From Our Correspondent
The Prime Minister, Dr. Koslowski, speaking before the plenary session of the Senate, set out the economic policy of the government, indicating that the government is resolved to continue its line of promoting the interests of the agricultural population and of doing nothing to alleviate the difficult economic plight of the trading and industrial population of the towns, to which the Jews of Poland mostly belong.
It is necessary, said the Premier, in order to increase the prices obtained for village produce, to enable the peasants to live, that we should reorganize rural trade by eliminating the middlemen.
The threat to eliminate the Jewish middlemen in Polish trade came first from Dr. Kozlowski, when he outlined to the Sejm last summer the policy of his government on taking office.
The economic crisis, he said, has revealed certain glaring faults in the organization of trading, which is too costly. There is too great a difference in the internal market between the prices obtained by the peasant and the prices paid by the consumer in the towns.
The government and the economic organizations would therefore, the Premier said, use all efforts to alter this state of affairs, by eliminating the middlemen. The work would be best carried out, he said, by a system of cooperatives which would have its ramifications in every town and village.
The question was brought up in the budget debate a fortnight ago, when the Minister of Agriculture, M. Poniatowski, said that the agricultural crisis was due mainly to the fact that the village cannot sell its produce, because there are no markets for them. The towns are being impoverished and cannot buy, he went on. It is necessary, he said, to start a big investment work to absorb the unemployed in the towns, and that would increase consumption, and provide a big internal market for the village produce. Things have been growing from bad to worse for some years past, and the whole country is feeling the effects, he said. Two-thirds of the village population is starving, the Minister declarde.
The Minister went on to say that the agrarian policy of the government is directed towards eliminating the middlemen between the peasant and the consumer in the towns.
Deputy Rybarski of the anti-Semitic Endek party, said that the Jews would then start shouting that there was a pogrom.
The Minister replied that if the operation was carried out objectively, that would not frighten him.
The Jewish view was put by Dr. Rosmarin, the vice-president of the Club of Jewish Deputies, who warned the government that the present taxation system is catastrophic to the entire country, and especially to the Jews, upon whom the greatest burden of taxation is imposed. Unless there is immediate tax reform to alleviate this crushing load, he said, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers will be utterly ruined.
The ruination of the towns and of the trading section of the population is definitely the result of the existing tax system’, he said. The only effect on the revenue is that the taxpayer who would have been able to pay a more equitable amount is unable to pay anything, and the government loses. Then the authorities step in and seize his goods, and put him out of business altogether, and thus lose also his potential revenue.
The goods seized are sold by auction, bringing in next to nothing as compared with the amounts demanded, and the shopkeeper has no stock to continue trading and the artisan has his tools taken away and cannot go on with his work.
It is essential to alter the entire tax system, he urged, to remove the excessive burden that is crushing the shopkeepers, merchants and artisans, and to put a stop to the distraints and forced auctions which are a disgrace to the tax system of any civilized country.