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The Supreme Issue

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Good government is impossible under a protective tariff. It appeals to gree.d and selfishness for support. It makes men dishonest. As Herbert Spencer says, the principie of protection brings with it a brood of evils more incompatible with good government than all its unjust money exactions. And W. L. Wilson; in a Forum article, truly declares that it wrests government from the service of all and turns it over to the service of a class. He quotes one of our early statesmen who said that it bestows upon government "the worldly omnipotence that changes political campaigns from contests for general principies into battles for private booty." This, certainly, is what protectionists are struggling for this year. Tariff reform is imperatively needed because honest government is impossible without it. Eribers will baffle even the secret ballot when their object is plunder by legislation. For example, the sugar trust, the interest of which in tariff spoliation amounts to many million dollars a year, can hire votes enough to stay away from the polls in a cljse state when tariff booty is the issue. Voters and law-makers are both corrupted. A permanent and paid congressional lobby is a part of the protective system. We know of a man who has been paid $2,500 a year for over twenty years by drug and chemical manufacturers to watch and influence tariff legislation. Carpet manufacturers uséd to contribute as high as ten thousand dollars each a year to prevent tariff reform, and the money was mostly spent in Washington. Millions of dollars have been , used at the national capital in the past twenty-five years for that purpose. Good government is no more possible under such conditions than a powder factory could be run in an old-fashioned tophet. Senator Beek told the truth when he said, while the tariff bill of 18S3 was under consideration in congress: "Close the doors this morning and there will be found five hundred men in the corridors, in the lobbies, in the committee roorqs, in the reception room, everywhere, beseiging senators and representatives to stand by them and their interests. Promises, flattery, threats - everything is resorted to." Senator Plumb was equally explicit. He said: "The moment it was announced that it was to be discussed there came to this city from all quarters of the country scores of men interested in the industries to be affected by the tariff, who came to counsel, came to advise, came to cajole, and came to threaten, almost, in some cases, I have no doubt." No gambling heil can be much worse than the national capítol during a revisión of the tariff. Greed and avarice are there centered to make raids upon the earnings of the people. This corrupt and corrupting system we are seeking to overthrow, in the interests of good government and the plundered masses. It is the supreme issue. No other question is of equal importance. Sb long as legislation can be perverted, as it is, by a protective tariff, and made a means of plundering the many for the gain of a few, good government is


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News