THE TRUSTS, THE PEOPLE, AND THE SQUARE DEAL
[Written when Mr. Taft's administration brought suit to dissolve the steel corporation, one of the grounds for the suit being the acquisition by the Corporation of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company; this action was taken, with my acquiescene, while I was President, and while Mr. Taft was a member of my cabinet; at the time he never protested against, and as far as I knew approved of my action in this case, as in the Harvester Trust case, and all similar cases.]
The suit against the Steel Trust by the Government has brought vividly before our people the need of reducing to order our chaotic Government policy as regards business. As President, in Messages to Congress I repeatedly called the attention of that body and of the public to the inadequacy of the Anti-Trust Law by itself to meet business conditions and secure justice to the people, and to the further fact that it might, if left unsupplemented by additional legislation, work mischief, with no compensating advantage; and I urged as strongly as I knew how that the policy followed with relation to railways in connection with the Inter-State Commerce Law should be followed by the National Government as regards all great business concerns; and therefore that, as a first step, the powers of the Bureau of Corporations should be greatly enlarged, or else that there should be created a Governmental board or commission, with powers somewhat similar to those of the Inter-State Commerce Commission, but covering the whole field of inter- State business, exclusive of transportation (which should, by law, be kept wholly separate from ordinary industrial business, all common ownership of the industry and the railway being forbidden). In the end I have always believed that it would also be necessary to give the National Government complete power over the organization and capitalization of all business concerns engaged in inter-State commerce.
A member of my Cabinet with whom, even more than with the various Attorneys-General, I went over every detail of the trust situation, was the one time Secretary of the Interior, Mr. James R.