Louisiana is desperately in need of a new progressive voice given the tragedy that is its current state government. A voice much like the one of former Governor and Senator (and perhaps might-have-been President) Huey Long. To understand better just how groundbreaking Huey's vision was I've updated his speech introducing his "Share the Wealth" program to include taxation levels based on 2003 dollar values.
...."my friends, unless we do share our wealth, unless we limit the size of the big man so as to give something to the little man, we can never have a happy or free people. God said so! He ordered it.
We have everything our people need. Too much of food, clothes, and houses why not let all have their fill and lie down in the ease and comfort God has given us? Why not? Because a few own everything-the masses own nothing."
I wonder if any of you people who are listening to me were ever at a barbecue! We used to go there-sometimes 1,000 people or more. If there were 1,000 people, we would put enough meat and bread and everything else on the table for 1,000 people. Then everybody would be called and everyone would eat all they wanted. But suppose at one of these barbecues for 1,000 people that one man took 90 percent of the food and ran off with it and ate until he got sick and let the balance rot. Then 999 people would have only enough for 100 to eat and there would be many to starve because of the greed of just one person for something he couldn't eat himself.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, America, all the people of America, have been invited to a barbecue. God invited us all to come and eat and drink all we wanted. He smiled on our land and we grew crops of plenty to eat and wear. He showed us in the earth the iron and other things to make everything we wanted. He unfolded to us the secrets of science so that our work might be easy. God called: "Come to my feast."
Then what happened? Donald Trump, the Koch brothers, the Walmart heirs, Gina Reinhart, and their crowd stepped up and took enough for 120 million people and left only enough for 5 million for all the other 125 million to eat. And so many millions must go hungry and without these good things God gave us unless we call on them to put some of it back."
It is believed today the United States is ripe for another historical correction. As the 21st century gets under way, the imbalance of wealth and democracy in the U.S. is unsustainable. CEOs make 419 times as much as the average worker, and CEO pay is rising five times faster than profits. Payroll taxes mean working people don't take home much more than 20 years ago.
Here are updated income figures for Huey's Share the Wealth program. Are you at risk of losing or gaining under his plan?
We have nothing more for which we should ask the Lord. He has allowed this land to have too much of everything that humanity needs.
So in this land of God's abundance we propose laws, viz.:
The fortunes of the multimillionaires and billionaires shall be reduced so that no one person shall own more than a few tens of millions to the person. We would do this by a capital levy tax. On the first $13,379,562.04 that a man was worth, we would not impose any tax. We would say, "All right for your first $13,379,562.04, but after you get that rich you will have to start helping the balance of us." So we would not levy any capital levy tax on the first $13,379,562.04 one owned.
But when your income reaches $26,759,124.09, we would tax that 1 percent, so that every year the man owned the $26,759,124.09 dollars he would be taxed $13,379. On $40,138,686.13 we would impose a tax of 2 percent. On $53,518,248.18 we would impose a tax of 4 percent. On the $66,897,810.22 we would impose a tax of 8 percent. On the 80,277,372.26 we would impose a tax of 16 percent. On the $93,656,934.31 we would impose a tax of 32 percent. On the $107,036,496.35 we would impose a tax of 64 percent; and on all over the $107,036,496.35 we would impose a tax of 100 percent. What this would mean is that the annual tax would bring the biggest fortune down to $40,138,686.13 to $53,518,248.18 to the person because no one could pay taxes very long in the higher brackets. But that is enough for any one person and his children and his children's children. We cannot allow one to have more than that because it would not leave enough for the balance to have something.
Now, by limiting the size of the fortunes and incomes of the big men, we will throw into the government Treasury the money and property from which we will care for the millions of people who have nothing; and with this money we will provide a home and the comforts of home, with common for every family in America, free of debt.
Here is what we stand for in a nutshell:
We propose that every family in America should at least own a homestead equal in value to not less than one third the average family wealth. So our first proposition means that every family will have a home and the comforts of a home up to a value of not less than around $71,000.
We propose that every family shall have an income equal to at least one third of the average family income in America. If all were allowed to work, there'd be an income of $21,000 per family. We propose that one third would be the minimum.
We also propose to give the old-age pensions to the old people, not by taxing them or their children, but by levying the taxes upon the excess fortunes to whittle them down, and on the excess incomes and excess inheritances, so that the people who reach the age of sixty can be retired from the active labor of life and given an opportunity to have surcease and ease for the balance of the life that they have on earth.
We also propose the care for the veterans, including the cash payment of the soldiers' bonus.
We likewise propose that there should be an education for every youth in this land and that no youth would be dependent upon the financial means of his parents in order to have a college education. We would give every child the right to education and a living at birth.
We guarantee food and clothing and employment for everyone who should work by shortening the hours of labor to thirty hours per week, maybe less, and to eleven months per year, maybe less.
Our plan would injure no one. It would not stop us from having millionaires-it would increase them tenfold, because so many more people could make $1 million if they had the chance our plan gives them. Our plan would not break up big concerns. The only difference would be that maybe 10,000 people would own a concern instead of 10 people owning it.
But, my friends, unless we do share our wealth, unless we limit the size of the big man so as to give something to the little man, we can never have a happy or free people. God said so! He ordered it.
We have everything our people need. Too much of food, clothes, and houses why not let all have their fill and lie down in the ease and comfort God has given us? Why not? Because a few own everything-the masses own nothing.
The platform is there, only the candidate with necessary vision is needed.