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Consumers Never Petition Congress

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The American Economist asks with a great deal of satisfaction, "Will the 'refonner' please teil us why the only petition for tree vvool carne from a few 3elfish free raw material manufacturers?" and adds as a clincher to this question: "We should think that if the object of the measure were really to provide cheaper clothing for the masses, petitions asking for it.s passage would have come in from all sections of the country, bearing the signatures of thousands of poor, taxed consuniers. But this was not so." It might be inferred from the way in which the question is put that duties are charged only at the request of consumers and not at the behest of selfiah manufacturers. Nothing coüld be farther from the truth. The effects upon the consumer are spread out over so many, and the myriad of those upon whom the tari ff bears most heavily - the poor - understand so little the cause of their burdens that petitions seldom if ever come from this class. It ia those who are to be benefited by protective tariffs - rich, selfish, grasping manufacturera - it is these comparatively few who petition congress and send paid attorneys to the lobbies, and who by bribes and threats get the duty that will rob each of the 63,000,000 consumera of but a few cents or dollars, but which will put thousands or millions of dollar into their pockets. For instance, the onehalf cent duty per pound on refined sugar is now costing each consumer only about forty cents per year - so trifling a snm to each that no petition against the duty has ever been presented to congress, and yet it means an extra profit of $25,000,000 a year to the eighteen or twenty refiners who compose the sugar trnst. And it is these latter who have always appeared in the lobbies and committee rooms of congress in opposition to any restriction of duty. It is the f ear of this trust that now prevenís both parties from removing a duty which produces no revenue. The Democratie ways and means committee would gladly remove it, but they believe a free sugar bill could not pass the senate and would only enable the Republicans to, "fry the fat" out of this trust dnring the campaign. The Economist !:nows well enough that this is the regular order of procedure, and henee its pretended surprise is only to deceive its credulous readers.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News