Excerpt from The Forum, Vol. 33: March-June, 1902
The only vital legislation demanded by the Interstate Commerce Commission is the grant to it of the power to prescribe and make effec tive, without resort to the courts, all the interstate rates, classifications, and practices to be observed by rail and rail and water carriers in the United States, so far as' it may choose to exercise that power. While all the other amendments recommended by the Commission are simply along the lines of the present act, the amendment granting this power to prescribe rates, classifications, and practices would be a radical de parture from, and a complete abandonment of, present methods of regu lation, and would constitute a scheme of governmental control identical with that which, after careful examination, was rejected by Congress at the time of the enactment of the present law, as being unwise and im practicable. This amendment would make the Commission the most powerful institution in the Federal Government.
Support for this far-reaching innovation has been secured by a long and vigorous campaign, which was initiated by the Commission, and which has received its constant encouragement. This campaign has produced the most remarkable misconception and confusion, due in part to the Commission's inaccurate declarations as to the effect of the pres ent law, and in part to its failure to enforce that law to the extent of its ability and in accordance with its manifest duty.
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