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Fiction turning real

In the Longmont Times-Call today they ran this illustrative AP story about trains that is reminiscent of the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. (link is to the free ABC version). This is the lede:

Companies that have plants and facilities served by only one railroad may soon be able to get a bid from another railroad if their current service is bad enough under a new rule that was proposed Thursday to help boost competition.

So companies are complaining about bad service and want the government to "do something." Railroads recognize they have been giving bad service due to x, y and z. The government is stepping in to require better service and of course includes reporting requirements so that the newly hired government agents can track said service.

Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction based around the railroad industry. These types of requirements by government are happening all the time these days.

If we actually had free markets, we would have better answers to complaints. Here's another route: Companies could be in charge of their own contracts with service requirements in them. When railroads don't live up to the contract, then penalties ensue.

Adding rules from a federal level to require service is not conducive to freedom.

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