Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/459

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455
TARIFF REVISION

denced in the last campaign. Mr. Taft said to labor, "I will give you what you deserve, neither more nor less," and that statement secured for him the biggest labor vote ever given a president. So always of American labor. Upon sober thought it wants what it deserves, neither more or less.

The statements made before the Ways and Means Committee within the last few days by those who wish to bolster wretched rates imply that it takes about two American mechanics to do the work of one European, as measured in wages. Except in tariff-making we hear that it takes two Europeans to equal one American. Let us not hastily declare that high wages and other splendid considerations given American labor are an economic loss. It pays to give men a good education; it pays to feed them well, to give them meat twice a day. Porterhouse steaks are good for a workingman, if he will only work hard enough to earn them. And ours do. Manufacturers usually say that their highly-paid men are the cheapest. This statement can be made internationally also. Said J. B. Sargent, a great New England manufacturer of hardware:

I ship abroad most successfully those of my products which carry the largest amount of the highest paid American labor. I have little success with those which carry either cheap labor or little labor.

I mention steel and other important products only as examples. The tariff is as bad generally in textiles. For instance, it lays extra heavy burdens upon the poor man's purchases and induces the sale of shoddy and cotton as good wool. It affects chemicals, even the medicines of the sick. It reaches in all directions.

As Mr. Taft has said, a doctor will not cut off a patient's head to cure a cold. We must not destroy in seeking to correct. The tariff must be taken out of politics and put into the hands of a semi-judicial, non-partisan commission composed of men especially of the highest integrity, who shall investigate schedule by schedule and report their findings in the form of recommendations to Congress and the executive. The right to make tariffs rests wholly in Congress; a commission can only recommend, as it did in Germany. We must believe that the Congress of the United States will legislate justly and wisely if only it is fully informed. The commission must be given authority and independence only that it may be efficient as the servant of Congress.

The commission idea is not new. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of commissions, national, state and municipal. Most of the great legislative reforms of this generation were based upon the findings of commissions. There is a tremendous movement now in favor of a tariff commission. We shall have one soon, it being only a question whether this next tariff will be based upon the findings of a commission or whether this tariff will be the last one to be made after the old fash-