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In Ohio Senator Foraker has been active in opposition to Secretary Taft, and it is conceded that he will have some state delegates in the national convention. Outside of Ohio there is as yet no sign of interest in the Foraker candidacy.

Labor, Safety and Interstate Commerce

It is not often that the federal Supreme Court renders a decision so important as that which it recently handed down in the so-called employers' liability cases. It may be compared with such memorable decisions as those of the income tax and "colonial” cases. The court was again divided and subdivided, and several opinions were necessary to give expression to the conflicting views of the justices. This indicates the complexity and the novelty of the questions which the case involved.

By virtue of its power to regulate interstate commerce, Congress, in 1906, passed an employers' liability act, or an act creating new liabilities toward their employes by the common carriers engaged in commerce between any two or more states. The President had strongly urged the principle of the act, and as warmly defended the latter since it became a law. It made employers liable for all damages that might result from the negligence of officers, agents, or fellow-employes, or by reason of any defect or insufficiency, due to negligence, in any engine, machine, appliance, works, etc., of any employer. It also greatly limited in favor of labor the doctrine of contributory negligence, and left all questions of negligence and responsibility to the jury.

The act was regarded at the time as an advanced piece of reform legislation, a sign of the times and integral part of the Roosevelt program. It excited a spirited controversy, but public sentiment undoubtedly approved it as a measure of simple justice to labor.

When cases under it reached the federal district courts, two declared it unconstitutional, while three upheld it. The

courts that declared it invalid did so for these reasons chiefly: that it was not, by its terms, limited to employes actually engaged in interstate commerce but applied to all employes of common carriers doing both local and interstate business, and, further, that the creation or definition of liability, the regulation of the contractual relations between carriers and employers, cannot be properly regarded as "commerce," which alone Congress has the power to regulate.

Some of these cases were appealed, and the Supreme Court, after thorough consideration, annulled the act on the first ground mentioned. That is to say, an analysis of the several opinions seem to indicate that if another act were passed, limited to employes actually engaged in interstate commerce, the majority of the court would sustain it, though some of the justices believe that an accident is not "commerce" and that to fix liability and prescribe rules for the trial of damage and accident suits is not to regulate commerce. Such a bill has already been presented and will probably be passed, so that the court will have an opportunity to deal with the essential question whether the power to regulate commerce includes the power to deal with responsibility for accidents and liability for injuries sustained in the service. The argument in favor of a liberal liability law is that it not only properly compensates the injured workman, or his family, but conduces to the safety of travel, and that since Congress has the power to prescribe mechanical safety devices for the instrumentalities of interstate commerce, it should be held to possess the power to enforce moral safety devices—rules tending to make employes careful, contented, and faithful.

Postal Savings Banks and Guaranteed Deposits

Largely as the result of the recent financial panic, the runs on banks and the extraordinary hoarding of money, Mr. Bryan and others have revived an old suggestion to this effect—that the government should guarantee all the deposits in the national banks by creating a 'fund for that purpose, taxing the banks to maintain that fund, and paying all depositors of failed banks in full from the proceeds of that tax. It is argued that since the note-holders are under our banking system fully protected against loss it is but right that the depositors should be similarly protected; that the guaranteeing of deposits would avert runs and panic in the future and thus prove as beneficial to the banks themselves as it would be to the depositors and the customers of such institutions, and that experience shows that very little loss would actually have to be borne by the combined banks, especially as the sounder ones would watch and supervise the less careful ones to prevent loose methods and unsafe investments.

The proposal has aroused great interest. Many business-men and bankers have declared the idea sound and practical, but the generality of the bankers appear to think that it would do more harm than good, in that it would abolish deterrents to loose and imprudent banking practices and weaken the incentives to careful and conservative methods. However, several states are discussing the proposal, and Oklahoma, the newest member of the American union, has already enacted a statute for the compulsory guaranteeing of depositors in state banks. The same act permits national banks to bring themselves under its provisions, with the permission of the federal authorities.

The opponents of the plan think that no private insurance company could afford to undertake the guaranteeing of the deposits in the national banks alone, to say nothing of the state and private banks; but this argument is eagerly seized upon by the other side as one in favor of the idea. If, they say, the danger of losing deposits even in the wellcontrolled national banks is too great to warrant a commercial insurance company to assume the risk, then it is clear that we have not done our duty toward the depositors and that additional protection is needed by them.

In connection with this discussion it has been pointed out by some neutral editors that, at any rate, both the advocates and critics of the deposit-guaranty plan ought to support the postal savings bank proposal which has been revived by the present Postmaster General, Von Meyer. The depositors who incur the greatest danger of loss are those who intrust their savings to the less known savings banks, institutions that bid for the patronage of poor workmen and factory girls, servants, foreigners, etc. Thousands of poor, struggling persons suffer when one such bank fails, through dishonesty or recklessness or both. Should not, then, it is asked, the government first care for this class of depositors ? Moreover, thousands of unskilled workmen are terribly careless with their money because they have no saving facilities at hand. The postal bank would be everywhere; the private savings bank can be established only in communities of certain size and degree of activity. Laborers in camps, on railroads, in isolated mills will not travel miles on pay day to deposit their surplus; they are tempted to spend it in saloons or on luxuries and amusements. When hard times come they are destitute and dependent, whereas, had postal banks existed, they might have accumulated comfortable balances against the proverbial rainy day.

To postal savings banks, which have been a success in many European countries, there are few objections that are not narrow and selfish. The present Congress is not expected to provide for them, but the Postoffice Department will continue to argue in favor of the comparatively simple and absolutely safe scheme of a government savings bank in the interest of the poor and inexperienced.

Business and Finance After the Panic

The last traces of the October-November panic, stringency and business crisis practically disappeared by the middle of January. The New York banks reported a con

siderable excess over their legal reserve; the premium on currency, even in Wall street, was thing of the past; all over the country the banks were resuming the payments of lawful money and retiring the extra-legal emergency circulation certificates, clearing-house checks, etc.; and the country banks were once more sending their surpluses to New York and other financial markets for use in various enterprises, drawing interest thereon. Stock speculation has remained rather dull, but that is an effect which no one regrets. Generally speaking, the financial difficulty has passed into history.

Business, however, is still suffering from the sudden and sharp check given it by the panic. While many factories have reopened their doors and in various lines considerable activity is manifested, it is estimated that from ten to fourteen per cent. of the wageworkers are still unemployed in industrial centers. Special relief measures have had to be adopted in New York, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere in order to prevent starvation and exposure of the destitute among the unemployed, and in some respects the situation sadly reminds social and philanthropic workers of the panic of 1893

However, business men, with few exceptions, expect the improvement in trade and commerce to be reasonably rapid henceforth. While no "boom" is likely, spring should bring employment to most of those who are now idle. The building trades will revive, railroads will resume construction and improvement work, and the lumber camps will be busy again. There seems to be little reason to fear a really prolonged industrial depression.

As a result of the panic the paramount question before Congress is currency reform. Several bills have been introduced, some “radical,” and some “simple” and moderate. The Fowler bill and the bill fathered by the American Bankers' Association provide for the issue of notes against the general assets of the banks under various re

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