Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hoist With His Own Petard

Fortune magazine, from the same story which this chart originated:
In 2008 the railroads tried, unsuccessfully, to dismiss Neuwirth's suit, which is now awaiting a decision on whether the court will certify its class. This June, Oxbow, a coal producer with $4 billion in sales, hired super-lawyer David Boies to bring its own suit. Oxbow claims Union Pacific overcharged it $30 million in fuel surcharges and collaborated with BNSF to allocate markets. Union Pacific blasted the suit in a statement, calling it "a grab bag of accusations that mischaracterizes Union Pacific's actions and efforts to compete fiercely for rail transportation business."
Oxbow is helmed by billionaire Bill Koch, whose brothers Charles and David Koch are CEO and executive vice president, respectively, of Koch Industries. Bill Koch is notoriously litigious; he sued his brothers repeatedly after he was ousted from the family business. Like his Tea Party-supporting siblings, Bill Koch isn't a fan of big government -- but he's advocating that railroads be tamed by regulation. "They're in a position of virtually absolute power," he tells Fortune. "They're a bully to us. And if we don't stand up to a bully, we're going to be pushed all over the playground."
Wait a second, who always says lawyers are bad, lawsuits are bad, regulations limiting the free markets are bad?  The railroads tell Koch, "Build your own damn railroad."  But he runs to the government for help.  How about that?  I have to agree, the rates charged by railroads should be investigated (even though I am a shareholder in several), but I'm one of those damn soshulists who thinks the government must occasionally regulate business.  If there is justice in this world, Bill Koch will be robbed blind by businesses which aren't limited by government regulation.

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