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The Slavery Of A Tariff

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Editor Abgtts:- Under the head of "Impotence of Free Trade,'' the able editor of the Register declares against free trade, because it in no wise interferes with land monopoly and its consequent industrial slavery. It instauces free trade England aud quotes, Víctor Hugo regarding the iniquitous distribution of wealth there, and afterards asserts that the most horrible ontrasts between riches and poverty re to be found in that country. Unortunately for the protectionist argument, Víctor Hugo wrote those words efore free trade was inaugurated ín Sngland. But I would rise to remark that reat Britain does not exhibit the most orrid contrasts of riches and poverty. hat is reserved for the United States nd New York city, which has its twoundred-millionaires and poverty in enaments at which .London would tand aghast; while any capital in nrope could tell a more horrible tale it liad such tattlings newspapers and hilanthropists as that biggest of cities. 'he British workingman is íifty to a íundred per cent, better off than any ther European workingman. and that ause free trade opened opportunities or profitable labor, for his condition was as bad as other Europeans before ree trade was adopted. The instance is given of the Londoner who owns the ground on which forty housand people live, but what has the Register to say about the item in the Free Press last week, stating that the Astor family had made two hundred nd twenty millions out of real estáte uring the last forty years. That is, I udge the increased value which the and they owned has acquired during hat time. Putting the interest on ealty at 6 per cent their annual inome would be 13,200,000 from that and, the increase value of which was not caused by the industry, morality, nd economy of the Astois, but by the ndustry, morality and economy of the eople surrounding their lands, cMefly n New York. Land alone will not ield this interest, but the application f labor to land is needed, first, to mainain the laborer and then pay interest. Now the average wages of the Amercan laborer is stated al about $350 per year. Suppose tobeinside the mark that ie produces twice as much wealth as he uses, so that his yearly production of wealth Í3 5700, so that the Astors draw rom the laboring classes the product f the labor minus a bare living of 18,57 people- that is, nearly 19,000 eat, leep, work and die like horses, to pay he Astors interest on money which bey never invested. Of course they do ot own any special people who work n this way for their comfort, but they mve a "species of alchemy, whereby hey extract that from the community nd cali it rent," but ultimatelv the urden rests on the man who earns his read by the sweat of his brow. To uote from the Register "What is slavry if it isn't a system in which the many woik for the beneflt of the few.'' That high souled paper need not quotö Sngland any more against free trade. But the main idea that the Kegister s trying to make out is, that free trade annot cause a more equitable distribution of wealth; but I would quote an authority wbieb I think will be accepted- Thomas S. Sherman, of New York, who says regarding our system of taxation, of which the tariff is the largest part, "Out of every dollar which he has left after supplying his f amily, the laborer (including the farmer) pays 83 cents (in taxes) the rich man on the average 30 cents, and the railway kings, steel rail makers and other twenty millionaires 3 cents. Thus the tariïï has atremendous effect on the distribution of weath in that it absorbes almost all the poor man's savings and leaves the rich man's scarcely touched, thus widening the gulf between the rich and the poor. But the farmer is a striking example. He who owns land that ought to yield a good living and profit in return for his labor, has the purchasing power of his produce reduced until farms are mortgaged at a frightf ul rate, and farmers are in many instances very poor although hard working. The millions of farmers are taxed, they say that there may be a diversity of production, but the result is that the farmer has to pav all the wav up to a [ïundred per cent more for what buys of lumber, salt, farming impliments, hardware, carpets, lui, etc, in order that the protective monopolists and trust manufacturéis may pay beggarly wages to a few thousand men and roll up collossal fortunes for themselves. Truly, '"What is slavery if it isn't a system in which the many work for the beneñt of the few," and if that Í3 slavery Uien the protective tariff is the cause of part o ït in America.


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