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Brandeis will be given rail valuation task

WASHINGTON, March 5, 1913 (UP) -- The post of interstate commerce commissioner, from which he will direct the forthcoming inquisition into the original cost of the railroads of the United States, is today reported to be the place reserved for Louis D. Brandeis, the "people's lawyer."

The name of the Boston attorney was at the last moment withdrawn from the list of probable members of the Wilson cabinet.

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Brandeis waited to conduct the government's survey of railroads finance, upon which depends the future ownership of every mile of track in the country. It was expected the secretary of commerce would have the task in charge.

However, when the LaFollette-Adamson physical valuation bill passed and was signed by President Taft, the interstate commerce commission was vested with this power.

The new law authorities the interstate commerce commission to employ experts and examiners who shall trace to their original source all alleged elements of value for rate-making purposes.

It provides for reports to congress, through the commission, as this survey of values shall progress.

The railroads probably will be refused the privilege they have always claimed of basing rates upon, investment, good will and "going concern" value. Instead, the theory laid down by Prof. John R. Commons, who framed the bill for Senator LaFollette, probably will be asserted.

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This theory is that not one cent shall be allowed in rates beyond a fair return upon the actual original investment.

If this theory is carried out in the valuation, the $13,000,000,000 of capitalization of American railroads will shrink to a fraction of that sum, so far as interest-earning value is concerned.

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