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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/26

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Passing by sucli important facts as that we have almost entirely lost our South American trade; that Europe shows an increasing tendency to buy her grain elsewhere than here—I appeal to the following interesting fact cited in one of Mr. Kurd's speeches: In 1870, before sugar was admitted free from the Hawaiian Islands, our exports to them amounted to $590,000; and in 1883, after the sugar kings had been favored, our exports were $3,683,460. In a few years our exports increased sixfold; and Americans now control both the business and the politics of the islands. There is no reason why something like the same proportion should not hold for other countries, especially for Australia, South America, Canada (whose trade has been most senselessly sacrificed), and even for England. But supposing that our whole trade would have increased in only half the above proportion, we find that our exports might have been, in 1887, $2,250,000,000 instead of $750,000,000. Had this been the case, our imports would similarly have increased, and our people would have bought and sold to an advantage of at least a billion dollars more than they have, and would have been at least a billion dollars better off.

Heretofore we have taken a survey, necessarily rapid and incomplete, of the strictly industrial effects of the tariff. Let us now pass to a consideration of its general social and moral effects. We shall find their mere enumeration a serious task. The tendency to undervaluing of imports is well known, and is inevitably inherent in the tariff system; and on this account alone the tariff has been said to make us "a nation of liars." Newspapers are subsidized by its beneficiaries, and false information is systematically spread and groundless fears aroused among the ignorant. Money is sent to districts of tariff reformers to defeat them. Each protected industry maintains a watchful lobby at Washington in its interest. Sham conventions are got up to affect public opinion. In short, it is the old story of privilege maintaining itself by all means fair and foul. Just as Bright and Cobden were denounced as red-handed revolutionists for advocating untaxed bread for the people, so the mildest revenue reformer is now "in favor," in the words of General Alger, of Michigan (who owns several millions' worth of protected pine), "of moving American industries to England." Mr. Cleveland, according to other profound statesmen, "desires to ruin American workingmen." Ludicrous as such talk is, it has its serious side in the debasement of politics and the destruction of intelligent discussion. It is not indeed to be expected that the political discussion of any subject will be remarkable for research or breadth of view. Still, one must be surprised at the manner in which the protection side has been defended by its chief supporters. Mr. William McKinley, Jr., is supposed to be the ablest and most intellectual of the champions of a high tariff,