“The Progressive Era developed the view that public utilities and other natural monopolies rightly belonged in the public sector, where governments would provide their basic services at a subsidized price or even freely as in the case of roads. The idea was to keep user fees no higher than the actual cost of production, so as to avoid rent seeking. This pejorative term means extracting income by placing tollbooths on the economy’s key infrastructure. To leave roads and railroads, electric and power utilities in private hands ran the risk of private owners ‘rack-renting’ the population, adding to the cost of living and doing business.
(Today) U.S. policy is just the opposite (of Progressive Era rent-reduction policy).”
Hudson, Michael. 2010. ” The Deficit Commission and America’s Neo-feudal Economy.” Creditwritedowns.com, December 6.