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The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907, September 21, 1905, Image 4

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Gfo Nebraska. Independent
Current Comment on Leading Topics
The startling revelations made by various
witnesses at the New York investigation of the
big life insurance companies furnish much food
for sober reflection. They show that the chief
officials of these companies have a low moral
standard in business affairs and expend the funds
entrusted to them by policy-holders for private
graft and public corruption: v
Evidently it made no difference whether
the democrats stood for sound money or not.
Judge Parker's election on a sound money
platform or declaration was feared, as well
as Bryan's election on a silver platform.
Democrats are not safe men to be charged
with the national administration apparently,
in the view of the New York Life company,
whether they be gold democrats or radical
democrats. This Is likely to raise the ques
tion in democratic minds whether they are
proper men to be insured in that company.
As corporation officials charged with the col
lection and care of funds belonging to men
of various political beliefs, they properly had -no
political relations whatever, and no more
right to divert money from the trust fund to
any party than to give It away to their
friends or to themselves, and if the officials
responsible for this outrageous breach of
trust are not compelled to maRe goodto the
company every dollar so taken with Interest,
it will prove that justice and the law of
trusts may' be successfully mocked. Nor is
it clear . that punishment can properly stop
at this point. Springfield Republican.
The further Mr. Hughes delves Into life
insurance corruption the more there appears.
The falsity of the public statements is con
fessed. A secret card index contained items
hidden from the ledgers. Bonds were entered
by the New York Life as costing 99 when
their real cost was first entered as 91. Who
got the eight points difference? Wash sales,
suspended accounts,, doctored books, false en
tries and the like belong rather to bucketshop
finance than to the conservative care of the
savings of policy-holders. Let Mr. Hughes
deeper press his probe. He cannot insert it
too sternly. Any suppression of facts or
glossing over of bad conditions would be only
a repetition of what the state insurance de
partment has done. It is no wonder the policy-holders'
dividends fell short of promise
and expectation when millions of dollars of
assets which they cwned were hidden
Enough has already come to light to prove
that the sworn statements to the state and
the regular books failed to give the policy
holders their due. New York World.
The remedy is near at hand and easily
applied. If the New York legislature will
extend to the life insurance companies some
of the legislation it has applied to the savings
banks it will control both the direction and
the character of the investments made on be
half of policy-holders. No promoter can
touch the funds of the savings banks, and no
promoter should be permitted to touch the
funds of the life insurance companies. There
are no $100,000 salaries in the savings banks,
because there are no $100,000 opportunities.
The legislature can easily specify the charac
ter of the securities in which the officers of
life insurance companies may invest, and In
so doing may absolutely debar speculators
and promoters from the use of trust funds be
longing to policy-holders. Chicago Tribune.
When Lawson began his picturesque ex
posures it was regarded as, a sufficient re
ply to call him a liar, and let it go at that.
And really what could be said for those ex
posures, when they were not only lurid in
their picturesqueness but included such truly
good persons, such eminently sane and super
latively safe persons, as the high-salaried man
agers of those splendid eleemosynary insti
tutions, the Mutual Life, the Equitable Life,
the New York Life and the Rockefeller-Morgan
hierarchy? To paint such men in Law
sonian colors as swindlers and pirates, how
could it be other than a lie a most danger
ous lie, because calculated to undermine the
confidence of the unsophisticated and shatter
the fragile temple of the great joss "busi
ness"? True enough, Lawson retorted that
If anything he said wasn't true, the good
men he assailed could easily prove it wasn't
true. But, they were such very good men.
Why put them to the proof? And now, lo
and behold! Lawson's character pictures
seem tame and colorless in comparison with
the rigid photographic portraits that the
Armstrong investigating committee is turn
ing out. And the culprits seem able to say
nothing for themselves but "that they all
do it." Chicago Public.
Several of these secret expenditures
were disclosed in yesterday's testimony. The
payment of $100,000 to Andrew Hamilton is
especially 'suggestive. Mr. Hamilton Is bet
ter known in Albany than in New York. He
is a friend of Eugene D. Wood, whose voca
tion for many years is well known to every
body in politics. He was an associate of
David B. Hill, who when governor appointed
him judge of the court of claims. He is close
ly identified with Anthony N. Brady, a part
ner of Thomas F. Ryan, whose interests he
has looked after in Albany for many years.
The hidden payment of $48,702 of the New
Yor Life's policy-holders' money to the Roose
velt campaign fund and of $50,000 to each
of the McKinley campaign funds is not so
5ign2cant as thls lten of $100,000 paid to '
Mr. Hamilton. An explanation was made that
tills payment from the secret fund was
cnarged to the annex building account That
as sood as any explanation for bookkeeping
purposes, but it is too transparent to satisfy"
the public. The trail of the connection between-life
Insurance and state politics was
struck when disclosure was made of this
secret fund and its huge disbursements. The
trail should be followed. New York World
In The International Socialist Review ap
pears a translation of the principal parts of an
article by Prof. Werner Sombart of Breslau uni
versity on the evolution of the American Prolet
ariat. Prof. Sombart writes
" .T,ne Fni.ted States of America is the prom
ised land of capitalism. Here for the first
time are all the conditions requisite to its
full and perfect development. Land and Deo- '
le4Wele. ?ever before created 80 favorable
to its highest evolution. The fact is that
nowhere else on earth has capitalist society
and capitalist character attained so high a
degree of development. Nowhere else does
the desire for gain play so great a part; no
where else is the hunger for nronts, the mak-
LTyr its own sake- the beginning
and end of all economic activity. Every mo
ment of life is filled with this striving, and
death alone ends the insatiable pursuit of
6 aon-PitaHst renting class is al
most unknown in the United States. This
struggle for gain is directed by an economic '
rationalism of a crudeness unknown in any
European community. The capitalist class
furthers its interests unaffected by any scru-
l'eT??Jh0Uh its way Iies over corpses.
The statistics of railway accidents prove this
assertion. In 1903 the American railroads
in ured 1 11,006, the Austrian 172. Forgery
kilometer of road the American injured 3 4
the Austrian .87. For every million persons "
carried the railways of the United States
wounded 19; those of Austria .99. In power
- of capital-the height of capitalist accumula-tion-the
United States, in spite of its
iy? th' stands far in advance of all other
lands. The American laborer (so far at least
s the "normal" laborer, whose votes seem
to dominate the majority or the laboring
class and among whom are included the lead
ers) is on the whole not dissatisfied with
existing conditions; on the contrary hejfeels
fry ,Yel,1.,and ,s very wel1 satisfied with
himself like all Americans. His view of the
world (Weltauffassung) is most rosily opti
misticlive and let live is his fundamental
maxim. This unbounded optimism,, which is
his most prominent characteristic, expresses
itself in a faith in the mission and greatness
of his country a faith that often takes on an
almost religious character; for him the
Americans are the chosen people of God
the salt of the earth. This means,
however, that the American laborer identifies
himself with the present American state and
is most intensely patriotic. The centrifugal
force that leads to class divisions, class an
tagonisms, class hatred and the class strug
gle is weak, while the centripetal force that
leads to endorsement of the national politi
cal commonwealth of the state to patriot
ismis strong; consequently there Is a lack
among American workers of that enmity to
the state so characteristic of continental
European socialists. The American laborer
is not in any way antagonistic to the capi
talist economic system as such, neither men
tally nor sentimentally.
The city campaign in New York promises to
revolve around the question of municipal owner
ship of public utilities. The situation is thus
stated by the Chicago Review:
The political situation in New York City
is interesting, to say the least, and inasmuch
as New York is metropolis of the nation all
eyes will be turned toward that city when
the final test is made. It is a foregone con
. elusion that Mayor MeCleilan will make the
race for. a second term and will have back of
him the Tammany organization and the busi
ness interests allied with it. The effort to find
a satisfactory candidate to oppose him has not
been encouraging. The latest Is to unite upon
Judge Gaynor. The Citizens' union, which
is an independent organization seeking only
a good mayor and city administration, has
pronounced against Gaynor, which will prove
a handicap to him. The Municipal Owner
ship League is willing to accept him. The
republican organization is ready to nominate
him. Whatever the result may be of this
arrangement it is certain there will be two
things conspicuous in the campaign a de
mand for municipal ownership of public utili
ties, and the record of Tammany in adminis
tration of city affairs. The municipal owner-
ship movement in New York Is directed espe
- cially toward the franchises for lighting com
panies, and toward keeping , the city from
granting any more long-term franchises of
any kind. The attitude of the Tammany lead
ers seems to be forcing the republican organ
ization into the same attitude on the ques
tion as that taken by the democratic organi
zation in Chicago.
The Springfield Republican noting that there
has been a great increase in the country's wealth
during the last few years and that this wealth
has not been widely distributed, suggests the
following as an explanation:
If, then, a leading western agricultural
state and a leading eastern manufacturing
state show no evidence of equal or greater in
crease, but rather reveal indications of a
greatly declining rate of population growth
where are we to look for the demonstration
of what has evidently happened? Where has
this equal i or greater population increase'
gone? We, may possibly find a suggestion in
this item from a New York paper: The pop
ulation of Massachusetts is only 2,998,958,
according to the last official report. That is'
about 1,000,000 short of Greater New York.
May it not be in fact that Greater New York
has been gaining at the expense not only of
Massachusetts, but of other parts of the
country? After all, then, it Is possible and
even probable that the metropolis has been
absorbing more than its common share of
the growth of the country. It is possible and
probable that this vast prosperity the country
has been enjoying in very, recent years Is
peculiarly the prosperity of Greater New
York. For this era of industrial revival has
also been above anything ever before known
an era of industrial concentration. The drift
of capital has been to combine in monopolis
tic trusts, and Industrial management, be
fore widely localized, now becomes central
ized and locates in New York. The city of

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