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Perfecting Protection

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The seuate is now engaged in remedying the small hnperfcctions of the Dingley toill, which, as all good protectionists assert, is one of the best tariff bilis ever drafted. It distributes its blessings to all - farmer, laborer and manufacturer. Without doubting the good intentions of the makers, we wish to suggest one or two minor details which might posslbly help the bill to fulfill the expectations of its anthors: First. - Lubin's export bounty soheme might enable the farmer to get a small slice of the benefits of protection. Of course the farmer doesn't expect - especially at first - to get as ranch of the benefits as the manufacturéis have been getting for 30 years. A protection of about 20 per cent - that is 10 cents per bushei onwheat, 5 cents on corn, etc. - would satisfy bini, whils it takes four times as much to satisfy ordinary tariff infanta. This small export duty would not make good the fariner's loss because of iraport duties on manufactured products, saying nothing about past losses, but in course of time, after his industry had feit the stimulating effects of real protection "wbat protects," the farmer might muster up courage enough to follow the example of Oliver Twist - which example has grown into a custom with protected interests - and ask for "more." Possibly also he might form political trusts or combines to demand "more" aud raise millions of dollars to send lobbies to Washington to bribe congress. While protection is in order export duties are the farmer's only hope. With them he may hope not only to change his losses to profits, but also to regain that power and position which were once his, but which have long since passed into the hands of the manufacturera. Second. - It is also fitting torecognize the laborer in the distribution of tariff profits. Like the farmer, he now puts ais hand into his pocket to helpswell the profits of protection, practically none of which comes his way. It is not an easy matter to equalize the benefits of protection so that the workingman shall get his ftill share. A prohibitiva duty on imported labor might in the course of time afford some protection by restricting the supply of tebor, so that manufacturers conld carry out their good intentions (expressed when asking for higher duties) and pay "American wages to American workinsmen. " At present the condition of workingmen in the protected industries is pitiable in the extreme. The Phüadelphia Ledger, a good Repnblican paper, told na about May 1 that in the protected iron and coal industries of Pennsylvania the wage rate has been reduced so low "that it is scarcely sufflcient to provide the necessaries of decent, sanitary living. "It says "the lowest classes of alien cheap labor swarrn in the iron and coal districts of the state, " and the competition for work is so fierce "that they contend, not against the employers for the highest wages, but among each other for the lowest?" "As appears by the testimony presented to the legislativo committee, they herd in squalor, subjects of abject penury, and are beset by disease, dirt and hunger. " The Ledger thinks our immigration laws are "defective and improvident" and suggests that "to properly protect American workmen congress should pass an immigration as well as a tariff bill. " This is a good idea and should be acted upon at once. The only wonder is that some of the good manufacturers, in their anxiety to protect and raise the wages of their ■workingnien, did not think of this plan before. Then, if they should have a law passed which should make it compulsory for theru to give at least one-half of their protection and monopoly proflts to their employees, protection would begin to be all aronnd blessing. The manufacturera might still be getting the lion'a share, but they wonld not get all, When these changes are made in the bill, it will undoubtedly be what the New York Tribune declared its prototype, the McKinley bill, to be - "the bravest and best tariff bill ever üassed. " Will they be madeï-


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News