« PreviousContinue »
$500 more. I put nearly $500 more into the farm than I got out of
Senator Thomas of Idaho. How large a farm are you operating?
Mr. Young. I am operating, in cleared land, about 95 acres-a small farm.
Senator Thomas of Idaho. How many cows do you have?
Mr. YOUNG. I have 12 cows. As I said, I put about $500 more in the place than I got out of it, until October 1, and in order to avoid having to take all my wages from the Farmer's Union as State president, I just slipped it over on to the hired man. I asked him what he would give me. I have about $3,000 worth of farm machinery. I had a mow full of alfalfa hay and plenty of grain to feed those cows and some ensilage, and I asked him what he would give me for that place for rent and take it for a year. I asked him not to be in a hurry about it, but to let me know the next morning.
The next morning he said: “ Young, I believe I could get by by paying a rent of a dollar a day for the place.” That included all the machinery and hay and grain and everything on that farm. I accepted it. I was tickled to death to accept it, because it stopped eternally putting money into the place.
When I was home at Christmas I got my tax statement, and my tax statement was $395. My rent is $365. My tax statement was just $30 more. I had to make it up out of my salary. He did not get the chickens. My wife got the chickens. We have about 300 chickens. Until recently she was making a little money out of the chickens, but eggs have gone so low that there is scarcely anything in that.
Senator THOMAS of Idaho. What are you getting per dozen for eggs?
Mr. YOUNG. The last letter I got from my wife was last Saturday. She was getting 13 cents a dozen. We get even a little higher price up there, almost, than they do anywhere else, on account of Superior and Duluth. It is really a kind of a market.
Senator FRAZIER. If you did not have a good market, you would not be getting much for your eggs, then?
Mr. YOUNG. Certainly not. We would be getting what the rest of them get throughout the State of Wisconsin-about 8 or 9 cents a dozen.
Senator THOMAS of Idaho. I had a letter from a farmer in my State yesterday in which he said he was getting 8 cents a dozen for
Mr. Young. There is another influence we have. We are well acquainted in Superior with the grocery men, and so forth, and if the grocery man sees any chance whatsoever to give us a letter extra, he will do it. That is another thing that helps us to get a little better price for our eggs.
There are the conditions on my own farm. In 1913 and 1914 one month's milk check, from the same number of cows, paid my taxesand I have just as good cows to-day as I had then, if not better; purebred registered Holstein cows. During the war half a milk check paid for my taxes. Last year it took four months' income from those 12 cows to pay my taxes.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. On that point, it is a fact, is it not, that the farmers up there pay their interest and pay their taxes with the products from their farms?
Mr. YOUNG. Absolutely.
oma. with milk?
Mr. YOUNG. Yes.
Senator THOMAS of Oklohama. During the war you paid your taxes for a year with half a month's check, and now it takes four months?
Mr. YOUNG. Yes.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. That means that your taxes now, based upon the product with which you pay them, are eight times as high as they were during the war?
Mr. YOUNG. Absolutely.
Senator Thomas of Oklahoma. If something could be done, through the inflation of the currency, I will say, to make money more plentiful, to make it cheaper, and to bring back higher prices for milk, and you could get, say, the same price for your milk that you got during the war, you could reduce your taxes, then, to one-eighth of what they are at the present time?
Mr. Young. Yes.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. That would have the effect of not only reducing your taxes but the money you have to pay for interest on your loan, if you have one.
Mr. Young. I certainly have one. I went into a new country and dug this place out of the woods, practically with my own hands. I had one man to help me.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. If this works as has been suggested, it would increase the currency, and reduce your interest.
Mr. YOUNG. Absolutely.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. And that would have the force and effect of decreasing or reducing salaries.
Mr. YOUNG. Yes.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. Increasing, of course, the revenue to the farmer. I just want to get those illustrations in the record.
Mr. YOUNG. There is no alternative for the American farmer or for the people in this country in general, except a reinflation of the currency, at least to give them a start forward again. That is one thing that attracted me to the Frazier bill. It will reinflate the currency; and, another thing, it can not be deflated more rapidly than 2 per cent a year.
Senator FRAZIER. You mean under the provisions of this bill?
Mr. YOUNG. Under Senator Frazier's bill. The powers that be deflated us from $65 per capita during the war, in a few short years to less than $10, and to-day we are almost on a barter basis. Nobody has any money.
Senator McGILL. When you say less than $10, you mean less than $10 of currency in actual circulation among the people?
Mr. Young. Yes. Economists say that there is $38 per capita in circulation.
Senator Smith. What is the average among the farmers ?
Mr. YOUNG. What is that?
Senator SMITH. The $10 per capita takes in the whole country. What is the amount per capita among all the farmers-how much below zero?
Mr. Young. I just can not answer that, but I know, my dear, sir, that she has got me right down until it almost takes an algebraic expression to figure out the situation.
Senator SMITH. In other words, you are looking up now to see the bottom ?
Mr. Young. Yes. I want to say that for the last two years I have not paid a cockeyed cent of interest and I do not intend to pay any more interest until something is done whereby I can get a cheaper dollar to pay it.
I want to tell you, friends, the farmers throughout the State of Wisconsin-Charlie Towers was slandering me about Wisconsin sitting on top of the pile. We were for a short time, until two years ago, but the fact is to-day that there are more actual reds among the farmers of Wisconsin than you could dream about-men who see red. I know of thousands of farmers in my position, who had worked all their lives, hoping to have a farm when they got along in years, something to fall back on, to make a living
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. For the benefit of the record, will you advise the committee what you mean by “ seeing red "? We hear it so much that I would like to know what you understand by it.
Mr. Young. They are just ready to do anything to get even with the situation. I almost hate to express it, but I honestly believe that if some of them could buy airplanes they would come down here to Washington to blow you fellows all up.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. That is all I wanted to get. I wanted to get your understanding, or what you meant by it.
Mr. Young. That is a fact. The fact is that I have to be very careful in my speeches or else I will create a sentiment. The farmer is naturally a conservative individual, but you can not find a conservative farmer to-day. You just can not find him. He is not to be found. I am as conservative as any man could be, but
any economic system that has it in its power to set me and my wife in the streets, at my age—what else could I see but red.
I do not express that to anybody but you fellows here.
Senator SMITH. I hope you will use discretion when you start down here.
Mr. Young. Yes, sir. I will try to separate the sheep from the goats.
Senator SMITH. That is right. I am with you.
Mr. Young. I am sure, my friends, that there are a lot of sheep here in the Congress of the United States.
There are thousands of farmers in the State of Wisconsin that have reached my age, for instance. If the farms are being foreclosed—and a lot of them are being foreclosed—they are being set in the streets without a cockeyed thing to do. They can not go out and get a job by the day.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. How are these people living who have no credit and no money and nothing to live on? I would like to know. I am just wondering how they are getting by this winter. Mr. YOUNG. The farmers, you mean?
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. Well, the farmer is in better condition to live from day to day and have something to eat than many others.
Mr. YOUNG. Yes.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. He has something to eat-perhaps not a very great variety—but he does not suffer for want of something to keep him alive.
Mr. Young. I have not been in any of the cities, and so I would not be prepared to answer your question. That is a separate and individual question. But I am satisfied in my own mind that if the farmer could have his buying power back—and the only way to get it back is through inflation-he would start buying. The farmer is the freest spender in the world. He would start buying things, and that would start the wheels of industry moving, and a lot of this idle labor would be called into service, and I think in a short time you would see real prosperity throughout the country. That is just my position. Maybe I am wrong. I have been wrong a thousand times and might be wrong once more.
I know a young man-I am going to state his case and then I will not take any more of your time. He has a 360-acre farm, milking 30 head of splendid Guernsey cows, delivering his milk to the creamery close by. With that many cows, of course, he has to have extra help. He did manage to pay his interest this year, but he gave a check for the interest and the check was $45 more than he had in the bank. He went to the banker and got the banker to carry it. Now he has been struggling for the last two months to raise the money to pay his taxes, and he has not got half enough. That is a younger man, who is able to get out and dig, and a powerful young man, a frugal man, but he has four children in the family and they have all got to be clothed and fed.
I am not going to take any more of your time unless you want to ask me some questions.
Senator Thomas of Oklahoma. Let me ask you this question. What do the people of your State think the Congress ought to do to help you and help out the situation generally? Just give it to us in the words of the people, if you can.
Mr. YOUNG. I have been preaching in the State—and they all seem to agree to it—the same identical doctrine our national president is preaching, and I know that has gone over big everywhere. I was out night after night all last summer and winter. You see, the farmer has to be educated. He can not do a lot of this thinking for himself. He has no reading as a background, and somebody has to tell it to him. That is my job.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. Do the farmers in your country rather generally have radios?
Mr. YOUNG. A few of them have.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. Of course, there is not so very much educational matter coming over those. I was just wondering
Mr. Young. It is mostly the bunk. Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. Mostly jazz. Mr. YOUNG. Even if John Simpson did broadcast over the radio. [Laughter.] We have a radio at our home. I know quite a few farmers that have radios.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. They take papers, do they not, as a rule?
Mr. Young. They take some of these farm journals that they get for about 10 or 15 cents a year, and maybe one weekly paper. There are farmers that have their daily paper. I could not live myself without a daily paper, and I have had it for 30 years.
Senator SMITH. Do not most of them tell you how to get rich farming!
Mr. Young. The farm journals do. The agricultural school is out right now in the State of Wisconsin-I can not understand how any sane farmer can go out and listen to them. They are out there with speakers, telling them how to raise more stuff of all kinds, and telling them, actually, that the only solution to their problem is more efficient production.
Senator FRAZIER. The Agricultural Department, you say?
Mr. Young. Absolutely; in Wisconsin. When the proper time comes, and the Farmers' Union has an organization strong enough, we are going to blow that thing clear out of the water.
Senator FRAZIER. Success to you.
Mr. YOUNG. Damned right. You know, every time I hear of one of those institutes it makes me so mad that I almost turn green. The farmers out there can not make a living, and they are out there telling them that the only solution to their problem is more efficient production.
I have talked with Dean Christiansen a good many times, and he promised me that he was going to go out after this marketing proposition, but the fact of the business is that he has been there now for pretty nearly a year and he has not done anything. We have just got to eliminate that class of fellows in the State of Wisconsin, that is all. We are going to have to eliminate that whole cockeyed system sooner or later.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. You would agree, would you not, that more efficient production would cause the farmer to lose less?
Mr. Young. No, sir; I will not. More efficient production will cause him to lose more—just the reverse.
Senator THOMAS of Oklahoma. I believe I disagree with you on that because, if he can produce a bushel of wheat for less than he produces it now, he would lose less when he sold it, because it did not cost him as much—but I will not go into that.
Mr. Young. I can argue with you on that.
Senator FRAZIER. Of course the price would go down if you produced more. If you had more efficient production, your price would
Mr. Young. Certainly.
Senator FRAZIER. If you have a loss on one bushel under the present conditions, and produced two bushels, you would lose still more.
Mr. Young. Yes, Senator.