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The Record and guide: v. 37, no. 935: February 13, 1886

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February 13, 1880 The Record and Guide. 185 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Published every Saturday. 191 Broad^w^av, IST. '!2'. Onr Telephone Call is ... . JOHN 370. TERMS: OKE YEAR, in adTance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager, Vol. XXXVII. FEBRUARY 13, 1886. No. 935 tinue so long as more raoney is got out of rentals than out of stocks and bonds. The writer to whom we have referred wishes to correct this state of things by fixing a legal limit beyond which rents cannot go. Interest rates, he says, are limited by law, divi¬ dends on watered stock are prohibited, why shouli not legal limit be put on investments in house property ? The promise of business continues good. The real estate interest was never more prosperous. The Liberty street Exchange will be unusually busy all this spring. The brokers are making more trans¬ actions and more money than in any previous season. Architects are busy with plans, and builders are making contracts for the construc¬ tion of more houses this year than any previous one in the history of this city. The stock market is strong, transactions are large, the pub¬ lic are buying, and there are indications that we may have a much higher range of values for all manner of securities. There is an assurance of cheap money, and the outlook is so hopeful that capi¬ talists are tempted to employ the abundant funds in the reorgani¬ zation of broken-down railway systems. By scaling old debts and obligations fixed charges can be reduced, and the bankrupted roads be placed on a paying basis. Altogether we have no cause of com¬ plaint, in view of the distress among the working classes and in general business which obtains on the other side of the Atlantic. Philadelphia is discussing the wisdom of selling it« gas works to a private company. It will be unwise if it does bo. The expe¬ rience of all cities is that natural monopolies like gas and water had better be controlled by the municipalities. It is true the gas patronage has been a disturbing and corrupting influence in the local politics of Philadelphia ; but, after all, the community has been better treated both in the quality of gas and the price than have the people of any of the cities in which private corporations had full swing in furnishing the gas supply. Philadelphia and Richmond (Va.) are the only two cities which supply gas as they do water to their citizens, and they are to be congratulated upon that fact. --------------e-------------■ In Europe the supply of gas is kept in the hands of the authori¬ ties, and tho public is far more efficiently and economically served than in this country. It is true that on the other side of the water they have learned the secret of good, honest local government, which is something the American republic has not yet accom¬ plished. Our municipalities are inefficient and corrupt in the administration of local affairs. This, indeed, ia the problem of problems in this country. There is hope that with civil service reform and the lodging of authority and responsibility in executive officers that we may do better in the future than in the past. When that time comes there will be no danger in our local govern¬ ments undertaking to supply gas as well as water to its citizens. We have never taken any stock in legislative action to force our gas corporations to do our citizens justice. These attempts end in more plunder for the lobby in every case. There is no reform worth talking about but the ownership by the city of the plant ol the gas companies. " ■ - #-------------------------- la the twenty-four wards of New York there is $277,619,160 worth of real estate exempt from taxation. This is classified as follows: City property, $188,136,730; United States property, $13,350,000 ; church property, $43,137,500 ; miscellaneous property, $33,994,930. The charitable institutions generally come under the last-named head. This is a monstrous deal of property to escape taxation. There ought really be no exempt property. The rule should be to assess every lot and structure within the twenty-four wards; then let the city donate or make an appropriation for the different kinds of exempted real estate. This would make dis¬ crimination impossible. The tax exempting authorities would be forced to save, if charged with tho responsibility of appropriating money out of the city treasury. Under the present system those who pay the taxes are necessitated to take niore than their share of the public burdens. A wiseacre in the Daily Stochholder complains that the dullness of trade is due to the enhanced price of land and to the high rents which prevail in contrast to the low rates of interest, and the small return for investment in securities. It is unquestionably true that the better returns from hou^e property than in other investment is stimulating building in all the centres of population throughout the country. A vast deal of the floating capital of the nation is to-day being put in bricks and mortfir, and this ■'s^ill con- Of course this is an entirely impracticable proposition. If tried it would defeat its own purpose, for were there any interference with the rent market it would lead to evasions and put a check to the building of houses. In the long run house property only averages about what other investments bring. The multiplication of dwellings and stores now going on will eventually lead to com¬ petition between landlords, and there will be times when business troubles will check the growth of cities. The landlords will then have to take the lean, though they may now be luxuriating on the fat of the land. --------•-------- Labor and Business in Europe and America. The laboring classes of Europe have been suffering for want of work for several years past. All over the continent, as well as in England, there has been a steady fall in prices and a consequent check given to industrial enterprises because of the natural reluc¬ tance of manufacturers to produce goods on a falling market. It is, however, a curious fact that the greatest distress has been in the gold unit countries, especially in England, which has had the advantage, such as it is, of having had the gold unit in force since 1830. England seems to be suffering under a greater industrial depression than any of the commercial nations. This influenced the voting for the members of the Parliament which has just come into power. The Liberals lost in the cities, for to the Liberal goverment was attributed the depression i'l trade. Then the Tories lost ground among the new agricultural voters, for Hodge somehow got it into his head that the landlords were to blame for the hard times, so he cast his ballot for Radicals of the Chamberlain type who promised him " three acres and a cow." The discontent among the British laborers culminated in a rijt a few days since which put a part of London for a time at the mercy of a mob. At this distance there does not seem any reason why the police should have interfered with the speakers. It was their interposition which created the riot. The speakers only claimed the right of being heard. The resolutions were harmless enough. They called upon the government to protect home industry, to supply \vork for the people if possible, and to organize bureaus in the government to look after the interests of commerce and agriculture. Discon¬ tent of any kind affecting large masses of people is much more likely to be dangerous when the dissatisfaction cannot be expressed by speech or publication. Herr Most was being constantly imprisoned in Germany and England ; but in this country, while his speech is just as wild, he has been severely let alone, and no harm has come out of it. The police of all cities are apt to be too previous. The Communists and Socialists have a bad name, and the averaga officer regards them as fair game to club before the presumed culprits have had time to break the peace. On this side of the water we have also labor troubles, but in nearly every instance the discontent has been caused by too little wages or by too long hours of labor. The English working class ask for employment, without any reference to wages or hours. What a commentary this fact is upon the current discussions of the silver question in this country. President Cleveland in his message. Secretary Manning in his report, the Eastern press almost unanimously, have been telliiag U6 that our laboring classes were the greatest sufferers by the coinage of the silver dollars. We were paying them in a depreciated .coin. The continuance of the silver law was to result in the loss of 20 per cent, in the wages of Ameri¬ can workmen ; yet here are our distressed laboring classes demand¬ ing more wages and fewer hoiirs of labor, and in many cases employers are willing to meet them half way. There are no silver dollars in England ; every one is pg,id in gold, which is the sole unit of value, and yet the working.classes in town and country are so discontented as to be on the verge of rebellion.. Ought not this one fact lead such of our people as have honesMy advocated the gold standard to review the matter again, to see if there is not a mistake somewhere. We respectfully call the attention of the New York Tribune, Times, Herald, Finmcial Chronicle, and the other gold unit papers to explain. ; There is no reason to believe, however, that there will be any change of financial policy on the part of the gold unit nations of Europe. When Mr. William Henry Hurlbert telegraphed to the Sun that Germany was ready to remonetize silver we predicted that nothing was more unlikely. Within the last few days the propo¬ sition was made ia the Reichstag to initiate measures re-establish¬ ing bi-metallism throughout. Europe; but the cable news of last Tuesday states that there were so few persons to support the motion that the mover withdrew ifc.. The fact of the matter is Germany is out of debt^praotically, and is ambitious to become a great manu*