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Friday, April 12, 2013

HUNTING THE BIG UMBER BIRD


I have to tell you a very dull story. It relates no shootouts, no hangings, no burnings at the stake. This story would make a really bad comic book, er, sorry, graphic novel. Heck, it would make an uninspiring regular novel. And as a television series it is just a non-starter. So it must not be important, huh. And because it lacks all of those dramatic threads to string you, the reader, along, it will never make it on the news networks - which are in fact rarely new. But it really is an important story. And if I try and gin it up a little bit, you may agree. The facts, I assure you, are all accurate.
The central character is a guy named Charles Pollock. He lived in Boston in the 1890’s, a dull town in a dull time. And Charles worked in a bank; dull, dull, dull. But at least he was narcissistic. That made him a little interesting, if only to himself. Then, in 1894, dull dull Charles took a lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court. It was that case which made Charles the hero of the modern anti-tax movement. And here let me suggest you imagine a really big explosion, a suicide bombing maybe, with piles of innocent people dead and dismembered laying all over the place, because, really, the anti-tax movement is just a loony tunes version of suicide bombing- you blow up yourself and everybody around you.
I don't like paying taxes. I never have, I never will. There are some things my taxes have helped pay for that I don't approve of; a couple of wars, subsidies to a few domestic monopolies and some foreign dictators, to name just a few. But those pale in comparison to the sin of not having a state to protect me and you. And, call them libertarians or anarchists, those who oppose the power of the state to tax its citizens resemble, to borrow a description from Tom Wolf, “…the logician who flies higher and higher in ever-decreasing circles until, with one last, utterly inevitable induction, he disappears up his own fundamental aperture and emerges in the fourth dimension as a needle-thin umber bird.” (“From Bauhaus to Our House”) To whit:
The U.S. government has been taxing income since 1861, as permitted in the Constitution under Article 1, Section 2 ("Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several states…") and Article 1, Section 8 ("The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes,…"). But in 1862 Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, the author of the Dredd Scott decision which had helped to bring on the Civil War, became incensed that money was actually being taken out of his paycheck to help pay for the Civil War. Taney was a very strong believer in slavery and in being treated as somebody special.
And Taney’s objections to paying taxes for the Civil War also struck a cord with those who might not like slavery but who thought they were also special and did not deserve to be paying taxes. We're talking about rich people here, very rich people, who had no compunction about buying politicians to get what they wanted. Buying politicians is what is currently known as free speech, if your logic can somehow equate "buying" with "free" in the same thought without your head disappearing up his own fundamental aperture.
Anyway, in 1872 the rich people had the income tax laws repealed. Unfortunately for Taney he was already dead and he wasn't getting his money back. Or his slaves. For that he would have to wait until the "Inheritance Tax" could be redefined as the "Death Tax". But I digress...
For the next twenty years the Federal government struggled along supported by import duties alone, which amounted to less than 2% of the nation’s gross domestic product.  And yes, that is how we funded government before 1861. But before 1861 we were primarily an agricultural economy, where farm workers do not require much education, where populations were scattered and where all health problems were local, because transportation was by foot and horse. After 1861 we were a growing industrial economy. Factory workers required a high school education (or better). They were concentrated in population centers, and railroads were making  public health a regional problem. In other words, economic conditions had changed.
Now, besides being unable to support an effective government, import duties (taxes on imports), raised the price of all consumer goods, imported and domestic. In fact, during the 1880's import duties added as much as 48% to the final price consumers paid, for milk, for steel, and for everything in between. This protected domestic companies and allowed them to keep their prices high enough to ensure high profits. Are your eyes glazing over, yet? Picture this; you walk into your local 'speak easy ' and discover that overnight the price of a beer has gone up 50%. You ask the owner what gives. He tells you that he has new suppliers, and the cost of beer from them is 50% higher than it was from the old suppliers. You ask why he switched suppliers, and he explains, "They made me an offer I couldn't refuse."
Congressman William Jennings Bryant of Nebraska labeled high tariffs “socialism for the rich”. “They weep more because fifteen millions are to be collected from the rich than they do at the collection of three hundred millions upon the goods which the poor consume.” But it ain't like they did it in secret.
Between 1871 and 1891 sixty separate bills were introduced in congress to reestablish an income tax. That's right, people were actually fighting for the right to pay taxes. The Republicans, the party in power at the time, beat all of those efforts back. And then in 1893 a new tariff reform bill was introduced by Democratic Rep. William Wilson of West Virginia. Wilson's bill was primarily intended to lower the import duties on foreign iron ore, coal, lumber, wool and sugar. But the bill also included a minor amendment, introduced by Rep. Benton McMillan from Tennessee, which read, “That from and after the 1st day of January, 1895, there shall be levied, collected, and paid annually upon the gains, profits, and income of every person residing in the United States, derived from any kind of property, rents, interest, dividends, or salaries…a tax of 2 per cent on the amount so derived over and above $4,000” during any five year period (equal to $88,400 today).
The pundits paid little attention to Mr. McMillan’s amendment because so many income tax measures had been introduced so many times before, and none of them ever came to anything. This was because the rich and powerful had a secret weapon, sort of a human tommy gun, a Homo sapian Chicago typewriter, if you will.
His name was Senator Arthur Gorman of Maryland, and he was a tool of the rich and powerful, because he was one. Gorman helped the opponents of the Wilson bill attach more than 600 amendments which reinstated almost all of the import duties the bill had attempted to lower. It was a St. Valentine's Day Massacre on the floor of United States Capital building, right in front of God and everybody, as my father used to say.
With the “Tariff reduction” bill thus bullet ridden and bleeding on the floor, no one believed that President Grover Cleveland, who had campaigned on a lower tariff platform, would ever sign the misbegotten bill into law. And he didn’t. He simply let the bill become law without his signature. It didn't cost him anything. At least the tariffs had been marginally lowered. At least he could claim that he had done everything he could to lower prices for working class Americans, while not having to actually do anything to openly offend his rich campaign donors.
But imagine the mobster's shock the next morning to discover that Al Capone had beat the rap for murdering the Bugs Moran's gang, but he was going to jail anyway for income tax evasion. That was the shock felt amongst the rich and powerful. America had returned to a national income tax. And the response was just what you would expect it would be from the rich and powerful. They sued.
The fine print of the accidental income tax law required that all stock companies pay the income tax for individuals before distributing any dividends to them. Dividends were income. And when he received his notice from the Farmers' Loan and Trust Company (because he owned all of ten shares of stock in Farmers’ Loan and Trust) Mr. Charles Pollock (remember him?),  was very angry. He was angry enough to hire a high priced Wall Street top gun lawyer named Joseph Choate, who filed a lawsuit against the bank claiming the income tax was unconstitutional.
The Massachusetts courts disagreed, as did the Federal courts. They both upheld the law. But somehow Charles Pollock found the money to appeal his lawsuit all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which, to everyone’s surprise, agreed to hear the case immediately.
On April 8, 1895 the court ruled 5-4, in favor of Mr. Pollock. That slim majority was saying in essence that the source of income mattered; salary could be taxed, but income derived from property – rent, interest on savings or dividends paid on stock - were not “apportioned” by population, and thus the government was denied the power to tax it.
The dissenting opinions were intellectually devastating. Justice Brown wrote that “This decision involves nothing less than the surrender of the taxing power to the moneyed class…Even the specter of socialism is conjured up to frighten Congress from laying taxes upon the people in proportion to their ability to pay them.”
And Justice Harlan argued that the court's majority opinion, “…declares that our government has been so framed that,...those who have incomes derived from...bonds, stocks and investments...have privileges that cannot be accorded to those having incomes derived from the labor of their hands, or the exercise of their skill, or the use of their brains.” These were both powerful arguments. But then the greedy have always been willing to lose the intellectual arguments, as long as they get to keep their money.
Middle class Americans however were outraged. They were infuriated. They were fighting mad. And it would still take 11 years before the will of the people could overcome the power of the “moneyed classes”.
In 1909 President Howard Taft proposed a Constitutional Amendment (in part because he thought it would never pass) to allow a Federal Income Tax. On July 12, 1909 the 16th amendment passed the Congress and was submitted to the states, in part because the congress never thought the states would pass it. The amendment was brutally blunt and short. It reads in total, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Period. End of Amendment.
Alabama took less than a month to vote for the 16th amendment. Kentucky, South Carolina, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Maryland, Georgia and Texas all passed it in 1910. Twenty-three more states followed in 1911, three more in 1912, and six more in 1913.
It was with the vote of the New Mexico legislature, on February 3, 1913, that made the 16th amendment the law of the land. Six states either rejected the amendment or never took it up, but that did not matter. The Constitution only requires that two-thirds of the states approve of an amendment to make it the law.
And so, when some lunatic or confidence man or woman tries to seduce you with a magical scheme to avoid paying taxes, you can now explain to them that, by placing the source of support for the government in the people’s hands, income taxes places the power there as well.
The relevancy of this tale of narcissism to your life may become clearer when you realize that on June 1, 1929 the Farmers Loan and Trust Company named in the lawsuit changed their name to City Bank Famers Trust. And then in 1976 they changed their name again. This time they shortened it to Citibank.
This is the same Citibank that in 2009 swallowed some $320 billion of taxpayer (meaning your) bailout dollars. Oh, as of 1894, Charles Pollock was an employee of Farmers Loan and Trust in their Boston branch. And it seems likely to me that he sued his own employer with their connivance. Looking at history it seems to me that the limits to which the rich will go to avoid paying their fair share of government remains endless. These people just think they are top of the world, ma!
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A BLACK DAY FOR BASEBALL


I am writing this on yet another oppressive August afternoon. It is baseball weather, when all Americans should be surrounded by the comradely of strangers in shirtsleeves, with a penciled box score in hand and green pastures before them, a land upon which time dare not intrude. Baseball in August is an endless limitless existence,  from which other realities retreat, and which may be savored patiently until the final out is called.  And on such afternoons my mind floats back to one particular afternoon, almost a century before this August, the hot and humid afternoon of August 16, 1920. In my mind's heart I am at the Polo Grounds, a bathtub shaped ballpark along the Harlem River, at the very northern tip of Manhattan. It is home to the National League New York Giants, but since 1913 the American League Yankees have also leased time on the field. And as fans gather in the Coogans Bluff stands beyond right center field, we are witness to a battle of the two best teams in the league. For the Yankees are hosting the powerful Cleveland Indians. And time is about to pause, to catch its breath, to teeter, balanced for a micro-second between one era and another. And as the fifth inning begins, this is the instant of transition.
The Yankees are using their best pitcher, the crafty right hander Carl Mays. He once praised another pitcher, saying, “That fellow has no friends and doesn’t want any. That’s why he’s a great pitcher.” The friendless Carl Mays may be the greatest pitcher in baseball at this moment. He was part of the Boston Red Sox dynasty that dominated baseball in the first two decades of the 20th century. But in 1919 he demanded to be traded. The Yankees paid $40,000 and gave up two players to be named later to put Carl in Yankee pinstripes. They wanted his “submarine” (underhanded) pitch, his blazing sidearm delivery, his un-hitable spitball, and his reputation for brushing back batters who crowded the plate. He was on his way to a 26 win -11 loss record with six shutouts in 1920. Today, August 16th,  he is pitching out of rotation because the game is so important and because Carl Mays is going for his 100th major league win.
The batter is the top of Cleveland's order, the veteran Indian speedster, short stop Ray Chapman. The cheerful songster is fondly known around the league as “Chappie”. After nine seasons in the Majors he is at the very top of his game. So far this season he is batting .303, and he has a lifetime 93 runs scored and 671 runs batted in. Chappie also has 233 stolen bases and he wields one of the finest defensive gloves in the league. But he made his reputation laying down the bunt. He crouches down, huntched over the plate, at the very back of the batter's box, thus leaving the pitcher with almost no strike zone to aim for. It is this stance, and his blazing speed to first base - he once rounded the all four bases in 14 seconds - that have given Chappie an impressive on-base average of .358. But only a few close friends know that Chappie is planning on getting out while he is on top. He was married the year before, and has made plans to go into business with his new father-in-law. And some World Series earnings would certainly smooth his way to retirement.
As Chappie steps to the plate at the top of the fifth inning, it is a humid 82 degrees under a cloudless blue sky. The 24,000 fans lean forward in their seats. When Chapman is at the plate, things happen. In the first inning Chapman had laid down his 34th successful bunt of the season. Thanks in part to Ray's speed on the base path, Cleveland is now leading the game, 3 – 0. In the third inning Chapman had popped up. And now, as the fifth inning begins, Ray steps into the batters’ box and digs in.
On his very first pitch Carl Mays delivers a winding, rising, side armed fast ball bullet. With extraordinary velocity the spinning ball hurtles toward the plate, almost faster then the eye can register it. And in that second of time, between the ball leaving Carl's fingertips and it's arrival at the plate, baseball changes forever -  an era ends and an era begins - what might have been becomes what once was, what used to be. It is the blink of an eye. It is the passing of a shadow through a life. 
There is a loud ringing thud. As Mays steps out of his delivery he sees the ball is rolling quickly back toward the mound. Thinking Chapman has hit it with the handle of his bat, Mays adroitly retrieves the ball and throws a peg down the line to first base. And only then does Carl Mays realize that Ray Chapman is crumpled on the ground. 
The Polo Grounds gasp as if a single soul. The umpire, Tommy Connolly, sees blood coming out of Chapman’s right ear and nose. He asks Ray if he is alright. Receiving no reply he calls into the crowd for a doctor. At that shout, Ray opens his eyes and staggers to his feet. A few people in the crowd began to applaud. But after taking only a few steps down the first base line, Ray Chapman collapses again, in a broken heap. His teammates carry Ray into the club house where he mumbles a request for his wedding ring, which he’d given to a trainer for safe keeping. Feeling the ring in his hand seems to comfort Ray.
Meanwhile, on the field and with a new ball, the game resumes. Mays retires the next nine batters in a row and the Yankees fight back to tie the game at 3 - 3. It is a Yankee relief pitcher who gives up the winning Cleveland run; 4 – 3. Called in Cleveland, Ray’s wife, Katie, boards the next train for New York City.
Hospital X-rays show Chapman has a depressed fracture of his skull. The doctors operate and remove a 3 ½” section of Ray's cranium to lessen the pressure on his brain. The surgeon tells the Cleveland manager that not only is the right side of Ray's brain lacerated from the impact with the ball, but so is the left side, where it  bounced off the other side of his skull.  At 4:40 the next morning Ray Chapman is declared dead, the only person to ever die while playing a Major League Baseball game. A family friend met Katie’s train from Cleveland at 10:00 am that morning. But she does not tell the young woman of her husband’s death until they got to the hotel. Once behind closed doors, and told the horrible news, Katie collapses in a faint.
That one pitch can stand as the unofficial end of the "Dead Ball Era", when the game was hit and run, steal and bunt, when the leather was mightier than the wood. It was a time when the game was more strategy than brute force, more brains than brawn, more spunk and more a team sport than it is today. It was a time when  baseballs' greatest slugger was Cliford "Cactus" Gravath,  who in 1915 hit a record 24 home runs, 11 more than his closest rival.  It was not unusual for a league batting champion to have fewer than 10 home runs in a single season. It was a  time when Owen "Chief" Wilson, playing for Pittsburgh, set a record of 35 triples in a single season  - a record which still stands today, a century later.
And then, in 1920 the New York Yankees decided that their new $100,000 acquisition, Babe Ruth, who had earned fame as a pitcher, should stick to batting. In 1920, his first year as a Yankee, "The Sultan of Swat" hits a record 54 home runs, more than all but one of the other entire teams in baseball combined.  He also batted for a .376 average, and his .847 slugging average (total bases earned divided by total at bats) was a Major League record until 2001. The game had changed in a fundamental way after 1920, and the tipping point had come at the moment between Carl Mays releasing the ball, and it impacting Ray Chapman's skull.
Wearing black arm bands in Chappies’ honor, The Cleveland Indians beat out the New York Yankees for the pennant that year, and went on to win the World Series. The Yankees finished a distant third. The Cleveland team voted Katie Chapman a full share of the winners’ purse, about $4,000 (worth $45,000 today). Six months after Chappie's death, Katie gave birth to his daughter and named her Rae. A few years later Katie remarried, to businessman J.F. McMahon and he moved them to California. But she still morned Chappie. In 1926 Katie committed suicide by drinking cleaning fluid. Three years later little Rae contracted German measles and died as well. Both bodies were brought back to Cleveland,  to be buried in Calvary Cemetery under the name “Chapman”. Ray is buried alone about five miles away in Lake View Cemetery, where fans still leave baseballs, bats and memorabilia against his tombstone. If you have a chance, you should do the same.
Carl Mays played for the Yankees for only one more season. In 1921 he won 27 games and lost only 9. And he  batted .343, unheard of for a pitcher in any era of the game. Despite that achievement, part way through the 1922 season he was traded to the National League Cincinnati Reds, where he went 20 and 9, making him the first pitcher to win 20 games in both leagues.
Carl Mays spent 15 years in the majors, earning 208 wins and 31 saves against a mere 126 losses, with an amazing 862 strikeouts in 490 games. His lifetime batting average of .268 makes him one of the best hitting pitchers of all time. And yet, despite what are clearly Hall Of Fame statistics Carl Mays has received only 8 votes for that honor. Some may believe in the absurd story that he fixed a World Series game in 1922. But the facts deny that. No, what haunted Carl Mays until his death in 1971,  what kept him out of the Hall of Fame, was that one pitch out of the thousands of pitches he threw over his career, the one pitch he threw in the August heat of the 1920 pennant race. It is something to ponder, as the dog days of summer come to a close once again, and the finality of September hints at the winter which shall soon to envelope us all. 
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Sunday, April 07, 2013

LITTLE GREEN HOUSE Part Two


I have to tell you that the American Constitution says many magnificent things and some really dumb things. An example of the latter is hidden in the very first amendment, which insist, amongst other items, that “Congress shall make no law....abridging the...right to petition the government for redress of grievances.” The problem is the founding fathers never actually defined what a grievance was. The original justification for the revolution - no taxation without representation – was corrected by the establishment of the Constitution itself.  But once corrected that complaint morphed into the petty jeremiad , “No taxation if I can afford to buy my Representation.” In such a situation the middle man, the facilitator, the go between between you and your representative is called a lobbyist. And while making you richer, they can also make themselves rich..
“William Irving, who as chairman of the ward meeting in New York, denounces De Witt Clinton for visiting Albany - (he) has forgotten, perhaps, that three years ago he visited Albany nearly a whole winter as a lobby member, to procure a charter for the City Bank.”
The Albany Register, March 25, 1817
Under that new flawed Constitution, William Hull was hired in 1792 to convince the first Congress to cough up the benefits owed to veterans. He quickly realized he was outnumbered. All about Independence Hall swarmed a great cloud of lobbyists, for shipwrights and New England merchants seeking to stop a tariff bill (delayed but passed), merchants seeking an end to the tax on molasses (passed), a pay raise for Federal clerks (denied), military officers seeking repayment of personal moneys (passed) and even states themselves, who sought a louder voice in the federal government than the one already provided for them by the Constitution. The Senate was even forced to block the pitiless lobbyists from their own chamber. In desperation William Hull called for reinforcements. He urged veterans' groups to send supporters to Philadelphia so those who had served their country could be heard above the din. The veterans' bill still died. And eventually so did the veterans, which ended the problem as far as Congress was concerned.
“In the legislature of New York, some years ago, “lobbying” was reduced to a system. The agents for the various private bills...met in a tavern, and took the “yeas and nays” on every bill in which they were interested...So complete was this machinery, and so perfect the sagacity with which the opinions of the independent members were guessed at, that the decisions of the chambers became ludicrous echoes of those of the “lobby!”
Notes on the United States...by George Combe. 1841
In the 1850's Samuel Colt found his original patents were running out, and he launched a campaign to have Congress extend them. The profits he hopped to gain were so great, and the funds he expended to achieve that end were so manifest, that Congress launched an investigation. It recorded that the Connecticut arms maker had supplied women, company stock, Parisian gloves, dinner parties, theater tickets and a great many pistols, even giving one to a congressman's “little son, only eleven or twelve years of age.” Said the chief lobbyist for Colt, “To reach the heart or get the vote, The surest way is down the throat.” Presumably he was referring to food, but the ultimate inheritor of Mr. Colt's tactics, the National Rifle Association, has never been shy about shooting off its own mouth.
“...Then there are the lobby-members, a race very little if any inferior to the real members...It is the business of a lobby member to bribe the real members, in any way that seemeth to them best.”.
The United States of North America as They Are.... By Thomas Brothers. London. 1840
Jay Gould was the head of the Union Pacific Railroad and the clever mastermind behind the Credit Moblier, in which congress paid $145 million ($2.5 billion today) for a transcontinental railroad that actually cost only about $50 million. But to listen to Gould tell it, he was getting shafted by his Washington lobbyist, William Eaton Chandler. Chandler pocketed $10,000 from Gould, and equal amounts from the other members of the scam. Gould's co-conspirator, Collis Huntington, owner of the Southern Pacific Railroad, complained that the lobbyists “are very quick and hungry in Washington this winter.” Still, as Huntington admitted, “We must take care of our friends”: just not like they were family. The friendly members of Congress, who approved the skyrocketing bills for the construction, had been gifted stacks of railroad stock. But the day the railroad was completed, their stock almost worthless. All the profits had channeled through Credit Moblier, which had been held by Gould and Huntington and a few partners so close they were like family. (If you wish to see but a sliver of the fortunes that were stolen from the American taxpayers in the Credit Moblier, please visit the Huntington Library, art galleries and botanical gardens in Pasadena, California. Just tell the guards that your great-great-grandfather paid for the Gainsborough, or the Japanese Tea Garden, and you've come to pick it up.)
"This business of lobbying, so called, is as precarious as fishing in the Hebrides. You get all ready, your boats go out--suddenly there comes a storm, and away you are driven.... Everybody who knows anything about Washington, knows that ten times, aye, fifty times, more measures are lost than are carried; but once in a while a pleasant little windfall of this kind recompenses us, who are always toiling here, for the disappointments. I am not ashamed--I do not say I am proud, but I am not ashamed--of the occupation."
Samuel Ward. Congressional Testimony. 1875
Samuel Ward liked to be known as the King of the Lobbyists - quite an ego. And there was no doubt, he was one of the most fascinating men in the Gilded Age. He'd been educated at the best schools in Europe. He had made and lost half a dozen fortunes. His best friend was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his sister wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, for heaven's sake. He was a poet, and perhaps the anonymous author of “Diary of a Common Man.” It seemed he had only become a lobbyist because it allowed him to dine like a king on the client's dime. And his clients included insurance and telegraph companies, steamship and railroad lines, bankers, mining conglomerates, manufacturers, investors, the nation of Paraguay, among others, and whichever private citizens had enough money to afford government protection against their business competitors. To all comers, Sam Ward was living proof that the American government thinks with its stomach.
 "To introduce a bill properly, to have it referred to the proper committee...to attend to it, to watch it, to have a counsel to go and advocate it before the committee, to see that members of the committee do not oversleep on the mornings of important meetings, to watch for the coming in of the bill to Congress day after day, week after week, to have your men on hand a dozen times, and to have them as often disappointed; to have one of those storms which spring up in the Adriatic of Congress, until your men are worried, and worn, and tired, and until they say to themselves that they will not go up to the Capitol today--and then to have the bird suddenly flushed, and all your preparations brought to naught,  these, these are some of the experiences of the lobby."
Samuel Ward. Congressional Testimony  1875
At a time (the 1880's) when Washington was infamous for its dearth of quality restaurants and serving horribly bad food, Samuel Ward was a gourmet, a bon vivant and cognoscente of fine wine and conversation. A meal at his table was seasoned with witty stories of the famous, and his guests were a happy mix of the powerful and the wealthy. An evening at his tables was described by one guest as “The climax of civilization”, at least in Washington, D.C.. One year his clients reimbursed Sam $12,000 just for “Dinner Expenses” - over $200,000 today. It was Sam who inspired Mark Twain to define the age as “The Great Barbeque.” His “ambrosia nights” inspired imitators but no real competitors. The only drawback to such a life as that lived by Samuel Ward is that he was honest. He died broke, in Naples, in 1889. The New York Times was rapt in its praise – once he was dead. “He never resorted to vulgar bribery; he excelled rather in composing the enmities and cementing the rickety friendships which play so large a part in political affairs, and he tempted men not with the purse, but with banquets, graced by vivacious company, and the conversation of wits and people of the world.” They had to invent a phrase for what Samuel Ward did. They called it “The Social Lobby”.  Future generations would broaden the definition of the practice.
“Wife of Washington Lobbyist Uses Money as Wrapping Paper"
"The wife of Washington lobbyist Ed Rogers gets the money sheets from the United States Bureau of Engraving and then slices and dices as you would any wrapping paper to best fit the gift and get the best pattern on the front of the package (in this case it's lining up Washington's face just right). No matter that she regularly cuts several bills in half in the process, to be frugal she sticks to the dollar paper and only uses it to wrap "small" gifts. A sheet of money paper consisting of 32 $1 bills and sells for $55. “
Luxist. (“a web site dedicated to covering the best the world has to offer.”) September 8, 2008
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