The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, February 01, 1922, Page 2, Image 2

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The Commoner
VOL. 22, NO. 2
Why Not Tax the
1 $
Secretary Mellon is protesting against the sol
diers' bonus on the ground that it will require
now taxation. Ho expresses himBolf against the
salos tax and the renewal of the tax on excess
profits. Of course ho opposes the renewal of the
tax on tho profiteers; ho is largely responsible
for the fact that tho tax was taken off the prof
itoora. It was estimated that tho excess profits
tax would raise four hundred fifty millions this
year. Ho not only favored tho repeal of that
tax but tried to make it retroactive so that it
would bo virtually a gift of that much- to tho
profiteers. Ho oven wont farther and recom
mended a reduction of tho tax on largo incomes,
asking that tho rate be cut down from sixty-five
per cent to a maximum of thirty-two per cent.
He wont so far as to ask that this also be made
retroactive. This would have been a gift of
ninety millions for this year to tho men with
big incomes. Tho bill was so bad that a Repub
lican caucus of tho Houso could not swallow it;
by a majority of nine tho Republican caucus
struck out tho retroactive clause and thus salved
for the treasury five hundred forty millions
(four hundred and fifty million excess profits
tax and ninety millions on large incomes). The
Hottse followod Secretary Mellon's suggestion
and repealed tho tax on oxcess profits- and re
duced the tax on big incomes to a maximum of
thirty-two per cent. Tho agricultural bloc in
tho Sonato organizod a fight against this reduc
tion and succeeded in raising the rate to fifty
per cent oighteen per cent above the amount
recommended by Secretary Mellon,
When the bill went into conference tho Demo
crats of the Houso secured ninety-three Republi-
can votes and sustained tho Senate, thus de
feating Secretary Mellon on the proposition. ,
But this is by way of introduction. The ques
tion now arises: How shall we raise tho money
necessary to pay the soldiers' bonus? The easiest
and most just way isto restoro tho tax on prof
iteers, If there is a'nybody who can afford to
pay additional taxation it is tho man who col
lects an unfair profit from the public. If the
law would fix an arbitrary rato as a reasonable
profit and then put a progressive tax on all prof
its above a reasonable proilt, the government
would not only raise a large sum and raise it
equitably but the tax would act as a restraint
upon those who now collect unreasonable prof
it. Tho masses are in bad shape; the farmers
are In worse condition than they have been for
thirty years. Tho laboring men are not all at
work and those at work are for the most part
working lor reduced wages in many cases the
wages ha,vo fallon more rapidly than retail
prices, so that there is actual injustice to the
producing masses. Instead of laying an addition
al burden upon those already overburdened,
justice would lead to the enactment of a law
which will put the burden upon those who are
wronging the people by exaggerated profits.
These are comparatively few in number and,
therefore, their resentment against the soldiers
because of the tax could not bo harmful. Any
special tax that is levied upon any large class is
likely to be regarded as unjust whereas a tax
upon the profiteers would aid tho soldiers while
it satisfied" the demands of justice and pleased
the general public.
. The Democrats have an opportunity here to
render a real service to the soldiers and at the
same time a real service to the public. Let the
profiteers bear any special burden that the sol
ders bonus makes necessary. W, J. BRYAN.
The Associated Press publishes a statement
made by Prohibition Commissioner Haynes,
which presents a conclusive endorsement of pro
hibition. Tho drink bill is reduced two billions
of dollars in a year. The arrests for drunken
ness are reduced from three hundred and six
teen thousand to one hunded and seven thou
sand. Seventeen and a half millions of drinkers
have quit drinking.
Here are three facts, What patriot can ask
for a return of tho saloon in any form? Who
will ask that seventeen and half millions of
persons be led back into tho liquor habit? Who
will ask that two billions of dollars shall bo
taken from the purchase of food and clothing
and wasted upon drink? Who will ask for the
return of a system that will increase tho num
ber of arrests for drunkenness from one hundred
seven thousand to three hundred and sixteen
thousand the number in 1917?
Prohibition is a success and it is hero to stay.
-From Tho Miami", Pla Herald.
Tho Senate, by a vote of 63 to 9, adopted an'
amendment to the Federal Reserve Bank act di
recting President Harding in making appoint
ments to tho board to have "due regard to a fair
representation of the financial, agricultural, in
dustrial and. commercial interests and geographi
cal divisions of the country."
This is a groat step in advance. The Com
moner, in its October 1921 issue, urged this
change in an editorial under the caption, "Make
Roserve Board Representative," as follows:
"It took a good while to get Agriculture, La
bor and Commerce represented in the President's
cabinet. These three great groups were not rep
resented until within forty years. A Secretary of
Agriculture was provided for something more
than thirty years ago, then a Secretary of Com
merce, then a Secretary of Labor.
"These three groups' ought to be represented
on the Federal Reserve Board. That board, by
regulating the currency, exerts a large influence
on the farmer, the laborer, and tho business
man. The Reserve Board deflated the farmer;
it is largely responsible for the sudden drop of
nearly one-half in farm prices. Indeed, this
drop now stands in the way of returning pros
perity. No farmer had a voice in the decision
that so affected his welfare. Why not have
as one of the Directors of the Reserve Board a
FARMER who actually FARMS and is, therefore
in sympathy with agriculture? '
"If the farmer cannot buy, the manufacturers
can not keep their mills going, and when tho
mills close down labor is thrown out of employ
ment. The Federal Reserve Board is, therefore
.largely responsible- for the present industrial
condition. Why not have as a Director on tho
Federal Reserve Board a LABORER who LA
BORS and, therefore, is in sympathy with the
"The third group in size and Importance is tho
ZktT;?01, thG banker Wh0 assumes tS
speak for the business man, but tho business
man who, instead of being a banker himself is
a patron of the bank and is, therefore, an acute
sufferer if the Reserve Board contracts ihe cur
rency. Why not have as a Director on the Re
serve Board a BUSINESS MAN who is NOT
a banker but a man in sympathy with the busi
ness men of the country? usl
"What logical objection can there be to such
a reorganization of the Federal Reserve Board
as will make it impossible for lawyersbankers
and college professors to have entire cont?ol of
it? Surely tho farmer, tho laborer, and the
business men who constitute at least thrPP
The Senate amendment carries out the nolicv
advocated by The Commoner oh to rep?efen
tion for the agricultural interests. The 'WW
cultural bloc" deserves credit for Its part in st
Sl!i?Sit?eS?opcflo,l-OJf ihe awenament. W co
gratulate the Senate and ihe farmers.
The Farmers
Press dispatches indicate that the farmer
aroused as never before in thirty years ri
are going into politics why not? Big busC
is in politics; the financiers are in politics- ihl
profiteers are in politics; why should the farm
ers bo the only Indifferent ones?
Some thirty years ago a European statesman
said: "The non-producers produce more lawn
than the producers of wealth." That is truo
and so long as the farmer gives his exclusive
attention to the ol.d jnjow and leaves the produc
ing of tho laws to the non-producers he will not
meet them at the summer resorts.
Every time the farmer asks anything he is told
that the thing which he demands is impractic
able. It took him a generation to secure tho
farm loan bank, and then a banking corporation
held the loan up for many months, causing hun
dreds of millions of dollars injury to the farm
ers. The farmer knows that this government can
do anything that is necessary for the protec
tion of the people. If the Constitution stands
in the way of any needed law, -the Constitution
can be amended, as it was in the case of tho
Income Tax.
The power of the government to protect the
people is as complete in time of peace as m time
of war. The only question to be decided is
whether it is necessary to exercise tho powei.
If the American people believe that agricul
ture is so menaced as to jeopardize the nation's
welfare, they can fix a minumum price in lime
of peace. as well as in time of war. They can
stabilizo the staple farm products, like wheat
and corn, cotton, and wool, for instance.
The people can fix the rate of income for mid
dlemen as well as for bankers. The power of
the people to protect themselves is full and com
plete. Let tho people study these quest'ons, de
cide upon what they need and then select can
didates to write their wishes into law. This is
a people's government if the people will only
take char?n of it. If big business runs the gov
' eminent, it M run it in the interests of big
business; if the financiers run the government, it
will be run in the interests of the financiers;
if the middlemen run the government, it will
be run in the interests of the middlemen; if
the people, as a whole, run the government, they
will run it in the interests of the people as a
whole. Why not let the people rule? As the
farmers constitute a very large percentage of
the people, they are in position to get about
what they want when they want it badly enough
to demand it, and stand by the demand.
Congressman Bankhead of Alabama has in
troduced a bill (H. R. 6048) wliich provides for
the reclamation of overflowed lands. It fol
lows the plan that has been employed for the
reclamation of arid lands and the reasons are
identical. The. purpose q reclamation is the ad
dition of waste lands to the tillable areas and
swamp lands are not only as valuable when
drained as arid lands are when watered but the
submerged lands are, as a rule, much nearer tho
markets so that the acre value of the products is
Many of these overflowed lands are in the
south where the season is longer and where two
crops, can sometimes be raised. Much of the
land to be reclaimed is near enough to the sea
coast to have the advantage of ocean freights.
The Bankhead bill ought to have the unani
mous support of the senators and members.
On another page will be found a resolution
adopted at a meeting- of the 'Nebraska bankers
at Omaha recently. The resolution constitutes
the strongest possible endorsement of the value
of Nebraska's bank guaranty law, and sub
stantiates every claim made by the sponsors of
the law at the time of its enactment.
Nebraska's bank guaranty law has stood the
supreme test, and has proven a bulwark of
strength to the banking and business interests
of the state in time of stress. This law was
passed by a Democratic legislature.
The Commoner was ah early advocate of the
bank guaranty law, both for sta'te banks and for
national banks. The principle was embodied in
a plank 1n the Democratic national platform ot
1908. Every state bank and national bans
Bhould have their deposits guaranteed for tiie
protection -of tho depositors. '
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