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We will now show how the principle of Confiscation should work in the case of railroads. This class of property, by the way, should never have been given over to private ownership to begin with. They are for the convenience of the public, just as much as any harbor or navigation ever was. And if it was right that the founders of the Republic should, in the interests of the country's commerce, deny the right of private ownership in our navigable waters, then it was wrong to concede the right of private ownership in railroads. As for the capital to build them with, it was just as easy to get it for that purpose as it was to get capital to dredge harbors, build lighthouses, build forts or the Stanford University. The first railroad, or even the twentieth, never suggested to the leaders of those times any idea of what this rival of the winds and tides would develop into in a few short years. Individual greed has so little time, to spare from the building of its own nest that politics in the United States, where the common good should be the aim of all legislation, has become a hand-to-mouth affair, and the morrow must shift for itself. Busy hunting for spoil, like our own incompetents of to-day, the legislators of the past cared nothing for the morrow; and, without knowing what they were doing really, surrendered a principle to the railroad projectors that was but a spark at the time, but which has spread until we find the blaze devouring us to-day. The statecraft that never found time to look beyond the ringing of the curfew bells would have starved to death had it to compete with those who were then working the lobby, while it was splitting hairs over the Constitution and accepting the "stuff" that would do it "the most good." No class of property shows the justice, and therefore the need, of Confiscation as much as railroads. No class of property has done as much toward absorbing and transferring the whole country into the hands of a comparatively few men as railroads. But when Confiscation gets through with these monarchs of all they survey, the town or section through which these railroads run will not find themselves like a sucked orange by the wayside.
Taking the Southern Pacific Railroad, we find that it runs through Madera County, California, but it is doubtful if ten cents worth of its securities are owned there. Madera County, then, has property within her borders that earns an income, not one cent of which goes to the county where it was earned. The property is there, but the income from it is taken elsewhere. This is the one great flaw in our present economic life, and is the very root of our present troubles.
The income from property is taken from the locality where it was earned. And the farmer's wagon sinks to the hubs for want of money to build good roads. And the laborer is robbed of the income that his labor earned, and he sinks his manhood at the soup-house door. We repeat it: The great defect in our economic life is the taking of the income from the locality where it was earned, and from the laborer, the source of of it all. This does not mean that the laborer must spend his income or wages where it was made. It does not mean that the income from property must be spent in the particular locality where the property is located. It does not mean, in short, that there shall be any restrictions placed upon the individual in any way outside of limiting him to the ownership of $100,000. With that he can do as he likes, and go where he likes - title-hunting if he wishes, when he will be sure to find many bargains, for it is our impression that there will be a slump in that market when the American millionaire is no longer found among the bidders.
To the United States Government must be left the winding up of the affairs of the railroads, and all other paper-represented property, as it is obvious that she can do it much better than the many States of which the country is composed; and the before mentioned excess shall then be turned over to the different counties where the railroads are located, each county to receive in proportion to the value of the railroad property within her limits, and not according to the number of miles.
President Huntington does not own all the stocks and bonds of the Southern Pacific, but for illustration sake we will assume that he does. Is it not plain then that Confiscation, when it gets through with this railroad owner, will have made the counties where it is located its owners, both of the property itself and the income which it earns? Is this Government ownership of railroads? That term as now understood means buying the railroad, and it is the millionaire we are trying to get rid of, but he is still here if you take his railroads and give him something better. We have already said that private ownership should not have been allowed, and we would now confiscate them without any reservation whatever if it were not for the thousands of small investors in their securities and as these small investors must not be injured, we are compelled to leave the railroads in the hands of private owners, as buying out even these small owners would cause a national debt such as we had better steer clear of. But it is not essential to the welfare of the people that the Government should own the railroads. The point we wish to bring out is, that the wealth and resources of the country has found lodgment in a few hands, whereas it should be scattered among all the people, and as long as they are getting the benefit it will matter little to them whether they own it in their Governmental capacity or as individuals, and the counties even are not to hold on to the forfeited excess, but must dispose of it as fast as the people are able to buy.
But Huntington not owning all the securities of the railroad of which he is president, we send for persons and papers and confiscate as fast as the excess turns up, and distribute as described above. "Oh my! Oh my!" comes a voice from out of the woods. "Is not this robbery?" No; nor armed revolution either, but a peaceable solution of the question. Who owns this earth anyway?
When persons and papers are sent for, and one of the interrogated is found to possess, say, $100,000 in money and securities, $100,000 of real estate, and $100,000 of other good things the right of choice Should be given him as to the $100,000 he wishes to retain. For the limiting of every individual fortune to $100,000 does not mean $100,000 of one kind of property and $100,000 of another kind, etc., but $100,000 all told.
Those of our own country are, of course, amenable to our laws, but many of the securities of the road under consideration are owned abroad, and persons and papers there are not responsive to our subpoenas. If it brings disaster to a country to lose income made there, are we not close to one of the causes of the wretched want that is confined to no section of this land as we draw nearer to the man abroad, who is fattening from income that is drawn from all over this country?
Repudiation is unnecessary here. Simply stop the interest on all American securities owned out of the country.
This we have a perfect right to do, and when it is done the foreign holders will be on their way here as fast as the first ship can take them. The despised steerage and all will be full of him.
Here we are once more obliged to use a word that is as hateful to us as it must be to every one who has probed the wounds of this bleeding country in the hope of finding their cause. And probe where we will, and how we will, it is Bonds; always Bonds - the interest bearing bonds. And standing around are the hyena millionaires, from far and near, lapping their income from the dying form whose first breath was the immortal Declaration.
Gas Bonds, Water Bonds, Sugar Bonds, Flour Bonds, Telegraph Bonds, Railroad Bonds, Bonds, Bonds, Bonds.
School District Bonds, Road Bonds, Municipal Bonds, County Bonds, State Bonds, and United States Bonds - chief offender among them all, whose issue is left to the sweet will of one man - the political freak now in the White House.
 The railroad, of course, pays taxes to the county, but it would have to pay taxes even if it had no income.