Thursday, November 17, 2011

Today -100: November 17, 1911: Of combinations doing mischief, Persia, and assassinations


Theodore Roosevelt writes an editorial criticizing the Taft administration policy towards trusts as inadequate, being overly reliant on the courts to punish bad corporations rather than, as TR advocates, based on regulation and oversight by an independent federal agency. As it is, there are no clear set rules for the behaviour of large corporations, just long court cases which might eventually result in them being declared trusts and dissolved.

Roosevelt is not opposed to huge corporations (combinations) per se, only to those that “do mischief,” and he attacks his Progressive buddies who are opposed to them on principle for their “rural toryism.” As long as we have steam, electricity, bit cities, etc, we can’t go back to the competitive climate of 60 years ago, he says.

One reason for TR criticizing his successor now is that the government case against US Steel claims that Roosevelt was “deceived” by US Steel over the monopolistic tendency of its acquisition of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company in 1907. The dude does not take criticism well.

While some people view this article as a break with Taft, presaging an endorsement by Roosevelt of La Follette in 1912, the NYT thinks he won’t endorse La Follette or Taft, but will “keep as quiet as he can” until the convention, and then support the party nominee. And the Times strongly discounts the possibility of him running himself. They don’t know him very well, do they?

Russia is sending troops to occupy parts of Persia, as per its ultimatum.

Mexico arrests a Spanish dude who was allegedly going to assassinate President Madero for $10,000.

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