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of woolen fabrics that they are getting what they pay for regardless of price, regardless of a lot of things that have been said on both sides of the question, if that is possible, and that is the question to determine, the possibility and reasonable possibility.
It is not a question of whether it adds additional cost to the fabric or not, but I feel that every purchaser would like to feel that he is getting what he buys.
I have never objected to the manufacture of oleomargarine, notwithstanding it interferes with the butter production interests, but I have objected to eating oleomargarine thinking I was eating butter. I draw the line right there. If I want to buy and feed oleomargarine to myself and to my family, if I know it, it is nobody's business but mine, but I feel that I ought to be protected against the oleomargarine if I don't want to eat oleomargarine.
Now, this question under consideration is the only question that I have ever presented, I think, to a committee of Congress, where I thought that I represented almost unanimously all of the producers of the original commodity and all the consumers of that commodity, there being nobody between but the manufacturers of this commodity. In other words, I think that in our contention for this high moral standard, this protection of the public against fraud and imposition, that I represent 99 per cent of the entire American citizenship.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, right there; I think that statement is strong, but what about the additional expense that has been insisted upon that would be put upon the public?
Mr. ATKESON. Well, I think that has been very much magnified. I am not an expert. I can not tell. That same argument was raised when they opposed the meat inspection law, that the poor sinners would have to spend more for their meat if they knew what they were getting
The CHAIRMAN. Meat is a good deal higher. What is the cause of it?
Mr. ATKESON. That is another question. It did not manifest itself very much at that time. This was back before war prices. But that contention has always been made in connection with this sort of legislation. We will
We will grant the public will pay the additional cost, and you are going to pay the additional cost, and I am, and everykody else that buys these goods. Notwithstanding that, should not they be protected against the perpetration of a fraud every time a man brands his goods" all wool" when half of it is something else? It may have been all wool once, but when you take old rags they are not wool in the sense that everybody understands wool, and you take it and you put it through some sort of a process—it is half rotten, may be—and you weave it into a fabric and brand it “all wool.”
The CHAIRMAN. What would you say about the statement of Mr. Dale, who is opposed to both the bills, saying that this legislation is a cover for fraud on the public?
Mr. ATKESON. I listened very closely to what he had to say, and I can not quite agree with that; that is, if it is a cover to fraud-well, I don't see that it can make the situation any worse than it is. Practically every woolen fabric that is sold now by the catalogue houses, and even by your tailors here in town, everything is all wool. “All wool” is the term you get first. You don't hear “ virgin wool
new wool,” or anything else half as often as you do “ all wool.”
The CHAIRMAN. And that would cover shoddy that is free of jute, cotton, and so on?
Mr. ATKESON. Yes. That is, these other fabrics I have been impressed upon looking at the catalogue of Montgomery Ward & Co. and Sears, Roebuck & Co. by the fact that they will tell you how much cotton a suit of clothes has in it. They will say, sometimes, it is half cotton. You will find that in their catalogues advertising their suits, but if it is wool at all it is “all wool." I defy you to find in any of these catalogues a statement that recognizes reworked wool. If it is all reworked it is “all wool," and that is the only thing that we are primarily interested in-I mean, our people that you should not sell something as "all wool” that is half reworked wool, because all wool is supposed to comprehend the original product of the sheep; and, as I say, my principal objection to Senator Lodge's bill is that it absolutely legalizes the use of shoddy.
Senator COUZENS. Would you contend that we should have hash marked "recooked."
Mr. ATKESON. Oh, well that is different.
Senator COUZENS. I know; but there is fresh hash and hash that is recooked, and the recooked is not as good as the fresh.
Mr. ATKESON. If the hash is sold for anything else than what it is, I should say you ought to have a sign out.
Senator COUZENS. It is sold for fresh hash sometimes when it is recooked hash.
Mr. ATKESON. Well, I don't think hash ever fools anybody.
Mr. ATKESON. Well, if it does, when you say it is hash, you have said it is a mixture of a lot of things. Senator COUZENS. I know; but it may be fresh meat or it may
be cooked-over meat or it may be any old thing.
The CHAIRMAN. Usually the latter.
Senator COUZENS. Do you object if these goods are marked 70 per cent new and 30 per cent reworked wool?
Mr. ATKESON. Not if they tell the truth. That is just what we want.
Senator COUZENS. Then, how does the purchaser determine whether, he is getting the better garment with 70 per cent new wool and 30 per cent reworked wool than if he got 80 per cent new wool and 20, per cent reworked wool?
Mr. ATKESON. Well, I don't know that anybody need be concerned about that, about the purchaser.
Senator COUZENS. I don't see how that is going to determine in the purchaser's mind whether he is getting good, better, or indifferent goods.
Mr. ATKESON. I think I know human nature well enough to know that the basis of the objections, since, of course, the additional cost. can be passed to the purchaser, to this whole proposition on the part of the manufacturers is because it would prevent them from selling something for what it is not, and it is more profitable to sell it for what it is not than to sell it for what it is.
Senator COUZENS. Merchants are objecting to this also, are they not? Mr. ATKESON. The merchants are not interested in this question. Senator COUZENS. Oh, yes, sir; the merchants are objecting to it.
Senator CAPPER. No, Senator. There are some;
but the overwhelming majority of the retail dealers are for this legislation, and we have filed statements to that effect.
Senator COUZENS. Some of the merchants have been objecting to me.
Senator CAPPER. There are some; but I think it was established to the satisfaction of the committe at the last hearing that they were in favor of it.
The CHAIRMAN, What have you to say about the suggestion of Mr. Green this morning that the stamping would injure the goods; that there are some goods with no salvage ?
Mr. ATKESON. I think he knows better than I do, but it can be marked on the selvage in some way so that it could not be affected at all.
Mr. NEVINS. Then, the selvage would be taken off.
Mr. ATKESON. Of course, if you stamp the goods with some kind of a chemical that would injure the fabric, and stamped it on the body of the fabric, that would do harm, but it is not necessary to do that,
The CHAIRMAN. Do you understand that the bill means that every yard in a bolt of goods must be stamped ?
Mr. ATKESON. Maybe that is not necessary; maybe every two yards would answer the purpose, but that is the provision of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any information about the Wyoming situation that was mentioned yesterday?
Mr. ATKESON. I heard the discussion yesterday,
Mr. ATKESON. No, not in detail. In fact, I don't know what the law provides. I had the reference to it yesterday, but I have no information in regard to it at all.
Senator COUZENS. Where would a suit of clothes be marked as to its contents?
Mr. ATKESON. Well, there is a provision in one of the bills, I guess the Capper bill, that it shall be stamped on a linen piece of cloth, and just simply sewn to the suit of clothes. You will find ordinarily that every suit of clothes you buy-a suit of clothes that you buy from the catalogue houses, for instance, will carry the Sears-Roebuck or the Montgomery Ward tag on it.
Senator COUZENS. I know; but that is easily switched. That can be transferred from one garment to another, detached, and very simply disposed of, so that does not really mean any greater assurance to the purchaser that he is getting what he buys.
Mr. ATKESON. There are matters of detail that both these bills to some extent have attempted to provide for.
Senator CAPPER. It can easily be stamped in the selvage, just as many manufacturers are to-day putting their brand on the selvage, without any additional cost or any trouble to anyone.
Senator COUZENS. Do you get that in the suit of clothes? Can you find that in the suit of clothes?
Senator CAPPER. You take a roll or bolt of the fabric, and along the edge there is always a space that can be used without damaging the cloth.
Senator COUZENS. But when the knitted goods are sold, there is you find it in the suit of clothes!
Senator CAPPER. Well, in that garment, somewhere in it, it would contain woven in information in small type. It could be done easily.
Mr. ATKESON. I want to suggest an amendment to the Lodge bill. Take that subsection E on page 2; I want to suggest that you omit the word “and ” and make it new wool” and all wool sheep's wool, lambswool, the hair of the Angora goat and the Cashmere goat that has never been previously spun into yarn, woven into cloth or felt or is without a mixture of cotton, jute, hemp, silk, reworked wool, or any other fabric than new wool," and omit subsection F.
Senator COUZENS. In all your observations or study of this problem, have you seen any statements of the cost of enforcing this law?
Mr. ATKESON. No, sir. I have heard some statements made by manufacturers that I was not in any position to dispute at all, but my observation has been that the opponents of a measure always emphasize that side of the question, just like I would if I were on their side. I am just as human as the other fellow.
In this particular question our people have no considerable interest outside of what every American citizen has. This is one place where we are not pleading a personal or special cause whatever. small percentage of our membership of a million or more is interested in the sheep industry, but they all wear woolen clothes more or less, just like everybody else does, and we are contending only for this basic principle; that the public is entitled to know what it gets when it pays for it.
Now, then, if you Senators who are lawyers and editors and ex. pert lawmakers can accomplish just that one thing, to guarantee that the buyers of woolen fabrics know that they get what they pay for, that is what we are after.
Now, as to the economics of the question, how much it will add to the cost, if that is prohibitive, and you decide that it is, then perhaps you should not enact the legislation, but the principle is alsolutely sound that the public should be protected against being imposed upon. We might even go to the extent of granting that goods inanufactured wholly or half from shoddy are better goods than those made all from virgin wool, and it would be just as much a fraud, even then, although you held the fellow's nose and fooled him into taking something that was better for him than what he wanted. It is still a fraud when it is possible to deceive the public into buying something that the public can not determine what it is buying, and it is legitimate legislation to protect the public against that fraud. It is a fraud even when you give him something better than he thought he was getting, so that a good many of the questions raised do not weigh on this matter at all with me or with the people I represent.
Now, then, if human ingenuity and legal acumen can solve all the questions that have been raised, and I recognize the force of every objection that has been made, as I think you Senators do, and I think that with this question, like those where you are legislating for the benefit of the farmer, I don't think there is a Congressman or Senator that would not gladly advocate some measure to relieve the present agricultural situation in the country if he just knew how to do it, you do not want to do something where the remedy would be worse than the disease.
Senator COUZENS. That is just what I have in mind now.
Mr. ATKESON. I know; and I am frank to say I can not settle alı those questions for you, but I believe that our contention is abso
lutely sound; that if human ingenuity or legal acumen can do it, that we ought to guarantee to the purchaser of woolen fabrics that they are getting what they buy.
Senator Couzens. I think that fundamentally you are sound.
Senator COUZENS. But you can refine commerce to such an extent that commerce breaks down from the refinement, just the same as you have to mix some alloys with other alloys so that they perform their functions. You can not refine commerce to such a point that commerce can not be conducted with any degree of sanity or success.
The CHAIRMAN. The legislature, Mr. Atkeson, having the public in mind, would like to do what is best for the public, and at the same time the tendency here in Congress to do that is so loading down business with exactions that we are putting the Government so much in business that there is a reaction in my mind especially against doing anything that is unnecessary. My reaction to this legislation, I'frankly confess, has been rather favorable in the beginning, in the I hope that we.could stimulate sheep growing. I think every farmer ought to have a small flock of sheep, and, instead of having it, we are growing less and less. I notice that you have not emphasized that side of it at all. I know there is some objection to that on the ground that it would be class legislation, but that does not harm me at all. The conflict I am in is the favor of the legislation from one angle and the very pronounced disfavor of it from another angle, and I admit it is a pretty serious proposition.
Mr. ATKESON. I think we all agree on that, and not only a serious one, but a difficult one.
The CHAIRMAN. Very difficult.
Mr. ATKESON. To write it into a statute that is workable and will accomplish the purpose. Now, so far as the sheep grower is concerned, and they have been disposed to be favorable to this legislation, so far as I know, it could only increase the demands for wool by decreasing the demand for other things when the purchasers know what they are getting, and I think it would have that effect in some measure, but if a man who is not able to pay $100 for a suit of clothes can pay $40, even for one that is half or more shoddy, it is only fair that he should have that opportunity, instead of adding these two commodities together and compelling them to pay, say, $75 for a suit of clothes. That is, if a man wants to wear shoddy clothes, he ought to buy shoddy clothes at the shoddy price, and the other man who is willing to pay the other price for that other king of goods, should have that opportunity, and unquestionably this legislation would operate more or less in those directions. We would have, perhaps, cheaper clothing that would be worth all it cost, and maybe more economical to wear. I can conceive of conditions under which goods that were half shoddy, depending on the price of wool and a number of other things that enter into the price of manufacture, would be better, but this reworked wool, a thing that is not original wool, is sold to the public as wool. There is but one motive in doing that, and only one motive in not telling the truth about it on the part of the manufacturer, and that is because it pays better not to tell the truth about it than it does to tell the truth.