Thursday, May 22, 2008

136 Years Later

Today I'm reading about how the railroad came to be nationalized -- and the control that standard oil had over the rails at that time.

So serious did the Windom Committee consider the situation in 1874., that it made the following radical recommendations :

The only means of securing and maintaining reliable and effective competition between railways Is through national or state ownership, or control of one or more lines which, being unable to enter into combinations, will serve as a regulation of other lines.

One or more double-track freight-railways honestly and thoroughly constructed, owned or controlled by the government, and operated at a low rate of speed, would doubtless be able to carry at a much less cost than can be done under the present system of operating fast and slow trains on the same road; and, being incapable of entering into combinations, would no doubt serve as a very valuable regulator of existing railroads within the range of their influence.

With Congress in such a temper the oil men felt that there might be some hope of securing the regulation of interstate commerce they had asked for in 1872.


Published: May 22, 2008

WASHINGTON — Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee vented their fury over high gasoline prices at executives of the nation’s five largest oil companies on Wednesday, grilling the oilmen over their multimillion-dollar pay packages and warning them that Congress was intent on taking action that could include a new tax on so-called windfall profits.

Such showdowns between lawmakers and oil titans have become a familiar routine on Capitol Hill. But with gas prices nearing $4 a gallon, and lawmakers headed home for a weeklong Memorial Day recess where they expect to get an earful from angry constituents, there is added urgency for Congress to appear active.

But while momentum is building for several measures, including a bill that would allow the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to be sued in American courts under antitrust laws, there is little sign that any of the proposals would do much, if anything, to lower prices quickly.

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