Beyond Saving's picture

A History of US Economic Law Part 4: The McKinley Years


The election of 1896 centered on economics issues. If you remember from my previous post, the country was in a very deep recession since the panic of 1893. Unemployment was still in the double digits, which metal to base the currency on was still a hot political issue and there was a whole lot of uncertainty. McKinley ran on a platform supporting protective tariffs and the gold standard. While McKinley himself was not a hardliner on the gold standard, it was a position he was forced to take for political reasons as his democratic opponent was William Jennings Bryan a very prominent silverite. 


I have been a little remiss in discussing tariffs because quite frankly I find the subject boring. But arguments over tariffs were as important at that time as the metalism arguments. Tariffs are taxes on imports and there was a large "protectionist" movement that was mostly fueled by industrial tycoons. Protectionists supported high tariffs which would make it more difficult for foreign companies to offer competitive prices and therefore encourage people to buy domestically. Obviously, domestic industry leaders liked this because it cut out a competitor. Large domestic trusts like the sugar trust that held 90%+ of the domestic production were especially enthusiastic about pursuing high tariffs.


digitalbeachbum's picture

Fables of Wealth

Several decades ago I worked for a multi-million dollar company. It was small, but made a shitload of money. At the top ranks were VP's, CEO's etc who walked around in very expensive suits, held meetings, and then disappeared for weeks at a time before we saw them again.

These executives always had the best of the best. They lived in the best homes and the best neighborhoods all on the company dollar. They even had their houses furnished by the company and they had parachute clauses in their contracts in case they got fired.

I remember one executive who came in to the office one day and sat down at my desk while I worked on their laptop. They were new to the company so I was telling them some of the stories about people within the company and the benefits that we all got because we were employees. I quickly learned what a doofus and how ignorant I truly was about how things worked in the office.

I found out that the executive was already fully vested in the 401k which took most of us six months. The executive also got a better deal on the 4:1 and 8:1 plans we had for saving our money. They also got other perks which I didn't know about such as more paid vacations and more sick leave.

Louis_Cypher's picture

It's Time...

 It's time for a new round of the classic Blasphemy Challenge!

I will start this one off with a simple petition, with a goal of 1 million signatures.

Join me in damning your soul to eternal torment!

There will be FUN and DOOR PRIZES! Cake and Punch served!


LC >;-}> aka Bill Moody





digitalbeachbum's picture

Worst Jon Stewart interview?

I really like the Jon Stewart show. In years past he has given a good view of the world and the media of the world for their hypocritical and ridiculous ideologies.

This interview with David Barton is however not one of Stewart's best. Stewart seems out of alignment and he doesn't dig in to the story like he should have; that Thomas Jefferson (while still a Christian) was not main stream. He was a man who rejected all the "miracles" and "magic" of the bible. So much so that Jefferson created his own bible by ripping out those things which made Jesus a human being rather than this "super natural" being.

Jefferson also was a person who wanted religion to be separated from politics. He knew that mixing the two cause problems and this is why he wrote:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

Louis_Cypher's picture

Charlotte's Web part II

  I get a little weary over the plethora of Christians and entirely too many Atheists who buy into the myth of the ‘Good and Perfect’ Jesus and his ‘earthshaking message’

I can understand that the writers of the Gospels probably wouldn’t report if Jesus had been banging two shekel, boy hookers by the dozen in the back room any more than I’d expect a friendly biographer of Bill Clinton to make a big deal of Monica’s little blue dress… I get it.

Louis_Cypher's picture

The proof is in the pudding...

Non-Proofs of God;

Warm fuzzy feelings;
A personal relationship with an idea, fear of death, fear of life,  desire for immortality ‘personal experiences’, anecdotes, voices and visions are all non-proofs.

The War on Reality;
Vague and often laughable attempts to disregard or somehow bring into disrepute established scientific concepts.  Often this is accompanied by absolutely spurious claims, very bad research and methodology and outright lies. The idea is that if they can call any part of science into question it allows them to ‘wedge’ in the supernatural as a ‘possibility’.  This is why I say that the magic requires at LEAST as much step by step explanation as does the science we are called on to defend.
Even if the ‘miraculous’ happened, and someone with a nebulous grasp of high school science COULD call any part of science itself into question, that still wouldn’t go one iota in the direction of proving the existence of a god.

Word Weaving;
Philosophy for all its erudite and intellectual charms cannot PROVE that ANYTHING does or does not exist. Word Weaving is akin to Basket Weaving in that it’s a pleasant way to waste time, but in the end, only one pursuit will leave you with something you can use.

There is one simple explanation of why there is no proof that a god exists.

Louis_Cypher's picture

It's been one of those weeks...

 I have been confronted no less than six times this week with some twit or another regurgitating Pascal’s Wager, the theistic sucker bet. And each and every one of them believes he/she/it was the first one to pose what to the simple minded religious drones must seem like a stumper…

It goes like this (to the atheist);
If you are right, no harm, no foul, we all just die. But if I’m right, you will suffer a torturous eternity at the hands of my merciful and loving sky buddy…

One does not have to have a deep understanding of logic or formal debate to see at a cursory glance why this bit of fluff fails.

First, this isn’t even an argument for (or against) the existence of a god. It’s a pointless threat made to someone who doesn’t believe the basic premise. That makes it a bit of narcissistic metaphysical masturbation, not meant to influence it’s purported target, but rather to allow the theist to ‘gloat’ over the impending fiery doom they fervently hope will descend on the folks who have made them feel so stupid, for so long about believing.

Beyond Saving's picture

A History of US Economic Law Part 3: The Conception of the Income Tax

In 1894, the Democratic Party was under significant pressure to reduce the tariffs imposed by the 1890 McKinley Tariff. As I discussed in my previous blog the economy was in recession and the average Americans purchasing power had dropped. Government revenue had been significantly reduced by the recession.


However, it was difficult to build a consensus between the House and the Senate- a bill that started as significant tariff cuts was diluted by over 600 amendments in the Senate. The result was the Wilson-Gorman Tariff, a hodgepodge of tariff cuts and tariff increases that became law without the signature of President Cleveland.


For purposes of discussion here, the most important aspect of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff was that for the first time an income tax was imposed during peacetime. The tax consisted of 2% on all income over $4,000 for individuals and corporations. 


This wasn’t the first income tax imposed in the US. The first was the Civil War income tax imposed in 1861 which was a progressive tax with rates ranging from 3%-10%. It was passed along with a slough of other taxes as an emergency measure. After the war, the income tax was gradually reduced and eventually eliminated in 1872 along with most of the other taxes imposed during the war.  


Louis_Cypher's picture

Them be's the rules...

 New rule: Before you can blithely toss out any supernatural claim, you must be prepared to explain, in detail HOW THE MAGIC WORKS. We are often tasked to spend hundreds of column inches giving scientific explanations, sources and evidence by those who want to somehow dispute science and reality itself, so if you want to make claims for the supernatural you MUST spend at least as much time and effort PROVING IT.  


Beyond Saving's picture

A History of US Economic Law Part 2: G, S, or Bi?


A serious economic issue back in the late 1800's was which metal should be used to back up the currency. In 1873, the US adopted gold as the official legal tender. Silver was still used in small coins, but was no longer legal tender for large debts. 



Back in those days, the value of US currency was tied directly to gold. You could bring gold  in to a mint and trade it for its equivalent in gold coins minus a small fee for seignorage. When the country adopted the gold standard, naturally certain sectors of the economy were upset. It created a large divide across party lines with a large group arguing for "free silver".



The "silverites" as they were called, argued that having the value of the dollar pegged to silver was better than gold because silver was more inflationary, while gold was monopolized by the industry tycoons. They supported silver over gold, but many were willing to accept bimetallism; the use of both metals.



The 1870's and 1880's saw a lot of expansion into the western US as railroads expanded their lines and increased the number of trains running. This created a boom for both the farmers and railroads. Farmers in the western midwest were now able to export grains (mostly wheat) overseas and railroads made good profits transporting the grains to ports. Another result of the railroads western expansion was the discovery of silver. Lots of silver.



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