The coal industry is a war casualty. True, the infections which resulted in its almost complete disability over the past decade were present long before the war and, if unchecked, would in time have run the same course. However, war exposure unquestionably aggravated the disease and hastened the disability. The cripple became a pauper, offering his wares for whatever -the public would pay, which was almost invariably less than the true cost. To be sure, the public in a manner made this up to him through private and state charity and latterly through federal relief. Withal, he was scarcely able to subsist, his physical condition naturally showed no improvement, and his morale went steadily lower. About eighteen months ago, the N. R. A. provided the patient with a pair of crutches in the guise of the Bituminous Coal Code, rented for a period of two years. The patient has shown remarkable improvement in his ability to get about and care for himself, and has become less of a public charge. Unfortunately, some dispute has arisen among the legal doctors concerning the soundness and propriety of the patient's crutches. Moreover, it has been intimated that there are constitutional limitations, at least, which make illegal this type of economic locomotion on industry's highways. What shall be done with the cripple? Shall he be permitted the use of his crutches for an additional period, or, if possible, be provided with a sturdy set of artificial limbs in the form of stabilizing legislation? Or, on the other hand,' shall he, deprived of the means of self help, once again become a mendicant and a public charge? An answer of some sort must be given by June of this year. It is our purpose to discuss certain aspects of the problem confronting the legal doctors.
Stephen P. Burke,
Price-Fixing in the Bituminous Coal Industry--A Legal-Economic Problem,
W. Va. L. Rev.
Available at: https://researchrepository.wvu.edu/wvlr/vol41/iss3/4