nomic writers admit this, and I never heard it questioned before. Under the present system of taxation taxes are shifted from the landlord to the tenant, from the creditor to the debtor, from the manufacturer to the consumer, from the corporations to their patrons—in a word, from capital to labor.
The second proposition, that the rich create their wealth, is equally untenable. Manipulation and production are totally different. No person can add to the actual wealth of the nation, unless he be an inventor, a million dollars; it is beyond the power of production; but by manipulation, by donations, and by legislation, men may possess millions, but they never created them. Instead of the rich adding to the nation's wealth they take from it, by depriving the producers of the capital which they need to make their work effective; there is a limited amount of money, and when concentrated in the hands of a few the real workers are at a disadvantage, and the amount of wealth produced by them is perceptibly lessened. This applies to the farmers, to most manufacturers, and to business men generally.
Neither in the statement of the question nor in the argument is there a distinction made between business men. The tradesman who with difficulty keeps from insolvency, or actually fails, is classed by Mr. Mann with the Stewarts and the Vanderbilts. No one complains of the great body of business men. As a rule, their profits are not too large. They would make more money if the farmers and the wage-earners were prosperous. Those who are responsible for all the complaints, for all the injustice, for agricultural depression, are the seventy-five thousand who own more than half the wealth of the country, and whose wealth is due to class legislation, to a vicious system of taxation, to national and State donations, to swindling the people through the agency of corporations and limited partnerships, and to gambling in securities and the necessaries of life.