|Thomas L. Bunting.|
The Cortland Democrat, Friday, September 9, 1892.
THE TIN PLATE TAX.
HOW THE DUTY ON TIN PLATE INJURES THE FARMER.
Millions Lost and Labor Wasted to Build Up an Infant Industry—A Burden on the Canning Business, as Shown by a Prominent Canner.
Congressman Bunting, a prominent canner, in his recent speech in congress depicted the burden imposed upon agriculture by the tin plate duty as follows:
The canning industry, which consumes over one-half of all the tin plate imported, becomes the principal victim, because it has no alternative but to pay the increased tax or go out of the business. This wonderful industry emanates from the farm, and its profit is in preserving perishable farm products and the surplus of glutted markets.
There are 1,200 canning concerns in the United States, scattered over the productive fields of twenty-five different states. Adding to these the meat, fish and oyster packers, we have an industry of 2,000 concerns affected by this legislation, of growers, pickers, stockraisers, ranchmen, oystermen, fishermen, canners, packers, laborers, box and label manufacturers, canmakers and shippers, which stands for the support and sustenance of 2,000,000 of our people.
On a basis of tin consumed by canners during the season of 1891 there were 1,260,000,000 cans used. Computing the amount, to be safe, at around 1,000,000,000, and assuming that two-thirds were 2-pound cans and one-third 8-pound, which is the usual proportion, we have a duty cost in the cans used of $7,898,000.
At the prices ruling in 1891 this vast sum represents the cost to consumers of 8,500,000 cases of corn. To pack this amount of corn would require the product of from 60,000 to 70,000 acres of land, and would pay the farmer and his laborers $2,500,000. The total labor employed in growing, picking, canning, packing, canmaking, labeling and boxing this amount of canned goods would not fall short of 40,000 people during the canning season, or half of that number during the whole year. Here then is a tariff tax which would pension off 20,000 on living wages now deprived of a chance to earn their living.
A bushel of tomatoes in New York will fill on an average fifteen cans. A ton of tomatoes therefore fills 500 cans. Five tons of tomatoes to the acre is a good average. The duty cost in cans per ton therefore is $4.50, and per acre it is $22.50. The price paid the farmer in most states is six dollars per ton; hence the farmer has this sublime summary of protection presented for his practical consideration. In the absence of any duty on plates the canner could pay him $52.50 instead of thirty dollars per acre for his tomatoes, an increase of 70 per cent. This is a loss to the farmer of 13 1/2 a cents per bushel. We have known farmers, irrespective of politics, to enter into a justifiable combination and strike for an advance of 2 1/2 cents per bushel.
The average yield of corn per acre is three tons, which, at six dollars per ton, nets the farmer eighteen dollars; the duty cost on the cans to put up an acre of corn is $11.61. In the absence of a tariff on tin plates the farmer could receive 64 per cent more for his crop and the canner still be able to sell his goods at the same price.
With free tin plates a business revolution among the canneries would take place; the farmer would get 25 per cent of this tariff tax added to the price of his tomatoes and other products; the laborer could get 25 per cent of this tariff tax added to his labor; consumers would get 50 per cent of the tax through a reduction in the cost of canned food. This reduction in prices would increase their consumption 25 per cent, which means a larger home market and more acreage of products for the farmer.
Again, the senate committee's report on their measure says, "The framers have not hesitated to erect or maintain defensive barriers which will carry confidence and comfort into American homes." Yet we have here the spectacle presented of the value of 10,000 carloads of canned tomatoes or 7,000 carloads of canned corn thus added by law to the cost of the cans, which would only go to swell the dump heap where the goods are served, while men by thousands ask in vain for a day's work, and while mothers, tortured by the pleading of starving children, beg for bread.
A Comparison for Farmers.
A Republican organ assures the farmers that in the past thirty years of protection the value of farms has increased 97 per cent. It carefully refrains from mentioning that in the ten years between 1850 and 1860 the value of our farm lands increased over 100 per cent. The yearly increase before 1860 was 10 1/2 per cent; since 1860 it has been 8 per cent.
Horace Greeley, in The Tribune of Oct. 6, 1857, made the following remarkable admission: "There never was a time in the history of the country in which the great body of the farming interest, the basis of our industrial pyramid, stood on a more solid foundation. Our farmers, who constitute the great mass of our consumers, are at this moment better off—after a series of years of unexampled prosperity—richer and more able to pay their debts than in any former crisis."
HERE AND THERE.
Gov. Flower will deliver an address at the State Fair in Syracuse to-morrow.
A good many of our citizens are attending the Whitney's Point fair, this week.
There is to be a social dance at the Lake House in Little York, Friday evening. Sept. 16th.
The wheel club had a fine time at their corn roast on Rindge's farm, last Thursday evening.
The young people of Homer will enjoy a dance in Brockway's wagon repository this evening.
Don't fail to go with the Knight Templars, on their excursion to Oswego, Tuesday, Sept. 18th.
The 52nd annual State Fair opened in Syracuse yesterday, and will continue until and including the 15th inst.
Mr. W. S. Santus has been appointed superintendent of the Homer Water Works in place of Geo. H. Paddock, resigned.
The King's Daughters will meet Saturday of this week, Sept. 10th, at the home of Mrs. A. M. Johnson, 32 Groton Ave.
The second annual picnic of the Maybury family will be held at Floral Trout Park, Cortland, on Thursday, Sept. 22nd, 1892.
The annual fair of the Dryden Agricultural Society will be held Sept. 27th, 28th and 29th. It always pays to attend the Dryden Fair. Everybody goes.
Miss Covil has placed a technicon in her studio for the benefit of her pupils. Its use is for developing and enlarging the technical dexterity of the hand, and is used by many of the most eminent pianists in their teaching.
The village schools opened on Tuesday last. In the Owego-st. school there are 170 scholars; in the Pomoroy-st. school 167; in the Schermerhorn-st. school 194; in the Port Watson-st. school 42, and in the cobblestone school 60. Total, 591.
The Carriage Builders' Association of the State are holding their regular meeting this week at the Thousand Islands. Cortland is represented by Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Duffey, Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Tisdale, Mr. and Mrs. Geo. C. Hubbard, Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Whitney, and Mrs. Whitney's sister, Mrs. Dana Metzgar.
Last Saturday morning, while workmen on the new high school were lifting a stone weighing 500 pounds to the top of the wall, the derrick tipped over and the stone fell to the ground. In its descent it struck a scaffold on which four men were at work, carrying it to the ground some twenty feet below. No one was hurt.
The Elmira Telegram published a special supplement, last Sunday [September 4, 1892] that met with great favor in Cortland, and the large edition was soon exhausted. It was a picture of the members of the 45th Separate company, made from a photograph taken in camp at Buffalo. The pictures are all very natural, and the vignettes of the officers at the top are excellent. The head of the dog, "Strike," is in front and is good.
The Keyes sisters had a large audience in the Opera House, last Tuesday evening, and the concert gave universal satisfaction. They were obliged to respond to several encores and the audience would not be comforted until they had heard several gems not down on the programme. Mr. Rackleyeft came in for a generous share of praise and Mr. Miller filled the bill as pianist completely. The entertainment was most excellent in every respect.
A "brown paper parcel" large enough to contain a good sized torpedo or a big hunk of dynamite, was left at the domicile of the editor of the DEMOCRAT, Wednesday morning. It turned out to hold a four-pound pickerel, neatly dressed, which, with many more, had been enticed from the waters of the St. Lawrence by Messrs. C. F. Thompson, Geo. W. Davenport, F. A. Bickford and F. H. Cobb. The present was duly appreciated. The catch was a very fine one, and some of them were very large.
Jessie G. Steele, daughter of Andrew Steele, who lives on the George Peck farm southeast of this village, died on Monday night from the effects of poison ivy. A few days since she went berrying along the creek near her home. Soon after returning home her feet and limbs began to swell and all the usual remedies for ivy poisoning were used, but she continued to grow worse, and a fatal result was reached, the poison which had apparently developed internally, going to her brain. The deceased girl, aged 10 1/2 years, was a bright, winsome miss, industrious, and a good student.—Marathon Independent.
Monday evening last, as the last street car was nearly in front of the Messenger House, it ran over a small dynamite torpedo, which exploded with a loud report. The front end of the car was raised a little and both horses badly frightened. In rearing the near horse broke the [frame] of its harness and the other horse had to draw the car back to the barn. No other damage resulted.