DEBATE OF MAY 23.Question: "Resolved, that the long and short-haul clause of the Interstate Commerce Act should be maintained."
No brief for the affirmative has appeared. Good general references on that side are: Seligman on the Interstate Commerce Law, in Political Science Quarterly, Vol. II., pp. 252-264; First Report of the Interstate Commerce Commission, pp. 15-22.
Brief for the Negative.H. W. Hervey and W. M. Willett.
The long and short haul clause ought not to be maintained. Best single references: Hadley's Railroad Transportation, chap. vi; testimony of Mr. W. G. Raoul in the Report of Senate Committee on Railroads, 1886, pp. 147-154.
I. Both the existence of the rail-roads and the general good of the public demand that local traffic should pay higher rates, both proportionally and in the aggregate than the through traffic, because-(a) a large through traffic which can only be obtained by low rates is necessary to railroads and public alike; (b) local traffic, which is generally small, must be charged more to be profitable to the railroads; (c) for the public the alternative is either a local traffic at reasonable though higher rates or no traffic at all. In short, local discriminations are a necessary evil.- Testimony of Messrs. Kernan, Seymour, Herrick, Ackerman, Mink and others before Senate Committee on Railroads. 1886; report of this same committee, pp. 147-154, 213-219; Hadley, chap. vi.; Quarterly Journal of Economics, Jan. 1888.
II. The clause as it stands is peculiarly ambiguous in its meaning.- Mr. Dos Passos of N. Y. Bar on the Interstate Commerce Act. As interpreted by the R. R. Commissioners the clause can only be suspended in cases of completion with the Canadian Pacific and in cases of water competition. Thus, it is unjust to most railroads.- Quarterly Journal of Economics. Jan., 1888.
III. Therefore, because the clause is opposed to the welfare of the railroads and of the public, and because the suspension of the clause is to remain a dead letter, the clause is unjust and ought to be repealed.
(Reference books can all be found in U. 14.)