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Greenback Prosperity

Greenback Prosperity image
Parent Issue
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OCR Text

A favorito argument of the advocates of au unlimited paper currency is this : The first issne of greenbacks was followed by great activity in business, plenty of employment for labor, and general prosperity; whereas a partial withdrawal of these same greenbacks, preparatory to resumption, has been followed by stagnation in business, a dearth of employment for labor and general misery; therefore, let us issue more greenbaeks, and we shall once more have active business, plenty of eraployment and general prosperity. This reasoning is very much as if a man should say : Last winter, when the thermometer stood at 40 deg., everybody was cool and comfortable, and the fur dealers and overcoat-makers did a thriving business; whereas now the thermometer stands at 80 deg. or 90 deg., and everybody is warm and perspiring, and nothing is doing excopt in tb e sale of linen coats, fans and icecream; therefore, let us put a lump of ice on the bulb of the thermometer and bring it down to 40 deg. again, and then we shall have winter weather, witli all tliat the name implies. The flood of paper inoney that was poured out on tbis country during the war had its source, in tlie first instance, in the necessitics of the war, and was accompanied by an extraordinary activity in tho manufacture of arma, ammunition, clothing, and ships, and by an enormoua consTiniption of food. At the same time over a million of men were withdrawn f rom productive industry and become consumers of the fruits of the industry of others. Europe was drawn j on for snpplies, and f nrnished them to j us in the most liberal manner - of course ! for a consideration. Everybody was ! busy, and everybody seemed to bc ! ing money. This same money, toj, ' everybody was afraid to keep af ter he i got it, because every day it was getting j worth less and less, andmanypeople 1 pectod it would eventuallybecomewoitli nothing at all. So everybody liastened to turn it, as fast as he gotit,'into erty. Prices went up and up, and it i looked as thongh they would go on up forever. Cotton sold for $1 a pound, cotton cloth for 25 cents a yard, wheat for $2.50 a bushei, a day 's unskilled labor for $9.50, a day's skilied labor for from $4 to 6, and so on. .lust as I the war euded, too, a rnUroad-building mania set in. Thousands of miles of railroad wtro built, which today hardly pay running expenses. Land along (hese railroads was bought on credit at from flOto $15 per acre, and houses were built on it at thren times tho price for which they conld be built now. City lots also went up to enormous figures, and made their owners feel rich. Then, when the bulíble was at the biggest, it bnrst. There was a rush to sell, just as there had been previously a rush to buy. We foünd that we had more milis and manufactories and railroads than we had use for, and that prairie land and city j lots were not worlh anything like the I prices they had been seliing at. Cottou ■■ and cotton goods and all other I factures tumbled two-thirds or three(insrtcrs in pricc, and those who hud bought them on credit or borrowed money were ruined. Now, because the crash wíis preceded by a contraction of the currency, and the previons fool's paradise had been accompanied by an inflation of the currency, nnthinking men jump to the conclusión that we have only got to bring back inHation to bring back with it the wild era of specnlation which we had when we had inflation before. Bnt, uuless we can also hive auother war, or auother railroadbuiiding mania, their expeatations aro j fallaciou'. We do not blame men who are sufferiog from the hard times, and who honestly believe that an additioual issne of greenbaoks would relieve them, for wanting more greon backs. If wethought as they do wc should want more greenbacks, too, If we were convinced that even one-tenth of thn misery of the unemployed poor could be put an end to by issuing a few hundreds of millions of dollars of paper money, we should say : Issue thetn by all rueans. But we are sure that suoh a measure would only tend to prolong and intensify tlie present distress, and wo therefore oppose it. The country needs a sound currency, conveitiblc on demand into specie, as the only basis of a healthy business. Capital needs to be assured of safety before it will seek investment in new enterprises, whereas the nsBaults made upon it nominally in the interest of the workingnian keep it loeked up, and deprive him of employment. The greenback domagogue is the workingman's worst enemy, because he is delaying the revival of enterprise, which only waits for the ceseation of flnancial aeitation to


Old News
Michigan Argus