Amos Pinchot to Jane Addams, February 17, 1913


February 17th, 1913.

Miss Jane Addams,
c/o S.S. Adriatic, sailing Feb. 18th,
White Star Line, City.

Dear Miss Addams: --

I do not want you to go away feeling that Record and some of the rest of us have taken an extreme position, and particularly that we do not understand the importance of the social and industrial program of the Progressive Party.

My idea is that the most practical way to assure the success of a social and industrial program is by doing everything we can to make it economically invulnerable -- to place it in a position where the charge cannot be made that it will increase the cost of living, or that its expense will be paid for chiefly from the pockets of the people whom it seeks to help.

When I read some of the debates in the House of Commons over Lloyd George's budget, I saw how formidable the opposition to his social and industrial program was on the ground that it obliged the people to undergo additional involuntary expense. And I saw how fortunate it was that Lloyd George, and the men who were backing the budget, were able to demonstrate that the bulk of this expense would not be borne by the people but would be defrayed by additional taxes on some form of recognized privilege, such as the unearned increment, the withholding of lands from use in great estates, etc.

I am very far from feeling that our social and industrial program is useless or unsound. On the contrary I think it is sound and enormously useful. But I think that it is incomplete and therefore [page 2] vulnerable. A logical argument can be made against it on economic grounds, and examples of failures of similar programs can be found to back up such argument. I would like to see our program placed beyond attack. That is to say, beyond effective and seemingly sound attack. I would like to see our trust program straightened out, so that neither Wilson nor anybody else could claim that we are for legalized monopoly. The charge throughout the country against the Progressives is, in essence, this: that we are raising a great deal of noise about social and industrial justice, but that when it comes to the proposition of tackling the trusts we are found soft-peddling.

As to the land tax proposition, I have hesitated a long while before coming around to Record's view that it was a good thing to try in the coming municipal campaign, but the more I think of it, the more I am convinced that it is right and practicable. McCarthy writes: "I have been studying up the whole subject upon which you talk and have come to the conclusion that the time is ripe for such a movement within our cities. I would, for a couple of years more, keep it out of national politics; but surely it cannot be bad or too radical when Germany has it, and Australia has it, and it has been so successful in the western part of Canada.["]

We have been fighting sham battles in New York so long that it would be a comfort to get back to something real.

I hope you will have a good voyage and a delightful trip; and that you will not stay away too long, for we cannot spare you when things are doing. Please remember me to Mrs. Bowen.

Very sincerely yours,