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DEBATE OF JANUARY 9, 1889.Question: "Resolved, That the United States should assume immediately the complete ownership and management of the telegraphs."
Brief for the Affirmative.T. Woodbury and G. E. Wright.
Best general references: G. G. Hubbard in North Am. Review, vol. 137, p. 521; Senator Cullom in Forum, vol. 4, p. 561.
I. The constitution of the United States not only permits it but demands it.- Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 8; decision of Supreme Court in Pen. Tel. Co. v. W. U. Co., 6 Otto.
II. There are grave evils in private management. (a) Reduced rates to favored parties; (b) identification with railroad and commercial interests; (c) unlimited control. unregulated by law, of most important business interests; (d) monopoly.- Report of P. M. General (1872), pp. 23-27.
III. The government telegraph system has been successfully adopted by all civilized nations.- Popular Science Monthly, vol. 19, p. 400; No. Am. Rev., vol. 132, p. 379, and vol. 143, p. 35.
IV. The telegraph system could be more economically administered in connection with the postal service.- Forum, vol. 4, p. 561; Report of P. M. General, 1872, p. 28.
V. The present exorbitant rates would be lowered. Cheaper rates would increase the general use of the telegraph and make it a public benefit, not merely the convenience of a few.- Sen. Rep., No. 577, 48th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 13, 15, 16, 85, 331, 334.
VI. The proposed system would be a profitable investment for the government.- Sen. Rep., 48th Cong., pp. 11-12; Rep. P. M. General, 1872, pp. 29 and 30.
VII. No control short of complete ownership will remedy the evils complained of.
VIII. There is no argument for a government post-office system which does not apply with equal force to a government telegraph system.- Nation, 37, p. 90; Sen. Rep., 48th Cong., "Statements," p. 66; Jevons, Methods of Social Reform, pp. 279-283 and 287.
IX. Telegraph operatives are skilled workmen who cannot safely be removed. Hence the proposed system would be a valuable model of a nonpartisan civil service.- Sen. Rep., 48th Cong., "Statements," p. 67.- No. Am. Rev., vol. 132, p. 382.
X. A government telegraph is no more socialistic than a government post-office, and in any case a state monopoly is preferable to a private monopoly.- Quar. Jour. Economics, April, 1888, pp. 353-356 and 358-360; E. J. James in Science Economic Discussion, pp. 28-34.
Brief for the Negative.G. W. Lee and J. S. Stone.
Best general references: N. A. Review vol. 137, p. 422; Hadley, Railroad Transportation, pp, 253-257.
I. Government ownership is unconstitutional and foreign to the spirit of our institutions..- D. A. Wells, H. R. Misc. Docs. 73, 42 Cong., 3d session, pp. 55. 58, 61.
II. The government has twice refused to buy the telegraphs.- D. A. Wells, p. 43.
III. The telegraph does not fulfil the conditions for successful government management.- Hadley; Jevous, Methods of social reform, pp. 296, 298, 355-359.
IV. Government management is, (a) not economical.- Wells, pp. 48, 51. Jevous, pp. 294, 297, 305. 358; (b) not satisfactory.- N. A. Rev. 137, p. 434, London News. Mar. 2, 1870.
V. The industrial results are as good in the United States as in any other country.- Hadley, p. 255; Tenth census vol. 4, gen. fol. 846-849.
VI. Government management would prove demoralizing. (a) To economical appropriations: Edinburgh Rev. 143, pp. 177 et seq. (b) To our civil service.- Hadley; Wells, p. 56. (c) To our politics.- Wells, pp. 58. 61; Hadley, p. 255.
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