Newspaper Page Text
JUNE 7, 1912
The Commoner. centage of what it can bo made to pay. Last summer, while abroad, I saw such a line in N6rmandy, but lately taken over, vastly improved in service and management, giving the best of satisfaction to the public and promising eventually a fine return to the government. In Germany, where less than 3,500 miles of railroad are privately owned, the net revenue to the government annually is approximately- 50,000,000. From 1887 to 19 0G clear surpluses were handed the government exchequer by the minister of railways aggregating 293,000,000; twice the amount of the capital debt of the railways in 1882. During that time the nation saved just that much in taxation, and without this income many of the gov ernment expenditures, necessary to the public welfare, would have been impossible. "What has been done abroad may be accomplished in the United States. Whatever capitalization may be fixed by the government as necessary should be forever restricted against increase, and the bonds should be made perpetual, thereby constituting an irreducible debt. No person should be permitted to hold more than $1,000,000 of these bonds. A limitation of $500,000 would be even better. Such a limitation would work no hardship on the "widows and orphans," though it might peeve some of the multi-millionaires who have been overlong "on the inside." These bonds should be of small de nominations, say from $10 up, as an inducement to the workingman to in vest his savings therein. They could be sold over the counter through the system of postal savings banks. They would make an ideal and absolutely safe investment for the man of limited means. With the government ever ready to redeem them they would provide a security on a parity, with actual cash. The laboring man would enjoy the same privilege as the millionaire of hav ing a financial interest in the nation. Each bond would be his certificate ' of ownership in the government, long boasted by the campaign trial horses to be of the people, by the people and for the people. Finally the working man would be getting a square deal. With the postal savings banks loaning in turn to the national banks in the localities where deposits are made there would be a more equit able distribution of money through out the country. As a result there would be a renewed and deeper con fidence, a more general and wide spread prosperity, a keener and more personal interest in things govern mental on the part of the average man. It would tend to elevate the standard of citizenship and render more alert the watchfulness of offi cial actions in Washington. Our representatives in congress would be required to exert a truer and more earnest effort in behalf of the whole people and to evince a less solicitous consideration for the welfare of special privilege. And the people wouldown the railroads in very truth! Such an ownership on the part of the government would not provide against the energy which builds; it would conserve it. But it would for ever wipe out the unscrupulous greed which extorts from the masses for the enrichment of the few. . Although the United States has more miles of railroad than all the nations of the world combined, thous ands of miles will yet be needed as the population increases. The roads will earn vastly more in the future than in the past, though perhaps more legitimately. Under govern ment supervision, scientifically and economically managed as the mail service has been the last year, the failroads would easily meet all in terest charges, the expense of main tenance, make necessary extensions and yet have a sufficient surplus to go far toward meeting the ordinary oxpensos of the government in less than ten years. Tariff for revenue only would be possible and the cost of living would be materially re duced. With tho injection of even moderate economy rates could be re duced 25 per cent within a decade. The big, underlying incentive for speedy action toward government ownership, however, Is tho desir ability, aye the imperative necessity, of readjusting the relations of indus try and commerce which the plunder ing practices of the railroad in re cent years have thrown completely out of gear. Under government ownership, with an equitable re vision of freight rates, manufactur ers and wholesalo .merchants would no longer find their territories un alterably circumscrib6d by tho rate makers. They would view a broad ened field. Industrial and commer mercial effort would expand, pros perity would return, present uncer tainty would be replaced by a re newed confidence. Something of the oldtimo competition would be re newed. The consumer would profit and tho manufacturer would not suffer. Much of this I have said to the members of congress within tho last year in a series of letters. Many of the figures quoted herein wore fur nished these miB-representatives. The earlier letters went alike to congress men-repudiated and elect. Some of tho latter were enthusiastic before they reached Washington. Once they had taken their oaths to servo the people their enthusiasm quickly dis appeared. Doubtlessly you will re member that the railroads went un scathed in the turmoil attending the consideration of tariff revision, Cana dian reciprocity, tho steel trust quiz and the investigation of two members of that honorable body, the Million aires' club, otherwise known as the senate. Public ignorance has long been the safeguard of tho railroads. In it alone rests their security. The press of the country can hardly be ignorant of the situation, yet it has been strangely quiet.. Usually quick to strike at graft and predatory plunder ing, the newspapers for the most part have been stingy of their space where the railroadB wero concerned. In congress willing tools of the system have been ever ready to kick up a disturbance and distract atten tion from any measure affecting tho railroad hold upon the people. It has been stated that 70 per cent of tho members of both houses of con gress are lawyers. Is it possible that these attorneys have been retained by the railroads? Let us hope not, but it is very suspicious that they who are supposed to know the effects of law should not see the importance of legislation reducing freight rates. Bribery is a many-sided device of railroads. It may be of favoritism and Influence to attorneys, or It may be cash. It would not seem that the Hepburn bill, in which tho most stu pendous outrages were committed, could have passed both houses of congress and have been heralded all over the country as a great measure, without some concerted influence of the railroads and this 70 per cent controlling array of lawyer-statesmen. Every member of the house and senate, who voted for that bill, should hide his face In shame and never seek re-election. We must send a different breed of statesmen to Washington. There must be fewer law-sharps and more friends of the people In the true sense of the term. In this day' of conservation tho more intimate rights of the people must not be overlooked and neglected. Finally the forcing of the Issue is In the people's hands. There is only one way. Grill your congressman; but har poon your suave smiling senator! 13 1 JSxriCJ ' '.'"-n T ... yvJ X"?i t JT mjllW v; yf g President Taft's Texas supporters refused to participate in tho stato convention dominated by tho Roose velt forces at Ft. Worth, May 28. They marched away before tho timo set for convening and held a sepa rate convention. Each convention chose eight delegates-at-largo to tho national convention and declared for its favored state and national leaders. -Returns from Minnesota show that Woodrow Wilson was indorsed in a majority of the counties. Champ Clark failed to carry a district in tho stato except tho Fourth, in which ho will bo given solid delegations from Ramsey, Chisago and Washington counties. If the unit rule prevails at the state convention at Duluth all of Minnesota's twenty-four delegates to Baltimore will go instructed for the New Jersey governor. Seven persons were killed and a score seriously injured by a tornado which swept through Skiatook, Okla., May 27. Roy J. Meyers, a convict released from the penitentiary at Phoenix, Ariz., by Governor Hunt to go to Washington to obtain a patent on an electrical machine, reported to tho governor and returned to tho penitentiary. A solid delegation of forty mem bers instructed for Woodrow Wilson was elected to the national demo cratic convention May 28 by tho Texas democratic convention. Tho delegation is composed of eight delo-gates-at-large and thirty-two district delegates. Tho Harmon forces made one test of strength on district dele gates and wero defeated, 542 to 150. Cato Sells, of Cleburne, was elected democratic national committeeman. Louisville. Ills successor will bo John C. Mayo. Tho Kentucky democratic stato convention Instructed tho delegation to the national convention to vote for Champ Clark as long as his namo Ja beforo tho convention. Montana democrats in stato con vention unanimously adopted tho committee resolution indorsing tho candidacy for president of Speaker Champ Clark and instructing tho eight delegates to vote for him. Theodore Roosevelt mado a clean sweep in the Now Jersey primaries and will get tho state's twenty-eight delegates to the national convention. His popular plurality will bo abovo 15,000. Governor Woodrow Wilson carried all but two of tho twelve congres sional districts, In the New Jersey primaries, and gained twenty-four of tho twenty-eight delegates, including tho delegates-at-largo. "Uninstruct ed" delegates nominated by the anti Wilson wing of the party wero elect ed In the Ninth and Tenth districts, tho strongholds of tho elements op posed to the governor. Governor Wilson won his most striking victory in his homo county Morcer which contains Trenton, tho stato capital, by a vote of 2,674, compared with a vote of 371 for the anti-Wilson nomi nees. Tho Wilson vote, as compared with that of the opposition, was a staggering blow to tho antls. Some districts went for tho governor by as high as 20 to 1. A cinematographic explosion in a moving picture theatre at Vilareal, Spain, resulted in the death of eighty persons in the panic and fine which followed. Captain Arthur H. Rostron, com mander of the Cunard liner Carpa thla which sped to the rescue of the sinking Titanic, was presented with a loving cup by a committee of Titanic survivors, who boarded the liner on her arrival at New York, May 29. Medals were presented to tho officers and the entire crew. That the public dance halls of America are the greatest contributors to the downfall of young girls was contained in the report of tho social service commission submitted at the closing session of the Northern Bap tist convention at Des Moines, Iowa. The Roosevelt republicans in Colo rado have filed a contest with the re publican national committee against the seating of tho delegation elected by tho republican state convention. When the republican national com mittee meets at Chicago Juno G, they will be called upon to decide 204 contests. Four years ago there wore 219 contests presented to tho com mittee. Of tho 204 contests filed, 177 wero presented by tho followers of Roosevelt and twenty-seven "by tho friends of President Taft. Mrs. David Beach completed a journey on foot from New York to Chicago and gave to Mayor Harrison a message which she received from Mayor Gaynor. Champ Clark carried Arizona In tho democratic presidential primary by a vote of three to one over Gover nbr Wilson. Governor James B. McCreary de feated Senator James for temporary chairman of tho Kentucky demo cratic state convention at Louis ville, May 29, thereby swinging con trol of the reorganized state com mittee into the hands of the adminis tration forces and making certain the election of Rufus H. Vansant, candi date for state chairman. TJrey Woodson of Owensboro, Ky., member of the national democratic committee for eighteen years and secretary of that body for several years, failed to gain the indorsement of the democratic state convention at Cleveland was selected for tho meeting place of tho next convention of tho brotherhood of locomotive engineers. New York City Is experiencing the first serious hotel strike In its- his tory. Waiters walked out of the Waldorf-Astoria, tho Gotham, the Breslin and Rector's in the midst of the evening dinner, May 29, leaying hundreds of hungry patrons In the 3 ireh. Thomas E. Watson lost his fight to control the Georgia democratic state convention at Atlanta, May 29. He won a place as delegate-at-laTge to tho Baltimore convention, however, with others whom he denounced in a convention speech as his avowed i I M 1 :l HI (T- .. ., h ii ..