Roads and Highways. The capital investment in the public roads
and highways is estimated at $249,055,067.
Libraries. There are 1,844 public libraries with an annual expenditure
of $14,756,567 and a capital investment of $109,717,908.
Light and Power Plants. There are 1,562 cities that own and
operate their light and power plants, employing 7,940 people.
Water Works. There are 3,054 cities that own and operate water
plants. Some of these are enormous. New York City's system, for
example is valued at more than $180,000,000. That of Boston at over
$42,000,000. Chicago, at $52,000,000.
POSTMASTER GENERAL BURLESON RECOMMENDS PUBLIC
OWNERSHIP OF TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE.
"Government ownership of the electrical means of transmitting intelligence is brought to the attention of the American people of 1913 with
the indorsement of nearly every Postmaster General since the Civil War,
with a score of favorable reports by committees of Congress, and by the
example of practically every other nation of the civilized world. More than
seventy bills have been Introduced in Congress to accomplish it. Meanwhile the private operation of the telegraphic and telephonic facilities
has resulted in a virtual monopoly by which the people are annually taxed
vast sums for which they receive no adequate return." Postmaster-
General, A. S. Burleson, in Senate Document No. 399, 1914, in "Government Ownership of Electrical Means of Communication."
SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF POSTAL DEPARTMENT
RECOMMENDS PUBLIC OWNERSHIP.
The special committee appointed by the Postal Department in response
to a Senate Resolution comes out squarely for the principle of public ownership. They say:
"There is a radical difference between the policies of a public and a
private monopoly, both as regards the extension of service and the fixing
of rates. In the extension of service the determining factor with the
Government is the needs of the people; with the private monopoly,
the consideration of profit. The effect of the application of these two
policies to similar public utilities is shown by comparison between the
present universal extension of the mail facilities and the limited extension of the telegraph and telephone facilities. The private monopoly
has no incentive to extend its facilities to unprofitable territory, but the
Government must serve all the people. This universal service is accomplished by the equalization of rates. In fixing rates, the policy of the
Government is to superimpose no charge for taxation, but only to see to
it that the service as a whole is self-supporting. The private monopoly,
on the other hand, must make a profit, and in providing for this, tends to
increase its rates to the highest point that will not, by so greatly restricting
the volume of business, impair the aggregate profit."