, but tho beBt method of performing
each operation should bo determined and adopt
ed This insures to tho service an elasticity that
it has formerly lacked and conduces to flexibility
of. management by making it possiblo to shift
personnel as well as equipment from point to
point as the conditions may demand. Tho adop
tion of approved innovations throughout tho
sorvico Is facilitated, thereby increasing effi
ciency and consequently reducing cost. Well
equipped experts of tho department aro now
studying postal conditions in representative' sec
tions of the country. Their reports aro being
rfnalyzed, and every suggested improvement
found feasible and desirable promptly adopted
and put into operation wherever practicable. "
An order has already been issued for tho
adoption of a universal money order system
under rules and regulations that aro now being
devised .by a departmental committee. When
their plans are formulated this innovation will
becomo effectivo at tho 54,000 money order
offices. Then a money order drawn payable at
New York, for instance, will be paid as readily
in San Francisco. When the present supply of
money order forms Is exhausted a new form
will be devised on which the name of the office
of payment will not bo inserted. Money orders
are thus made far morn negotiable and useful.
The removal of tho limitation in the amount
of a postal saving deposit is a matter of legisla
tion. The department has earnestly brought to
the attention of congress the desirability of per
mitting patrons of tho postal savings system to
deposit any amounts desired subject to the pro
vision that no Interest bo paid on deposits in
excess of $1,000. Such an arrangement could
not represent competition with private banking
institutions but would indirectly supply such in
stitutions with funds that otherwise would re
main In hoarding.
In advocating tho operation of telegraphs and
telephones as a part of the postal service the
department does not commit itself to an en
dorsement of government ownership of public
utilities generally. That phase of the question
has not been considered. Careful consideration,
however, has been given to the constitutional
purposes of tho postal establishment and tho
conclusion reached that tho transmission of In
telligence by any means is a postal function. A
thorough investigation of tho telegraph and
telephone services In this country and abroad
was conducted last year by a committee of tho
postoffice department whoso report has been
published as a public document by tho United
States senate. It Is believed that now is an op
portune time to consider this Important sub
ject. Successful operation of tho parcel post
service proves the capacity of the postal estab
lishment to conduct efficiently and economically
services of this character.
The policy of this administration, which has
already enlisted the hearty support of all the
people, ifr to return, to them through a service
whidh touches every citizen whatever there may