Act extended to the roads all the advantages which could be legitimately derived from a pool; and lie very justly observed that, when recklessness had reached its length, the railroad presidents and bankers ordered their employés to obey the law and stop building useless railroads.
Mr. John Newell, President of the Lake Shore, declared that "for fifteen years they had fruitlessly sought a solution of the difficulty"; the cause of failure is not obscure, for railway pools, like legislation, sought to annul the unfavorable conditions induced by over-construction; but moderating the evil effects simply resulted in the unchecked persistency of the cause; hence new roads were built, expecting to enjoy the artificial profits derived through combination, and, if denied a connection with the pool, the new roads entered the lists as freebooters and disturbers until their claims were allowed.
Since the Interstate Commerce Law is neither fully respected nor enforced, what its effect will be is undetermined; but as it aims to lessen the evils due to excessive railroad-building, it will tend to increase the energy of the original disturbing cause, and will probably result in specializing the speculative constructor as distinct from the operator of railroad properties; and as the impinging forces are intermittent in operation, it is at once suggestive of the attempt to balance an egg upon its end. Railroad managers would scale up rates by combination, the people would scale them down by competition; in either case the gain of the one is predicated upon the loss of the other.
In the normal adjustment of means to ends, of supply to natural demand, no such conflict appears, for the public could be better served at lower cost, while the railroads could secure fair profits from a larger traffic at lower rates.
The strength of this position does not rest upon the fact that "existing railroads have all they want," but on what Senator Blair failed to comprehend, that the public are already provided with more railroads than the traffic at reasonable rates can sustain; hence no possible legislation can be invoked which can prevent either a loss to the railroads or added burdens upon the people.