Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/610

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

not so justified, the tax from which the bounty is to be "bestowed upon private individuals to aid private enterprises becomes none the less robbery because it is done under the forms of law, and is called taxation."

This proposition brings the effect of this theory of protection directly into view; one may well ask why the same method should not be adopted to promote other branches of industry. It is admittedly more important that this country should make its own iron than that it should make its own sugar, and the heavy duties on iron and steel have been justified upon the ground that it is for the public interest to make this country independent of all others in the production of iron. It is now independent, whether we will or no; we are consuming thirty-five to forty per cent of the iron of the world and no other country could possibly supply us. On the plea that this branch of industry should be sustained, the consumers of iron and steel in this country have paid a sum in excess of the price paid by the consumers who have been supplied by Great Britain and Germany, ranging from $50,000,000 to $80,000,000 a year for the last ten years. The excess of price has not been paid over to the workmen by the owners of the mines and works, it has been bestowed upon private individuals to aid private enterprises. One has only to examine the average wages of the workmen in the iron mines and works of this country to be convinced that they are much less than the wages of those who are engaged in the conversion of crude iron and steel into machinery, tools, beams, bars, and other forms for use. If it were proposed to remit all duties upon iron and steel, and to pay a bounty to the producers of these crude metals, equal to the excess of price which we have paid for the last ten years, would not that bring the case directly under the law as laid down by Justice Miller? If under such circumstances it would come directly under the law, why does not the case come indirectly under the law, provided a case could be made up to test the question in court? It might be difficult, as a matter of practice, to bring the case into court, but I am inclined to think that if this policy of protection with incidental revenue were to be forced into effect by the votes of a temporary majority of the Congress of the United States, a way might be found to bring this subject before the Supreme Court and to abate this evil by a decision of the court. That is the way by which many of the abuses of the taxing power have been prevented, but the remedy can be more easily applied through legislation. The present tax upon the import of tin plates is purely a revenue measure, because no one makes such plates in this country. The object of raising this tax to twice the rate now levied is that "a bounty may be bestowed upon private individuals in order to aid them in the private enterprise" of