DEBATE OF APRIL 18, 1888.Question: "Resolved, That the Dependent Pension Bill which has passed the Senate should become a law."
Brief for the Affirmative.C. H. Burdett and C. L. Griffin.
General references: Speeches by Sen. Manderson, Cong. Record, Feb. 25 and March 9, 1888; speech by Sen. Turpie, Feb. 25, 1888; also the debates on the bill, Cong. Record, Feb. 25, 28, 29, March 17 and 9, 1888.
I. The pension legislation of this government is not in the nature of the fulfillment of a contract, but the fulfillment of the nation's moral obligations to the men who fought for it. The magnitude of the work they accomplished deserves a reward in proportion to their needs and the resources of the nation. The Dependent Pension Bill is in keeping with this policy.
II. The necessity for the present bill-(a) Thousands of ex-soldiers are dependent for support on private charity, or are in our almshouses; the nation should support them. (b) Lack of legislation for special cases. (c) The bill is framed so as to reduce fraud to a minimum, thereby meeting the objections in the President's veto message of last year.
Brief for the Negative.R. T. Paine, Jr. and F. L. Dean.
I. Statistical objections:
1. The United States pension system will be a more burdensome evil than the standing armies of Europe.- 2. Actual sufferers have been sufficiently recompensed.- 3. Proposed legislation is extravagant and wasteful.- 4. It is impossible to estimate how much will be needed to meet the demands of this bill: Nation, 44, p. 92; President's veto of Feb. 14, 1887; Public Opinion, III, 544-9.
II. Political objections:
1. The bill is urged by politicians in order to catch the Grand Army vote.- 2. It is a scheme to lessen the surplus and thus maintain the tariff.- 3. It will increase the present great army of thieves and plunderers of the treasury: Public Opinion, II, 370-3; Nation, 40, p, 172; Nation, 43, p. 48; Vest's speech of Feb. 29, 1888.
III. Moral objections:
I. Cheapens patriotism.- 2. It puts a premium on idleness and stimulates dishonesty and mendacity.- 3. It will pension persons who had no connection whatever with the war: Nation, 44, 131, 136; Nation, 45, 67; Bragg's speech in Cong. Record, Vol. 195, 2203.