28 SEPTEMBER 1929, Page 13


The pending Tariff Bill, at present under rigorous dis- cussion in the Senate, remains the outstanding issue in domestic affairs. One most authoritative contribution to the discussion on the effects of the proposed tariffs on foreign imports has come recently from Professor F. W. Taussig, a former member of the United States Tariff Commission and an opponent of Protection, who concludes that " all things considered, the total volume of imports from Europe is not likely to be lessened by the higher tariffs proposed." The chief argument of advocates of the Bill remains the need for protecting American prosperity, and particularly the high level of American wages, against competition from less favoured countries. On this point there is little support from the economists, including Professor Taussig, who are disinclined to attach importance to the tariff as a factor in prosperity. As to the wage level, it is notable that the automobile industry, in which wages are high, favours reduced rather than increased tariffs. The debate promises to be protracted. Owing to divisions in the Republican ranks in the Senate at present the Administration can count upon only thirty-three votes there out of a total of ninety-six members. The Bill still has rough going before it.