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ECONOMICS AND POLITICS

again, they succeed in producing alarm and a belief that something is wrong. Next comes the popular conviction that something must be done—Daniel Webster once said that the belief that "something must be done" is the parent of very many bad measures. Next some legislators take the matter up in order to win the capital which may be got from early leadership of a popular measure. What is the real value of such a conviction that "something must be done," if it really has been produced? How many people entertain it? What are their grounds for it? These questions need only be asked in order to show how vague and untrustworthy is the alleged "popular demand" as a ground of action. In the last weeks the House of Representatives has acted on an assumed demand that a commission should be created which should have power to fix freight rates, and on February 8 last the House set out to create such a power. How did they do it? They took up again the methods which they have developed for doing what the leaders of the party in power have decided shall be done—they held a caucus of the ruling party. They decided that there should be no debate, thus refusing to hear argument on the merits of the proposed act; they cut off the power to amend it; they suppressed with scorn and ridicule such opposition as developed in the caucus.

They thus renounced all the methods of legislative action which we inherited with legislative institutions as necessary to wise action. Then they adopted a rule of order by which to force the bill through the House. As there was some opposition, the Speaker took the floor and declared that the House had simply got to pass this bill, and that was all there was to it. "There must be harmony in the Republican party, and the party must get together and do something." Of course this was