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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/27

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THE EFFECTS OF PROTECTION.

and his speech on the Mills bill, which was carefully revised, contains some interesting examples of the political and intellectual effects of protection. In one place (p. 32) he asserts that "the working-people of England find that competition with countries employing cheaper labor is too oppressive to bear longer, and are demanding to be saved from further degradation," etc. This, in the face of the marvelous and universally admitted increase in wages and comfort of English labor already mentioned, and also in the face of the conspicuous fact that not a single prominent politician in England champions protection, and that the only protectionists are landlords whose rents are being reduced. In the same speech (p. 27) he attacked the Administration because it bought two thousand blankets for the army of an English firm, when, by paying $606 more, it might have patronized an American firm. Mr. McKinley's theory was that this money should not be saved to the tax-payers, but should be paid, as a bounty, to the American firm. On page 18 he said, "I would not allow a single ton of steel to come into the United States if our own labor could make it." If this is economic wisdom, why should not each State, each county, take the same policy? Mr. McKinley offers no explanation, save that we have "one flag"; but leaves to the imagination what the flag has to do with industrial success. But the ne plus ultra doctrine is on page 13: "I would rather have my political economy founded on the every-day experience of the peddler than the professor." In other words, the more we study the subject the less we know about it. Science is a delusion and snare for the impracticable. Ignorance alone is learned. We should not expect to hear from Mr. McKinley that industrial growth, like all organic growth, should be in the line of least resistance and greatest traction, which is the opinion of a sociologist; but we are hardly prepared for his assumption that labor cost is identical with the rate of daily wages. I instance Mr. McKinley's speech, because it is a type. On looking through the other leading speeches against the Mills bill we find the same neglect of facts, the same contempt for science, violence of assertion, disregard of business principles, and coarseness of reasoning. Nowhere do we find any account taken of the history of trade, the prosperity of trading nations, or even the elementary fact that English labor successfully competes with Indian and Chinese labor five times as poorly paid. Indeed, their theory would make this impossible, and therefore it can not be true.

Another very serious indirect effect of the high tariff is that the surplus revenue obtained breeds profligate schemes without number. It seems to be forgotten that the Government of the United States was carried on during J. Q. Adams's administration—one of the best this country has seen—for about $10,000,000 a