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Some free trade nonsense, April 3, 1909

April 3, 1909, Saturday

Some free trade nonsense

A GOOD deal of nonsense has been said and written about the Payne tariff bill. Among other things it has been charged that the United States, under the cloak of benevolence, was trying to exploit these islands, and, instead of making us a gift, was really trying to cheat us into a bad bargain.

What are the facts? We find the United States making us a donation, in that sugar concession alone, of more than $8,000.000. And in the tobacco concession, it offers us anywhere from $10,000,000 to $20,000,000. That’s what the American market means to us on those two items alone.

What have we to offer? Our total customs collections are only a little over $8,000,000 and we can’t offer even all of that in way of exchange. It is about time a little more light and a little less heat was thrown on this tariff discussion, or better, still, let us leave the whole matter in the hands of our good friends at Washington who know better than we what ought to be done. We are only making ourselves ridiculous.

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Assembly not so bad

In a recent issue that attractive little periodical, Revista Popular, urges that fewer lawyers and more farmers be elected to the assembly, and reference is made to the United States. The Revista says that last year’s elections to the islands first congress resulted in there being returned 47 lawyers, constituting 58 per cent, as against 12 farmers, constituting only 15 per cent.

Turning to the United States congress we find that out of a total of 390 representatives in the last congress there were 238 lawyers or 61 per cent as against only 58 per cent of lawyers in the Philippine house of representatives. And the farmers in the U.S. house of representatives constituted less than 3 per cent, while here, as said, they constitute about 15 per cent. While we should like to see more farmers in the assembly yet it must be admitted that, in comparison with the lower house of the U.S. congress, the advantage is all with the lower house of the Philippine legislature.