Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/455

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455
TARIFF REVISION

to us as a people, economically and morally. If there is an honest rate in the present tariff I am unable to name it after two or three years of study, and if shown one I should be obliged to think it accidental. It could not have come upon careful consideration and exhaustive determination, for there has been no governmental process by which a rate could be made scientific and right. Our tariffs have been made by men almost wholly inexperienced in that work. Mr. McKinley, for instance, was the only man of previous experience among the majority members of the committee which framed the McKinley bill. The stories as to who wrote the schedules are scandalous, and, I judge, are true.

I know, for instance, that Mr. McKinley said to the head of an important industry: "Of course I do not know what rates you should have. You make them out "and be fair about it." The gentleman addressed consulted others in his industry, and recommended some of his principal products for the free list because they were made more cheaply here than abroad, and were sold abroad higher than the domestic price. Mr. McKinley so recommended to his committee, but greedy men intervened and a miscalled protection was given in the bill of 65 per cent. It still bears about that rate and is still exported in large quantities at better than domestic prices.

So of the Wilson bill. Only three members of the majority upon that Ways and Means Committee, possessed previous experience and that as minority members upon the McKinley committees, where they had too great consideration for the majority even to be present when the real work was done. These three men with others wholly inexperienced made the Wilson bill. It was this so-called free trade Wilson bill that, by a wretched hocus-pocus, put Standard Oil upon the free list and gave at the same time a protective duty of 100 per cent, at an annual cost to the American people of about $40,000,000 per year. That lying "protection" was continued in the Dingley bill. When H. H. Rogers, manager of the Standard Oil Company, was asked how he got this protection from the "free trade" Wilsonites, he put his head back and laughed. There could be no better comment from his standpoint.

And from that day to this the Honorable S. E. Payne and John Dalzell have been on the committee "standing pat"—poker-playing as it were—with the people's money, playing the "game" with intent to lose, and losing in twelve years to the Oil Trust alone $360,000,000 of the people's money and to other trusts ten times more.

The free-trade Wilson bill also gave a high protection to sugar, and the sugar people offered money in large amounts for votes. The protection given them caused sugar stocks to advance ten points in fortyeight hours. Said President Cleveland of the Wilson bill—" Bought, bought, bought."