Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

115 to 200 per cent.; and they do not come here. The American manufacturer charges 70 to 100 per cent. more than the Englishman, and is secured against competition. Who pays that difference ? Not the Englishman, because he does not send any such goods, but keeps them all at home. If the American poor man who wears the goods does not pay it no one pays it. But the American manufacturer gets it from somebody.

Nothing can be more absurd than such a theory. Occa. sionally, of course, a foreign manufacturer pays part of the duty, when he happens to send goods in a bad season and they sell at a loss. But no foreigner is so foolish as to send his goods constantly to be sold at a loss. After one or two losses, he keeps his goods at home for better times. The great bulk of the tariff tax is paid by our own people.

It cannot be too often repeated that protective taxes are necessarily ten times more burdensome to the poor than to the rich. No man can pay taxes out of anything except what he saves out of his income after paying the cost of his living. If it costs, without taxes, $400 a year to support a family (and that is all that nine-tenths of the American fam. ilies have to live upon), then the man who earns $500 has $100 out of which to pay taxes, while he whose income is $50,000 has $49,500 for taxation. The present system of taxation takes, on an average, about $80 a year from each, if they live alike, but about $3,000 from the richer man if he spends $15,000 a year. Thus, from every $100 saved by the poor, taxation takes $80. From every $100 saved by the rich and luxurious it takes $8. From every $100 saved by the rich and stingy it takes only 16 cents.

7.-WHO CAN BE PROTECTED BY PROTECTION ? Every one can see that protection against foreign competition can only protect those who are exposed to such competition. No one can ever get any direct benefit from protection who is engaged in making something which cannot possibly be made abroad, or doing something in America which can. not possibly be done outside of America. Thus, domestic servants cannot get any benefit from the system because our dinners cannot be cooked nor our houses cleaned by people who live in Europe. House builders cannot receive any benefit from protection because a three-story brick house, all complete, cannot be shipped from Europe, just yet. Storekeepers cannot be protected because we cannot buy our goods at retail from European shops. Farmers growing wheat, corn, and other grain cannot be protected because this country raises all the grain that it needs and has an immense surplus every year for export. A little grain comes from Canada, but only to those parts of the United States which are nearer to Canada than to the great grainproducing States. Railroad builders have nothing to gain from protection, because, although rails may be made in England, railroads cannot be made there for us. No one engaged in the business of interior transportation can be protected because nothing can be carried to and fro in our own country by people who do not live in this country. The great mass of manufacturers cannot be protected because their work could not possibly be done anywhere but right here. Professional men, such as ministers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and the like, must be on the spot in order to render service; therefore protection can do them no good. Clerks and all salesmen and saleswomen, dressmakers, milliners and all persons who make things especially to order or to fit par. ticular persons, can derive no benefit from protection, because their work could not be done anywhere except here. Finally, all persons who are not directly engaged in the production of any particular article for sale, including nearly all women and children, can get no benefit from protection, because whatever work they do is of a kind which could not be done anywhere but at home.

Now, leaving out all these classes, there are not, among the 54,000,000 of people of the United States, as many as 500,000 who can possibly derive any direct benefit from the taxation called “protection." But even this number has to be largely reduced. For all the direct benefit of protection goes necessarily to the employers in a few branches of production, namely, the manufacture of metals, cotton, woolen, and silk goods, and some chemicals, and the growing of wool, sugar, rice, and hemp. To allow 50,000 employers as engaged in these branches of protection would be an exag. geration; for the census shows less than 10,000 manufacturing concerns under these heads; but still I am willing to concede that number. This is the outside number of persons who can possibly receive any direct benefit from protection.

The whole benefit of protection consists in raising the price of some of these articles by preventing foreign goods of the same kind being imported in such.quantities as to cut down the price and reduce the quantity which will be made in America. Now, of course, the whole profit made on this advance in price goes in the first instance into the pockets of the employers. When the goods are sold it is not the work. men who receive the price, but the employers. Thus the direct benefit of the tariff is confined exclusively to these few employers. I know it is said that their profits are and must be divided with the workmen by increasing their wages; but all that I call attention to now is the fact that, in the first instance, the whole profit of the tariff necessarily goes to the employers, and to them alone.

VI.-HOW PROTECTION PROTECTS WAGES. We have now come in due order to the great point which protectionists make on behalf of their system. They are never weary of claiming that it increases wages. The American Protectionist of March 25, 1882, says:

“DOES PROTECTION PROTECT LABOR ?-If it does not pro

tect labor it protects nothing. The only serious difficulty in the way of our manufacturers, in competing with their foreign rivals is, of course, the price they are compelled to pay their workmen.”

Let us see, then, how far protection increases wages:

1. It has already been made clear, I trust, that the only way in which protection can increase wages is by giving to the manufacturers of a few classes of goods larger profits, out of which they can, if they choose, pay higher wages. But it is equally clear that there is no law or public senti. ment wbich compels them to do so. They pay no greater wages than they are obliged to do by general competition among employers. When thė amount of protection is raised they do not increase wages because of that. In July, 1882, the tax on imported socks and other knit goods was raised from 35 per cent. to 80 per cent. Not only did the manufacturers of these goods fail to increase wages, but within four months afterwards they held a conference for the purpose of cutting down the wages of their workmen. In 1872 the protection on iron, wool, and cotton goods was reduced 10 per cent., and wages were raised. In 1875 the protection on these goods was raised 11 per cent., and wages were reduced that same year and for four years thereafter. Early in 1880 a strong attempt was made in Congress, with fair prospects of success, to reduce the duty on steel rails from $28 a ton to $10. While this was agitated the steel rail manufacturers paid their workmen higher wages than they had done for five years previously. They kept up these wages until a new Congress was elected which was known to contain a majority of protectionists, who would not allow the steel rail duty to be materially reduced. Just before that Congress assembled the steel-rail manufacturers gave notice to their men of a reduction of wages. About fifteen months afterwards another attempt was made to reduce the duty on steel rails, and as soon as that was defeated the manufacturers gave notice of another and a larger reduction of wages. On the other hand, in 1879, all the tax on imported quinine was suddenly abolished. So far from reducing wages, the quinine manufacturers soon afterwards increased them, and largely increased their own production of quinine. These are facts; and protectionists are never weary of telling you that an ounce of facts is worth a ton of theory.

Take another class of facts, applicable to a wide range of manufacturers. The highest tariff taxes upon iron that were ever known in this country were levied from 1828 to 1840. During that period, as the manufacturers testified before a protectionist committee of Congress, they made no increase of wages whatever. Between 1840 and 1842 the duties on iron were reduced, with no perceptible effect upon wages. In the middle of 1842 the duties were more than doubled, and remained high until December, 1846. Official inquiries being made in the autumn of 1845, not one manufacturer pretended that he had increased wages. In December, 1846, the duties were cut down about one-third, and so remained until July, 1857. The manufacturers during that period very largely increased wages in the iron trade as well as in every other. There never was before, and there never has been since, so rapid an advance in the wages of manufacturing workmen of all classes, estimated in gold value, as between 1846 and 1860; during which time the tariff taxes were lower than they have ever been at any other time since 1812.

2. The census of 1880 shows conclusively that the highest wages are paid by those employers who are not, and cannot be, benefited by protection, and that the lowest wages are paid by the protected classes. The average annual wages of all the persons employed in manufactures were $346. The average wages of employés in the protected cotton man. ufacture were $244, in the protected woolen manufacture

« НазадПродовжити »