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Congress has heard the calls for help from the farmers. It proposes to answer them by means both direct and indirect. A resolution reviving the War Finance Corporation has passed the House and the Senate and is now on the way to the President. II Mr. Wilson does what he ought to do he will sign this bill against the advice of Secretary of the Treasury Houston, thereby giving the Corporation $380,000,000 from the public treasury with which to finance the export of agricultural products to foreign markets and thus enable the farmers to get prices that will cover production cost.
Indirect aid will be given by increased tariff rates on farm products, if the Ways and Means Committee can succeed in pushing its plan through Congress. The House is expected to pass the bill without difficulty, but the Senate may "load to down" by trying to include protection or manufactured products. By both the direct and indirect methods Congress is responding to the farmers appeals which admit of no delay.
If the agricultural interests are to be helped, it must be done in a way that recognizes the critical conditions as only temporary. All industry is suffering--manufacturing as well as agriculture; to favor the farmers and not the manufacture can be justified only if the legislation is framed to meet an unusual and temporary crisis. There must be good cause for creating artificially high prices or the product of one industry and not of another.
Congress has acted in accord with this slew. It realizes that, to he of any real value, help for the farmers must be immediate, for their security is limited to palatable crops. It cannot propose complicated schemes involving huge sums of money to include all those who are in trouble. It can, however, by immed at action, relieve the pressure which is causing ruin in one part of the country. That the remedy proposed is regarded is only temporary is shown by the fact that the tariff bill would be in operation for only four or five months--till the next harvest; it would not be permanent legislation for normal times.
The problem of depression in industry is one that Congress cannot control by law-making. All it hopes to do is to stave off ruin for the farmers who have fared worse than the rest of the country. It behooves the manufacturer and business men to be broad-minded enough to accept what is obviously class legislation framed to meet the unusual conditions of a short period.
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