Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/458

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up against the consumer until the latter all but rebels. Consumption is limited; margins are reduced. There are 216,000 manufacturing establishments in the United States. Of these about 175,000 are still upon the competitive basis. The trusts not only charge these competitive manufacturers excessive prices for their supplies, but they sell abroad at less price, so that such of these 175,000 independents as formerly competed to advantage upon highly finished products as against European manufacturers, in neutral markets like South Africa and the Argentine are now unable successfully to compete. They are losing out in foreign trade.

Also many trusts, those in steel and hides, for instance, own subsidiary corporations that compete with the independents. These trusts charge high prices for raw material and through their subsidiary companies make the finished product at so little above the price of the raw material as to leave no margin for the independents, who must either be given relief by tariff betterment or go out of business.

An excessive tariff like the Dingley is a blow at labor. This has not been sufficiently emphasized. A reduction in the tariff to the level required by Mr. Taft's principle of measurement will give the laborers of this country three chances for a raise in wages with no chances for a decline. This raise would come (1) through a lesser cost of living, (2) by increased employment, for with a lowering of prices must come an increased demand, (3) higher daily wages. A manufacturer can pay his employers only a part of what is left in the till after the bills for materials are paid. A return to moderate but ample protection will increase the profits of competitive manufacturers. In such increased prosperity labor always shares.

And so at the behest of trusts Congress made a tariff in the name of labor which has been a blow to labor.

None has been so befooled as the farmers. A glittering nickel, as it were, has been held before the farmer's eyes as it might before a babe's, and while he has looked at the nickel his pockets have been rifled of dollars. The farmer, for instance, has been given a tariff of 15 cents per bushel on corn, a product of which he has almost exclusive control, the crop of 1908 being valued at one quarter million of dollars. Last year the government raised tariff revenue the great sum of $2.78 on imports of corn from Cuba and about $1,400.00 from the rest of the world. Likewise as to eggs. Five cents per dozen protection, $27,000 imported and $300,000,000 produced at home. Against such trifling and almost insulting gift to the farmer, he is overcharged on his implements, on his clothing, on his shoes and almost everything he buys, overcharged in all about $250,000,000 per year.

The efficiency of the American mechanic has been wretchedly minimized. The character of our laboring population was splendidly evi-