Opinion

A voice from the past for 2016

Hunger marchers descend on Washington, D.C., January 1931. (Photo: Everett Historical, via Shutterstock)

Ed’s Note: For those who think the issues at hand are unique to the current domestic dis-tranquility or represent new challenges for inmates of the governing class, gander this:

“This is becoming the richest and the poorest country in the world.

“Why? Why, on account of an unequal distribution of the money. The nation needs a more equal distribution of wealth. That’s one thing the ordinary guy knew before the economist. For years, the money was all appropriated at the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. The engineer in charge knew that water trickled down.

There is nothing that makes a man feel better than to know that no matter how bad things break, he has something to fall back on.

“But he didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night anyhow. But at least it will have traveled through the poor fellow’s hands. In the end, they saved the big banks but the little ones went up the flue so that the little fellow thought he never had a chance.

“How can you equalize it? By putting a higher surtax on the large incomes and that money goes to provide some public work, at a livable wage.

“There is nothing that makes a man feel better than to know that no matter how bad things break, he has something to fall back on, that he can make a living out of it. It would be a glorified Community Chest idea, only instead of it being doled out as charity, a person would work for it. There would never be any real unemployed. The so-called unemployed would be working for the state or government a guaranteed number of hours each week, at a living wage.

“Of course, it would cost the taxpayers more money, but if you are making it, and all your fellow men are not, you shouldn’t mind paying a good slice of it for the less fortunate. Now, the big man’s argument is that when you take too big a slice from a man as taxes, it takes that much more out of his investments and might cut down on the money being put into enterprises. But it never works that way. Why, we’ve had income taxes run as high as 70 percent on every dollar earned and yet there was more money being made and put into things than there is now.

“If your income taxes go to help the less fortunate, there should be no legitimate kick against it.

“Now that we got that settled, all we have to do is to get it by Congress and see if the Republicans will vote a higher income tax on the rich.”

Ed’s Note: Recent remarks by Bernie Sanders? Nancy Pelosi? Jill Stein? Naw. Will Rogers, January 1931. Eighty five years ago.


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