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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (July 1, 1918)
.VOL. 18, NO. 7
-avf f '
Press Comments on
A- (loop and lasting Impression will bo made
upon public opinion by tho statement of tho
fodoral trado commission, In Us report to tho
president of tho Honato, that exorbitant prollts
liavo boon rolled up by many of tho great In
dustries which aro vital to tho country In tho
Wo aro In tho midst of a campaign for War
Savings stamps In which a properly urgent ap
peal Is mado to families who must painfully
contrive and cut oxpensos to support, as they
loyally desire, tho national purpose. Now by
high authority wo aro told that "profiteering
exists," that many "Industries aro making un
usual prollts, Bomo aro showing outrageous
onos." This neod not chill ardor In tho war;
but It must, find it should, raise inquiries as to
what wo aro going to do with tho profiteers.
Four of tho five great beef trust monopolies
"havo pocketed In 1915-191G-1917 $140,000,
000," wo aro told, "in terms of profit" mainly
takon boforo wo ontorcd tho war. J. Ogden
Armour's comment is that "profits which seem
huso when described by tho commission ap
pear in thoir truo light when brought down to
tho basis of a dollar's worth of business."
Thoy do "appear In their truo light" and
In that light still "seem hugo." If tho vast
economies of groat-scalo enterprise aro not fairly
phared with tho consumer; if thoy aro not even
to bo romittod when tho nation is engaged in
a Hfo-and-death struggle; if thoy aro so swollen
R8 to suggest that to many applies tho commis
sion's indignant scoring of "Inordinate greed,"
to somo of "barefaced fraud," then tho case of
big business falls to tho ground. It Is on tho
defensive without a defense.
Ono month ago tho President told congress
that "tho profiteering that can not bo got at
by tho restraints of conscience can bo got at by
taxation;" that "thoro is such profiteering
now." Tho commission follows him in recom
mending that congress imposo heavy oxcess
proflts taxes upon "Inordinate" profiteers, and
thus rogain for tho govornmont a groat part of
what has been taken from it and from tho
Clearly, tho future will havo its problems.
So far as past and present aro concerned, tax
ation 1b tho short, easy, obvious method. Con
gross can not cscapo tho duty laid upon it by tho
commission's findings. In so doing it must
this timo tax tho real oxcoss profits, not tho
lawful gains of industry and intelligence which
havo had no excoss profits. It must supertax,
to tho limit, tho proflteor and not his victim.
Now York World.
helped tho kaiser In this war against tho na
tions fighting for democracy.
They havo increased the cost of living here,
In France, Great Britain and wherever else
American products go to aid in fighting this
war. By thus increasing tho living cost they
might have weakened tho morale of the people
and tho soldiers fighting for us. They have
done much to make the burden of war harder
for tho American people to bear.
They have been of great assistance to the en
emies of democracy than the whole collection
of pro-German Germans and anti-war socialists
in these United States and they have done this
not for principle but for dollars! Omaha Daily
Tho fodoral trado commission has torn tho
cover off a moss of war profiteering by hie
Its report is a mass of figures going clear to
tho bottom (and up to tho top) in tho matter
of cost of production, cost of distribution, pre
war profits and excess profits' reaped since bravo
men began giving thoir lives to make the world
safe for democracy. lu
It is tho most startling accusation of proflt-
ovhloficoVQr mn(l0' aml H iS 8tauncllly Backed by
It-points to enormous war profits wrung out
of the moat industry by packers. It reveals the
csQfcss pvofits mado by coal barons. It charges
tho largo flour millers with exacting imS
war profits at a timo when the farmorrTucers
were regulated by governmental price fixing n
goes Ml through tho list in a most motl odica
and painstaking manner, tolling who hs w!
profiteering and how much. The commlitoS
exonerates some largo business instituting To"
profiteer ng charges, and does not hesitate to
express its opinion when it finds hands anil
by unpatriotic profit taking. ThuV
JZFgL th0 ''
inVgeSrced8 ?taM to
No honest person can read the commission's
report, study those figures of profits, .and "not
como to the conclusion that pr-fleers have
PATRIOT OR PROFITEER?
"This nation can not live half slave and half
free." That declaration was mado by Abraham
Lincoln, met the country when it was half slave,
half free, and had not determined to free itself
"This nation can not live half patriot, half
profiteer." This might be said today, but the
man large enough to assert it has not appeared.
Tho truth in its is as apparent as in the words
of Lincoln on slavery. The need for compre
hension of tho truth is as keen, but the dec
laration is unspoken.
It is self-evident that two antagonistic prin
ciples can not determine a nation's course, di
rect its life, and sway its people. There is not
working space enough for two such principles.
Both will expand under constant cultivation,
and ultimately one will drive the other out. The
people of a prudent nation will select the bene
ficial principle, adopt it, insert it into the na
tional life and if necessary, fight for it. -The
opposing idea will be driven out.
Tho disclosures of the federal government
within the last few weeks make a picture that
is disturbing the American people. The treas
ury department exposures have brought patriots
and profiteers side by side before the citizens of
the United Slates. They are at the bar of pub
lic opinion. The question to be decided which
must be decided is whether this nation wants
to live half patriot, half profiteer, whether it
can so live even if it desires.
There is no need to enlarge upon the con
ditions that confront tho people, and especially
that majority element generally recognized
under tho broad term, wording class. The
members of that class know the, changes in
economic circumstances thoroughly. They mav
Si mVn a ?ear lcnowlgo of causes, but of
effects they havo nothing to learn, for results
ffi Ja,llen UPn them heavier ani with more
sodet any 0ther element of
The federal government's own figures, its own
exposures, merely bring this problem of patriot
ism and profiteering directly before the coun
try. The posltiveness of figures leaves nothing
more to ask from that side. The question is
what are we going to do about it? The govern:
ment seems to be waiting upon Some command
ing expression from the country. The Jeople
expect the government to solve the difficulty
EST." .an rA'BJur
Our people are in this war heart and soul
pocket, stomach and starred service flag w7
ImiT? '? wln " an" "'e-chain the tigers wo
buTliSy tut utt iV'CrfgS theTeaT
late to fit themselves to "carrv nn" mi! i
of the nation when the meno tfgM "SmS
freedom and existence. Our verv 1 Sfiif
aught to forego their lUUe luxuries fnnrS
to invest their "pocket money"pituully 2
!!r,a5; h0U8e a&5
But, in the name of our first iia n,i
they have. We are not even doing it to i.?iS
new mllionaires. When 11,0 ,,.. ,,ma,ce
agony of a great wlr" Ee "Zi SV
aires is a non-essential Indus k?re e
- . t.
mim ' r
W 7. L 1 W
Jr . 'jny IT!
, &J2vm.i;z .'iir''
TWO KINDS OP AMERICANS
New York World.
Only two classes of men who profiteer on a
battlefield the dishonest sutler and the ghoul
who robs the wounded and the dead. During
the battle of Vimy Ridge, which lasted for days
and terrible nights, the Canadian Y. M. C. A.
workers climbed through the shattered thickets
that clothe it in a hell of shrapnel and machine
gun bullets to carry bottles of hot coffee to the
fighters. But they did. not charge for them.
They were priceless, but they .were free. That
is the spirit of America at war-r-not that of the
sly, greedy sutler safe behind the lines, who
charges ten prices for his stock. Philadelphia
PROFITEERING SHOULD STOP
It is no surprise to the people that there has
been extravagant profiteering in the necessary
supplies of the nation. Those who have been
paying the price have long felt that the only
reason -for such prices was that those charging
them have found they could get them. There
has been little real cause under any of the much
talked of natural laws, to warrant the prices
the people have had to pay. The pity of it is
that most of the high profiteering reported to
the senate has been in articles like meats, flour
and coal, commodities under government regu
lation and in charge of the various government
Something should he done and done quickly.
Justice should be given the sacrificing people.
They willingly sacrifice for their government.
They should not at the same time be mulcted
for private greed. Milwaukee News.
The report made to congress by the special
committee of investigators really brought to
light nothing more than might have been ex
pected, although the truth is the exposure of a
most regrettable condition. The same facts have
been brought to light In all of the countries at
war, since there .seems to be special radical dis
tinction in the matter of taking advantage of
conditions for one's personal and financial gain.
we take it for granted that the investigators,
when they use the names of certain concerns
as illustrations of the advantage that has been
taken of war business, know what they are
t Lng about. The result is that our opinions
iJ: great business houses, wealthy enough
without bleeding their customers further, goes
considerably down in the scale as the result of
t1!107 remains for congress and the admin
istration to take steps that will teach these
profiteers a lesson. By no means should they
he allowed to continue high handed methods,
un the other hand, we havo no reason to
shudder with horror. That there should be war
and opportunity without someone taking ad
iai afVf lt is absurd to think about. We
81l02Jd,be Slad that the wolves have been un
earthed as quickly as they have. New Haven,
-. TAe taking over of the raifrpads by Secretary
McAdoo'must have been regarded by Mr. Hoover
and Mr. Garfield as in the nature of a godsend.
tfemg a kicking post all tho time tends to de
prive a thankless job of its flavor.
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