The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1916, Page 11, Image 13

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The Commoner
rAPRIL, 1916
investigate and decide for themselves, but who
reason that Wilson and Bryan having O K'd th
bill it must bo all right and so why delay?"
In the same editorial it was said:
"The principal difference between this federal
reserve board and a central bank is that tho
central bank would bo controlling its own in
vestment, whereas the federal reserve board
with no money invested, controls and manages
tho investment of others."
We have here a declaration as to the only dif
ference in the view of Senator Hitchcock's pa
per, and it presumably agreed with him, between
a central bank and the system of federal se
serve banks which was finally established and
is now in operation. Tho editorial referred to
was clearly intended as an argument in favor of
the central bank idea as against tho federal re
serve system. Now let us see what this central
bank plan WAS, and where it originated, as told
in an editorial of the World-Herald, October 27,
1913. In that editorial it was said:
"The idea of a bank to be owned by the pub
lic and administered and controlled absolutely
by the government has been brought under tho
limelight in consequence of the statement made
by Frank A. Vanderllp, one of the leading New
York bankers, that he would favor such an in
stitution. This is tho solution of tho currency
problem that has been advocated for weeks by
Senators O'Gorman, Bristow, and other members "
of the senate currency committee." Senator
Hitchcock was one of the "other members" of
the currency committee referred to but not
named in the editorial.
But the central bank idea could not be forced
through the committee, and Senator Hitchcock
and his republican associates then turned to the
proposition of four federal reserve banks instead
' of tvrelve, the plan of the house bill. The .com
mittee was unable to agree and finally reported
two bills. Senator Owen, chairman of 'the com
mittee, on behalf of himself and the democratic
members of the qpmmittee, except Hitchcock,,
reported, the bill which, with a few amendments
was finally passed by the senate, and after being
amended in certain particulars by the conference
committee was passed and became law. Senator
Hitchcock with all of the republican members of
the committee reported a separate bill, differing
widely from the one reported by Senator Owen.
Senator Hitchcock offered numerous amendments
to the Owen bill, which were supported by prac
tically the solid vote of the republicans of tho
senate and opposed by the democratic majority.
It has been claimed by Senator
Hitchcock and his followers that . he
was the author of amendments which greatly
strengthened the bill. Very few of the amend
ments offered by him were accepted by the sen
ate, and how much they affected tho bill is a
matter of opinion. But the amendments sug-.
gested by him could have been as easily adopt
ed, and no doubt would have been without his
having opposed the practically unanimous opin
ion of the democrats of the house and senate,
and of the President and his advisors on the
important and vital question of a federal reserve
system as against the central bank idea, and of
twelve federal reserve banks instead of four.
The bill introduced by Mr. Hitchcock before the
fight began prov'ded for about the same number
of reserve districts, named in the adminstra
tion's bill, but when the fight was on Mr. Hitch
cock abandoned the provisions in his own bill
and stood with Wall street for only four reserve
districts. What further evidence of subserviency
to Wall street is needed?. The bill as passed
by the senate had the support of the administra
tion, and of all but a few of the democrats in the
house. It was a matter covered by the national
ulatform, and democrats were under obligation
to support it. It has well been called the great
est piece of constructive .legislation passed by
congress in fifty years. And yet had Senator
Hitchcock's amendment for a central bank pre
vailed in the committee or in the senate, every
democrat who recognized the obligations of the
Baltimore platform would have been compelled
to vote against it; and had it passed the senate
the house would have been obliged to reject it
or violate the pledges of their partyj and If it
had passed both house and senate, the President
could not have signed it without stultifying him
self. - nvi
When the war broke out it naturally reduced
the number of ships available for carrying
'American commerce to foreign countries. To
protect American shippers from extortionate
rates then being charged by ship owners, tho
President recommended to congress tho passage
of a bill appropriating from twenty to thirty
millions of dollars to aid in building or pur
chasing ships to carry American commerce. This
bill had the endorsement of a majority of tho
democrats in congress, but was killed in tho
senate by seven democrats, of whom Senator
Hitchcock was one, joining with the solid repub
lican minority. Of that bill and its defeat Sen
ator La Follctte of Wisconsin, in a signed ar-
ticlo in La Follctto's, said:
"President Wilson attempted to moot the
transportation needs with a line of governmont
owned ships. The legislation to accomplish this
was blocked through the influence of the great
shipping combines. These combines havo a
strangle hold on the carrying trade of South
America just as they havo upon our own coun
try. Notwithstanding their assertions that pri
vate enterprise would supply the needs of trans
portation and although almost a year had
elapsed since South America was cut off from
its European, base, these private interests havo.
done nothing to meet the demands and to pro
vide for the great trade that is seeking our mar
kets. They defeated tho bill for government
owned ships. So the question which was pushed
to the fore at the Pan-American Conference was
the need of transportation. It is significant
that it was strongly advocated by the South
American delegates. President Wilson urged it
in his address, and the delegates of Chile and
Columbia and, Uruguay kept it actively before
the conference. What they want is a government-owned
line. It may develop into a plan
by which the government's party to the confer
ence will jointly finance the service. Whatever
plan is adopted there must be such lines. In no
other way will there be assured reliable trans
portation facilities and at reasonable rates."
It is a significant fact that Mr. Hitchcock
stood with the shipping combine against an ad
ministration measure, just as he stood with Wall
street against the administration's currency
measure. In the currency fight the President
won and the country has the benefit of the vic
tory; in tho shipping bill fight Mr. Hitchcock
and the shipping combine won, and tho country
is still suffering for lack of ships.
I do not say that Senator HItchcok was under
any platform obligations as a senator or as a
democrat to support the shipping bill. It was
not covered by the Baltimore platform and ho
was consequently under no pledge to tho people
to support It. Neither do I say that he ought
to have supported ii because the President
recommended it or because a majority were for
A senator ought to be guided by his convic
tions. Tho question so far as the shipping bill
was concerned is whether he was right or wrong.
But the banking and currency question was dif
ferent. The party with reference to that meas
ure had given its pledge and was bound in hon
or to live up to it, and the pledge was against a
central bank. Some of the supporters of Sen
ator Hitchcock have criticized me on tho ground
that I am not supporting tho President in all
things. I have disagreed with the President
only with reference to the matter of military
preparedness. And I might call attention to the
fact that Senator Hitchcock has not agreed en
tirely with the President on matters concerning
the European war. He had introduced and Is in
favor of a bill to place an embargo on the ship
ment of arms and munitions of war to the bel
ligerents. The President insists that such a law
would be unneutral and that if this country
were to enforce that principle it would bo guilty
of an unneutral act, under international law. I
do not know whether this Is true or not. It
has been said that the President and his advisors
are the ones to determine in time of war be
tween other nations, what the duties and the
rights of this nation are. I do not know that
this Is true, but if It is, then as between the sen
ator' and myself, his friends ought not to talk
about anyone not supporting the Pres
ident. ' ' I supported the President and
his1' administration, so far as a private citizen
crin do so, in everything with the exception of
his recommendations for an increase in the army
andJnavy. I have stated my position on that
question repeatedly, and simply say here that
Irdonot believe that there is any occasion at
this time for adding anything unusual to our
military equipment, and that we ought to wait
until the war in Europe has ended before deter
mining whether any additional armament Is
necessary. Furthermore, I submit that wo ought
not to chango our attltudo regarding a lafg
standing array and navy without submitting tho
question to tho people and giving them an op
portunity to pass upon It.
This In general is an outline, as I understand
It, as to tho attltudo of Senator Hitchcock and
myself with reference to democratic policies. I
havo supported every national platform and
candidate of the democratic party slnco 1896. I
'believe in tho principles of democracy as set
forth In those platforms. I have been true to
thoso principles In tho past and intend to sup
port them In tho future.
Why Are We Unprepared?
More than 200 million dollars, raised princi
pally by taxing the things that the peoplo cat,
wear, and use, have been expended annually on
the army and navy, under the general assump
tion that In return for this colossal expenditure
tho nation was being reasonably "prepared."
It now is being generally asserted in many
quarters that tho nation Is pitifully "unpre
pared," the specific charge having been made
on tho floor of the house of .representatives, by
a member that "If war were to break out today,
it would be found that our coast defenses have
not sufficient ammunition for an hour's fight."
It also has been charged in congress that mil
lions of dollars of public funds havo been wasted
by tho payment to private manufacturers, by
army and navy officers, of from 20 to 60 per cent
moro for largo quantities of army and navy sup
plies than they could havo been obtained for
through their manufacture In government ar
senals and navy ynrds.
It ought to bo mado impossible for any per
son or corporation to mako money out of war,
and tho government should, for Its own safety
and protection, manufacture all arms, arma
ment, and munitions of war for the equipment,
construction, and use of the army and navy, to.
tho end that it may bo independent of Individ
uals and corporato interests. Consider these
Army, 1915 ,..., $170,705,345
Navy, 1915 $146,500,000
Total military appropriations, '15. .$317,205,345
(Note Tho only nation whoso expenditures for
a navy have exceeded ours during1 the lat twelve
years under our proKcnt program, Its Great Britain.
With an army eight times greater than oUrs, In
tho year 1914-'15, Germany's army budget wan 293
million dollars, natfy budget 114 millions; Great
Britain's expenditure for army and navy tho same
year was 399 million: France spent for army and
navy 298 million. Why are we unprepared? Be
fore wo doublo the great sums wo apparently are
wasting, as demanded by the preparedness plan
here given, wouldn't we better find an answer to
tho question?)
Army first year ...$182,717,281
Navy first year ...'. 268,000,000
Total first year.. $450,717,281
Army second year. .$212,816,124
Navy second year.. 278,000,000
Total second year $490,816,124
Army Third year. .$228,316,124
Navy third year . . . 253,000,000
Total third year. $481,316,124-
Army fourth year. .$228,316,124
Navy fourth year. 253,000,000
Total fourth year $481,316,124
Army fifth year ...$182,234,559
Navy fifth year... 253,000,000
Total fifth year. .
Grand total for five years $2,239,401,212
ii i
And at the end of the fifth year, the battle
ships we bought the first year will be considered
Junk by our military experts.
If adopted, the so-called preparedness will
cost every family in the land about $90 a year,
not for five years, but for many years nobody
knows how many. Not too much to pay, of
course, if actually and terribly necessary. That
big "if" concerns you vitally. You know wher
you stand on this question, but unless your con
gressman knows it, too, what does it matter
where you stand? Write him today. There 1
no time to lose. Missouri Valley Farmer.
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