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Fooling All the People on Taxation
Government some of the Liberty Bonds rard B. Winston says they “will unheld by the estate, Mr. Mellon is able to doubtedly show further increases." cancel those bonds and to that extent to And just as Mr. Mellon's course will reduce the public debt. Franchise taxes result in a rapidly cumulative reduction paid by Federal Reserve banks are also of Federal taxation, so is the course being used to reduce the debt.
followed by local governments going to Not only would Congress have failed result in a rapidly cumulative increase in to reduce the debt as fast as Mr. Mellon local taxation. While Mr. Mellon is reis reducing it; but also the people them- ducing that part of the public debt over selves and their various state legislatures, which he has control, the local governtheir representatives in city councils and ments are increasing their part, by imcounty governments, would have failed mense borrowings of money on long-term to reduce the debt-would, in fact, have bonds, the interest and sinking fund of added to it. For the support of this as- which will require high local taxation for sertion in a hypothetical field, I turn to many years to come. the record of what the people themselves Much of this borrowing is done by diand their organs of local government are rect vote of the people. In some states doing right now.
many of these long-term bond issues are The net of what they are doing is: They submitted to the people for a referendum are adding to that part of the public debt vote. The increase of debt, with the conwhich they have within their control, sequent increase of taxation, has, in part, namely, the debts of states, counties, the direct approval of the people themcities, and villages, just about as fast as selves. I suspect, however, that in the Mr. Mellon is reducing that part of the act of voting the people do not think of public debt which he has in his control, the resulting increase in taxation. They the national debt. And the people, think only of the bond issue and the when they have the power, are increasing things for which the money is to be spent. the local rate of taxation at a rather faster pace than Mr. Mellon is decreasing
"I WANT TO PAY HIGHER TAXES” the rate that the country as a whole NE of the reflections arising out of must pay to the Federal Government.
observing the initiative and referenPresident Coolidge, in his December mes
dum in actual practice is that a good deal sage, pointed this out:
rests upon the exact phrasing of the proThe costs of our national and local govern
posals as submitted to the people, and ments combined now stand at a sum close to that much is accomplished through sub$100 for each inhabitant of the land. A little tleties in the art of using words, which less than one third of this is represented by would not have been done if the phrasing national expenditure, and a little more than of the proposals had been entrusted to two thirds by local expenditure. It is an
persons with a contrary point of view. ominous fact that only the national government is reducing its debt. Others are increasing lays emphasis on the building of roads and
People may vote for a proposal that theirs at about $1,000,000,000 each year.
school houses, or on bringing in outside The taxes laid locally by states, coun- capital, or on bringing about active busities, cities, and villages, have increased ness and employment; whereas they from year to year recently, as follows: might not vote so generally in the affirma
tive for a proposal stated baldly in terms 1918
of increasing the rate of individual taxes .$30
$5, $10, $20, $100, or $1,000 a year for 1920 1921
$36 many years to come—if, for example, 1922
$38 the referendum proposal were phrased to
read something like this: Later figures are not available. But Under Secretary of the Treasury Gar- Do you vote “Yes” or "No" on the follow
ing proposal, to wit: I will pay $100 a year Harding had a kind of pride of hope about additional taxes for thirty years.
an innovation he inaugurated for effiHowever this may be, let us consider ciency in government. He had a project whether it is not a tenable judgment that
for rearranging that bizarre distribution the principal accomplishment of the last of government functions which results in four years has been the reduction of na
the Secretary of Agriculture having tional debt and of taxation, the approach charge of brown bears because they are an toward normalcy in the financial affairs incident of the Forest Service; Mr. Work and the business management of the of the Interior Department having charge government. During the incoming ad- of grizzly bears because they are an inministration it will continue. For in
cident of the National Park Service; Mr. Coolidge, Mellon has a President who not
Weeks of the War Department having only is willing to back him up, but also charge of black bears because they live probably goes even farther than Mr. in the Philippines; and Mr. Mellon havMellon in his conception that the first use ing charge of polar bears because they are of a dollar is to pay debts with it, and the
in the Washington Zoological Park. second use, after debts are paid, to save it.
A hundred examples, to be expressed That is, the present course will continue either whimsically or seriously, could be so far as Coolidge has power. Congress given of the illogical separations, the can always pass appropriation bills. equally illogical over-lappings, the cost Coolidge can veto them; but Congress can
in money, the delays and inefficiency due pass them over his veto. Congress last to the fact that the powers and activities year passed an immense one, the soldiers' of the Federal Government are distribbonus, over Coolidge's veto; and even uted among ten Cabinet Departments this year, after all that had happened, in and some sixty independent bureaus, the the campaign and election, after all the whole being related to each other and to applause for Coolidge's precepts and
the fundamental interest of the people, practice of economy-undeterred by all with not much more symmetry or apthat, the Senate at least contemplated propriateness than the way oysters are passing another expense bill over Cool- attached to a rock. idge's veto, an increase of $68,000,000 in
Harding had it among the first of his the pay of postal employees, the increase purposes to end this. He appointed an to be paid out of taxation, without any
able lawyer to make a plan, and the attempt to get the money by increasing lawyer worked hard and steadily for over a the charge for postal service to a self- year. General Dawes helped. There were supporting basis.
countless conferences between Cabinet And the common mood of Congress members. Men experienced in the efficould be heard in the aura, partly of out
cient administration of big corporations rage and partly of fond anticipation, that advised and worked. Everything was seemed to surround the words in which, in done-except accomplishment. The December, a Senator from a small South- plan was made out on paper, a very big western state, calling attention to one of and intricate paper it was. Then, more the war's greatest calamities—one of the months were devoted to smoothing out most uncomfortable of all the interruptions differences arising out of objections from of peace-time ways which the war brought some department heads to losing some about-"Why, gentlemen, we have not
of their functions, and objections from had a public building bill since 1913."
others to taking on additional responsi
bilities. Finally, that, too, was completed WHY SEPARATE THE BEARS?
-but not without many subtractions LOSELY allied to economy in gov- from the original plan.
ernment is another advance which, There it stands to-day. Harding meant at the time Harding came in, was much to get it through Congress. At one time in his mind and in the minds of others. he issued a warning that any opposition
“We Have Every Desire to Help Europe"
from a public official, any effort of a minor decidedly sensitive imagination visualized government employee to avert disturb- the responsibility that, in the nature of ance of his niche by lobbying with friends things, rested on the greatest and richest in Congress, would be equivalent to a nation in the world. And he was untender of resignation. But the plan did comfortable under his inability to live not go through Congress. It has not yet
It has not yet up to that responsibility. Generous and made any progress beyond being intro- sympathetic, he visualized, much more duced in Congress. However, the plan has poignantly than most politicians, the been smoothed out to a point where Cabi- horror of war and the longing of the net heads have withdrawn their opposi- peoples of the world for release from it. tion to the parts of it; it has been put in But under these limitations that bound the custody of Senator Smoot, and he has him at home, and an attitude in Europe announced his purpose of bringing it up. which failed to make the separation If it comes about, and if it comes about usually made in America, between an without too much maceration by Con- effort directly solely at permanent peace gress, it will be one of the important pieces and, on the other hand, economic and of business of the new administration. financial questions—under these limitaHARDING'S OBSTACLES
tions Harding was neither able to give
encouragement that we would ever join (ARDING'S other great aspiration the League of Nations, nor yet to propose
was in foreign relations—more nar- any alternative "association of nations" rowly, the field of the prevention of war, —to employ the phrase he frequently the securing of peace by international used. Within the field of new institutions coöperation. Again and again, in the for
permanent peace, Harding was able to period after Harding had been elected, make little progress, and we are to-day so and during his early occupancy of the little ahead that Coolidge, in his recent White House, he used to give public ut- address to Congress, used, in his remarks terance to something more than an as- about this aspect of our foreign affairs, a piration, to words that were translated as phrase that might have come from Hardhaving the definiteness of concrete inten- ing himself; a phrase that, indeed, often tion about “an association of nations." did come from Harding: “We have every Each time, when something of this kind desire to help.” came out of the White House, the Wash- In other aspects of foreign relations, ington correspondents of European papers however, some definite and important received hurried cables as to just what, steps were accomplished. Harding, bespecifically, was intended. The fact is, fore the event, wished that the WashingHarding's mind never reached that state. ton Conference for the Limitation of He earnestly wished to do something, but Armament should be the monument of his he was restrained by two sets of considera- administration; and after it had been tions, one at home and one abroad. held, believed it would be. At home, partly by conditions and
HUGHES'S THREE-YEAR FIGHT partly by the greater energy of those Republican leaders who hated the League of N ANOTHER field, the American prinNations, Harding had been maneuvered ciple--if it was a principle; probably it during his campaign into a definite pledge was partly a device to safeguard ourselves not to join the only existing institution from embarrassment—the American prinfor furthering peace. Harding was never ciple of separation of questions of permavery proud of that position. He came nent peace, from financial and economic to believe in it sincerely enough, but he questions, was finally put into practice. was not an isolationist on principle or To that idea, our government held firmly on prejudice—as were those Republican through three trying years, during which leaders in the Senate who were in a posi- Secretary Hughes had to stand up against tion to limit Harding's action. Harding's opposition and embarrassment. The
fundamental idea behind the Dawes The solution, as to whether America is Young plan was put forward by Secretary to initiate anything, or to join anything, Hughes, and was an expression as much of remains for the Coolidge Administration. America's policy to remain aloof from in- On March 4th, Secretary Hughes will ternational consideration of economic and be succeeded by Frank B. Kellogg, at financial questions as an affirmative pro present our Ambassador to the Court of posal of a means for solving those ques- St. James's. The selection of Mr. Keltions by the nations involved in them. logg is welcomed by Europeans because Of this, President Coolidge, in his mes of his having resided in Europe and sage at the opening of Congress last having studied conditions there at first December,was able to say:
hand. Secretary Hughes, in his long life,
and although probably the outstanding The attitude which our government took lawyer in America, has had only four and maintained toward an adjustment of years that could provide him with the European reparations, by pointing out that opportunity to acquire a competence for it was not a political but a business problem, himself and his family. He was little more has demonstrated its wisdom by its actual than a rising lawyer when his conduct of a results. ... We look with great gratifi- legislative investigation into the managecation at the hopeful prospect of recuperation
ment of the life insurance business in New in Europe through the Dawes plan. Such
York City commended him to public assistance as can be given through the action of the public authorities and of our private
attention. Immediately thereafter, and citizens, through friendly counsel and coöpera
largely in consequence of that service, he tion, and through economic and financial became Governor of New York. From support, not for any warlike effort but for re that, he went to the Supreme Court of the productive enterprise, not to provide means
United States. From 1916, when he refor unsound government financing but to signed from the Court, to 1921, when he establish sound business administration, became Secretary of State, were his only should be unhesitatingly provided.
financially remunerative years. Hence
his desire to return, for a time at least, But as respects the other question to private life is easily understood. international cooperation directed specifi Secretary Mellon of the Treasury will cally at the prevention of war-Coolidge remain, and cooperate with Coolidge for was merely able to say, as Harding had so economy and sound administration of the frequently said, that America desires public treasury. Secretary Hoover, whose peace, practices peace, wants to coöperate administration of the Department of toward peace, but that this country is not Commerce has elevated that from a minor “disposed to become a member of the to a major department, and has revoluLeague of Nations or to assume the obli- tionized its relation to the business of the gations imposed by its covenant.” He country-Secretary Hoover's preoccupawas able further only to recommend, even tion with usefulness in the broadest as Harding had recommended, that we sense is probably such that he will adhere to the Permanent Court of In want to spend the balance of his life in ternational Justice; and to recommend one form of public service or another, further that “our country should also and will continue in the Cabinet. As support efforts which are being made to to the rest of the Cabinet, probably such ward the codification of international a proportion of them will stay as will law”; and to say: “I look with great sym- give to the four years after March 4th pathy upon the examination of various substantial identity with the present perproposals to outlaw aggressive war." sonnel.
What Eugenics Is—and Isn't
An Ally of Romantic Affection, as old as Recorded History, but Only in the Last Twenty Years Reduced to a Science as Exact as Botany
By FRENCH STROTHER
N THOSE charming scenes in “The characters and the writing on the scrolls Merchant of Venice" where Portia's in the three caskets prove the possibility
" suitors choose among the caskets- of being wise in love. To the Prince of The one of them contains my picture, Morocco, he says,
prince: If you choose that, then I am yours withal.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old, - delighted generations have read the Your answer had not been inscrollid. romance in the lines, and have glowed with pleasure when the generous Bassanio
“Wisdom” and “judgment” forsooth, wins the wise and gentle Portia. The
commended to young lovers! And in the love story of the happy pair is quite the
very midst of one of the most charming most satisfying in all imagined fictions,
love stories ever told! And he lets Portia because it is the one above all others that
add the final comment on the notion that leaves the spectator sure in his own mind
a black-and-white marriage is either good that they will truly “live happily ever
romance or good sense when she says: after.” Many fictional marriages, one
A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains: go. feels fearful upon reflection, while they Let all of his complexion choose me so. end the obstacles of the plot, only begin the clash of unsuited temperaments.
-to say nothing about the full-length Who, for example, feels half so sure that portrait Shakespeare drew of such a marLorenzo and Jessica did not live to a
riage in "Othello." disillusioned old age, and bequeath to Both the Prince of Morocco and the their children trials of the spirit which Prince of Arragon, who follows him, dissour old Shylock probably foresaw when course much of their honors, place, and he raged against their wedding?
merits, and a good deal, too, of love. Can it be that our perfect satisfaction But Bassanio, whose love is clearly the in the union of Portia and Bassanio arises one genuine of the three, is chiefly confrom our faith that these two were wise cerned to look well to the inner truth and as well as amorous? That their affection beauty of things, and their enduring was prudent as well as passionate? Is it values.
values. “Look," he says, “on beauty," only the glamor of poetry that makes their troth seem so right an ending, or is it in
And you shall see 'tis purchas'd by the
weight; part such sensible considerations as that
Which therein works a miracle in nature, they were, after all, of the same race,
Making them lightest that wear most of it: the same religion, the same nation? Was Shakespeare merely seeking dramatic con- (a heresy sufficient to damn Shakespeare trasts when he made the unsuitable woo- to all writers and readers of sentimental ers, one a Moor and one a Spaniard? Or fiction, where it is enough to know that was he illustrating something of deeper the heroine is beautiful and that the hero truth and universal application?
is a male to make his “Will you?" and The casket scenes are worth re-reading her "Yes" a perfect ending). Bassanio with these questions in one's mind. even recognizes that heredity plays a part Shakespeare's comments, through his in human life, and continues: