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Against The Silver Basis

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Prof. F. M. TaylorMpnday evening , discissed "Some Recent Phai-es of the Mivu-tary System in the United Stattrs." His trearment of this comphcated subject was ciear and i partisan although his posiüon was stated in an unmistakeable raanner. The Professor severely criticised our present monetary system, atating that it was complex, unstable, insecure, inelastic, and in general bad. We have three kinds of money in circulation: i. Gold, the standard or real money, worth as much in bullion as in coin, of which there are in circulation in the United States 600 millions; 2. Credit moneys, made up of greenbacks, 346 millions; treasury notes, 153 millions; and bank notes, 209 millions; 3. Semicredit moneys, which include 419 millions of silver dollars, worth 49 cents each; and 65 millions of subsidiary coins, worth even less per dollar. All credit moneys are redeerned by the United States on deuiand,in gold. Silver dollars are not redeemed, but can be exchanged for credit moneys and these are redeemed. For purposes of redemption the government keeps a reserve futid of 100 millions, and this has been as low as 65 millions. The outcome of the attempt to keep these 1200 millions of creditor semicredit moneys upon a par with these 600 millions of gold, and with such a paltry reserve as 65 millions, is extremely uncertain. The realization of this uncertainty was what caused the beginning of the present panic. Everybody wished to be prepared for the coming earthquake, and so money disappeared as by magie, simply from lack of confidence in the government's ability to redeem, and henee in the security of banks. The bond issue to increase the reserve will avail little, for every man has the right to exchange at the treasury any amount of other money for gold. Congressman Bland admitted recently in debate that he did not expect under free coinage a parity to be maintained between gold and silver. This means the silver basis. His bill to increase the amount of silver money by coining the seigniorage is but the thin edge of the wedgé which is to accomplish that basis. Is silver, wheat, etc, falling or is gold rising? Gold is not rising if we judge by wages. The most reliable set of reports the census department ever put forth shows that carpenters in 1840 received on an average for ten hours' work, $1.50; in 1860, $2.00; and in 1891, $3. 50. Judged by some kinds of goods, gold is not rising. The same report shows that a bill of goods such as a workingman would be likely to need for a week's supplics cost $10.22 in 1840, 10.73 in 1860, and $12.17 n 1891. The silver basis means that a $10 dension would be worth #5, and a similar reduction for all those whose income depends upon a salary, an annuity, interest on instruments, or wages. We can not afford to go to a silver basis while Europe maintains a gold basis, for our export would be immensely increased and the silver we should receive in return would rapidly deprecíate, leaving us bankrupt.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News