May 6, 1933 - Editorial - Making Wealth Pay, by George Lorimer
Drastic and destructive schemes to conscript and redistribute wealth as ways out of the depression have made little headway in the realm of practical statesmanship. This is a clear indication of an underlying common sense on the part of the country. It is the more so in view of the numerous and far-reaching emergency measures which Congress has adopted so swiftly at the behest of the new Administration.
The practical, hard-headed men who must manage majority groups in Congress, by whatever name they are called, Republican or Democratic, are forced to deal in realities, in projects which, though by no means invariably wise, have at least a semblance of feasability. It is not practicable to pay a country's debts, public or private, or to lift it out of the slough of depression by simply seizing all the wealth above a subsistence level. The problem is not so tractable, it does not yield so easy as all that.
This is not to argue that large incomes or estates must carry an exemption from the problems and duties of depression. In fact, they are already subject to a highly substantial degree of conscription, surtax rates upon incomes running to 55% above a million dollars. Besides, no law on the statute books is more vigorously enforced than the Federal income tax laws, and its effectiveness in reaching ill-gotten gains, and even in imprisoning racketeers whom the government has been able to reach in no other way, is a matter of common knowledge.
Today the whole idea that great fortunes and incomes are hanging from trees waiting to be plucked is in sad need of revision. (pg. 22)
Comment: Note that the income tax is associated with wealth and great fortunes, not human labor.