Tuesday, August 05, 2014

A Blast From the Past--Price-Gouging on Rail Cars

Back in the 1800's farmers complained bitterly about freight rates charged by the railroads.  There was some justice to the rails' pattern, but because farmers depended so much on the rails to get harvests to market, any exploitation was too much. The result was our first independent regulatory commission, the ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) and a strong impulse to the populist movement.

Fast forward to today, and this excerpt from Farm Policy:
What’s more, rail car rates than ran $300 to $400 a car a year ago have ballooned to $3,000 to $3,500 now, he says [Jerry Lehnert]. Eventually, those excess costs get passed on in bids, eroding farm incomes in the process.”

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