Page images
PDF
EPUB

well-matured, just, disinterested, con- group of Western Senators* (who structive policy, that appealed to in- dissented and made vigorous but untelligent men regardless of party. availing protests against the provi

On March 6 President Taft issued sions, finally voting negatively on the a call for a special session of Con- conference report) became known as gress to convene on March 15, on “ Insurgents” or Progressives." which day it assembled and reëlected These, with the twenty

1 InsurSpeaker Cannon, somewhat dampen- gents” of the House whose activities ing the choice, however, with slight had thus far taken the direction of modifications of the House rules as a opposition to “ rules,” formed the

" precursor of greater changes to fol- nucleus of what afterwards came to low in succeeding sessions. The next be known as the Progressive moveday Sereno E. Payne, chairman of the ment, leading finally to the formation Ways and Means Committee, intro- of a new party bearing that name. duced a tariff bill embodying the re- In spite of strenuous opposition sults of several months of anticipa- more, in fact, from the new element tory investigation, in which hearings just referred to, in the Republican and documentary evidence covering party itself, than from the Democrats over 4,000 articles had been under the measure passed the Senate on advisement; and the battle-royal over July 8, and, four days later, went to the tariff measure of 1909 was on.

the conference committee. Indeed After a long debate the House the whole tariff campaign of 1909 was passed the Payne bill on April 9, and

not so much an occasion for partisan sent it to the Senate which, on April strife as a contest among diversified 12, reported a substitute measure

interests or between the interests » known as the Aldrich bill. The Payne and public opinion. The ancient freebill placed iron ore, and petroleum trade arguments were extinct; on the and its products, on the free list; made

other hand, “ the old idea of univerreductions on iron and steel and their sal, all-around protection, every sinmanufactures, and on chemicals, coal, hides and lumber; and increased the

*The seven Senators who, though Republicans,

finally voted against the bill in its completed duties on many textiles, and on gloves form were: Beveridge of Indiana; Bristow, of and hosiery - the two latter items Kansas; Clapp and Nelson, of Minnesota, Cum

mins and Dolliver, of Iowa; and La Folette, of to a startling extent. The Aldrich

Wisconsin. While all thus protested against the bill made even fewer concessions upward revision ” which they believed character

ized the bill, Senator Beveridge recorded, by his the rate on lumber, for instance, be

vote, a special protest against the emasculation ing 50 per cent. higher than in the of the tariff commission feature, by which it was House bill. So extreme was the char

intended that the rulings of the commission

should be restricted to the “ maximum and mini. acter of this bill that the powerful

clause.

mum

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed]

CHANGES IN THE TARIFF SCHEDULE.

279

6

*

*

*

gle product getting its “just recom- higher duties were imposed or the old pense of reward’in a perfectly equi. Dingley rates were retained. The table tariff, was admitted to have “ maximum and minimum" clause is broken down.

At last the a novel device for attempting to seforgotten consumer had been given a cure commercial concessions from thought. This tendency toward other countries. The minimum rates greater consideration for public opin- are those of the current bill; the maxiion was not as marked as could mum rates add 25 per cent. to every be desired and showed itself, among duty in the dutiable list, and are apother ways, in the somewhat be- plicable to the products of all foreign lated efforts of President Taft to countries with which there are no secure concessions from members of commercial agreements. A tariff the conference committee looking board was created to assist the Presitoward the lowering of some of the dent in administering the “ maximum schedules. Such efforts on the Presi- . and minimum ” provisions, but with dent's part were made, and, to some no authority to constitute itself a comextent, effectively, for he obtained mission for collating general data, as lower rates on iron ore, hides, coal, the President had requested and Senoil and lumber. With this the strug

With this the strug- ator Beveridge had battled for.* And gle ended; the conference report was lastly, in order to meet present and adopted on August 5, and the Payne- expected deficits (on June 30 the defAldrich bill became the law of the icit was $89,000,000) and to provide land.*

additional revenues, a corporation tax The tariff schedules in which the clause was enacted, providing that all greatest changes occurred were: corporations should pay a tax of one metals and their manufactures; cot- per cent. on all incomes in excess of ton manufactures; silk and silk manu- $5,000. factures; chemicals, oils and paint; When the President signed the bill lumber; paper pulp and paper; hides he accompanied it with an apologetic and leather. In the metal schedules statement to the effect that the bill generally lower duties prevailed, as was “not a complete compliance with was true of lumber and leather, with the promises made, strictly interpetroleum, hides, iron ore and ground preted,' " but he claimed it to be the wood pulp on the free list; while on result of a sincere effort on the part silks and many of the chemicals and

of the Republican party to make a all of the better grades of cotton

* In September the President appointed as the * This act is officially designated as "An Act members constituting the tariff board Prof. Henry to Provide Revenue, Equalize Duties and Encour- C. Emery, of Yale University, James B. Reynolds, age the Industries of the United States, and for Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and Alvin Other Purposes.”

H. Sanders, of Chicago.

was

“ downward revision.” The country, as a precaution against the expected grateful to have at least a temporary deficit caused by the reduction of imquietus put upon the vexatious tariff port duties. But the deficit did not agitation, seemed at first inclined to materialize, and as the apportionment exercise a little auto-suggestion and among the States was not made acgood naturedly to acquiesce in the cording to population and representaPresident's opinion as to the actual tion, the Supreme Court of the United downwardness of the revision. A veto States, on May 20, 1895, declared this had not been demanded even by the

clause of the act unconstitutional. Insurgents, as it would have created The law had proposed to levy a unineedless confusion, and the apology form tax of 2 per cent. on all incomes was evidently accepted in lieu of a over $4,000. veto. But an entirely new note of ir- But the friends of the income tax ritation and dissatisfaction

idea, believing the Supreme Court desounded, at first against conditions cision was not aimed at the principle and gradually against the President itself but only the method of its applihimself, on reading his “ Winona cation, finally succeeded in having the speech of September 17, in which following resolution passed by Conhe characterized the Payne-Aldrich gress on July 12, 1909, calling for an bill as “ the best tariff bill the Repub- amendment to the Constitution as licans had ever made.This “ best- Article XVI: ever" speech caused, to put it mildly, “ The Congress shall have power to lay and a gasp of surprise, and, while it can

rived, without apportionment, among the several not be said that a revulsion of feeling

States, and without regard to any census was at once aroused, the country be

enumeration." gan thoughtfully to ask itself whether

It will be seen that the last two a measure which not even its makers clauses are intended to meet the obhad been enabled entirely to justify jections of the Supreme Court to the and which contained so many palpable acts of 1894, but the clause “ from inequalities was indeed the country's whatever source derived ” became the last, best word in tariff construction. fruitful source of much controversy.

It was during the height of the dis- It was held that this feature would cussion on the tariff that decisive ac- bestow upon Congress the power to tion was taken on the income tax. The lay a tax on the income from State United States had once proposed, and and municipal bonds, Governor twice passed, income tax bills. The Hughes taking the lead in opposition first of the two enacted was a war to the principle, although in favor of measure, and was in effect from 1861 the amendment in general, fearing to 1872. The second was supplemen- that it would endanger the borrowtary to the Wilson Tariff Act of 1894, ing power of the States. But Senator

collect taxes on incomes from whatever source de

or

« PreviousContinue »