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THE OUTLOOK. May 4, 1921. Volume 128, Number 1.
F. A. STOKES COMPANY
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MAY 4, 1921
Prize Contest is on
WHY ARE PRICES STILL
O most of us, at any time, the prin The Announcement of
the Prize Winners in take particular interest in reading the
The Outlook's Second just published reports of the Federal Trade Commission and of the Depart. ment of Labor concerning this matter. From these reports we note that the
page 40 retail cost of food and other necessities has not declined as much as has the wholesale price. For instance, comparing wholesale prices with those of a year so as to eliminate undesirable comago, we find that food has declined 39 binations.
Protection of the farmers by exper cent, but the percentage decrease in
tending Federal assistance in giving the retail prices on food was 22 per
more adequate and timely informacent. Thus retail prices have not come tion concerning market conditions down in proper ratio to the decrease in and in affording better market and
storage facilities for the conservation the wholesale prices of raw materials.
of perishable products. With regard to other necessities, we find that clothing has decreased 46 per
We note the absence of any reference cent and farm products nearly 48 per
to the tariff as a panacea for all ills, cent. On the other hand, fuel and light
which is welcome; but we think it ing materials are about 8 per cent higher
strange that no emphasis is laid upon than they were a year ago.
the chief of all the causes for the high The causes of the high cost of living,
cost of living—inflation. according to the Federal Trade Commission, are unfair methods of competition; important elements of transportation
MR. LAUCK'S CHARGES and credit; and especially the excessive
CCORDING to the newspapers, Mr. W. price of coal, which also vitally affects
A Jett Lauck, the "economist" for the the cost of other commodities. to say railway labor unions, has charged that nothing of the effect upon the health a "capital combine" has inaugurated a and comfort of the people: moreover, policy of Nation-wide shut-downs. Mr. the existence of typical corporate mo
Lauck, so it is reported, named about nopolies; open-price associations, tend- one hundred men who, through intering to maintain unduly high prices: locking directorships, have centered in a interference with the channels of trade
dozen institutions the control of our by distributer and trade associations; wealth in basic raw materials and in and, finally, conditions with respect to railways. He is quoted as follows: "This foreign combinations in the international
interrelated capital group deliberately markets.
deflated the farms and then undertook, The Commission suggests the follow
by precipitating industrial stagnation, to ing remedies:
deflate labor. The dozen financial insti. Legislation to meet judicial objec
tutions—all of them New York institutions to the Commission's authority
tions-are: to continue its efforts in obtaining
"The Guaranty Trust Company. and publishing information respect
The Mutual Life Insurance Company. ing the ownership, production, distrib
The First National Bank. uting, cost, sales, and profits in the
The Equitable Trust Company. basic industries.
J. P. Morgan & Co. Prosecutions under the Anti-Trust
The Equitable Life Assurance ComLaws with a view to strengthen them
pany. to meet present conditions.
The American Surety Company. Encouragement of co-operative as
The National Surety Company. sociations of agricultural producers
The Mechanics and Metals National and of co-operative organizations of
The National City Bank. Legislation to eliminate unnecessary
The New York Trust Company. reconsignments and brokerage opera
The Chase National Bank." tions, including "gambling in futures." A conference of official representa
Mr. Lauck's summary of the situation, tives of the trading nations to consider the question of clearing the
according to the newspaper reports, was channels of international commerce to the effect that this "capital combine"
molds our economic, destiny; that it has
With regard to these statements, The Outlook wrote to the dozen concerns in Mr. Lauck's list. The replies brought were, as might have been expected, denials of the allegations that a combination existed to deflate industry. For instance, Mr. Alvin W. Krech, President of the Equitable Trust Company, says:
The notion that there may exist in this country a league of banking interests to break down the industrial life of the Nation is too silly to discuss, and therefore unnecessary to deny. So far as I know, the large banking interests of the country, and particularly my own company, are doing their utmost in a very difficult situation to maintain and support the Nation's activity. If a denial of the ridiculous charges said to be made ... is necessary, you may make it as emphatic as the English language can frame it. ... The charge probably developed from the loose talk originating with Senator La Follette.
Another President, Mr. Charles H. Sabin, of the Guaranty Trust Company, said:
So far as the Guaranty Trust Company is concerned, the statement reported ... is absolutely and unqualifiedly false. ... Neither I nor any of my associates ever heard of such an alleged combination. ... Mr. Lauck's statement that New York banks have combined to cause the spread of unemployment is also utterly false. ...
Any observer of the general economic situation must be aware that the existing industrial depression ...
is due to post-war, world-wide con- and wool trusts; that the amount of the Government has entered into in many ditions, and that if capital went on import taxes will be added to the price years. a "strike" against society it would ::.
::: the consumer pays-according to the With the Colombian Treaty the Govbe striking against itself. ... Capital :. which is composed of the savings of:.
nesi.Democratic minority, some $2,000,000,000 ernment hopes to buy the unpurchasall classes, would have more. to lose would thus be added to the cost of liv- able commodity of good will. There than would labor. ... ..: :
ing; and finally that, if we want to help are Senators, too, who hope to secure No institutions or organizations in
Europe to settle her debts to us, we must from the payment of this money certain this country have struggled harder against difficulties to preserve the
be prepared to buy from her; and, as commercial advantages for America financial, industrial, and commercial Europe can pay only in goods, we can which are unspecified in the treaty. We stability of the country throughout
not be paid unless we welcome the com- are paying twenty-five million dollars in this period of world-wide reaction and
modities which we need and which Eu- the hope that the Government to which economic readjustment than have the banking Institutions of New York. ...
rope is prepared to send to us; and it is paid may endure long enough to deThe burden of the situation has fallen therefore we should avoid any possible liver goods which it has not promised far more heavily upon capital than
display of sectional or National selfish- to deliver. As a guaranty of the fulfillupon labor. The values of securities ness.
ment of this lively expectation of favors and commodities have been deflated ... far more than have wages.
The Fordney Tariff is frankly experi. to come we are relying upon the faith Mr. Lauck, it would appear, has
mental and temporary. It has the merit of a Government which has proved faithcharged the financial interests with
less in the past. The chance is one
which would hardly interest even a modbiting off their nose to spite their facea surgical operation which they are not
erately cautious gambler. in the habit of performing.
BASEBALL PUT ON TRIAL IS THIS MAKESHIFT
The opening of the professional base. LEGISLATION ?
I ball season has shown by the crowded Mhe House of Representatives has
grand stands and the full-page newspa1 repassed the Fordney Emergency
per reports that the American lovers of Tariff Bill. All tariff bills are given the
the game (rooters and fans, in the lanname of the Chairman of the Ways and
guage of the bleachers) have not lost Means Committee in the House of Rep
their interest because of the scandals resentatives—as, for instance, the Ding
and crookedness of last year. Baseball ley Tariff, the Payne Tariff, and now the
has been given a chance to establish Fordney Tariff.
itself in public confidence as clean sport. From the quick and emphatic Republi.
"In a very real sense," says the New can vote which the Emergency Tariff
York “Tribune," "baseball is starting Bill received in the House one might ex
fresh, with a new lease of life and a repect that it would go through the Senate International
vival of good will and old-time zest and with proportionate speed. The tendency JUDGE LANDIS OPENS THE BASEBALL applause." there, however, to pass makeshift meas
All the more, therefore, serious reures is not as great as it is in the House.
sponsibility rests on managers and on Doubtless most of the proponents of of recognizing the claims of one great
Judge Landis, now the supreme arbithe measure believe that the addition of
body of producers who have been gen- trator in baseball law and ethics. If import duties on agricultural products
erally overlooked in protective tariff baseball is to remain truly the National will check the importation of those prodlegislation, and who, in the interest of
game, it must not be allowed to be used ucts at a time when their prices have the
the whole country, should not be ignored. by gambling syndicates and bribe-givers. been declining rapidly; that an emer
At the opening of the season Judge gency law, operating three months (the OIL BEFORE HONOR-AND NO Landis issued a statement to the period provided for by the present bill), ASSURANCE OF THE OIL
He told them frankly that will help the farmer by relieving the M he Senate, after a bitter debate, every player who makes an error in a pinch, and, indeed, will help to steady I passed the Colombian Treaty on game or who fails to play up to the the general situation. Certainly no April 20 by a vote of 69 to 19. The standard expected of him will fall under group was harder hit by the recent Senators who voted against the treaty suspicion. There are charges even now sharp decline in wholesale foodstuffs included 15 Republicans and 4 Demo circulating that baseball players are prices than that of the farmers. The crats. The Republican Senators were planning to make money out of their Fordney Tariff, moreover, provides Borah, Capper, Johnson, Jones of Wash- own misplays. Hugh S. Fullerton in the against the practice of "dumping"—that ington, Kellogg, Kenyon, La Follette, New York "Evening Mail” recounts is, selling foreign goods cheaper than Lenroot, McNary, Nelson, Norbeck, Nor- some of these charges. One, for inthey are sold in the country of their ris, Poindexter, Townsend, and Wads- stance, is that the team to win this origin, and prevents scaling of present worth. The Democrats were Senators year's pennant is already decided upon. tariff duties by valuations made in the Dial, Reed, Simmons, and Watson of Another is that a pitcher is to get money depreciated currencies of Europe. Georgia. Senator Cummins, Republican, for home runs made off his pitching.
The opponents of the bill, on the other and Senator Tramwell, a Democrat, Certain of these stories Mr. Fullerton hand, who are strong in the Senate, were paired against the treaty.
has himself disproved. The chances are believe that it has been drawn for its We publish these names as a roll of that none of them are true at all. The political rather than for its economic honor.
fact that they are circulating, however, effect; that it will benefit chiefly the This list of names may also be said to is an indication of the state of mind of speculators who are holding large quan- constitute not only a roll of honor, but a the people who patronize ball games. tities of farming products which they roll of intelligence, for these Senators There is a strong feeling that the exhought before the decline in prices; that were the only ones who voted against posures of last year were not followed
- in the interest of the sugar, meat, the poorest bargain which the American by sufficiently severe and drastic punish