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STATEMENT OF HON. W. S. GREENE.
Mr. GREENE. Mr. Chairman, I have a communication from the selectmen of North Attleboro, Mass., which I would like to have placed in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the communication will be printed in the record.
Mr. GREENE. It refers to the same matter that the gentleman who has just been speaking has been referring to.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, you may hand it to the stenographer and it will be printed in the record.
OFFICE OF THE SELECTMEN,
North Attleboro, Mass., January 8, 1913. To Hon. WILLIAM S. GREENE,
Representative to Congress. DEAR SIR: We, the undersigned, selectmen of the town of North Attleboro, Mass., at a regular meeting held on Wednesday evening, January 8, 1913, voted to adopt the following resolutions, viz: Whereas, it is the policy and purpose of the Democratic Party and its administration
to make a general reduction of the present tariff schedules during the next session of Congress, thereby removing the protection which is absolutely necessary to the life and continued prosperity of our manufacturing industries, which policy and purpose, if carried out, and their object accomplished, will precipitate disaster and ruin upon these industries, among which are the jewelry and silverware business; and whereas the jewelry and silverware business are the sole supporting industries of the Attleboros and the inhabitants thereof, these two towns, with all their merchants, market men, and other dependent local business, derive their whole income and
livelihood from the pay rolls of these jewelry and silverware factories; And whereas if the present protective tariff, which at present is barely adequate should
be reduced, it would leave our industry almost entirely at the mercy of the markets of European manufacturers who could flood our country with their manufactured product at prices with which it would be absolutely impossible for the jewelers and silversmiths of the United States to compete. In other words, it would mean death to the jewelry and silverware business in the United States. Therefore,
Be it resolved, That we, the selectmen of the town of North Attleboro, do hereby enter and declare our most earnest protest against this policy and purpose of the incoming administration, and in behalf of our manufacturers, business men, and citizens, request and petition, that you, as our representative in the Congress of the United States, will put forth every effort at your command and exert your influence in all the premises to preserve and keep permanent the present percentage of protective tariff on jewelry and silverware. Respectfully submitted.
JOHN A. Rose,
Geo. C. BUGHIE,
BRIEFS RELATING TO TARIFF ON JEWELRY.
BRIEF IN BEHALF OF THE MAINTENANCE OF THE PRINCIPLE OF PROTECTION IN THE
TARIFF AND PARTICULARLY IN BEHALF OF THE MAINTENANCE OF THE PRESENT RATES OF DUTY ON MANUFACTURES OF JEWELRY.
PROVIDENCE, R. I., January 25, 1913. The COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
House of Representatives: I file this brief without employment by any person or interest and as a citizen of the State of Rhode Island, the interests of whose people will be vitally affected by any change in the existing tariff. I am a Democrat, and in November, 1912 was elected to the senate of the State as a Democrat from the city of Cranston, one of the largest constituencies in the State. I am a protectionist and have never professed any other economic creed.
In 1912, prior to election, I circulated in my city a public address of mine in which I used these words:
“I believe in a reasonable protective tariff. When it is claimed that the labor cost of some manufactures is no greater in this country than in Europe, the claim, even if true, does not sustain the contention that American labor does not need protection. It is not the wages we have, in all cases, but the wages we ought to have, that require protection. The practical question is whether reduced tariff rates would be adequate for the protection of the labor conditions for which labor in America is making a long and, in the end, a successful struggle. It is this consideration which presents an insuperable obstacle to the permanent acceptance of low tariff ideas.
"I do not accept the conclusion that the true remedy (for trust extortion) is the complete restoration of individualism, competitive industry. It is an ideal impossible of realization. Something to be sure can be done in that direction. The remedy, in my opinion, should be composite, partly the prevention of monopolies and partly, and this the chief reliance, the reasonable regulation of prices.
“The licensing system for great corporations engaged in interstate commerce, proposed originally by Mr. Bryan and now indorsed by many eminent men, should be introduced and so applied as to deny license to corporations monopolizing or tending to monopolize.
"Neither a license system, the breaking up of big business into small fragments, or tariff reduction or other indirect legislation should be the main reliance for relief against industrial oppression. The way to obtain economic justice is to provide for its direct enforcement. A national industrial commission should be created, and should be given extensive powers to fix tariffs and to fix maximum prices of commodities produced by corporations producing more than a certain large percentage of the entire national product, Congress would, under the constitution, retain ultimate control over the tariff, but having instructed the commission to adjust the tariff upon certain principles, public opinion would restrain it from interfering with the tariff rates, unless in rare cases for strong reasons.”'
Protectionists must now admit into their philosophy a new principle, that tariffs must be high enough to protect not only the wages we have but the wages we ought to have.
The people do not desire the abolition of protection, but they do demand that the Government take care that the benefits of protection are justly distributed, and this can only be done through an extension of governmental functions in the matters of price fixing (meaning maximum prices in big industries) and wage fixing. (meaning minimum wages in big industries), from which we may shrink but shall find inevitable and remedial.
Meanwhile, before remedies for high prices and low wages can be settled upon, tariff reduction should be so small as not to imperil such prosperity as we have.
Severe reduction of the tariff will be followed now, as always in the past, by industrial disaster and quick and decisive political reaction.
THE JEWELRY TARIFF.
Jewelry is a great Rhode Island industry, and it is strongly represented in the city I have the honor to represent in the senate. This industry will be very sensitive to tariff reduction.
Peculiar reasons exist for making absolutely no reduction in the duties on foreign jewelry. Jewelry is a luxury and should be the subject of high duties for revenue purposes.
There is the further fact that jewelry duties, being necessarily ad valorem, are more successfully evaded than if they were specific or compound. Undervaluations have long rendered the jewelry duties less effective for protection than they seem.
Long before the presidential campaign of 1912 I was informed, in perfect good faith, by certain of my present constituents that the jewelry tariff was inadequate for protection against the cheap labor of France and Germany, because of undervaluations. I do not believe wages in the jewelry industry are what they should be, but tariff reduction will.inflict great injury upon wage earners in this industry.
EDWIN C. PIERCE.
WARNER JEWELRY Case Co. (Inc.),
Buffalo, N. Y., January 22, 1913. Hon. Chas. B. Smith,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: A few facts for your guidance in reference to the tariff on jewelry cases: This schedule at present is decidedly unfair to the American manufacturer.
As an illustration, we are sending you under separate cover by parcels post three boxes. The boxes are manufactured in Germany, and the ring box costs approximately 60 cents per dozen. The other two larger boxes cost proportionately more, according to the size.
The box is made of wood, covered with a leatherette paper, and lined with velvet and satin. The schedule calls for a duty of 5 cents per pound and 30 per cent ad valorem. One dozen of these boxes weigh a trifle over a pound, for which a duty of 5 cents is charged and 30 per cent of the cost, viz, 60 cents and 5 cents per pound plus 30 per cent duty brings it up to about 85 cents per dozen.
The American manufacturer pays more than this for labor alone, say nothing of material, etc.
The duty now exacted does not protect the American manufacturer, and he is utterly incapable of competing with the German manufacturer, who is able to procure cheap labor in all departments.
I wish to refer to you consular reports in reference to jewelry cases.
According to one of our consular reports leather workers in the German jewelry box factories earn in what our money amounts to $6.75 to $7 per week. The American leather worker demands three times this sum.
In another consular report you will find girls and women are paid 7 cents per day and in some places 25 cents per day, and a maximum of about $1.90 per week. "American female help receive from $6 to $9 per week, and in some cases more.
The schedule at present allows a very great latitude for wrong appraisal. For instance, jewelry boxes of German manufacture are mostly covered with leatherette paper. The appraiser fixes the duty on this article as if the chief component part were pa per, whereas, as a fact, the chief parts are made of wood, satin, and velvet, which should be appraised at a higher value.
Many years ago, we are informed, the duty on this class of merchandise was 75 to 80 per cent ad valorem. If the same duty would be enforced to-day we would have many times the number of people employed than are now.
We have endeavored to obtain ipforn ation about the quantities of jewelry cases which are imported from Germany, anà have written to the Department of State, Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of Manufactures at Washington, and the United States customs service at New York, but they are unable to give us the quantities or values imported each year. They have no record.
The fact that most manufacturers in this line are obliged to import jewelry cases covered with velvet and leatherette paper, shows conclusively that they can not be produced here at the same price, plus the duty. In Buffalo there are five manufacturers. One of them imports about $30,000 worth annually. The others similar amounts. The same holds good in most of the cities in the United States. Department stores, mail-order houses import most of their jewelry boxes from Germany. Jewelry boxes being a luxury are given away by jewelers, department stores, and mail-order houses free of charge, and are therefore not a burden to the consumer.
We also beg to refer to Report No. 155, by Consul Ralph C. Busser, from Erfurt, Germany, under date of November 23, 1909, viz:
“It may be of interest to American paper-box manufacturers to learn that jewelry boxes of the total value of many thousands of dollars are exported to the United States every year from this consular district alone. The most noteworthy feature is that this business represents practically the transplantation to Germany of an indus
PARAGRAPH 448_JEWELRY. try that once flourished in New York. The American factory was located on Long Island with offices in New York City representing a large investment of capital and employing many hands. But when the proprietor died a few years ago the business fell behind owing, it is said, to the incapability or lack of interest of his successors. At any rate, it is more than a coincidence that the German industry in this district was established about the time that the American plant was discontinued, and that to-day jewelry boxes are being shipped by this firm to the same address in New York City at which was located the offices of the American factory."
We also understand from a very reliable source that one of the large manufacturers of boxes in the East has a very large factory or factories in Germany and imports very large quantities of boxes annually. This will prove again that they can not be produced here in competition with German labor.
Can you tell me who is benefited by such importation? Writer can only see that the importer is the only one that derives any benefit, while if the duty would be increased it would give employment to thousands of our working people, who are the sufferers.
We think that it would be only a matter of justice to the American manufacturer to put the duty at 75 and 80 per cent ad valorem, respectively, for leatherette and velvet-covered cases, together with a strict appraisal at port of entry.
Should you desire any further information of a detailed nature, we shall be glad
WARNER JEWELRY Case Co.,
BRIEF OF NEW ENGLAND MANUFACTURING JEWELERS AND SILVERSMITHS'
COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: The undersigned is an association chartered under the laws of Rhode Island, and as its name indicates is composed of members engaged in the manufacture of jewelry and silverware.
We have requested permission to appear before this committee on the paragraph relating to jewelry in the sundries schedule, but we are also very seriously interested in the residuary clause of the metal schedule, owing to the many decisions rendered by the Board of General Appraisers and the courts, through whose interpretation of the language of paragraph 418 a very large proportion of the articles such as we make now pay duty as manufactures of metal under paragraph 199 instead of under the jewelry paragraph.
A glance at paragraph 448 would convince the average reader, unskilled in the technicalities of tariff construction, that the rates in this paragraph were intended to apply not only to all jewelry, but to such articles as silver novelties, vanity cases, powder boxes, etc., for in the paragraph appears the following provision: "All other articles of every description * composed wholly or in chief value of silver * and designed to be worn on apparel or carried on or about or attached to the person." This was the construction followed by the classifying officers until it was upset by the Board of General Appraisers, and to-day, through the decisions referred to, not a single article of this class is assessed for duty under this provision. In fact, under the present practice no article, which is at all utilitarian, although chiefly ornamental, is assessed under paragraph 448, all of them falling into paragraph 199 as manufactures of metal, unless commonly or commercially known as jewelry.
In our þrief filed in connection with paragraph 448 we will point out how this provision has been bereft of all force by one decision by the Board of Appraisers holding that nothing can come within it that is not jewelry and by another decision of the customs court holding that nothing can come within it which is jewelry.
The jewelry paragraph has always been a source of difficulty in the various tariffs, and in almost every act in recent years its provisions have been so warped and twisted in construction that it might be taken for granted that, however clear the present paragraph may be apparently drawn up, way will be (und to cut out from its provisions many articles which should belong there, causing them to fall within the basket clause of the metal schedule.
It is in order that such articles should pay a fair rate of duty, even under the metal schedule, that we suggest a special residuary clause for the manufactures of the three precious metals used in the jewelry trade--i. e., gold, silver, and platinum. Gold in bullion is free, as is silver. Platinum also is free in every crude form, as well as in the form of crucibles and other apparatus used chemically. Aside from these articles, practically every manufacture of gold, silv or platinum is a luxury, and so different from the ordinary manufactures of metal that it is a matter of surprise to find them provided for with such articles as manufactures of steel, iron, lead, brass, etc., in
paragraph 199. It is extremely difficult to conceive of any other article of gold, silver, or platinum which is not in the nature of jewelry or a luxury, and as such they should be differentiated and assessed at a higher rate of duty.
We therefore suggest that the words “gold, silver, and platinum” be eliminated from paragraph 199 and that a new paragraph be inserted preceding it and reading as follows:
“Articles or wares not specially provided for, composed wholly or in part of gold, silver, or platinum, wholly or partly manufactured, 60 per centum ad valorem.'
It should be noted that the end sought would not be accomplished by merely omitting these words from paragraph 199 without inserting a new paragraph, since the words “or other metal” would include them,
It is believed that the adoption of the rate suggested would result in increased revenues to the Government from a class of articles which, as luxuries, should properly be taxed. Respectfully submitted.
New ENGLAND MANUFACTURING JEWELERS
AND SILVERSMITHS' ASSOCIATION.
A. STEINHARDT & BRO.,
New York, January 15, 1913. Hon. OSCAR W. UNDERWOOD,
Chairman Ways and Means Committee, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: Your attention is respectfully called to paragraph 448 of the present tariff (1909). This paragraph, which is in fact a straight ad valorem one of 85 per cent and other rates, is written in the form of a compound one, and apparently so written for the purpose of misleading those not interested in the class of goods covered by itfor, when the tariff act was passed, the writer asked one of the Government officials who had been in attendance on the “committee” in charge of said paragraph why it was necessary to so word the paragraph, and in response was informed that if other industries knew that "the poor man's jewelry," was receiving a protection of 85 per cent there was a possibility of a demand by them for a like protection.
Eighty-five per cent, as you are no doubt aware, is entirely too high a rate of duty to be assessed upon the class of merchandise enumerated by or covered under said paragraph 448, as is evidenced by H. R. 1438, Calendar No. 2, Sixty-first Congress, first session. The paragraph was published in a Providence jewelry organ early in the year 1909 and was not opposed as it might have been, as it seemed so ridiculous in its phraseology and rates that it was thought there would be little probability of its being seriously considered by either the House or the Senate. Representative Payne's committee apparently turned it down, but when it reached Senator Aldrich's committee he saw to it that his constituents (with whom the paragraph originated) were duly cared for. Again respectfully requesting your consideration of this paragraph, I am, Very truly, yours,
EDWARD D. FLANNERY. N. B.-Another curious working of the present tariff was recently called to my attention. Aluminum forks under paragraph 154, “Forks and steels, finished or unfinished, if imported with handles of mother-of-pearl, shell, ivory, silver, nickel silver, or other metal than iron or steel, 14 cents each, and in addition, on all the above articles, 15 per cent ad valorem,” pay between 600 and 700 per cent duty. This may be verified by reference to T. D. 30488. On the class of forks covered by that decision we have quotations of M. 10 and 12 per gross.