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Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association / Transactions of the Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association, including a full report of the industrial convention held at Neenah, Wisconsin, February, 1886. Together with proceedings of the Association for 1884, to January 1, '86
Vol. XI (1886)

Bright, C. M.
Taxation,   pp. 273-306 PDF (6.8 MB)

Page 289

legislatures of the states than the people have. Then the
government would run them in the interests of the people.
Legislation at Washington and the state capitals would be
free from the influence of their lobbyists, because they
would be wanting nothing, and afraid of nothing. There
would be no freight and passenger pools, no railroad wars,
no striking employes, no discrimination in freights, no an-
nual or trip passes and special cars for some, for which the
rest have to pay. Rail and telegraph rates would be greatly
lessened, because the expenses would be lessened. There
would be no possible future Vanderbilts and Goulds, no
stock gambling, no panics or broken banks - the result of
such gambling, because there would be no stocks. And a
town with one railroad would get as good rates as if it had
a dozen.
There is objection to all this, but there would be objec-
tion to the government assuming control of the postal busi-
ness if it had always been carried on by a corporation, or a
number of them. But is it safe to say that, if the government
had had control of these various means of communication
for a term of years, it would be difficult to organize any con-
siderable sentiment in favor of turning them over again to
the hands in which they are held to-day, any more than one
might be built up now to give Jay Gould control of the pos-
tal business. The fact is, when the people get a little power
and into the habit of attending to their own affairs, they
are no more likely to relinquish it than an individual is. The
people are honest and safe. Because this is a people's gov-
ernment, it is safe for the government to have power. And
because it is a people's government is a double reason why it
should exercise all the power that can be given it; only
make it in reality as it is in name, a government of and by
the people, and there is no danger of power being abuse d.
The railroads and other corporate monopolies are great
political machines now, and use their power to control elec-
tions, and to corrupt legislatures, the courts and the execu-
tive itself.
The times are out of joint. Labor and capital - and by
19-N. A.

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