Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/452

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the broad ground of principle. Fundamentally illogical, it is clumsy as a means of raising revenue, incurably inequitable in its application to the business of the country, corrupt and demoralizing in the way it is made into law, in the relation it forms between the government and the citizen, and in its creation of vested rights that too soon become vested wrongs. Hence arises a natural difficulty in discussing such a subject. Tariff revision? The only suitable revision is to revise it out of existence, except upon luxuries and articles coming under internal revenue taxation. It is difficult, also, to give serious attention to a complicated scheme of what Bastiat has so happily called "negative railways"—duties whose sole object is to increase the "friction of exchange," to heap up obstacles to commerce in the place of those which railways, steamship lines and good roads are provided and constructed to remove.

Considerably more force might be given to this general discussion by taking up some individual articles, such as iron and steel, or borax, or lumber, or wool, or hides, and applying the argument to it alone. Or a particular manufacturing business might be taken, as agricultural implements, or shoes, or carpets, and the effect of protecting its raw material be individually considered. Although the general principle applies throughout, it is quite natural that its illustrations should be easier to draw, and clearer to see, in some lines than others. Particular cases have been the theme of the weeks recently spent, and pages on pages printed, in the investigation by the Ways and Means Committee of Congress. With a general impression that that committee is likely to do as little as it can, it may nevertheless be fairly complimented on the interesting body of testimony it has heard and published.

Since the problem of tariff revision, here and now, is largely one of psychotherapy—how to "minister to a mind diseased"—since the only evil in tariff reduction is a direct result of the expectation of evil from it, just as panics result from a disappearance of confidence—the Ways and Means Committee method of looking for a solution may not be so hopelessly bad, after all. It is of vital concern to escape the general panic that might follow from the conviction of many men that lower duties would play havoc with them; and it is therefore proper enough to see and hear those men, and thus ascertain how delicately cases like theirs must be treated. Individually, no doubt, minds of this type are as little significant as the separate organisms that are collectively the cause of trichinosis, or typhoid, or cholera; but, like the same weak or undeveloped organisms, their number may be enough to give them a grave importance. Among the things that were with certainty predicted of this Ways and Means inquiry was that it would not recommend or introduce any measure that would reduce the percentage of protection to the excess of labor-cost of production in the