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Gertrude Shaw

New Wage Attacks Planned
by Congress in ’44 Tax Bill

(23 August 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 34, 23 August 1943, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

When Congress reconvenes in the fall, one of the first things it is going to take up is a new tax law. While Congress is vacationing, the ground is being prepared for heavier taxes – ON LABOR.

The President states that the government must have at least twelve billion dollars more revenue, and he genially assures us that we aren’t going to mind paying it – NOT MUCH!

Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau puts out all kinds of charts to show that the British and Canadians pay higher income taxes than we do. SO BE PREPARED!

Representatives and senators are stating their points of view on this and that aspect of new taxation, from which we get a pretty good idea of the way this evil wind is blowing.

The rate of income tax on incomes below $10,000 is going to be raised.

Exemptions for family status and dependents will very likely be decreased.

A compulsory saving feature may be included in the new bill.

Senator Byrd of the Senate Finance Committee has expressed himself in favor of a “stiff” SALES TAX,

There is even talk of an “excess profits” TAX ON WAR WAGES – in line with the lying boss propaganda that not the bosses but the workers are the war profiteers!

Thus the long hand of the capitalist government will reach deeper into the slack pockets of the workers. HOWEVER, INDICATIONS ARE THAT THE NEW TAX BILL WILL CONTINUE HANDLING THE WAR-FATTENED BOSSES WITH KID GLOVES.

Washington correspondents are cautiously dropping bits of opinion to the effect that the big boys of business will not be made to “suffer” by the new tax bill. The present excess profits tax set-up, which allows the big corporations and the wealthy to get away with their bloody war swag, will probably remain as is.

The allowances to big business for so-called depletions and for this and that, will continue.

The exemptions to holders of certain kinds of securities and other forms of wealth will stand.

Bernard Baruch, supposed to be wizard on war economy, some time ago made the statement: “Even with a fixed price structure and a high excess profits tax there will be HUGE war profits.” However —

There is no high excess profits tax. The excess profits tax machinery is a network of convenient holes. And there is no fixed price structure. We all know that.

Therefore, war profits are not only “huge” – à la Baruch. They are super-colossal – à la Roosevelt. AND ALL PREDICTIONS ARE THAT THE NEW TAX BILL WILL ALLOW THEM TO REMAIN SUPER-COLOSSAL.

On the other hand, what’s going to happen to workers’ wages if the contemplated tax bill is passed? What will be left to the worker’s family to live on when MORE THAN twenty per cent will be sliced off his wages each week?

What will be left of that when a definite compulsory percentage will be taken off for so-called saving or bond purchases every week WITHOUT FAIL?

What will be left for buying the necessities of life at war profiteering prices TO WHICH A SALES TAX WILL BE ADDED?

What will be left even to the highest paid workers after all: these inroads into their wages PLUS A POSSIBLE “EXCESS PROFITS” TAX because they get a little more than the average wage?


What is union labor going to do in the face of this newest threat? Will labor allow the fast one that is being put over on it to get faster with each passing year? Will labor continue to be the sucker for the rich? The working class must save itself from the swamp of relentless war exploitation into which we are all being pushed. If justice were done, the workers would pay no cent of war taxes.

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