The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, January 01, 1917, Page 8, Image 8
wwpwiiilWHIIipiypi ',T2 The Commoner VOL. 17, NO. 1 v . a national character that It requires a single national tribunal to regulato It. An extract from a recent report of Special Master W. S. Thbrlngton, sitting in tho Central of Georgia ana. Western Railway of Alabama rate hearings, is In point on this separation betwoen local and Interstate business. Ho stated: " 'Tho vlco of such a claim consists in tho , assumption of tho unity, and insoparabloness in ' all cases of tho two classes ot traffic . " 'That ouch a separation is difficult or not possiblo. with tho exactness of mathematical certitude is very generally admitted, but it wpuld bo a startling canon of construction that a state is to bo deprived of a right so vital -because of difficulties in. the way of its exorciso , 'when such a principle has never been applied i' to the individuals scoring to enforce, ordinary ,'( rights in tho courts.' "One sentence will contain ,an answer v to claims of this character, that it is difficult to separate tho expenses on logal and through hauls: "Even after you have removed tho state, .lines tho problem of reasonable Jocal rates stiU re malhs. . ,. i ,) "The longor tho hauls and, the hlgherVtho rates , tho bettor it is for tho stockholders in railway companies. Upon th,b other hand, it; is to the interest of tho public, generally, to have short hauls as well as long hauls antj'to have rated just as low as uioy can reasonably be placed, providing it does not seriously Intorfero with tho prosperity and growth of tho railway business. In order to toll, whether local, rates are reasonable or not It will bo necessary always to make some division between operating ex penses, earnings, and values. This will bd true whether state governments or whether tho na tional government has jurisdiction over these local hauls. Tho problem of the reasonaDlo local haul in all Its complexity, would still be with us oven if you wore able to destroy state regulation. FREAK LEGISLATION RARE " '"Occasionally one hears' about various ex , araples of freak legislation on tho part "of somo states. These aro very rare. The argument that such acts impeach the whole Tjody of state legislation is like saying that one sinner in a church renders the whole church a failure. This arguraont is actually advanced from time to time; the only thing it proves is th6 ajslnine Btupidity of tho man who makes' the -argument. There have boon a Hundred wise and beneficial laws enacted to one that- is foolish; and- gen erally tho unwise law has been quickly rcle- - gated to tho realm of dblivloh by the courts or .by-Jtho solid good sense of .public' oplhfan '-causing its repeal. ' " .." ; "Should it over bo proven in any given case that a state has roduced it's interior rates with v .the deliberate purpose of favoring "Kb own in dustries to the injury of aun'eighborlng state, then it will bo ample aimef or, the courts to-interfere. There is not a state, commissioner In America who supports such a policy. i (See Ban Diego Land & Town Go. v. JaBpor, 189 U B., 439; Knoxville Waterloo, v. Knoxville,. -189 U. S. 434, 439.) .,. . ' . , "The real issue is practical rather than the oretical in character. It 'is- not whether wo lhall abolish all sato regulation, but, instead, whethor this or that- is sTpp'per function '"to bo performed by tho state. Whenever the' act of -a. state legislature or commission' does, in fact, conflict with the findings of the Interstate commerce commission as to what is just and t reasonable, and directly interferes with and places a burden upon interstate commerce, practically all of us, at least the vast majority, are ready to acknowledge that such a condi tion of affairs should not continue. Either the courts ort somo other tribunal not a party to tho disagreement should have power to determine- which rate is reasonable. If additional legislation' bo needed to clarify this situation efforts along that line will ultimately Buc'cded! ' But' that does not affect to -the slightest extent the other proposition that where a given act ofHai stats; tribunal does not interfere with in terstate commerce it should- 'stand. The' de velopments of the lawLa's been along ttte line -of fdetermlnlny what does and "what ddes not Interfere with interstate cottim&fce. This kind fi'legi8latlon and judicial interpretation have been in progress for many years. .EfuVlfris a wholly ndw and unheard-of proposition -to do ftway with state regulation. This la a doctrine that jeopardizes our institutions. "In case of a discrimination between rates, that ono which Is unreasonable should yield. If such a conflict exists (botween state and in terstate rates, lot the supreme court determine which ono is reasonable and must stand, and the other should bo disapproved. The judi ciary has no power to determine reasonable rates for tho future, but it has exercised tho power of determining the reasonableness of rates already established. Even If that were not so, it would bo better to amend the consti tution In that respect than to devitalize our dual system of government, by a virtual amendment In anpther manner. "Chief Justice Marshall retained to the full est extent entire appreciation of tho importance of the federal judiciary and the national gov ernment, thereby securing to as and to poster ity one nation instead of many; yet Chief Jus tice Marshall was capable also of realizing the value of the states in our scheme of govern ment. "In the famous case of Gibbons v. Odgen (9 Wheat., 1, 203), Marshall commenting on these powers reserved to the states, csaid: " 'They form a portion of that Immense mass of legislation which embraces everything with in tho territory o a state not surrendered to the general government; all which can be most advantageously exercised by the states them selves. Inspection laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every description, as well as laws for regulating the internal commerce of a state, and those which respect turnpike roads, fer ries, etc., are component parts of this mass.' Mr. Justice Hughes, in the masterly opinion rendered in the Minnesota Rate case, gives, recognition to tho same principle. He says: " Our system of government is a practical adjustment, by which the national authority as conferred by the constitution is maintained in its full scope without unnecessary loss of local efficiency.' "The great benefit urged, on behalf; of exclu sive national control' is uniformity. We have made a sort of modern feti3h out 'of this slogan, 'uniformity.' Anything done In" the "home of uniformity wo assume to jbe right and proper. To be sure uniformity Is very greatly to be de sired. We all agree on that proposition. But therfc is something even better and more im portant than uniformity that is, wise regu lation. Rates may be uniformly high, or uni formly low. Rules of service may bo uniformly harsh and rigid or uniformly lax and. weak. Proof that they are uniform does not prpve that they are just. , "Wise regulation contemplates vastly mptfo than more uniformity. ' If uniformity were 'the summum bonum, we should Jhave a world gov ernment prescribing what time of the year we must plow and reap, what kind of education , we shall give to our children etc, Hajryest ' time depends somewhat upon the particular portion of the" world in which you live; edu cation should depend somewhat upon yourr cir cumstances and probable future life. VWHAT VARIOUS GOVERNMENTS CAN-DO - "There are somo things which a world gov-.-eminent could do better than national or state governments. A world government could com pel peace amongst the nations; but it could not efficiently prescribe the character of the sewera to be Installed by the city of Pittsburgh, Pa., or Des Moines, Iowa. There are some things a national government can do better than a state or city government. But we do not want to leave it to the national government to prescribe the character of telephone service our crty shall have. I do not want to leave It to con gfeJ? t0JGtermin the time I shall retire at B Th.f ? nro some thinss whch might well be left to a world government, there are others which can be cared for better by our national government, and others by the state 'SE8 nnd Sti" thers by the county d city, and family. And there are a few matters that even the individual, himself, can beTper Ior. strange aa t m? seem to some. ' The real problem is how to secure wise regulation. Will a'strong centralized I govern ment bring the best results, or is the federal plan joining national and state control -preferable? The' issue concerns tho method 7t government one of the profound problems ll - tho basis of all organized human life. ' ' "The tremendous growth of Interstate com. merce seems to have raised the query amonSt some of us as to whether separate state SI ernments are longer needed. The wisdom local self-government and the federal system It statecraft Is up for consideration. The qn born doctrine strikes at the very vitals of n present system. ur SYSTEM OP GOVERNNENT AT STAKE "There has been a marked tendency to swfn from ono extreme to the other. At one tlm tho prevailing sentiment favored independent states. It was the genius of a Marshall that created the great public sentiment, later crvV tallized under the leadership of Lincoln, which saved our country from' being transformed into several separate nations. Today the pendulum is swinging In the other direction. We are anxiously waiting to seo If there will be other champions of our federal system, our American plan of government, men who will have tho far-sighted vision and the courage to save the country this time from going to the other ex treme. The life of our dual system of govern ment is again at stake. Many of us have lost sight of its value in the glamour of a new na tionalism. "Too much 'nationalism' is just as wrong aa too much 'States' rights.' There is a happy medium. "It is not this government as one nation, nor the several states, but the combination in one federal plan that has rendered such a distinct contribution to the welfare of humanity. It Is this federal plan that must be most jealously guarded. A tendency one way or the othir, toward centralization or toward decentraliza tion, is dangerous. "It must be expected that from time to time there will be strong men, men who are ambi tious to leave distinguished'names in history, who will champion a powerful, centralized gov ernment in the United States. There always has been, and there always will be, a dramatic attraction in the building of great empires about a central authority; th glory, of power in a supreme authority interests and awes even those who are governed. ' ' ' 'The strength of nations does not' lie in tho vastness of the territory under one highly cen tralized and supremo authority. This truth has been centuries in the learning. "That government which hugs closest to the sober and mature judgment of the people and keeps in touch with the demands of changing conditions is the one which best fulfills its mission, and will live the longest.' The makers "of government must set as 'their' goal,, not tho creatidn of an extensive centralized machinery, but a human organism, "capable of reaching out, and searching after, and ineeting the demands of life,". , .Mr, B.ryan. In this address he calls attention to the objections, which I desire to emphasize, and treats them much inore elaborately than I can in what I have to say to you. All I can do is to present substantially the same thought in - my own way. . Wh'en you take the railroad systems of this .country, involving, as they do, I think, 1GO,0OO miles is it not? JMr. Faulkner. It is over 200,000. Mr. Esch. Two hundred and fifty thousand. Mr. Bryan. Mr. Chairman, X will have from time to time to inquire as to the details, be cause I am better acquainted with the principles involved than I am with figures. When you take the railroad systems, involving the man agement of some 250,000 miles of railroad, and collecting earnings amqunting to Mr. Adamson. It was almost three billion last year. 'Mr. Bryan. Yes; over three' billions, I think '- an amount at least twice the revenues of the federal government. Mr. Adamson. I beg your pardon, Mr. Chair man, for interrupting. ' The' witness asked that question, It was not I. Mr. Bryan.' I hope that you will help me, .because I come before you; gentlemen, without any opportunity to prepare 'such a statement as I would like to present', and will ,ask per mission -to make such additions and amplifica tions as may seem :bes'd when I have more leisure. When you take the management of a system of railroads with this "amount of '.'mileage and 'collecting mpre than twice)' a's I saj, tne reT" fit.