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is an enumeration of the quantities of woolen textiles imported during the years 1891 to 1895. The first four years were under the McKinley law, and the last year was the first full year of the Wilson-Gorman law. The average annual importations of woolen textiles during the McKinley period were valued at the custom houses at $29,500,000. In the first full year of the present law they were valued at $57,500,000, an increase of 95 per cent over the average of the whole McKinley period, and an increase of 242 per cent over the importations of the year 1894, the last year of the McKinley law.
Instead of having invaded the markets of the world by reason of the repeal of the McKinley law, we have narrowed our home market nearly one-half, thus closing many mills and throwing workmen and working women out of employment.
II.-THE LOSS TO OUR WOOLGROWERS. If the woolen goods imported in 1895, in excess of the imports of the previous year, had been made in America, of American wool, it would have taken more than half of the American wool clip to produce them.
III.—THE LOSS OF WAGES TO OUR MANUFACTURERS. It would have distributed $20,000,000 to American woolgrowers, and it would also have distributed $20,000,000 in wages among one class of labor, namely, American woolen factory operators.
Can anyone form an estimate of what the loss of $20,000,000 in wages of a single class of American working people means! It is fair to assume that each dollar paid out in wages for labor circulates five times over within the year—that is to say, the $20,000,000 which was lost by factory operatives by the loss of the woolen goods imported over and above the amount imported in the previous year is equivalent to a loss in the purchasing power of the American nation of $100,000,000.
An examination of the foregoing table (Schedule B), illustrated by parallel black lines, will convey some idea of the extent to which the home market has been lost to American woolen manufacturers by the repeal of the McKinley law.2
29 Imports of manufactures of wool and cloth. *
* The footnotes are by William Lawrence. On this the secretary of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers remarks (Bulletin of the Association, September, 1896): The computations above made show that the quantity of cloths imported in 1895 was almost equal, in pounds, to the total quantity imported in the three years 1891, 1892, and 1893, under the McKinley tariff. The cloth imports of the year 1892 were the largest in quantity of any one year in our history, up to that date-16,248,313 pounds-showing that the McKinley woolen tariff was not the prohibitory tariff its opponents represent. The imports for the year 1895 were, however, 40,070,143 pounds of cloths, an increase over the largest previous year of 147 per cent.
These figures convey some impression of the degree of injury inflicted upon our wool manufacturers in the first year of the Wilson tariff. The imports of cloths
IV.-IMPORTS OF RAW WOOL. Consider now the imports of raw wool in the year 1895, in compar. ison with those of the McKinley period, which averaged over 100,000,000 pounds annually.
The increase in the first full calendar year of free wool was equal to 97 per cent, or in other words the quantity of raw wool imported in 1895 was nearly double the average of that imported in a single year. We have had the wool of the world dumped upon us at a time when our consumption of wool has been narrowed nearly one-half by the inundation of foreign textiles.
The American farmers are to-day holding wool which they cannot sell at much more than half of the old McKinley price, because the American markets have been flooded with the former surplus supply of wool of the world, as shown in Schedule A.
Increase in Wool Imports 1895 over average of 33 years of McKinley law, 122,708,995 lbs.=97 per cent. could not increase 147 per cent over the largest previous year, in the business conditions then prevailing, without curtailing the market for domestic goods in a corresponding degree; and that is exactly what happened. It was not all nor the worst that happened. With an increase of 147 per cent in quantity of cloths imported, as compared with the largest previous year, there was an increase of only 46 per cent in the value of those imports, as compared with the same year. All the time that the quantities of imports were going up, the values were going down; or, if the actual values were not going down in all cases, the character of the fabrics was shifting to lower qualities, so as to change the basis upon which the American must carry on competition. Foreign manufacturers are canny; they have a good many devices for capturing this market-which has been worth to them, since the Wilson bill took effect, more than all the “open markets” of the world. The measure of this shifting of values is partially indicated by the returns of the Treasury Department, which show that the average value per pound of the cloths imported fell from 90 cents in 1894 to 69 cents in 1895.
Thus the American manufacturer found himself ground between an upper and a nether millstone. To reach the full purport of this change in the unit of value, contrast these three years, 1891, 1892, and 1893, with 41,739,000 pounds of cloth imports, valued at $37,019,000, with the one year 1895, when 40,070,000 pounds of imports were valued at only $25,281,668.”.
30 The imports of raw wool for the fiscal year 1896, were:
Besides this, the imports of woolen rags, wool waste, carbonized wool, etc., were 18,874,670 pounds, of the import value of $2,700,348, which supplanted the use of more than 50,000,000 pounds of wool.
V.-THE USE OF SHODDY INCREASED.
It was stated by the statesmen who advocated the repeal of the McKinley law, that free wool would mean such cheap wool that there would be a decreased use of shoddy. Have these predictions been fulfilled? Previous to the repeal of the McKinley law there was very little shoddy imported. The shoddy then used in America was made from American rags, and there was less than 250,000 pounds of shoddy, etc., imported in an average year. The Wilson-Gorman law went into effect four months before the close of 1894, and during the last four months of that year the imports of shoddy had increased to over 4,000,000 pounds, and during the first full year of the present law over 20,500,000 pounds of shoddy, waste, rags, and other such wool adulterants were imported.
The increase over the whole McKinley period. was over 20,000,000 pounds, an increase of over 8265 per cent., and instead of using less shoddy American manufacturers are now using more than ever before, and why? Because of the loss of the home market for woolen textiles (shown in Schedule B), our manufacturers were compelled to lower their prices for their woolen product, and in no other way could they do this except by the use of shoddy, and although the price of pure scoured wool had fallen nearly one-half, or from 65 cents to 35 cents, the foreign competition was so keen that nothing but a tremendous use of shoddy would enable them to run their mills at all, and notwithstanding this enforced adulteration of their goods by the use of shoddy, they still lost the best portion of their home market, as shown in Schedule B. Some idea of the imports of shoddy in 1895 compared with the McKinley period will be seen by examining the parallel black lines in Schedule C.
C.-Imports of manufactures of wool in shoddy, waste, rags, etc.
Average, 247,663 pounds. McKinley law. 1893
229, 583 1894 142,040
8 months of McKinley law. 1894 4,028, 901
4 months Wilson-Gorman law.
Wilson1895 20, 718, 110
law. Increase in shoddy, etc., etc., imports 1895 over average of 33 years of McKinley law, 20,470,447 pounds, or 8265 per cent.
VI. IMPORTS OF WOOL, INCLUDING WOOL IN IMPORTED WOOLEN
The total imports of wool, including the raw wool as well as that used in the production of imported woolen textiles, and also that used to manufacture the imported shoddy and waste, all considered as wool, show that the average imports of wool in all forms for the McKinley period averaged about 226,000,000 pounds, while during 1895, the first full year of the Wilson law, there were imported over 483,000,000 pounds, which was more than twice as much as the average imported during the McKinley period. The imports of wool in all forms in 1895 were as great as the total imports of 1892 and 1893, although 1892 was the greatest on record up to that time, and were over 102,000,000 pounds more than the combined imports of 1893 and 1894.
As there was no scarcity of wool or woolens during any of these years, it is fair to say that the quantity then imported was enough for the entire wants of the American people under normal conditions, and was enough for the American people when their purchasing power was at the highest.
If this is so, the imports for 1895 were more than twice enough for a single year:
Considering that the purchasing power of the nation has been impaired, and even admitting that the increase in population in 1895 required a larger use of wool than for the average of the McKinley period, it is still evident that the first year of free wool has caused this nation to enormously overimport wool; for particulars examine Schedule E:
E.—Total wool imports—including the raw wool used in the production of imported manu
factures of wool.
Increase during 1895 over average for 1891, 1892, 1893, and 1894, 257,716,090 pounds, or 114 per cent.
VII. INCREASE IN THE WORLD'S SUPPLY OF WOOL_DECLINE IN
Messrs. Helmuth, Schwartze & Co., of London, in their March circular, show that the world's supply of wool from 1891 to 1895 had increased from 2,121,000,000 pounds to 2,342,000,000 pounds, an increase in the world's supply in four years of 221,000,000 pounds. The effect of this enormous increase in the supply upon European markets was to depress the foreign price of wool from £13 1s. 2d. per bale in 1891, to only £11 per bale in 1895, a decline of over 18 per cent. This was in consequence of the fact that there was then 221,000,000 pounds more wool in the world than the woolen machinery of the world could consume. In 1895 the effect of the enormous imports of wool in all forms by the United States (as shown in Schedule E) began to tell upon European prices, and at the close of the year 1895 the surplus of woolens and raw wool, which for four years had been distressing European markets, had been transferred to America, and London wool-market circulars now state that the old supplies of wool and woolens in Europe appear to have been obliterated. The word “transferred” rather than obliterated" would better describe the situation, for the wool and woolen surplus of the world has not been consumed, but has simply been transferred to the United States, where the most of it is still on hand, and this is the cause of the present depression in the wool business here.
It is a curious coincidence that the increase in the imports of wool of all kinds for 1895 (as shown in Schedule E), less the decrease in the American clip, was almost exactly the same in quantity as Europe's surplus of the previous year. As near as may be, the American total supply in 1895, owing to over-importations, was 223,000,000 pounds more than the average of the previous four years; and Europe's surplus, which had been exported to America, was 221,000,000 pounds. It is therefore evident that the first effect of free wool was to relieve Europe of its surplus and cause prices there to advance, and to add to America's surplus or to give the latter country a two years' supply in one year, causing prices here to decline. VIII. EFFECT OF FREE WOOL IN REDUCING AMERICAN PRICES
The effect of this upon prices will be seen in Schedule D:
18 cents... 6 cents.
American-Ohio XX washed, in
31.22 cents. 92 cents..... 42.34 % less.
The foregoing table gives a comparison of the values of XX Ohio wool in America and the best Australian in London for the ten years from 1885 to 1894, during which time American wool was protected by tariff duties; also a comparison of the values of the same grades on April 1, 1896, nineteen months after the American duties had been removed. Under ten years of protection the standard grade of American wool (XX Ohio) averaged 94 cents per pound more than the London value of the best Australian, but on the 1st of April, 1896, XX Ohio was 6 cents per pound lower here than the best Australian in London. In nineteen months after the wool duties had been removed XX Ohio was 13.22 cents per pound, or 42.34 per cent lower than the average of the previous ten years under protection, and the best Australian in London was 10.59 per cent higher than the average of the ten years before enumerated, the details of which are shown in the following table and chart D.
IX. EFFECT OF LOW DUTIES AND FREE WOOL IN REDUCING THE
NUMBER OF AMERICAN SHEEP.
The effect upon the number of sheep in the United States illustrates more than anything else can the effect upon an important industry of favorable or unfavorable tariff legislation. The following diagram F shows that under the first period (which includes the last four years of