Government should NEVER charter private companies

May 11, 2016

By George Will, in The State Journal-Register

In 1906, Leonor Loree, an accomplished railroad executive, examined the dilapidated Kansas City Southern Railroad that he had been hired to rehabilitate. Dismayed, he permanently enriched American slang by exclaiming: “This is a helluva way to run a railroad!” Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation’s second-most important court, recently said, with judicial decorousness, essentially the same thing about Amtrak.Website Insert Gathering of Professionals 1 copy

She was not referring to its 46 consecutive years of operating losses, which include $306 million last year, and more than $16 billion since 1970, when Congress created Amtrak as a federally chartered, for-profit corporation. Rather, Brown was referring to how Congress, by piling “anomaly on top of anomaly,” has made Amtrak into a “wholly unique statutory creature” — one empowered to regulate its competitors. Amtrak illustrates the administrative state’s routine drift into constitutional impropriety.

Click here to read the complete opinion column.

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