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Newspaper Page Text
"RAILROADS PLOT THE OVERTHROW OF ALL
CONTROL," CHARGES LEADING AUTHORITY
EDITOR'S NOTE. Seldom has
the government undertaken an in
quiry so colossal, so fraught with
momentous industrial and govern
mental possibilities, as the Newlands
Max Thelen, who writes this, is
president of the National Association
of Railway Commissioners, and lead
ing authority on public utilities reg
ulation in the country.
His views here expressed may be
expected to carry great weight when
presented to the Newland committee,
as they shortly will be.'
BY MAX THELEN,
President National Association of
The federal government, through
joint congressional committee, is en
gaged in an inquiry that may result
in an entire change of relationship
between government and all public
utilities engaged in interstate and
This is the Newlands investigation,
suggested by President Wilson.
It is not confined to railroads alone,
but embraces all public utilities
railroads, telegraph and telephone,
wireless, cable, water carriers and
The probe covers not merely regu
lation of these utilities, but also the
entire matter of government owner
ship and its merits as compared to
Meantime the railroads are further-'
ing their purpose to take from the
states their regulatory powers and to
break down by sheer overwork tthe
national body upon which they pro
pose casting all regulative duties.
The railroads' and their allies'
main efforts are being centered on
the drive against the states.
It is proposed to take from the
states not only all the powers they
now exercise, but also to deprive
them of the right to regujate and
supervise the purely local rates, serv
ice, facilities, equipment and safety
operation on practically every rail
way in the United States.
The only powers to be left the
states are to be those of taxation
and police regulations which are not
"vital." These powers are to be left
"for the present" only, as a matter
of policy. '
The railroads allege that their
financial difficulties have been
caused largely by action of the
states in reducing their rates to "just
above the point of confiscation."
The fact is, however, that but 15
per cent of their entire traffic is state
business. It is therefore difficult to
understand their contention.
The railroads have chosen a par
ticularly inopportune time to raise
the cry that public regulation has
driven them to the wall financially.
The fiscal year of 1915 was a good
one for them;, the fiscal year 191(j