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We Didn't Read this in High School.

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August 30, 2011 – Comments (14)

It took the genius of labor and the lives of all Americans to produce the wealth of this land. If any man, or 100 men, wind up with all that has been produced by 120,000,000 people, that does not mean that those 100 men produced the wealth of the country; it means that those 100 men stole, directly or indirectly, what 125,000,000 people produced. Let no one tell you that the money masters made this country. They did not such thing. Very few of them ever hewed the forest; very few ever hacked a crosstie; very few ever nailed a board; fewer of them ever laid a brick. Their fortunes came from manipulated finance, control of government, rigging of markets, the spider webs that have grabbed all businesses; they grab the fruits of the land, the conveniences and the luxuries that are intended for 125,000,000 people, and run their heelers to our meetings to set up the cry. "We earned it honestly." The Lord says they did no such thing. The voices of our forefathers say they did no such thing. In this land of abundance, they have no right to impose starvation, misery, and pestilence for the purpose of vaunting their own pride and greed....

Here is the whole sum and substance of the share-our-wealth movement:

Every family to be furnished by the Government a homestead allowance, free of debt, of not less than one-third the average family wealth of the country, which means, at the lowest, that every family shall have the reasonable comforts of life up to a value of from $5,000 to $6,000. No person to have a fortune of more than 100 to 300 times the average family fortune, which means that the limit to fortunes is between $1,500,000 and $5,000,000, with annual capital levy taxes imposed on all above $1,000,000.

The yearly income of every family shall be not less than one-third of the average family income, which means that, according to the estimates of the statisticians of the United States Government and Wall Street, no family's annual income would be less than from $2,000 to $2,5000. No yearly income shall be allowed to any person larger than from 100 to 300 times the size of the average family income, which means that no person would be allowed to earn in any year more than from $600,000 to $1,800,000, all to be subject to present income-tax laws.  

To limit or regulate the hours of work to such an extent as to prevent overproduction; the most modern and efficient machinery would be encouraged, so that as much would be produced as possible so as to satisfy all demands of the people, but to also allow the maximum time to the workers for recreation, convenience, education, and luxuries of life.

An old-age pension to the persons over 60.

To balance agricultural production with what can be consumed according to the laws of God, which includes the preserving and storage of surplus commodities to be paid for and held by the Government for the emergencies when such are needed. Please bear in mind, however, that when the people of America have had money to buy things they needed, we have never had a surplus of any commodity. This plan of God does not call for destroying any of the things raised to eat or wear, nor does it countenance wholesale destruction of hogs, cattle, or milk.

To pay the veterans of our wars what we owe them and to care for their disabled.

Education and training for all children to be equal in opportunity in all schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions for training in the professions and vocations of life; to be regulated on the capacity of children to learn, and no on the ability of parents to pay the costs. Training for life's work to be as much universal and thorough for all walks in life as has been the training in the arts of killing.

The raising of revenue and taxes for the support of this program to come from the reduction of swollen fortunes from the top, as well as for the support of public works to give employment whenever there may be any slackening necessary in private enterprise.

Huey P. Long,
United States Senator, Washington, D.C.

excerpted from the Statement of the Share Our Wealth movement (May 23, 1935). http://web.mit.edu/course/21/21h.102/www/Primary%20source%20collections/The%20New%20Deal/Long,%20Share%20Our%20Wealth.htm

Best wishes,

Steven

14 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 31, 2011 at 12:43 AM, FleaBagger (29.71) wrote:

Any reason we shouldn't just do away with "manipulated finance, control of government, rigging of markets, [and] the spider webs" and leave it at that?

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#2) On August 31, 2011 at 2:04 AM, ahemhmm (< 20) wrote:

Exactly, I agree with Fleabagger. The manipulatoon of the market and finance has to be exposed and gotten rid of. Fractional Lending, Debt based monetary systems, a secretive Federal Reserve, those things need to be removed.

At the same time, a politician needs to be accountable for the words and actions. Congress needs to be held responsible for their actions. Now we live with the internet, the government should have multiple instant votes per year via a neutral website where the population can give instant feedback on members of congress and their actions.Every act of lobbyism has to be exposed on such a website and needs to be there for screening by the public. It needs to be in the public view what those hired by the public are doing in the publics name.

Every FDA employee or congress man etc who helped a corporation come to power with unfair means and then suddenly vanishes the scene and reappears as a top executive of that corporation needs to be exposed.

etc etc

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#3) On August 31, 2011 at 2:04 AM, ahemhmm (< 20) wrote:

Exactly, I agree with Fleabagger. The manipulatoon of the market and finance has to be exposed and gotten rid of. Fractional Lending, Debt based monetary systems, a secretive Federal Reserve, those things need to be removed.

At the same time, a politician needs to be accountable for the words and actions. Congress needs to be held responsible for their actions. Now we live with the internet, the government should have multiple instant votes per year via a neutral website where the population can give instant feedback on members of congress and their actions.Every act of lobbyism has to be exposed on such a website and needs to be there for screening by the public. It needs to be in the public view what those hired by the public are doing in the publics name.

Every FDA employee or congress man etc who helped a corporation come to power with unfair means and then suddenly vanishes the scene and reappears as a top executive of that corporation needs to be exposed.

etc etc

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#4) On August 31, 2011 at 6:25 AM, devoish (98.38) wrote:

Flea,

Yes, there are.

ahemhmm,

I agree with you, politicians need to be held accountable. I'd like lobbyists "face time" with politicians to end. I'd like all lobbying by environmental groups, unions and corporations to be done in writing, and everything my Congressman reads to be posted to the internet so I can evaluate all the nuances of any issue that becomes my concern and vote my congressmans record.

I'd also like to end the "revolving door" of regulators and congressmen moving to corporate jobs in the industry they regulated. Term limits help them move faster and make the problem worse..

Best wishes,

Steven

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#5) On August 31, 2011 at 9:31 AM, BillyTG (29.48) wrote:

545 vs 300,000,000 people

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#6) On August 31, 2011 at 9:35 AM, catoismymotor (33.56) wrote:

Kudos for #5.

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#7) On August 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM, whereaminow (29.10) wrote:

This actually is pretty much the story told in High School.  The evil capitalists, left in the unfettered free market, cause poverty for the rest, and only through the benign and noble government equalization programs did America become prosperous and avoid anarchy.  Of course it's all nonsense.

But what is really interesting here is that this gentleman actually believed that if he picked two arbitrary numbers at the end of an arbitrary spectrum that matched his subjective value of rich and poor, he could enforce this bizarre dictum through violence and magically we'd all be better off.  It's the kind megalomaniacal narcissism that believes they have the answers to all problems and the masses should never be allowed to decide for themselves their own balance of payments or their own time preference.

But I like history lessons, so +1 rec.

David in Qatar

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#8) On August 31, 2011 at 10:15 AM, Slider08 (52.09) wrote:

Every family to be furnished by the Government a homestead allowance, free of debt, of not less than one-third the average family wealth of the country, which means, at the lowest, that every family shall have the reasonable comforts of life up to a value of from $5,000 to $6,000.

This is an excellent first step. Inflation will spiral out of control, though, but I don't think we have to worry about that. We'll have plenty of populist support to fix prices on homestead necessities when the time comes. Then everything will be fine. Yep. No shortages when that happens. We'll make sure by creating laws forcing businesses to meet certain quotas.

 The yearly income of every family shall be not less than one-third of the average family income, which means that, according to the estimates of the statisticians of the United States Government and Wall Street, no family's annual income would be less than from $2,000 to $2,5000.

This will keep us popular for a long time. Of course, not every person carries his weight for that price, but businesses can surely cope. They'll likely have to lay off a bunch of the workers who aren't actually worth that much to their company, but that's ok. People will see those evil businesses for what they are, and they'll support us when we create laws forcing businesses to employ those unjustly fired. Businesses may suffer some, but they deserve to shoulder their fair share of society's burdens. Nothing bad can possibly come from this, like, say, businesses becoming unprofitable and closing down.

 No person to have a fortune of more than 100 to 300 times the average family fortune, which means that the limit to fortunes is between $1,500,000 and $5,000,000, with annual capital levy taxes imposed on all above $1,000,000...No yearly income shall be allowed to any person larger than from 100 to 300 times the size of the average family income, which means that no person would be allowed to earn in any year more than from $600,000 to $1,800,000, all to be subject to present income-tax laws.

Yeah, screw the rich. We don't want to provide any incentives for people to create the next Google/HP/Dell/IBM/Facebook (I'd be ok with this one...). Really, we don't even want people to create marginally successful small, innovative businesses. It's not like our other policies are going to destroy jobs or anything, so the resulting certain decrease in jobs will be but a necessary casualty in the turning of the tide in class warfare. Again, we can just force businesses to hire more people, though, right?

 

Rand seems a bit less crazy when you realize she was reacting to derp from people like Long.

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#9) On August 31, 2011 at 10:17 AM, Slider08 (52.09) wrote:

But yeah, thanks for posting this as a history lesson (being serious).

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#10) On August 31, 2011 at 10:29 AM, leohaas (33.21) wrote:

The solution is really simple: outlaw lobbying.

I don't think we need to create a law explicitly outlawing lobbying. I believe we already have a law on the books to do just that. Bribery is, after all, illegal. And I don't see why lobbying is not bribery: lobbyist give politicians money in exchange for access, and lawmaking that benefits the lobbyists' funders.

Start enforcing bribery laws now!

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#11) On August 31, 2011 at 10:52 AM, mhy729 (33.22) wrote:

And I don't see why lobbying is not bribery

Any lawyers care to explain the legal difference (presumably there is one) between bribery and lobbying?  Perhaps it falls under the category of "enhanced petition"?

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#12) On August 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM, edwjm (99.87) wrote:

Money = Speech: the Supreme Court says so!

Therefore, bribery is protected by the 1st amendment.

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#13) On August 31, 2011 at 12:48 PM, eldemonio (98.86) wrote:

Huey Long's policies did bring about some positive change for poor rural folk in LA, but ultimately, he was a corrupt, power hungry pig.

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#14) On August 31, 2011 at 7:46 PM, devoish (98.38) wrote:

Thank you all for the recs and the replies.

Best wishes,

Steven

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