Excerpts From Huey Long's "Second Autobiography"
Wherein A Digest Of The Share Our Wealth Legislation Is Contained
LIMITATIONS ON FORTUNES (Minimum and Maximum)
Redistribution of Wealth
Congress provided that as a matter of national policy necessary for the preservation of the nation and its defense against foreign foes that the United States declare it against public policy for any family to have less than the comforts of home and of life, free of debt, and equal to at least the value of one-third the average American family wealth; that in order to guarantee such comforts and necessities of life to all the people, it was necessary that some reasonable limit be placed on the wealth which one person might own; and, accordingly, Congress declared that it was against the public policy of the United States for any one person to possess wealth in excess of one hundred times the average family fortune.
To bring about the redistribution of wealth, not only to give the comforts of home to the people, but to provide some of the revenue needed for expansion and improvement in
the United States, Congress imposed a capital levy tax to be levied every year on every fortune in the nation as follows:
(a) On all wealth owned by a person from 1 up to One Million Dollars, no capital tax levy, it being the policy of the law that for one to own up to a million dollars does no injury to the balance of the people having comforts of life.
(b) On all wealth which one owns above One Million Dollars and up to Two Million Dollars, a capital levy tax of 1% on the second million only.
(c) On all wealth which one owns above Two Million Dollars and up to Three Million Dollars, a capital levy tax of 2% on the third million.
(d) On all wealth which one owns above Three Million Dollars and up to Four Million Dollars, a tax of 4% on the fourth million.
(e) On all wealth which one owns above Four Million Dollars and up to Five Million Dollars, a tax of 8% on the fifth million.
(f) On all wealth which one owns above Five Million Dollars and up to Six Million Dollars, a tax of 16% on the sixth million.
(g) On all wealth which one owns above Six Million Dollars and up to Seven Million Dollars, a tax of 32% on the Seventh Million.(h) On all wealth which one owns above Seven Million Dollars and up to Eight Million Dollars, a tax of 64% on the eighth million.
(i) On all wealth which one owns above Eight Million Dollars, a tax of 99%.
Calculated by simple arithmetic the foregoing table meant that all fortunes would generally fall to a maximum limit of around Five Million Dollars to the person the first or second year, but gradually thereafter, the capital tax, being levied year after year, would reduce the largest fortune to from one to two millions of dollars.
Inasmuch as large quantities of properties could not be converted into cash to make an immediate payment, the person taxed was permitted to turn over property or cash in payment of the tax and was also allowed to pay the tax in installments.
The money and wealth thus raised for the government, under the surveys and plans arranged, was used first to supply the comforts of home and life to the masses up to a value equal to one-third of the average family wealth. The Congress provided that, in order to make such distribution of the properties turned into the United States in payment of the capital levy tax, that the Government should have the right to sell property, to transfer and exchange it for other property, to issue currency to be retired from sale and disposition of the government's properties, along the lines as followed in the Federal Land Bank financing.
It being determined that each family should have a home and comforts for life, the acts of Congress provided that such a home should not be sold by the owners unless the State should consent to such sale, and that the proceeds from such sale should be impounded, only to he used for the purchase of another homestead. The rules set up to protect the ownership of homes and comforts for life in several States were largely followed in preparing this legislation.