In 1935, Huey Long was running for President, planning to challenge FDR for the Democrat nomination. These are the highlights of his "Share The Wealth" plan:
*Cap personal fortunes at $50 million @ ( $600 million in today's dollars) Later on that would be reduced to $5-8 million.($60-90 million)
*Limit annual income to $ 1 million @ ($12 million)
*Guarantee every family an annual income of $2,000 ($36,000), or one-third the national average, whichever is greater.
*Free college education and vocational training.
* Old-age pensions for ALL persons over age 60
*Free health care for everyone
*30 hour work week
*4 weeks vacation for every worker
*Increased wage and price control
*Moratorium on all consumer and mortgage debt payments
"The same mill that grinds out the extra rich is the same mill that will grind out the extra poor because, in order that the extra rich can become so affluent, they must necessarily take more of what ordinarily would belong to the average man." Huey Long
Huey Long is without a doubt one of the most colorful, and controversial political figures of the last 100 years. An unabashed populist, with a southern flavor, he was elected governor of Louisiana, survived impeachment, was elected to the Senate, ( while still managing to run Louisiana) and at the time of his assassination in 1935 was beginning to mount a challenge to FDR for the Democrat nomination in 1936.
Listening to Obama's inaugural address, I am struck by the remarkable similarities to both Long's agenda, and equally so the manner in which Obama is attempting to build a national organization based upon a cult of personality.
Long's ideas were encapsulated in his "Share the Wealth Society." The slogan was "Every Man a King!" By the summer of 1935, there were some 27,000 "Share the Wealth Clubs" all across the US, with almost 8 million members.
Note: At the time, the US population was about 120 million. Using 30% as the percentage of Americans UNDER age 21, that means that more than 10% of the voting age population in 1935 belonged to Long's organization.)
Long had constructed an elaborate grass roots organization. Obama is building his own with "Obama for America," Acorn, Occupy Wall Street, and MSNBC.
"Long charged that the nation's economic collapse was the result of the vast disparity between the super-rich and everyone else. A recovery was impossible while 95% of the nation's wealth was held by only 15%."
"Our present plan is that we will allow no one man to own more than $50 million. ( or less) But be that as it may, it wills till be more than any one man, or any one man and his children, and their children, will be able to spend in their lifetimes; and it is not necessary to reasonable to have wealth piled up beyond the point where we cannot prevent poverty among the masses."