The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, August 01, 1915, Page 13, Image 13

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The Commoner
AUGUST,' 1915
f rr
ed to create an American merchant marine, is to
change our navigation laws, has been able to
tell how the navigation laws should be changed
to guarantee the enlistment of private capital.
Our capitalists are not interested in the shipping
business not because they can not make money
in the shipping business but because they can
make more money in other directions. More
over, they are not familiar with shipping enter
prises and will not engage in them on any large
scale, no matter what inducements may be held
out. We can not afford to enter upon the scan
dalous policy of subsidizing private corporations
or individuals. To subsidize is merely to make
gifts from the treasury of the United States to
those of the strong pull and the long pull, and
to repeat all- the scandals and corruption which
formerly characterized the enactment of our
tariff laws. Instead of giving say fifty million
dollars to subsidize any private interests, it would
be far better for the government to buy fifty
million dollars worth of ships and operate them
in the interest of our commerce in time of peace
and have them as effective naval auxiliaries in
timo of war.
"If you want South American trade, if you
want world trade, the indispensable step is an
American merchant marine to carry our com
merce to the ends of the earth, under the pro
tection of the Stars and Stripes. "Wo shall never
be able to carry our commerce to the ends of the
earth under any foreign flag.
"Let the south awake to her opportunity. Let
her, and the rest of the country demand that the
commerce of our country and the safety of our
country be quickly assured by the creation of an
American merchant marine, backed by a govern
ment administered in the interest of all the peo
ple and against all interests of the subsidists,
the moss backs, and the obstructionists. This is
a time for action. Already we have had too much
talk. To prove the latter assertion I have only
to refer you to the speeches of the republican
filibusters in the last session of the United States
senate. "W. G. McADOO."
When the- history of the great European war
is written, the sombreness of some of its pages
will be greatly lightened by the story .of the part
taken by the United States in supplying the
wants of civilians made destitute and left hun
gry by the sweep of the armies across their lands
and lots; in looking after the men immured in
prison camps and barracks; in securing fair
treatment for supposed spies-; in giving financial
aid here and there; in sending doctors and
nurses and medicines to the hospitals of all con
tending nations, and in performing a hundred
and one other helpful and merciful things. The
government has led in all this work, and it is
vastly more important and enduring than all of
the political matters that fixed attention upon
Washington and curtained what was being done
abroad in the cause of humanity.
How Our Farms Turned
the Financial Tide
By Hon. David F. Houston, secretary of
agriculture, in American Review of Reviews.
It is a common saying in this country that
Providenco takes caro of the American nation
and tho small boy. Certain facts in connection
with two of our financial crises lend a bit of
justification to this saying.
In August of 1914 tho greater part of the
world becamo engaged in war. Moro completely
than ever before in the history of the world were
trado and financial relations disturbed. For a
time the shock was paralyzing. After tho re
covery from the shock, financiers wore still much
concerned as to how to deal with the situation.
In this country tho condition was acute. It
seemed that the commodity, cotton, on which
we had depended to pay a large part of our trauo
balanco would not bo exported in very consider
able quantities. Our largest consumers were
among the belligerents, some of whom could not
get cotton, others of whom were not in position
to consume the usual supply. We were due to
pay Europe by January, 1915, a floating indebt
edness of at least $300,000,000, and moro would
follow after the opening of the year. How were
we to meet tho obligations with cotton on the
decline? The facts are illuminating.
Between August, 1914, and February 1, 1915,
we exported a total of $1,157,000,000 worth of
commodities, and imported a total of $771,000,
000, showing a favorable balance of $384,000,
000. Of the total value exported of $1,157,
000,000, $662,000,000 were represented by ag
ricultural commodities, and $495,000,000 by
manufactured commodities. Between August,
1913, and February 1, 1914, of the total exports,
$616,000,000 were manufactured products.
The total value of agricultural products ex
ported in this period was $729,000,000, but the
cotton exports in that year for that period were
$443,000,000 and the food and meat products
only $286,000,000, while from August, 1914, to
from '70 to '75, inclusive, was $762,000,0t.
Tho total in the period from 76 to '81 inctosive,
was $1,586,000,000, or an incr-jeso of $824,069,
000. It may without exaggeration bo said that
the western farmer made possible and permanent
tho resumption of specio payments in 1879..
It is worth noting that this nation is still an
exporter on a largo scalo of agricultural prod
ucts, and that thero has boon a growing balance
in its favor in the intcrchango of agricultural
and forest products. So much misapprehension
has been created and so many alarms raised that
it is worth whilo having In mind just what the
facts are. In 1913 tho excess of oxports over
imports was $652,000,000. The excess of the
exports of agricultural products over the im
ports was $333,000,000.
In 1913, tho United States exported $1,123,
000,000 of farm and forest products while It im
ported $815,000,000 worth, practically all of
which, except sugar and molasses, with a value
of $105,000,000, dairy products worth $10,700,
000, and llvo animals worth $9,600,000, wore
non-competitive products, such as tea, coffee,
India rubber, vegetable fibers, tropical fruits,
and silk.
Taking our forolgn trado In foodstuffs, we find
that In 1914 wo imported $180,000,000 worth
of competitive products, Including corn, live an
imals, dairy products, meat products, and sugar,
and exported $296,000,000 worth, Including
corn, flour, and meat products, a balanco In
favor of the American farmer of competitive
food products of over $116,000,000. We im
ported of non-compctltivc food products,
$183,000,000, the principal item of which was
coffee. But this figure was many times offset
by our exportation of non-competitive farm prod
ucts other than foodstuffs, of vhich cotton ia
Even in our South American trade, of which
we hear a groat deal, we are exporting more
farm and forest products to that continent than
we import. Much has been said about the im
portation of Argentine corn and Argentine bcof.
February 1, 1915, tho cotton exports were only-, wuuu. l nswuuuu emu uutoub wbul
tus nnn'Ann o,i ', fw oWrn,it,,oi ,1.mi..fB3' At is worth while to understand tho exact situ-
were $494,000,000, so that it may safely be said
Between their desire to prove to their own
satisfaction that the resignation of Mr. Bryan
was unwarranted by conditions and has greatly
strengthened the president with the people, and
also to show that the event will certainly re
dound to the advantage of the republican party
in that it shows a division in the democratic
party, the republican editors are having a, dif
ficult time. The fact that they haVe not been
able to prove either proposition has added to the
burden of their embarrassment.
The political prognosticators at the national
capital say that neither Taft nor Roosevelt are
being considered by the party leaders as the re
publican nominee for president. They add that
these same gentlemen have decided that as the
candidate must l)e elected by the votes of New
York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois,
the wishes of these states will govern. The only
thing they neglect to say is, who are these party
leaders? Apparently the republican party has
learned nothing from adversity.
Members of congress will make the great mis
take of their political lives if they take as indi
cative of popular sentiment what the metropol
itan newspapers favor in the matter of a new
military and naval program. If there is one
lesson "that has been made plain it is that the
metropolitan- newspapers express only the sen
timent of their millionaire owners who have oth
er investments they have no hesitancy about pro
tecting with their, newspaper.
that the farmers of the middle west came to the
assistance in this second crisis and enabled the
nation not only to pay its floating indebtedness
but to secure a margin.
In 1875 the congress of the United States de
creed that specie payments should be resumed
January 1, 1879. It is one thing to decree a
thing; it is another thing to insure the execution
of the decree. There were many doubters as to the
wisdom of the resumption act for many reasons.
Many people thought resumption could not be
brought about. It now appears that it probably
would not have been possible to resume specie
payments January 1, 1879, had it not been for
remarkable agricultural developments in the
middle west resulting in a large excess of exports
over imports and consequent demand on Europe
for gold. From 1870 to 1875, inclusive, the na
tion imported $3,324,000,000 worth of commo
5 dities, and exported $2,901,000,000, creating for
tho period an unfavorable balance of $423,000,
000. In this period the nation exported $757,000,
000 more of agricultural commodities than it
imported. This situation did not furnish much
ground for optimism on the part of those who
wero looking for resumption. . In the period,
however, from 1876 to 1881, inclusive, the na
tion imported $3,103,000,000 worth of commo
dities, and exported $4,287,000,000 worth, giv
ing a net favorable balance of $1,184,000,000.
In this period tho nation exported $1,852,000,
000 more of agricultural commodities than it
imported, or an excess greater by $1,095,000,
000 than in the preceding period. Xhis great
change occurred in spite of the fact that the
value of cotton exports in tho latter period was
only $1,169,000,000, as against $1,245,000,000
in the preceding period The large increase in
the excess was due mainly to the development
of the cereal and live-stock farming in tho mid
dle west, which began to show itself in largo
ways between 1872 and 4876. In no year prior
tn 1872 had the value of wheat exported exceed
ed $47 000000, the value of corn $15,000,000,
and the value of meat and meat products $40,
nnn 000 In 1874 the value of wheat exported
xna $101,000,000, of corn $25,000.0aaf and of
meat and meat products $70,000,060 The total
export value of these
ation. The total corn crop of Argentina Is about
195,000,000 bushels. In 1912 tho United States
produced over 3,100,000,000 bushels, and in
1913 two and a half billion bushels. .The short
age In tho crop of 1913 as compared with that
of 1912 was over 600,000,000 bushels. Tho total
corn crop of Argentina was less than one-third
of this shortage. A very small fraction of this
total reaches the United States. The European
markets are strong competitors for all agricul
tural products from South America, and receive
tho greater part of that continent's surplus.
Tho importation of corn from all countries,
including Argentina, for tho year ending Oc
tober 31, 1914, was 16,000,000 bushels, or seven
tenths of one per cent, of the domestic crop. Dur
ing this samo period tho United States exported
11,000,000 bushels. Thd ' excess of imports,
therefore, was 5,000,000 bushels, or about two
tenths of one per cent of our own crop. Tha
Corn Products Refining Company of New York
uses about 40,000,000 bushels of corn annually
in the manufacture of corn food products, and
the greater part of tho Argentine corn imported
was used in the manufacture of these products.
As a matter of fact, tho importation of this corn
cuts no figure in our domestic price. This year
we shall export much more corn than wo import.
Even In our trade with Canada, from which
thoso who aro concerned with agricultural com
petition might apprehend danger, wo discover
that in 1914 wo exported to Canada $38,600,000
worth of agricultural products, including fruits
$12,600,000, meats $4,750,000, wheat $17,500,
000, corn $3,200,000, while we imported $10,-.
700,000 worth of live animals, and $10,600,000
of moats, leaving a balance in favor of American
farmers of $17,600,000, as against the balance
in their favor (under the tariff act of 1909) for
tho year 1911 of $12,640,000.
It seems improbable that tho importation of
corn and meats will very largely increase in the
near future and that they will get very far be
yond tho American seaboard. With improve
ments which are steadily being made in Amer
ican agriculture under the stimulus of a number
of helpful agencies, including the department of
agriculture and the land grant colleges, the
chances for successful competition from abroad
will become smaller and smaller. We must re
member that not over 45 per ceat of our arable
land is yet under cultivation, and that not more
than. 12 per cent. of that I yielding full returns;