April 13, 1936 - Time Magazine - National Affairs - Taxation, Red Ears, Red Support

Chairman Robert L. Doughton last kept the members of his House Ways and Means Committee with their ears to the grindstone. Their job was to listen strenuously, so that no one could complain that he had been denied a hearing on the New Deal's plan to rearrange corporation taxes in order to encourage the declaration of dividends.

Two days later Chairman Doughton came to the name of the last witness on the day's schedule, Max Bedacht, representing the Communist Party.

"The next witness," announced Chairman Doughton, "is...." and then made an utterly incomprehensible sound out of the German name.

When nobody answered, Chairman Doughton declared the meeting adjourned. A plump, elderly little man who had been seated all day in the rear of the room went forward apologetically to the committee table, asked whether his name had been reached, and said he was Max Bedacht. Hastily the Committee reconvened.

Max Bedacht was not the kind of frowsy, self-assertive Communist most Congressmen were accustomed to encountering. Born in Munich 52 years ago, he was a factory worker, a Socialist, a Communist, an editor of various defunct radical periodicals, and is now a member of the Central Committee of the U.S. Communist Party. He still retains the good manners which he learned during his youth as a barber in Switzerland.

"How much time will you take?" asked Mr. Doughton.

"I have six pages - two minutes a page....."


"I am here," began Mr. Bedacht, "to present the position of the Communist Party on the proposals adopted by your committee for new Federal taxes. We Communists have always fought for the principle of taxing corporate surpluses and undivided corporate income. This would be at least a step in the direction of shifting the present heavy burden of taxation from the shoulders of workers, farmers and small consumers to the big corporations and the rich.

Democratic Committee members squirmed uncomfortably at this unexpected support. An alert Republican eagerly interrupted the witness: This plan that you are presenting here is in harmony with this bill?"

"We agree with the principle," declared Mr. Bedacht and went on to explain that the Communists thought the bill was fine, only they wanted to go further. When they cited Democrat Robert H. Jackson of the Bureau of Internal Revenue on the taxation of millionaires, the Republican committeeman again cut in: "You quite agree with what Mr. Jackson had to say about this, do you not?"

"Yes," said amiable Communist Bedacht.

By the time his statement was finished, the Democrats were sickly aware of what had happened: The Communists had in principle joined the New Deal on the tax bill. Hastily Mr. Bedacht was cross-examined in an effort to prove that he really opposed many features of the bill.

"You are against about everything in it," declared Chairman Doughton. "Then you could not be for it, could you?"

"Well," said Mr. Bedacht, his friendliness unshaken, "we are for it in addition to the old taxes."

Comments: Mr. Bedacht and his fellow Communists and Socialists heard quacking coming from the New Deal, so they investigated the quacking and, behold - a duck! Since the New Deal was fulfilling the Socialist Party platform of 1932, why would Bedacht or any other Communist or Socialist object to what the New Deal was doing? Of course they would be in favor of the tax laws of the New Deal. However, I wonder how Bedacht would react to the taxation of today that is imposed upon working people? When he was testifying before Congress back then the income tax did not tax the labor of working people. Now, as I've already pointed out, in some cases taxation and garnishment takes 65% or more of some workers' labor, and this doesn't include what the workers pay in indirect taxes. Bedacht and his fellow Communists and Socialists wanted to give relief to the working class, who paid taxes back then in the form of consumers, by increasing the taxes upon corporations and the rich. I wonder what he would have thought about taxing a worker's minimum wage? In this sense, today's Cannibals have gone far beyond what the Communists and Socialists of 1936 wanted by taxing the labor of working people of today to whatever levels they desire. This being the case, what shall we call today's labor Cannibals - Super Communists or Super Socialists maybe? It's amazing what people will continue voting for if they feel safe and secure in the system.

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