Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association / Transactions of the Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association, including a full report of the industrial convention held at Neenah, Wisconsin, February, 1886. Together with proceedings of the Association for 1884, to January 1, '86
Vol. XI (1886)
Bright, C. M.
Taxation, pp. 273-306 PDF (6.8 MB)
AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL ASSOCIATIoN. 2 79 would, but for the legalized robbery; and the fortunes ought to belong to the other men. Protection protects. There are millions in it forthose who are protected. Else expensive lobbyists would not be main- tained at Washington by the protected interests whenever there. is an agitation of the question and a threatened reduc- tion in the amount of tribute the people of the United States pay, as an acknowledgment of their subjection to the tariff barons at home. There can be no protection unless this tribute is paid. One class pays of what it earns to enrich another class, else there could be no protection. And it does it according to law. Think of a self-governing people hav- ing such laws' A tariff, if it is anything, is a tax. A protective tariff is, therefore, a protective tax. Can a mor3 absurd idea be con- ceived than a people taxing itself rich? But this is just what the "protective" theory amounts to. A tax or tribute paid by the many to the few may make the few rich, but it makes the many poor. The tariff tax is paid, let it be remembered, by our own people. Our tariff tax is no bur- den upon the people of other countries. This fact seems always to be lost sight of. And we even hear talk of a " re- taliatory tariff." That is to say, if one country imposes a burdensome tariff tax upon its people, another country can " retaliate " by imposing one still more burdensome upon its people. As if a farmer, seeing a neighbor chopping down his fruit trees, should go home and " retaliate " by chopping down his own, and then to get a little more than even should go into the house and smash the furniture. The burden of the tariff is borne by the people of the country that imports, not by the people of the country from which the products are purchased, and the " protection to home industry " comes in the higher price it can get by rea- son of the tariff. The higher price is paid by the consumer. If this is not so, then there is no merit in a protective tariff. If the great number do not pay tribute to. and enrich the few, then is protection a delusion as well as a snare. The owners of the Russian petroleum fields have become vastly wealthy out of their business. One of our late mag-
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