Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 22, 1919

The man who is riding sixty miles per hour in a big machine is no happier than the man who is riding thirty miles per hour in the flivver, because the man in the flivver thinks he is going sixty. – Cincinnati Enquirer

Read Full Post »

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

The plan of the railroad brotherhoods for taking over the railroad properties of the country is a straightout adventure into soviet economics. It contemplates collective ownership, but class operation and control, which is at the foundation of the soviet system.

The American people, through their government, are to buy the railroads from the private owners and turn these properties over to the railroad employes to manage and operate. In consideration of an investment of approximately $20,000,000,000 the government is to appoint one-third of the directors, and the public is to share in such savings in the cost of operation as may remain after the employes have paid themselves what they think their services ought to be worth. The spirit in which the program is put forth may be inferred from a statement made by B. M. Jewell, acting president of the railroad employes’ department of the American Federation of Labor, in which he said that if President Wilson’s suggestion to congress was carried out “we will tie up the railroads so tight that they will never run again if that legislation is passed.” It might have been Trotzky himself speaking to a bourgeoisie that had offered mild and academic objections to being despoiled.

Before any railroad plan can be worked out, one highly essential fact must be established – namely, whether the sovereign power of the United States is vested in government and in the American people or whether it is vested in the railroad brotherhoods.

For three years now the brotherhoods have assumed that the sovereign power was vested in them, and congress has provided them with excellent reasons for that assumption. When the railroad employes in the critical period of the summer of 1916 demanded an eight-hour day and threatened a general strike, President Wilson sent a message to congress in which he urged that the eight-hour day be made the basis of work and wages, but he made four other proposals, one of which called for –

An amendment to the existing federal statute which provides for the mediation, conciliation and arbitration of such controversies as the present by adding to it a provision that in case the methods of accommodation now provided for should fail, a full public investigation of the merits of every such dispute should be instituted and completed before a strike or lockout may be lawfully attempted.

Congress refused to enact this legislation becasue the labor leaders objected to it, and now we have a situation in which a labor leader can threaten to “tie up the railroads so tight that they will never run again” if congress presumes to pass an act to which the brotherhood autocracy objects as unequal to its imperative demands.

The railroad brotherhoods have embarked upon a policy that even the most conservative of them must admit is economically revolutionary. If their scheme of nationalization under that class control is to be carried out in respect to railroads, nobody can draw the line where it shall stop untill all industry is under soviet direction. Yet they are not putting their program out as a matter to be discussed and deliberately considered by the American people. They are trying to force the issue and bring about a revolution by ultimatum.

In the last three years the railroad employes have received hundreds of millions of dollars in wage increases for which the general public is paying. As a reward for its generosity the country is to be taken by the throat and choked into submission if the most complicated economic issues that have ever confronted it are not settled forthwith. If there is any difference between that kind of arrogance and the arrogance of the German general staff in July, 1914, we should like to know what it is.

The legislative branch of the United States government long ago degenerated into a congress of cowards. It may prove to be as subservient to the brotherhoods as it has been to the Anti-Saloon League; but if the American people can be kept forever choked into a state of submission by private organizations taking over the functions of government, the United States might as well apply for the appointment of a receiver first as last. New York World

Read Full Post »

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 8, 1919

Capt. Klaus Larson, in his little motor boat Ferro, made a successful trip from the foot of the cataract through the Whirlpool rapids of Niagara falls on September 19, 1910. Despite the battering of the Whirlpool rapids Larsen went through safely; the little boat was lost to sight most of the time, but at Great Wave it was shot 20 feet out of the water. Except the old Maid of the Mist, sent through in 1864 to avoid seizure, Larsen’s is the only engine-propelled craft to have gone through the rapids.

Read Full Post »

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 8, 1919

Krug park is attracting many big picnic parties these hot days and evenings. The Brandeis stores employes were there Tuesday evening, nearly a thousand going on special cars.

The big bathing pool at this popular resort is one of the big attractions. The pool is the only one of its kind west of Chicago and its technical construction makes it one of the finest in the country. Every evening it is a sea of swimmers. The water in the pool is changed by an automatic arrangement every thirty minutes, which insures absolutely fresh water all the time.

The amusement features of Krug park this year include everything that can be found at the usual summer resort. The big dance pavilion is one of the most popular spots on the ground. Hundreds of couples visit the pavilion nightly and dance in the open air.

Manager Kenyon has a most unique but perfect system of caring for the comfort of the crows that visit Krug park. Rowdyism is not tolerated. Automobile parties find convenient places for parking and picknickers are given plenty of space to enjoy their spreads.

Read Full Post »

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 8, 1919

Railroad men are demanding that the transportation business be taken away from the present owners. If that was done railroad men would soon be classed with the mail clerks and letter carriers.

Read Full Post »

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 8, 1919

Save up your pennies for the street car conductor, because the seven-cent fare in Omaha is a fact. Incidentally, the conductor and motorman get his too, so (almost) everybody is happy.

Read Full Post »

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 8, 1919

The question of who owns the railroads and who is going to be the owner of them from this time on is becoming a deep one. It is a question well worth the study of those who have heretofore said, “Let Bill do it.”

The fourteen different brotherhoods of railway employes have consolidated on one question and asked the government to take the railroads out of exclusively private hands. The railroads of the coutnry years ago became the bumper for all sorts of dealings. Nobody ever owned a railroad with a view to making it a permanent, substantial investment. The interests that have controlled most of the great railroad systems have used their power to create something out of water besides steam.

As a general proposition, no railroad management has ever attempted to run a railroad on a substantial financial basis where ever dollar invested remained a dollar and nothing else. On the other hand every railroad in the country has been carrying an inflated value. It is just like the man who carries an over-sized belly, but has no muscular resistance when he gets into a tige place.

The railroad men have asked for a change. They realize, however, that actual government ownership is not the proper thing. Government ownership and control would make a political machine out of the railroads the immensity of which cannot be overestimated. It would also result in a wage system quite out of keeping with what even these railway employes stand for.

It has been suggested that some of our railways get down to an actual honest basis of existence, doing away entirely with over-capitalization and inflated bonded indebtedness. The people of the country would like to know just how much dividend such a railroad would pay. It has never been tried. When the ordinary man gets into debt, pawns his jewelry, mortgages his furniture and gets out his old clothes he is in just the same condition that most of our great railroads are in. He no longer has any credit. He is paying interest on everything he owes and the only reason he does not go into bankruptcy court is because he does not owe enough. The result is that his nose is kept to the grindstone until he does something desperate to relieve the situation.

Now, the big railroads, with their over-capitalization and great bonded indebtedness are in just that condition. They are all carrying the banner. The railroad men want the system changed.

Government ownership of everything is not a good thing, a fact that is conceded. There is no reason why Uncle Sam should own the railroads unless these great highways of commerce are actually forced upon him. It would be a fine thing to take an inventory of the railroads of the country and find out their exact value to a penny. It would doubtless surprise even our best financial authorities to learn how much out of proportion to their actual avlue they are carrying stocks and bonds.

It is said that many of the great holders of railway securities – the owners if you wish to term them so – are anxious to unload and open a new line of endeavor with their money. For that they can hardly be blamed. Railroad securities are not the big dividend payers and the grief of it all is more than in any line of big financing.

While actual government ownership of railways may not be generally despised, it is significant that many of our ablest students of these affairs, heretofore favorable to private ownership, have given some very sane reasons why the government should in some manner control the destinies of the country’s railroads in the future. The question has become such a large one that action in the near future will become an absolute necessity. Rail employes, however, will doubtless find it to their advantage to not actually become a part of a political system that might be built up through real government ownership.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »