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VALOREM TAX DEFINED
THE FOE OF CONSERVATION
WAGES VERSUS SAVINGS
$L50 A YEAR
NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE and OTHER EXCHANGES
telephone Barclay 7-1580
Editor, The COMMONWEALTH:
You are right in the May issue about
tax exempt bonds. There should no longer
be any. I would also suggest lowering tax
to incomes of $500, or a national sales tax.
This would make people tax conscious; cut
down high government spending; balance
the budget; and instill confidence.
E. C. Burrows.
New York City, May 1, 1937.
Editor, The COMMONWEALTH:
I have just finished reading the April
number of The COMMONWEALTH. I
must say I have never gained so much
clear cut information on subjects of vital
importance to the Ameican people in the
same length of time spent in reading any
I do not agree with everything in the
magazine, but I shall not miss another is-
Very truly yours,
Mrs. F. T .Maxwell.
Apirl 18, 1937, Sarasota, Florida.
A few of the many replies being received
show gifts of COMMONWEALTH sub-
scriptions are welcome.
Saint Joseph, Minnesota, May 4, 1937.
We thank you many times for subscrib-
ing to The COMMONWEALTH for our
library. We assure you of our appreciation
of your gift, and shall pray God to reward
We received notice of this from The
Sewell Press, Inc., Bradenton, Florida,
With repeated thanks, and a fervent
"God bless you!"
Sincerely and gratefully yours,
Sister Olivia, O. S. B.
Payetteville, N. C., 4 May '37.
Recently, we were informed that the per-
iodical The COMMONWEALTH was be-
ing sent to our library through your cour-
Let me hasten to tell you how much we
value the magazine, already. Every Tues-
day during the Chapel hour, our student
body has what we call the Gilreath Club,
whose purpose is to discuss world affairs.
SAlmost weekly, references are made to The
COMMONWEALTH in getting informa-
tion for the club. Then, too, the classes
in citizenship have found the magazine
helpful to them.
Please believe we are very grateful for
your gift to us; and we wish to thank you
Very sincerely yours,
(Miss) Hazel C. Edwards,
State Normal School. Librarian.
Trenton, New Jersey, May 1, 1937.
We wish to acknowledge the receipt of
a subscription to The COMMONWEALTH
which the publisher informs us is a gift
from you. Our students find much use
for this type of magazine. It is a valuable
addition to our subscription list which we
Very truly yours,
L. M. Dodgen, Librarian.
State Teachers College.
THE MAGAZINE OF DEMOCRACY
DR. WATERS F. BURROWS, EDITOR
Progress ......... --- ....--............. ....................... ....................
Thou Shalt Not Steal .................. .................................... 6
G old Bricks ........................................ .................................. ......................... 7
The "W reakcovery" Bill ............................................................................ 7
W hat's Ahead ............................................. .. 7
Class D em ocracy N eeded ................................................................................................ 8
Class Democracy Needed ......................8.................. 8
M municipal Debt .................................. ..............- ........... 9
Ad Valorem Tax Defined ............................................... ................................. ...... 10
Ad Valorem Taxation-A Form of Stealing ................................ ................... 10
Why Ad Valorem Taxes Must Be Abolished ........................... .......................... 10
Improved Property To Pay Its Share Through the Sales Tax...................................... 11
Tax Burden Carried By Real Estate ..........................--....................................... 11
Graduated Tax Burdens ............. ............................ ........................................... 11
Depreciation-"Special Privilege" for Corporations .......................................... 11
An Explanation-Capital Gains and Losses ............................................................ 12
100 Per Cent Federal ........................................................................... .......................... 12
The Ad Valorem Tax System Must Go ............................................................... 12
W ho Pays and H ow .......................... ....................... ......................... ............ 13
Florida Tax Policies ................................................................ ................................ 14
Senate Bill 97 ................................................. ..................................... ......... 15
Un-American Graft ............................................ ....................................................... 13
Politics, the Poe of Conservation
Modern Deceit ........................
Brain Cells .............................
VOL 3 NO. 6
THE COMMONWEALTH is published monthly by THE SEWELL PRESS,
Inc. PUBLICATION OFFICES, 320 12th Street, Bradenton, Florida. Subscription
Rate $1.50 per year, 5 weeks notice required for change of address. Such notices
must supply the old address as well as the new. ADVERTISING OFFICE, 320
12th Street, Bradenton, Florida. Advertising Rate Card on request.
EDITORIAL OFFICE, Sarasota, Florida. THE COMMONWEALTH particu-
larly invites young as well as established writers to submit manuscripts. All manu-
scripts should be accompanied by return postage and address to the editor of THE
COMMONWEALTH at the Sarasota office.
Application for entry as second-class matter is pending.
- ~CT-rci '. i
'v..iri .JIVVyWIW ,rPS )IWVIF
SA Scene On Our Beaches
risking in from the Gulf of Mexico, cooling sea breezes caress Sara-
sota-Florida's year 'round vacation land. Snow-white sands line blue
waters, where game fish abound. Swimming, boating, golf, tennis-Saia-
sota offers you all these and more-summer or winter.
Wheti Old Sol bears down- and the thermometer goes up-remem-
ber, it's cooler'in Sarasota. For summer vacation information, write:
*a ., '
S'aiasotia UCambe'L oo mwume'
W. 0. SIMPSON:,'ECRETARY
SARASOTA, F 1RIDA
"On the Gulf of Mexico."
: ., ,
i .i .--.,
Have ye founded your thrones and altars, then,
On the bodies and souls of living men?
And think ye that building shall endure,
Which shelters the noble and crushes the poor?
James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)
Due honor must be paid man, for it is he who is re-
sponsible that the world does not retrograde, but ever
progresses toward a better day.
Progress in this country has continued at a high tempo
and, undoubtedly, has been intensified by a capitalistic
civilization. But so long as there are defects in human
nature, just so there will be defects in government, be
it based on a capitalistic system or not.
Fortunately, human nature is receptive to suggestions
and changes which offer greater opportunity to the
world at large. This can be seen in the continuous
lessening of the former flagrant disregard of personal
property rights in the days of slavery, and in the dis-
appearance of autocracy, and in the establishment of
rule of the people under republics.
But regardless of the progress already attained, per-
fection has not yet been reached by any means; and the
old-time axiom that "ignorance is no excuse under the
law" still holds sway. For proof, study the laws of the
United States and you will soon discover that the ma-
jority of them have been enacted for the benefit of only
a few special privileged souls. Consider the tax laws.
The glaring injustice and inequalities in the present tax
system have arisen but slowly and subtly, without the
mass of the people actually realizing what was happening.
Ignorance, therefore, has been the principal cause for
the people being misled by the political ruler and his
henchmen. This ignorance, coupled with lack of fair
representation in our republican form of government,
has been reason enough that our tax laws have been
endured for so long-tax laws that have permitted ex-
ploitation of the masses by their own public servants,
who in turn are but the tools of entrenched wealth.
These methods have been tolerated until today taxation,
like government, has become a riddle, unsolved by most
However, ignorance is not so pronounced today as
formerly. Great strides have been made since the time
when the people were led by Montezuma's priests and
those who spoke from the depths of the Greek oracles.
Throughout time human nature has been developing
its pliability, its readiness to accept new standards and
changes which make for better living; and progress, ever
our staunch aid, dispenses another ray of light.
For today man's faith is becoming rid of the slavery
of superstition exemplified by the fanaticism of religious
intolerance. Man's soul is becoming individualized.
Man's duty is becoming a personal matter. And man
realizes that this freedom, derived through progress, pro-
claims him a free agent, to think and act as he himself
To every thinking person it is apparent that the pres-
ent conditions of extreme poverty and extreme wealth
have come about as a result of mal-representation in a
republic, which in building "shelters the noble and
crushes the poor". It is also apparent that under the
present political set-up, with waste and corruption ever
conspicuous in public offices, there is no hope that the
less fortunate can rise to a desired level of well-being and
But progress dictates to mankind that there be a
change. This will be brought about by a new form of
government, the government of tomorrow which will
be based upon direct and democratic representation of
all the people; a government which will express the will
of the people as accurately as human nature permits.
Then shall the people themselves, through their own
voice in public opinion, become the arbiter and the
foundation for a true democracy.
Progress will deem as necessary the passing and the
burial of party government; and with this the politicians
will scatter as dust upon the casket. Then shall there
be public officials, representatives of the people, who will
serve for the good of all mankind. Progress dictates
that through education, better understanding, and more
intense personal interest a greater commonwealth will
be builded wherein food, raiment and shelter will be
denied no man willing to work. This advancement will
come under a government founded on true democratic
principles, a government in which special privilege will
disappear and all the people will be served alike, a gov-
ernment which will give to the commonwealth a richer
and fuller and more abundant life.
Such will be the progress accomplished through Class
Democracy, and Government by Quinary Civic Council.
Thou Shalt Not Steal
The possession of property is an objective for which
man labors willingly. His work is inspired by the knowl-
edge that he has the right to acquire or to possess.
Theoretically, this right is granted by the common-
wealth in exchange for the service which an individual
renders society. The service may be rendered in many
ways. For instance, the farmer serves when he provides
food for others. The mine owner, with his employees,
serves in producing the raw materials of industry. The
factory owner serves in manufacturing products which
society needs. The railroad owner, his employees; the
wholesaler, the retailer; and every man who is a useful
member of society serves the commonwealth in some
capacity. And in return he is granted the right to
possess the properties by which he may serve and live.
Therefore, it can readily be seen that private property
as an institution is basically sound.
But it does not always follow that the acquisition or
the possession of property or wealth represents a service
rendered to society.
The capitalistic system, which is founded on the in-
stitution of private ownership, is not perfect. It is sub-
ject to abuses. And as it stands today, it lends itself to
selfish exploitation by the dishonest promoter, by the
unethical financier, and by the faithless servant of the
people-the apostate politician. These men have little
thought of service. They contribute little to the general
welfare of any nation; for their one desire is to amass
personal wealth, not in the service of society, but at its
Examples of Misuses
Today Hitler's dictatorship is a direct result of the
exploitation of Germany following the World War.
Germany's thraldom, due to the Versailles Treaty, re-
sulted in a complete break-down of its monetary system.
Shin plaster marks, becoming legal tender, made it pos-
sible for the debtor to pay off the creditor in worthless
paper currency. And .uncontrolled, this inflation de-
stroyed the wealth created by the labor of man-the
value of property, the savings invested in mortgages.
Then came the unscrupulous international financiers.
These individuals took advantage of the ruin wrought
by the German repudiation, borrowed sound money from
other countries, bought up the property of the German
people for a song. It was these, profiting at the expense
of the already prostrate Germans, who brought Nazism
So it is no wonder that Hitler gained ascendancy and
strengthened his dictatorship over the Fatherland. He
had only to cry: "Behold the Jew. He has taken our
land, our wealth, then made us his debtor. Suppress
him!" In the persecution which followed, all Jews neces-
sarily suffered for the sins of a few.
In the panics and depression from 1929 on, a like eco-
nomic injustice was perpetrated on the people of the
United States. Here the Wall Street gambler played
both ends against the middle. He borrowed the people's
money (their bank deposits) on "call" to pyramid the
value of securities and create unsound credit. In return-
ing the loans he precipitated the panics which took place
from 1929 to 1933. Then with values dropping far
below their intrinsic worth, he and his fellow gamblers,
who had hoarded gold or transferred money to foreign
lands, bought up for little or nothing this property that
represented the savings of the American people.
In the possession of the people that property repre-
sented service rendered. But acquired by the market-
playing bankers and financiers, it by no stretch of the
imagination represented service. It was only Self they
served, in a game of their own devising-"heads I win,
tails you lose", a game made possible by the laws of
legislators whom they controlled. A game which those
same legislators further aided by framing legal loopholes
whereby the gains were concealed by fictitious income
Nor must we forget the behavior of our so-called pub-
lic servants-politicians of the ilk which have prevailed
from before Mark Hanna to Huey P. Long and after.
The Tammany contractors, the divers mayors, govern-
ors, legislators and office holders unending.
They are the ones who create the public debts, which
they persuade the people to shoulder. They and their
associates are the ones who profit by those debts. They
and their friends receive the contracts, the jobs for
which the public eventually pays double, triple, or more
for value received.
Do the politicians stop after filling their pockets with
money obtained from the people in this manner? In-
deed no. They have control of the legal machinery
and they grind out laws which suit their own selfish
ends. They feed the people pap in the form of unim-
portant legislative reforms. But such reforms are never
designed to curtail their own selfish interests; they are
but a part of a system of camouflage to conceal activity
behind the scenes-activity which would reveal that
the majority of public servants rarely serve any other
The public servants are the ones who have foisted
the inequitable system of ad valorem taxation upon the
people, the system which has sponsored the millions of
tax-exempt governmental securities. This is the sys-
tem which has decreed that politicians should be free of
income taxation-while the property holder pays double
on his real estate.
To further emphasize this evil, the average politicians
shun any suggestion of considering an equitable tax sys-
tem. The present system is too well suited to their pur-
poses. For by it, the unscrupulous are able to buy up
tax certificates and foreclose on the real estate property
of innocent victims of the depression.
Assuredly, the politicians, like the stock manipulators,
have played both ends against the middle. They too,
have rendered no just service to society. Instead they
have served only Self!
Morally, not legally, however, they are traitors to the
people, their country and to God. For they have be-
trayed the people who have placed them in office. They
have betrayed their country by enacting the present laws
in the country, framing them so they could be perverted
to unjust ends. They have betrayed their God, for
while making pretense to serve, they have schemed for
the possessions of others, completely ignoring the com-
mandment: Thou shalt not steal.
All these, the unscrupulous promoter, the unethical
financier, the corrupt politician do not serve. They
have little or no right to the wealth which they amass
at the expense of society's welfare. They are in reality
covetous parasites, living from the service others
render society. And today they prosper, their activities
still largely unrecognized, while they masquerade as es-
sential and important members of the commonwealth.
But they are easily identified. We have only to pro-
pose some honest reform which will protect the savings
of the people from their grasp-
And then we have but to listen. The clamorous pro-
tests, which without doubt shall arise, will all be coming
from their mouths .
The Driver's License and Political Automobile
Instead of requesting a driver's license, it would prove
far more beneficial to the State and all concerned if a
preliminary examination of every applicant would be
required before he would be given the privilege of driv-
ing an automobile. Thereafter, personal and property
damage liability would be carried by each individual car
owner and driver, irrespective of the number of cars
owned. However, in the case of corporations, each car
would be insured separately.
If this plan were followed, damages to the innocent
party, when an accident occurred, would be assured; and
the party who was negligent, instead of paying a police
fine, would pay increased insurance premiums the next
year, depending upon the degree of carelessness shown.
Undoubtedly, such procedure would make for highway
For further details of this proposed plan, refer to the
April issue of The COMMONWEALTH.
The "Wreakcoveru" Bill
The anti-chain store bill being studied by the Florida
legislature would make a "goat" of Florida.
The consumer benefits from merchandising which
reduces prices in proportion to the number of useless
middlemen that are eliminated.
Fair play in business is the need. The Federal govern-
ment instituted the anti-trust laws. It is its affair to
prevent monopoly in the retail business, which follows
when the retailer controls the producer. The middle-
man is a necessary agent in the establishment of fair
Fair profits for the independent will follow when all
ad valorem taxes on real estate are abolished and rentals
and overhead are lowered.
With a greater circulation of money and less hoarded
in tax exempt municipal bonds, the buying power of the
people will be increased, and the Retail Sales Tax will
be no burden to the small consumer.
The Chain Store opposes the Retail Sales Tax. Does
the independent think he should?
Roger W. Babson, the well-known economist, sent
out a Special Letter under date of May 3, 1937, in which
More Revolutions Coming
There will be no general European War
during 1937 .
"A great political revolution is now rapidly taking
place throughout the world. Nations are gradually
lining up for Fascism or Communism. Democracy as
now set up seems to have failed, temporarily at least.
Inside information, however, leads me to believe F. D.
R. will make a heroic attempt to save it. ..
"A second revolution, now in progress, is in connec-
tion with labor If labor goes too far in this
country, the Democratic party will be split and the Re-
publicans will be returned to power. It is true that
many industries do not earn as much for stockholders
after they are unionized; but dividends are not the most
important thing in the long run. The conservation of
humanity and property is far more important .
"A third revolution is gradually taking place regarding
inheritances. I do not fear socialism during my day.
By socialism I mean Government ownership and oper-
ation of the nation's industries. Even radicals admit
that private ownership develops greater progress and
efficiency. Furthermore, I never heard any one be-
grudge the money that an honest self-made man has
made so long as the man lives. There, however, is a
keen objection to that man's children inheriting the
business while spending their time in Europe or at Palm
Beach All this means you should give away to
your children and others more while you are living ..
"But we are also facing a fourth revolution. I refer
to the upheaval among the churches of Europe, espec-
cially in Germany, the birthplace of the famous Reform-
ation A dictator may be necessary to strip the
churches of the useless customs and cobwebs which
have accumulated during the centuries .
"A religious revolution in Europe is sure to have its
backwash in the United States. It will affect all de-
nominations, but should especially be severe on the
more orthodox churches Parents should begin
ai once to prepare their children for this religious revo-
lution, as well as arrange 'hedges' for the political and
industrial revolutions already in progress .
"Every revolution has hurt certain groups who hap-
pened to be in the way when the revolution was on,
but the world as a whole has constantly been growing
better. Even if all the great nations temporarily go
Fascist, it will result finally in a better form of democ-
racy. When labor is universally organized, it will be
forced to take responsibility and regard its contracts
sacredly .. Moreover, I say this as one who still
believes that the future of America lies with its churches,
ministers and Christian laymen, rather than with its
Congress, Government officials or the inevitably ap-
"We will never know what we and the world have
lost because we allowed ourselves to be misled by a
bunch of politicians out to 'get Wilson', cost what it
may. And now they are out to stop Roosevelt. They
who 'got Wilson' gave us Teapot Dome. What will
they give us this time?"
-W. E. Frymire, Farmville, Virginia.
"She (Finland) is already practicing most of the 'se-
curity' projects suggested by our president and stren-
uously opposed by our Virginia senators. And as a
result Finland has practically banished pauperism from
her borders, and travelers tell us they are an unusually
happy people. Nor does it seem that their humanitarian
practices have impoverished the nation, as so many of
our politicians fear it might us. Finland is the only one
of our debtor nations that has complied with their finan-
cial" obligations. Trust in the Lord and do good, so
shalt thou dwell in the land and verily thou shalt be
fed' applies to nations as well as individuals."
-J. T. Kestler, Waverly, Virginia.
While on a European tour, the editor of The COM-
MONWEALTH will visit Finland; and will report on
conditions as he sees them.
Drops of Jdter & Grains of Sdnd
Fascism the Poison-Democracy the anti-
Senator Hodges (Florida Legislature): "I might say
that should all ad valorem taxes be made unconstitutional
to levy, then a sales tax would not mean an added bur-
den on the people ..
In the end the CONSUMER pays the ad valorem tax
bill; it is not the producer, middleman, or retailer.
It is by means of the ad valorem tax system that or-
dinary citizens, those less fortunate consumers, are forced
to assume a greater burden than those who are best able
to pay. But a retail-sales tax will be a step toward equal-
izinz taxation according to ABILITL (to pay) TAX.
The capitalistic system recognizes the sanctity of pri-
vate property and the savings of every man.
The real estate owner is tax conscious; but in public
governmental offices is represented, unfortunately, only
in the small and weak minority.
Abolish all ad valorem taxes on real estate and more
beautiful and useful buildings will be constructed, vacant
land will be developed, and widespread employment will
The politician finds the ad valorem tax a means where-
by he can fool the people; hence he will oppose any
suggestion relative to the abolition of such a tax on real
estate-until he comes into possession of the choice real
estate holdings he is after.
A man's home is his castle, but the viciously-unfair
ad valorem tax system gives it to the tax certificate buyer
at a greatly reduced price and results in the privileged
few being allowed to confiscate the savings of the many.
Civic-minded persons will give their support only to
those candidates who oppose all ad valorem taxes on real
"The ad valorem system is a levy against value or
capital that does not reach the wealthy to any great ex-
tent, but rather places an unfair burden on the small
capitalist, the home and farm owner or the thrifty citi-
zen who has put his savings into real estate."-T. P.
"Much money makes a country poor, for it sets a
dearer price on everything."
There is more than a grain of truth in this old pro-
verb. Applied to our present day municipal debt and
tax system, one can rightly feel that the tax exempt
municipal bond gives special privilege to income tax
evaders, while at the same time it places the burden of
government costs upon the few.
Before the depression the people had their savings
widely invested in homes, farms, stores, and unimproved
property. These freeholders pledged their savings in
order to get money for public improvement, from which
thousands of non-real estate owners also benefitted.
These owners would have been able to have met the
requirements of a maximum six per cent interest rate
on that proportion of their real estate that represented
money borrowed on mortgage. But the local taxing
authorities taxed them as if they owned the property
outright. In addition the State of Florida, and other
states to correspond, applied usurious penalties of
eighteen per cent the first year, ten per cent the second,
and eight per cent thereafter for non-payment of taxes.
Logically, the penalty should start at six per cent and
end at one hundred per cent. But in practice the latter
percentage has been extracted in the beginning.
In other words, the ad valorem tax levies of one, two
and three hundred mills were based not upon the pro-
portionate interest the common citizen had in the prop-
erty, but upon its entire assessed valuation. Naturally,
he was unable to meet the confiscatory tax requirements
on his holdings; and the small capitalist and financially
weak real estate owner lost his property, under semblance
of law and under a camouflage of justice, to the tax cer-
tificate buyer. Hence, there was wholesale transfer-
ence of capital of the weak to the hands of the strong
The rich became richer, the poor, poorer-due princi-
pally to the abominable ad valorem tax system, which
takes disproportionately from the savings of the com-
mon citizens in order to meet the principal and interest
obligations of tax exempt favored municipal bondholders.
No Protection to the Commonwealth
Throughout the country the courts refused protection
to the commonwealth and decreed that tax exempt mu-
nicipal debts, widening waste, corruption and collusion
in high political and financial circles, must be paid in
full by taxes levied upon only one kind of savings-
those put in homes, farms, stores, factories, etc. The
result is that real estate "investment companies," most if
not all of which are owned by politicians and other
elected leaders of the commonwealth, prosper at the ex-
pense of the public.
In trying to rehabilitate a weak corporation bonded to
death, no one in Wall Street would pay any attention
to a refund that dealt with interest rates and not prin-
cipal. Besides, there the Court acts to assure both
parties a square deal.
But not so with the debts owed by the commonwealth.
Here the Court has not acted as a middleman between
the debtor and creditor. Rather, it has enforced the
fourteenth amendment, guaranteeing sanctity of con-
tract, with a vengeance; and left the people unprotected
and at the mercy of the bond holder. In all fairness,
however, it must be said that occasionally a judge im-
bued with a finer sense of right and less chained by
"case" decisions and political aspirations acted fearlessly.
The Florida Supreme Court has made the discovery-
refreshing if not novel-that land taxes do "not con-
stitute an inexhaustible fund sufficient to redeem the
Nevertheless, the general outcome has been, with but
a few minor exceptions, that the municipal bond com-
mittees, paying themselves lucrative fees upon the total
principal involved have been left to determine, in their
own way, the fate of the commonwealth. Consequently,
refunds have actually cut down nothing on the bonded
municipal debt-a huge debt which has been contracted
by politicians false to,their oath of office. In truth,
much money has made the country poor.
As a remedy to these deplorable conditions, The
COMMONWEALTH advocates the issuing and refund-
ing of all municipal bonds, as well as the collection of all
taxes, through federal agencies.
Until the day when Government by Quinary Civic
Council permits true democracy to function, the federal
government must insure justice to the commonwealth
by acting as the third party between city or county
commissions, and bankers or bond committees issuing
or refunding municipal loans.
There are many thousands of Americans who are
startled at the wide support which has been accorded
President Roosevelt in his desire to lay hands on the
highest Federal tribunal. The cause of this adherence
to the Roosevelt program is simple.
It is not the president's smile. It is the healthy and
not ill-founded suspicion of the common man that the
nine august gentlemen think only in a judicial strato-
sphere, like nine Professors Picard or Einstein, and not
in the atmosphere which we bickering humans breathe.
Moreover, nowhere in the specifications drawn up for
the American Republic was the right to command ever
accorded the Supreme Court of the United States. That
right was acquired unjudicially by this highest court,
which is but a creation of the Congress. It was a right.
grasped without constitutional warrant at a moment
when the executive and legislative branches of the gov-
(Continued on page 23)
Ad Valoem Tax Defined
The term ad valorem is derived from Latin and means
according or in proportion to value.
Originally an ad valorem duty was placed upon goods
coming from foreign lands into this country, the duty
being ascertained by a determinate percentage on the
value of the goods imported.
This type of duty or tax is still applied in this coun-
try. But not only on imported goods. The practice has
grown whereby ad valorem taxation is placed upon real
estate and other private property in the United States;
that is, the owner of property is taxed according to the
value of his property. But such value is arbitrarily ap-
praised and has nothing to do with the income of the
property. Furthermore, in practically every case, the
appraised value has little to do with the actual present-
day value of the property. This method allows business
buildings and.homes to be appraised by the tax assessor
at figures, which in dollars and cents, represent about
double or triple what the property would sell for in the
In other words, the ad valorem tax system is merely a
method of taxation under which property taxes are
levied, on the badis of capital value, by thousands of
overlapping boards and commissions.
Ad Valorem Taxation
A Form of Stealing
Only the avaricious and covetous would demand that
a woman, with a fine collection of diamonds, be forced
by the State to sell a portion of them each tax collection
day in order to pay taxes on them all. These diamonds
are a form of savings or capital, and are without any
monetary income whatsoever. Hence, there can be no
mortal right to such a plan whereby a possession tax
would be levied, because this would be a definite con-
fiscatory act. Just as though the State were to demand
part of the gold fillings in one's teeth, or to extract the
money from one's purse! Such work has no place in
government; for such is but the job of the common
On the other hand, though, this very same principle
applies when ad valorem taxes are levied upon real es-
tate. The people throughout the country watch this
evil extortion every day; and the State is inconsistent
enough to sanction this form of stealing or embezzlement.
Here is an example: An industrious working man in
ordinary circumstances had managed through thrift and
careful living to accumulate sufficient savings so that he
could build a home for his family. With that property
he had made a worth while contribution to the common-
wealth. He kept up the tax rates, exorbitant that they
were, until hard times played unfortunate with him.
The tax assessor, however, did nothing but to keep on
assessing the holdings at the same high rate of ad va-
lorem taxation. The man, a wage earner, could not meet
his taxes because they were far out of proportion to his
capital. Moreover, the home brought in no income, but
rather was a continuous expense to be borne.
So what happened? Why, the man's property was
bought through tax certificates and tax foreclosure in-
stituted. Politicians and insiders sitting in public po-
sitions, all of whom were representing the wealthy and
special privileged, confiscated the savings of others.
Yes, the honest working man who had placed his
savings in private property lost it to the speculator. Arid
all the while the State and the court looked on.
It would seem that the citizen who preaches and be-
lieves in the rights of private property, who believes in
a moral code of ethics, could not willingly stoop to buy
up a tax certificate deed of one of his less fortunate
fellowmen. But all too often he does; for in policy the
State, whenever taxes levied upon principal or savings
are not paid, encourages him to snatch such savings.
Thus does the State, after having created usurious pen-
alties, place its approval on confiscation of savings.
What is the practice but a legalized form of stealing?
Why Ad Valorem Taxes must Be Abolished
The present ad valorem tax law is inequitable and
defective in practice. It is a system which invites
crookedness and renders man's savings placed in real
estate insecure against the covetousness of his more
The City of Chicago is an excellent example. The
practices there are surely exemplary of the favoritism
and graft and corruption made possible under an ad
valorem tax system. The assessments on abutting prop-
erty, of practically the same value, were at the mercy
of the tax assessor. And all too often the assessor af-
fixed a fictitious name or used the name of a personal
acquaintance as the owner of property in which he him-
self was interested. In this manner was his property
made free of any great tax. Some assessors even con-
nived around enough to exempt their property or their
friends' property of any taxation whatsoever-with the
result that the common citizen was made the "goat."
Such are the showings made by the polluted tax books
throughout the United States. A study of these tax
records show, moreover, that homes, farms, stores, fac-
tories are all taxed, under the ad valorem system, in an
outrageous proportion to other savings. Thus real es-
tate is forced to carry more than its equitable share of
taxation--and tax exempt capital slides out from under
its responsibility .to the government.
In a final analysis the ad valorem tax system boils
down to this: It is a confiscatory law, not primarily be-
cause it is an appropriation by the State, taken as a
penalty, but because this confiscation cannot be an
honest part or equitable "take" from each citizen's say-
ings in proportion to the amount of capital the citizen
Reform Must Come
Existing conditions will not improve, and confiscation
of savings will not cease until all ad valorem taxes on
real estate are abolished. Only thus will the people ever
be able to get on their feet and keep their heads above
water. Only thus will they become free of the clutches
of the tax collectors in the thousands of taxing bodies
in the country and of the speculating bond holders.
Fortunately however, the time is not far hence when
the politicians and public office holders, who have held
control in their own hands too long, will be forced to
forego the special privilege which allows them the power
of controlling the assessments 6f their own real estate
holdings, as well as influencing the assessments on others'
properties. For right now the people are asking, as loud-
ly as unorganized public opinion permits, that the ad
valorem tax system be repealed. And soon they will
insist upon and demand tax reform-a tax system which
depicts honesty and fairness and justice to all, a system
based upon the ability of each individual to pay.
Then under an equitable tax system, and a better gov-
ernment at less cost, the people will have the incentive
to purchase property and real estate and to build homes
upon terms of fair trade.
In conclusion, The COMMONWEALTH reiterates:
ABOLISH THE AD VALOREM TAX SYSTEM!
Improved PropertJ to PaU Its Share
Through the Sales Tax
The ad valorem tax on real estate, assessed principally
on the basis of influence and favoritism, is collected by
the State not for the benefit of the commonwealth, but
for the benefit of the bond committees, representing tax
exempted capital; and it must be replaced by the sales
No home, no building of whatever kind, whether rail-
road station, newspaper office, private hospital or what,
should be taxed upon the basis of its cost or replacement
value. Instead, all buildings should be subjected to the
sales tax while under construction, after which the in-
come tax should be applied only if and when the build-
ing nets the owner an income.
But the sales tax to be equitable must be apportioned
to many finished buildings now on the tax rolls, when
these buildings have not already paid ad valorem taxes
to an amount sufficient to cover the sales tax that would
have been applied in their construction.
That property, however, which has been taxed to
death by the ad valorem system, in many cases to several
times the original cost and present value, should have no
additional sales tax placed upon it.
Tax Burden carriedd By k l [state
The system of taxation followed at present in the
United Staes is such that real estate carries over fifty
per cent of the total tax burden. Naturally such a high
percentage places an unjust and inequitable load upon
real estate. Furthermore, this percentage is higher by '
far than that found in any other country.
The following table has been compiled to show the
percentage of total tax burden placed on real estate in
United States .................. .................................... 57.5
Dominion of Canada ........................................ 40.6
G erm any ................................................................. 28.0
Japan ............................................................................ 26.1
N etherlands ........................ ............................... 21.5
G reat Britain .............................................................. 19.8
Italy ............................... ..... .......................... 12.0
France .................................................... ................... 11.7
Poland ......................................................................... 11.6
Sw eden ................................................... ................. 3.0
Switzerland ......................................... 1.
Belgium ........... .................................... 0.3
Graduated Tax Burdens
President Roosevelt, in his message to Congress, stated
that ability to pay was the foundation for fair taxation.
Both the income and retail sales taxes, as advocated
by The COMMONWEALTH, are based upon this
legitimate demand-the ability to pay. And when both
of these taxes are in effect, the result will be that the
citizen with the largest income will pay a larger per-
centage in taxation to government.
Furthermore, if the wealthy man evades the sales tax
by cutting his expenditures to the bone (And who can
believe that mortal normal man will get enjoyment from
such economy?) he will .only be forced to assume a
more burdensome income tax based on his ability to pay.
"Special Privilege" for Corporations
Depreciation as a corporation income tax deduction,
although allowed and legalized by lawyer legislators, is
perfidious, because it has nothing whatever to do with
actual income. It is solely a means used by big business
at present to evade payment of an honest income tax.
Besides, the small competitor of big business finds de-
preciation of little value to him, and the individual is
prohibited the use of it altogether. This is amply dis-
played when the individual in computing his income tax
is neither allowed to take depreciation on his home nor
to deduct any loss that may be sustained when the prop-
erty is sold.
On the other hand, depreciation as taken by the cor-
poration is simply a "paper loss"-a matter of bookkeep-
ing. It represents no cash reserve that has been set up
to take care of obsolescence; or for upkeep, replace-
ments and expansions-which would serve as a protection
to invested capital. Furthermore, the money saved
through the corporation assuming a certain depreciation
goes largely to salaries of management and into surplus.
The money placed in surplus, however, is primarily to
insure payment of salaries during times of slow business
or during a depression-at which time the wage earner
As it is today, the corporation fund is allowed to stand
as a camouflage to the corporation's ability to pay a tax.
And it opens the way for management, frequently part
of ownership, to take the "cream" and to leave the
public "holding the bag". This uneconomic condition
is a constant threat of bankruptcy and a loss to labor
and invested capital. Moreover, it gives the "economic
royalist" control of the state through the power of in-
dustrial dictatorship, and he obstructs the road to Class
Democracy and a greater capitalism under Government
by Quinary Civic Council.
Capital Gains and Losses
Last month The COMMONWEALTH proposed a
new system of taxation whereby individuals and corpor-
ations would pay according to their capacity or ability
In the discussion on corporate taxation, The COM-
MONWEALTH proposed that capital gains and losses
are items properly to be considered a part of the year's
income, or a deduction thereupon; and that such profit
or loss be figured on cost and sale price in the current
. ,This procedure would eliminate much evasion and dis-
honesty in income tax payment and at the same time
would decrease the cost of collection without lowering
the government's income, provided:
"Instead of upon original cost, the base cost for com-
puting income tax on all securities and real property
traded in during the year should be upon market values,
or upon other easily-appraised tangible or convertible
values, as of the beginning of the income taxable year
under review, for example, as of January Ist." (May,
1937, issue, page 11).
It is understood that this applies on sales of purchases
made previous to the current year under review, as pur-
chases and sales during the current year are not subject
to manipulative evasion.
100 Per (ent Federal
The collection of taxes shall be a one hundred per
cent Federal power.
In the first place, all income tax from both individ-
uals and corporations shall be Federal revenue.
In the second place, the retail-sales tax, which should
be varied in percentage to meet the requirements of each
State, shall be money for State use. Therefore, it shall
be distributed to each State according to the amount col-
And last, the estate tax shall be a source of Federal
income to be used for the general building of roads,
general educational purposes, and for emergency relief
and social security.
The Ad Valorem Tax Sustem Must 6o
Fair Distribution of Costs Necessary
Several months ago Mr. T. P. Saffold, executive vice-
president of the Georgia Real Estate Taxpayers' Asso-
ciation, presented a paper in Atlanta on the ad valorem
method of taxation. Since his writings well emphasize
the injustice and inequity of this form of taxation, The
COMMONWEALTH takes this opportunity to pre-
sent to its readers Mr. Saffold's ideas. He wrote:
If Augusta maintains her present place in community service
under our present tax system, her pride in her enviable record
must necessarily be diminished by the publication in her local
papers of the long list of her citizens who have been sacrificed
and "sold out" to procure such a splendid showing of tax spend-
ing accomplishment. The population should increase with an
influx of large families of little means who want their children
educated and protected at no cost to themselves.
The provident and thrifty who know that someone must pay
for things of value will think twice before they move to, or buy
in, a city that finds it necessary to tax its citizens 4' per cent
on homes and investments in order to maintain public service.
Our advice to Augusta would be to remember what happened
to the "Smith family" who put on enough "front" to put the
Jones family "in the shade". If your demands for community
or public service break or bankrupt the element of thrifty, con-
structive citizens who built and are responsible for the progress
and development of Augusta, you will have killed the goose
that lays the golden egg.
By all means keep what you have accomplished in civic pro-
gress and community service, Augusta, but help us change our
obsolete tax system and bring into the picture of expense some
of those who enjoy your accomplishments but who do not now
help support them. You are endangering your dignity and
pride, to say nothing of your comfort, if you continue to lean
too heavily on a broken crutch.
The above suggestion will apply equally well to the other
larger cities of our state. In Savannah the Armstrong home
was recently presented to the city because it could not be given
or sold to anyone else. The taxes were prohibitive to any but
the very rich. Savannah now has an Armstrong Junior College.
We have lost all future tax revenue from the city's most ex-
pensive home. If a junior college costs Savannah as much as
does the junior college in Augusta. we will have to add to that
loss an additional $138,000. We have an additional asset of
great value, but we have a tax resource changed to a liability.
as far as tax income is concerned, of nearly $150,000 per annum.
Fair Distrbution of Costs Urged
Our association does not wish to prevent desirable public
advancement and improvement. but we know that the costs
must be more fairly distributed .
There have been many sales made in the past several years
where the sale price of property was less than half, and at times
less than one-third of the appraised value.
One prominent corner (on Whitaker Street) in Savannah
sold for about $5,000. The appraised, or taxable, value was
about $16,000. What percentage of cost would the owner of
this piece of real estate have to secure in rental before a return
on his investment could be shown? The tax rate in Savannah
is roughly I per cent of the appraised value, state, county, city
and school; this does not include water, any inspection service,
or sidewalk repairs.
Ased value-$16,000 @ 5%
(15% on purchase price)..................................10 800
Al inurance- 5,000 @ ....................................... 2 100
Maintenance- 5,000 @ ........................................ 2 100
Dep tio per annum-5,000 @ .................... 5 250
Collection ofnt--5,000 (management) @...... 1 50
T total ................................................................. 25% $1,300
This assessment had to be materially reduced before any
buyer could be persuaded to purchase at even a third of the
appraised value. The original owner had begged relief in vain
before sacrificing his savings.
Suppose this property should remain vacant for four years,
the loa without compound interest would be more than the
original purchase price. What incentive is there for a young
man to save and purchase a home in the city to house and pro-
tect him in his mature years if he has to abandon his savings
as soon as he is no longer able to work and pay an excessive
Savings banks are paying as little as 2 per cent on savings.
The legal reserve basis of our largest insurance companies are
on a 3 per cent basis, and these insurance companies have found
that conservative figure uncomfortably high in the past few
When, therefore, an investor has to guarantee to govern,
ment that he will underwrite the present excessive tax rate. he
runs a far greater risk of losing his principal than of getting
interest on his investment.
Why, under the present rate, should the investor take the
chance that an investment property he builds may become va-
cant and thereby lose the capital or savings which he has in-
Why should the sick or invalid home owner have to under-
write the bulk of the expense of government?
"Taxation Has Power to Destroy"
There are properties in Georgia today that could not even
be given to an intelligent investor. The excessive taxes against
such properties have completely demolished value and made a
liability out of what was formerly an asset. "Taxation has the
power to destroy."
Notice the long lists (sometimes several pages) of property
to be sold at public outcry for taxes. Practically every paper
in Georgia shows in these advertisements of thousands of dis-
tressed property owners in every section of our state. It is
conservatively estimated that more than 30,000 homes are now
in jeopardy as a result of taxes.
Some people talk and write about the breaking down of cities
if relief is given. We write and talk about the ruin of citizens
who make up those cities if relief is not given. If there were
no farmers or agricultural sections of Georgia there could be no
cities. Let's be fair to all classes, city or county, rich or poor.
Only on a basis of fairness and equity to all can a state hope
for continued and permanent prosperity.
Who Paus and oulo
(Reprinted from the New York World-Telegram)
This is about the only time of the year that any con-
siderable number of Americans get steamed up over
Last year 4,473,426 persons filed Federal income tax
returns. Of the 3,992,627 who reported incomes of
less than $5,000, 2,399,833 had exemptions and deduc-
tions so high they paid no tax whatever. And the re-
maining 1,592,794 in the less-than-$5,000 class, who did
pay something, paid on the average $28 apiece.
But the man who plunks down $28 in income tax on
March 17, dribbles out a whole lot more than $28 every
year in invisible taxes. And so do the many, many mil-
lions of Americans whose incomes are too small to be
taxed under present laws.
Some time ago we took the trouble to itemize the
invisible Federal taxes paid by an imaginary middle-
class family of three-the family of John and Mary
Jones and their little son, Oscar, who live on an in-
come of $3,600 a year and pay a Federal income tax
of $13.60. We traced to the Jones' family budget the
various hidden Federal sales and nuisance taxes on
their automobile, tires and accessories, gasoline and
motor oil, cigarets, matches, amusements, toilet articles,
mechanical refrigerator, radio, playing cards, etc. The
family paid a total of $49.13.
The unfair thing about this total of invisible taxes-
which incidentally does not include the hidden tariffs
and taxes on corporations that show up in the higher
prices the Joneses have to pay for everything they.buy.
-is that the Smiths, who live on $2,000 a year, and
the Astorbilts, who have an income of $200,000, pay
about the same amount.
The government gets more than half of its revenue
from these indirect taxes which have no relation what-
ever to individual ability to pay.
Our Federal income tax reaches only about 5 per centh
of our population, but the other 95 per cent pay much
more in taxes than they would have to pay if the un-.
seen levies were repealed and the total of the govern-
ment's revenue raised by such direct and visible taxes
as those on incomes and inheritances. This is true for
the simple reason that taxes on incomes and estates are
graduated and proportioned to ability to pay. And
also because, if income and death duties were broad-
ened and strengthened, by reducing exemptions and ad-
justing rates, a lot more people would be paying these
direct and painful taxes and would therefore be a lot
more interested in how the government spends their
This should be done. And the sooner the better.
Editor's Note-Under a retail sales tax it is obvious that the
Smith's with an income of $2000 a year will pay a small tax as
compared to the Astorbilt's with an income of $200,000 a year.
In other words, both will pay poportionatly to their standard of
Westbrook Pegler aptly pointed out in one of his
daily dissertations that the present income tax system
is a probable source of graft for government revenue
agents; and that it imposes an injustice upon the cti-
zen. To quote Mr. Pegler:
"There is a dangerous weakness in the administration
of the Federal income tax which provides an opportunity
for graft on the part of the reviewing agents, and for
harassment of the taxpayer for political or personal mo-
"The reviewing agents are given discretion in many
cases to approve, curtail or entirely disallow deductions
and raise the tax, a power which obviously creates a
temptation for a dishonest agent to strike a private
compromise with the subject. It may be that the gov-
ernment is fortunate enough to have only honest men
in this service, and I claim no evidence to the contrary,
but the opportunity is there nevertheless in a field oft
problems known as the twilight zone.
"But even if the agent is strictly honest as to per-i
sonal larceny, he still has a power to mulct the victim
on behalf of the government, merely because of some
personal dislike for him. This puts the citizen at a dis-
advantage, for he must plead for the agent's favor and
abide by his whim when the law should strictly define,
his rights and permit him to stand on them.
"If he offends the agent, who is only human, whether
by the cut of his jib, his political view or the smell of
his pipe, he runs the risk of an adverse decision and a
loss of money which might not occur if he could only
harmonize with the government representative. I would
like to believe that the agents are all above such con-
duct, but my experience of human nature and men who
are given optional powers in the public service is not
"In addition to all this, the agents have a right to
delve deep into the taxpayer's private accounts, and thus
intrude in matters so intimate as to be none of the gov-
ernment's business. Conceivably this could lead to
blackmail, and at the very best it sets up a personal in-
quisition certainly no less searching than the question-
naires to which organized labor takes such violent ex-
ception in large industrial plants."
Conditions as these in our present government are
comparable to Russia's O. G. P. U. and out of place in
a true democracy. But with the establishment of the
ABILITY (to pay) method of collecting income tax, the
revenue agent will automatically disappear in just the
same manner as did the government inspector who at-
tempted enforcement of the eighteenth amendment by
running his hands through the luggage and private prop-
erty of every home-coming citizen at the docks. Further-
more, one more important step will be accomplished.
With many tax agents eliminated, government will turn
back another phase of private business to its proper
source-the certified public accountant.
Barbara Hutton re tax exempts
Figures for the year 1933 disclosed the fact that Count-
ess Barbara Hutton Haugwitz-Reventlow had a fortune
in excess of $45.000,000; and an income of $1,750,000.
Of this total income, however, $1,390,000 was in tax
exempt securities. In other words, she paid tax in 1933
upon only $360,000 of her income.
Such unfairness is appalling and well exemplifies the
inequity of the present income tax. But when the ABIL-
ITY to pay is recognized as the one fair means of figur-
ing income tax, the wealthy will be forced to carry their
legitimate share of government cost.
The kcket Exposed
(By Clyde H. Wilson.)
During the last few weeks of the 1937 Florida Legis-
lature, now in session, the legislators can give the people
of this state a chance to cast real estate taxes into the
limbo of the past and make Florida the first state in
the union to abolish Ad Valorem Taxes. The legis-
lators are not called upon to decide this great issue them-
selves. By allowing the proposed constitutional amend-
ment abolishing Ad Valorem Taxes to be submitted to
the people the legislators will be doing only what any
fairminded person should be willing to do and that is
letting the people of Florida decide whether they want
to continue the out-dated Ad Valorem Taxation system.
The people of Florida, more than the people of any
other state, have seen ihe weaknesses of the Ad Valorem
system that has resulted in the virtual breakdown of
the system in many parts of the state. They have seen
lands lying idle and unclaimed because the lands were
"not worth the taxes." They have seen thousands of
lots revert to the state and municipalities for unpaid
taxes. They have seen much of their state lands wrested
from the hands of the original owners by the tax certifi-
cate purchaser. They have seen delinquent taxes pile
up on lands until the unpaid taxes far exceeded the mar-
ket value of the lands, to be followed by the legislature
passing compromise tax laws which allowed the "tax
dodger" to settle said taxes at a great discount thus
penalizing the owner who had faithfully paid his taxes.
Such laws, although serving to clear up some of the tax
delinquent lands, further served to break down the Ad
Valorem taxation system as taxpayers began to question
the wisdom of paying their taxes promptly.
The factors that have caused this breakdown are
many and they do not consist solely in the overbonding
of our political subdivisions suffered as a result of the
over-optimistic boom days. These factors are chiefly
the inherent weaknesses of the Ad Valorem System.
Possibly the principal factor is the failure of the Ad
Valorem system to tax on the basis of the earning or
income value of the property. It is obvious that no man
in possession of any business judgment, unless the vic-
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tim of circumstances, will let his lands revert to the
state or go to the tax certificate purchaser if his property
is bringing in sufficient income to allow him a reason-
able profit after paying his taxes. The fact that so many
lands have been allowed to go for taxes is prima facie
evidence that a taxing system which has lost sight of
the income angle is not effective today.
If the legislature will submit the proposed Ad Valor-
em Tax constitutional amendment to the people they will
unquestionably approve it by a ten to one majority.
Then Florida can tell the world that not only its home-
steads but all its lands are no longer subjected to con-
(Editor's Note--Mr. Wilson. the writer of this artc!e, is an
attorney from Sarasota who has the progressive outlook of
Senate Bill 97
Before the Florida Legislature Now In Session
A JOINT RESOLUTION proposing an amendment
to Article Nine (9) of the Constitution of the State of
Florida relative to taxation and finance, to be known as
Section Fifteen (15) of Article Nine (9).
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF
THE STATE OF FLORIDA:
THAT, the following amendment to Article Nine (9)
of the Constitution of the State of Florida, to be known
as Section Fifteen (15) of said Article Nine (9), be and
the same is hereby agreed to and shall be submitted to
the electors of the State of Florida at the general election
to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday,
in November, A. D., 1938, for ratification or rejection.
"Section 15: From and after December 31st, 1938,
no ad valorem tax shall be levied against real or other
property in the State of Florida, except for special assess-
ments for benefits."
In regard to the SENATE BILL NO. 97 now before
the Florida State Legislature, the Ocala Star had this to
"There is no room for argument about the
fact that the people have a right to decide such an im-
portant issue by their referendum vote in the form of a
constitutional amendment submitted by the 1937 legis-
"A recent statement of an automobile association
points out the fact that automobile owners in Florida
pay an average of $77.03 a year in special motor vehicle
taxes-equivalent to 42.6% of the value of the average
car. This, it is claimed, is an excessive levy and would
not be tolerated by any other type of property .
"Automobile taxes are excessive but such excessive
levies are tolerated by other types of property .
"A survey of representative rental property was made
in West Palm Beach in 1934 to determine the gross
percentage of the rent that went for taxes. The result
was as follows:
5 buildings on Clement Street..............................49%
20 buildings in the business district......................92%
26 mercantile buildings about town.................83%
9 hotels and apartment houses............................42%
52 houses and 59 bungalows............................. 9%
"Similar conditions exist throughout the state-from
10 to more than 100% of the gross rental value of
property goes for taxes. In addition to the property tax
is an arbitrary levy based on capital value and the owner
must pay or have his property confiscated. Whether
the owner is able to pay or the use value justifies the ex-
cessive levy has no consideration.
"On the other hand the automobile owner is forced
to pay only to the extent that he uses his car. If he
cannot afford to pay the tax the state does not require
him to buy gasoline.
"From the standpoint of governmental services re-
ceived per tax dollar spent--the property owners pay
approximately 50% of the cost of state and local govern-
ment, receiving in return police and fire protection and
protection of the courts. The automobile owner pays
less than 25% of the taxes and receives in return free
use of the state's 6,000 miles of paved highways, about
an equal mileage of paved streets, which cost 400 to 500
million dollars per year, plus many governmental services
which have been established as a result of use of the
"It is on the basis of this and similar facts that we
contend property taxes are inequitable and unjust, and
further, that equality cannot be established except
through complete tax revision, including abolition of the
ad valorem method of taxing property. When this is
done property can be taxed equitably, on its use value,
similar to other types of taxes."
-Florida Tax Revision League, Inc.
Another Supreme courtt Failure
In recent years local taxing authorities have been en-
couraged. They have been able by means of the ad
valorem tax system to increase their receipts manyfold
through the confiscation of others' savings and invest-
ments placed in real estate. And this has been the one
means to increase tax receipts, because these savings
placed in real estate are about the only kind of savings
that the tax collector gets at easily. For savings placed
in real property cannot be picked up and removed from
proximity of the tax assessor and the tax collector; while
on the other hand, bank deposits, diamonds, stocks,
bonds and mortgages can be secreted very easily.
In the City of Sarasota the tax receipts on homes,
stores, farms, office buildings and vacant lots increased
150% in 1936 over 1933. Even the will of the people,
S E BIRDS-ANIMALS
P UBLIC attention is being
drawn more than ever be-
fore to the immediate need for a
program of nation-wide conserva-
tion of our renewable natural re-
FLOODS sweep ten million
tons of topsoil out to sea;
dust storms and drought destroy
cattle, crops and thousands of
acres of wildfowl breeding
grounds. A hot sun beats down
on dry, tinder-box forests; fires
rage, bringing death to trees, ani-
mals, and forest cover.
C CONSERVATION EDU-
CATION, from the first-
grade school children on up, is
our best weapon to bring Nature
back into balance. Knowledge is
power; without it, all living
T HE American Nature Asso-
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at 1214 16th St., N. W., Wash-
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conservation. Through Nature
Magazine it is carrying the word
of wildlife and its preservation to
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and learn to know the outdoors
by reading Nature Magazine.
Subscribing membership is three
dollars a year.
as expressed when the homestead exemption law was
passed to protect savings put in homes, has been declared
in effect unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Flori-
da. This high state court has decreed that the ad valor-
em crime against real estate should persist-that the
homestead exemption should not be used for the benefit
of every home owner and common citizen. It has failed
to let right prevail over wrong.
In the April COMMONWEALTH the contributor
of the article, The Voice of One Crying in the Wilder-
ness, showed that prior to 1931 when municipal bonds
were issued and sold in Florida, the state law provided
for a "uniform and equal rate of taxation" and for a
"just valuation of all property, both real and personal."
But such a law has never been in effect. Banks and
trust companies and wealthy people who had invested
their money in stocks, bonds and mortgages "decided to
get their property (intangible) exempted from taxes and
leave real estate to pay the bonds."* In 1931 the bankers
and money-changers influenced the Florida legislature
and urgently requested that the law be changed. This
the legislature, poorly representative of all the people,
did; and the governor at the time obediently approved
That act, or bill, provided that thereafter intangible
property shall not be taxed to pay bonds or for county
or city purposes. The small tax, thus fixed, goes to the
The following tabulation gives positive evidence that
the ad valorem ta placed on real estate must be abolish-
ed and replaced by another system of taxation which
will permit each and every citizen to pay according to
his ability and thereby carry only his legitimate part of
* From The COMMONWEALTH, April, 1937, page
An open letter to the Florida legislature
Senate Bill No. 97 now before the Florida Legislature
at Tallahassee is a concise and straightforward means of
abolishing Ad Valorem Taxes on real estate. Such is
the need of the commonwealth.
Other bills relative to the Ad Valorem tax will bear
Senate Joint Resolution No. 19, for example, after
citing several "exceptions" which would nullify pro-
gressive tax legislation, says, "the total levy of taxes-
shall not exceed fifteen mills on the dollar
This gives a loophole for a paternalistic court to decide
that the people need a little more chastisement. All
that would have to be done would be for the bond-
holders to whisper that assessed valuations must be
Then there is Resolution No. 196 which after saying
there shall be "a uniform and equal rate of Taxation",
says, "except that it (the legislature) may provide for
special rate or rates on intangible property but such
special rates shall not exceed 5 mills on the dollar of
assessed valuation And "Said real and
personal property shall be assessed in accordance with
its income value, or its use value where profitable use
is made thereof by the owner" (the English method),
but in no case shall the assessed valuation thereof ex-
ceed the fair market value of said property."
Of course this would mean another court decision
that the tremendous amount of municipal debt is indi-
cation enough of the great value of the people's property,
irrespective of the people's ability to pay, shown by the
income derived from their enterprise.
One of the suggested amendments to Bill No. 196 is
important as presenting a means of preventing the hoard-
ing of wealth in unimproved property or other property
held for speculative purposes. Note the following:
"Real and personal property shall be assessed in
accordance with its revenue producing value or its
use value where profitable use is made thereof by
the owner, but in no case shall the total tax levied
on said property exceed the sum of 10% of the net
revenue derived from said property during the pre-
ceding calendar year. Where no revenue accrues
or profitable use is made of real property, a specu-
lative tax may be assessed but in no case shall the
total tax on non-productive lands and lots exceed
one percent of the fair market value of any calendar
There remains to be considered the method to be used
to safeguard and preserve the capitalistic system.
You have read Mr. Richard J. Mackey's article on the
"Legal Aspects of Taxation" in the May COMMON-
WEALTH. Summing up a consideration of the tax-
existing federal bonds", (All municipal bonds should be
income tax matters, he says:
"It is my view that the correct way to remedy
this exemption condition might be, first, to obtain
fairer membership of the United States Supreme
Court under Mr. Roosevelt's present plan, a mem-
bership that might be induced to adopt the reason-
ing of Mr. Justice Roberts as to salaries of munici-
pal employees, rather than the reasoning of the
other members of the court; secondly, in order to
avoid the provisions of the constitution forbidding
the impairment of the obligation of contract, the
existing federal bonds", (and I would add munici-
pal bonds), "which by their terms are exempt from
tax should be immediately redeemed by the Con-
gress issuing money directly, and a law should be
passed by Congress absolutely prohibiting the is-
suance of any bonds in the future which are ex-
empt from income tax".
This means controlled currency inflation, and it ap-
pears there is no other practical alternative pro-
vided the court does not rule that Article XVI of the
Constitution means what it says when it says, "The
Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on
incomes, FROM WHATEVER SOURCE DERIVED,
without apportionment among the several States, and
without regard to any census enumeration."
The municipal bond holders have the welfare of a
people at their mercy, and are using the ad valorem
taxing system for their purpose. The people demand
B. L. Coulter, Superintendent
March 31, 1937.
Miss Bessie Locke, Excutive Secretary
National Kindergarten Association,
Eight West Fortieth Street,
New York City
Dear Miss Locke:
There is no doubt in my mind but what
the early training a child receives counts the
most in his life toward making lasting impress-
sions. These early impressions are lasting
and perhaps will never be overcome. If they
are good, it will be easy to develop the child
into useful citizenship. If bad, the impress-
ions are indelible and almost non-eraseable.
After many years experience with in-
corrigible and delinquent youth, I am
thoroughly convinced that the pregrade work,
home impressions, and the correctional and
impression-making activities of kindergarten
are not only conducive to good citizenship
but one of the greatest crime preventive mea-
sures I know of.
I sincerely trust that the Copeland-Bloom
bill will pass and your great work may be con-
Very truly yours,
(Signed) B. L. Coulter, Supt.
Miss. Industrial School
If you have not written to your Con-
gressman advocating the passage of the
Copeland-Bloom bill-S1355 and H.R.3133,
which provides Federal aid for pregrade class-
es to be administered by state departments
of education, it is not too late for you to
champion this measure-to bring happiness
to our little children and the promise of inter-
nal peace to future citizens.
National Kindergarten Association
8 West 40th Street, New York City
that their representatives now in session at Tallahassee
take steps to render their savings placed in real estate
safe from confiscation, as President Roosevelt did their
bank deposits. The first step is to pass the Ad Valorem
Tax abolishment amendment in this session of the Flori-
da Legislature, so that the people can exercise the right
to vote thereupon.
17,000,000 CONFISCATED ACRES FOR ROAM-
Florida has confiscated this huge area from its citi-
zens by means of the ad valorem tax system
Instead of using the public domain for parks, forests,
wild life refuges, public grazing reserves and recreational
areas, as the Federal government plans to do with the
9,100,000 acres of sub-marginal lands, unfitted for the
growing of profitable crops, and for which the govern-
ment has paid the victimized owners $40,000,000 instead
of stealing the land, the politicians in office in Florida
'tis said are giving a "franchise" to their cattle-owning
friends for free use.
A case in point is now common rumor. A cattle-
man with 35,000 head of cattle and ownnig 20 acres of
land is the beneficiary.
But worse-the powers that rule at Tallahassee have
jimmiedd" the legislative chamber, seized the bill that
would have kept roaming cattle off of public roads, and
IN YOUNG LIVES
IN CUTTHROAT COMPETITION
RATIFY FEDERAL CHILD LABOR
AMENDMENT IN 1937
GIVE CONGRESS POWER TO
MAKE UNIFORM CHILD
FOR INFORMATION ADDRESS:
National Child Labor Committee,
419 Fourth Avenue,
New York City.
now the Sacred Cow will supply more "milk" for the
Fascism is Democracy's mortal enemy. The ordinary
politician is a Fascist sympathizer.
COST OF GOVERNMENT IN FLORIDA
Taxpayers throughout the State of Florida pay the
stupendous sum of $103,200,051 in one year for their
government, or a little more than $64 for each man,
woman and child in the state.
The state government's net expenditures, deducting
payments to counties and payment of county road bonds,
are $23,459,599. The sixty-seven counties spend $43,-
941,659, and the cities $35,798,793.
-Figures from Florida Taxpayers' Association.
TIEI TAX SCHEDULE
Class Tax per Dollar
A. On notes and bonds secured by mortgage
on real estate and corporation stocks 2 mills
B. On notes and bonds unsecured or secured
by collateral other than by real estate, and on
money in banks and elsewhere 1/10 mill
C. On real estate-anything that the tax as-
sessor demands: *
Approximately 150 mills; divided thus-
To State, approximately 5 mills
To County, approximately 60 to 100 mills
To City, approximately 15 to 100 mills
Approximate Tax in Dollars per $1000 Valuation
$ .40...................... (assessed usually at 20% of value)
.02........................ (assessed usually at 20% of value)
40.00...................... (assessed usually at 20% of value)
The tax assessor is at the mercy o fthe tax exempt
municipal bond holders, who in turn are backed by the
The Florida Legislature adjourns June 4th. So
for the benefit of those representatives in this legis-
lative body who have not already studied the ad
valorem tax system, The COMMONWEALTH is
off the press ten days in advance.
Voters throughout the state ask that an amend-
ment. which will abolish ad valorem taxes, be
placed on the ballot at the next general election.
Although the Florida State Legislature is the
first state body to have the opportunity of bring-
ing about the abolishment of inequitable ad valor-
em tax system, every other state in the union is
interested in the same subject and is watching
Florida's actions carefully.
The London Stock Exchange does not tolerate "call
loans." Every fortnight the Exchange there has a set-
tlement day, known throughout England as Cantango
Day. This means that if stocks are used as collateral,
the "time loan" must be repaid in two weeks. During
this period interest must be paid on the loan whether
the money is used for stock speculation or not, and is
just like the interest to be paid on any other time loan.
However, the amount that can be borrowed can remain
at 80% of the stock value used as collateral.
The recent precipitate selling in the London market
caused a very noticeable shake-out there in commodities
and speculative stocks; also, this was felt in the New
York market when additional funds were needed by the
Europeans. And in effect, this really nullified the mar-
gin requirements in this country, due to the fact that
the margin requirements on the London market are only
20%, while in New York a wiser Federal regulation
requires 55%. Accordingly, this decline was felt on the
New York Stock Exchange-with the result that all
kinds of excuses were made for the consequent tremen-
dous shrinkage in the values of securities listed here,
which dropped $4,504,988,092 in the month of April.
Some people blamed the gold situation and feared
that the government could not continue to pay $35 an
ounce for the world's gold; that its price would be re-
duced and the gold content of the dollar raised.
Others just accused the administration of trying to
stop inflation by keeping down industry and prices,
thereby lowering the amount of money that could be
borrowed by the speculator, who it will be recalled had
already been taken for "a ride" during the last raid
instigated by the professional in Wall Street.
At all events, it has become apparent, if but slowly,
that stocks which represent corporations that are already
carrying a heavy bonded indebtedness, rightly considered
as first mortgages*, should not be subjected to second
mortgage loans-either in the form of broker's loans, or
American "call loans", or the two weeks' Cantango loans
We have only to remember what happened in 1929
to realize that an industry here and there may become
crippled by its owner's stock market losses. Then it
becomes apparent that second mortgages placed on
stocks should be judged by the courts as illegal.
The Second Mortgage Crime
"Pierre S. duPont's activity in the highly profitable
call money market in the days before the 1929 Wall
Street panic was brought out today (May 10) in the
income tax case against the Wilmington, Del., industrial-
ist and his one-time secretary John J. Raskob, now his
cose business associate."-(Associated Press.)
In the summer of 1929 the elderly duPont was selling
stocks while the public was buying. In order that the
public would have enough money with which to buy
the huge dumpings the money received from their sales
was put on "call".
Thus Mr. duPont accumulated a taxable income in
1929 of $35,549,637, represented in capital gains in his
"His capital gains-taxable then at 12/2 per cent-
totalled $36,521,293.83, despite the crash in October. In
his regular inicome,'duPont sustained a loss of $971,-
(Continued on page 23)
ENDOW A KENNEL
For all tine
The Name of
An Animal Lover
or a Beloved Pet
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR
the PREVENTION of CRUELTY
50 MADISON AVE., NEW YORK CITY
Wades Versus Sdvings
William Green, president of the A. F. of L., recently
took time out in Washington to set a new goal for the
workmen in the United States, when he said: "Every
one who wishes to work must have employment and
every family must have an income of at least $3,600."
It was only five months ago that John L. Lewis, of
CIO fame, said that labor's minimum wage should be
$2,500 a year.
But all this talk about wages simply diverts attention
from an exceptionally important factor.
Before the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
the laborer's money was not safe in the banks; but for-
tunately that crime has been ended. Still, however, there
continues to be confiscation of the savings of the labor-
ing man; for under the present inequitable method of
ad valorem taxation, he cannot safely place his savings
in any kind of real estate.
Undoubtedly, the next progressive step to be taken in
this country will be the abolishment of all ad valorem
tax on real estate, and in its stead there will be a fair
and just system based upon ability of each individual
to pay. It is the latter method of taxation which will
make for civic development, and for fair and honest
division of governmental costs. Then will the wage
earner be able to acquire property and build with never
a worry that some promiscuous tax certificate buyer may
be able later to confiscate the savings represented therein.
Better Lote Than Never
At last, after weeks of hobnobbing with John L. Lewis
in secret conferences, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., president of
the General Motors Corporation, is changing.
Now he says that the present industrial strife was
not prompted by consideration of the workers' welfare.
To quote Mr. Sloan: "The purpose was to obtain the
maximum possible recognition (for the union), carrying
with it the greatest degree of power, with a view to
controlling not only the workers within General Motors,
but of the' entire automobile industry, and ultimately, so
far as possible, all workers employed in mass-producing
Moreover he does not like the sit-down technique and
in referring to it said: "Its political implications chal-
lenge democracy. To the extent that it succeeds, it
means the economic and political slavery of the worker
and an important step toward an economic political dic-
It stands to reason that other Americans, besides Mr.
Sloan, do not approve of the sit-down technique the
strikers themselves included. Labor does not want a
demagogue, much less John L. Lewis, the dictator of
The answer to the situation must be this: "Where
two are concerned, two should be heard." Labor must
be represented on the boards of directors of our cor-
porations. Then will the labor leader lose any question-
able income (graft) which increases with every strike,
and is the chief motive for many of them.
Under the proposed ABILITY (to pay) TAX (see
May COMMONWEALTH) as applied to corporations,
it is only necessary to figure the amount of wages, sal-
aries, dividends, and surplus accumulated by these, in
order to determine the capacity of the corporation to
pay its taxes.
Wages, dividends, and surplus are already public
knowledge. And why not salaries?
Mr. Doughton, in the iouse of Representatives, has
been delegated the job of introducing a bill that calls
for the repeal of the Income Tax provision which per-
mits the publication of all salaries of $15,000 and over
Senators Glass, Tydings, and King will fight for this
repeal when it reaches the Senate.
No one can honestly say that the laborer gets his
money's worth after paying the hidden tax in everything
that he buys. A large proportion of the tax he pays is
due to the tax evasion of the tax-exempt municipal bond
holder, and the tax-exempt politician holding public
office or lucrative public contracts.
The producer can be sure that when he gains the
right to pay taxes openly, in the form of a Retail Sales
Tax, that the crocodile tears of the more privileged, shed
for his "benefit," will dry up, and Better Govern-
ment at Less Cost will follow.
There are 33,000 names among those receiving sal-
aries of over $15,000 a year. Furthermore, it is claimed
that the cost of collecting this data last year reached
$100,000. If so, is this not just another evidence of the
waste in our Congressional committees? The Treasury
Department is equipped to supply the figures and names
, I 1
Politics-The Foe of (onservtion
That President Roosevelt is a staunch conservationist,
no one can deny. Likewise, no one will question his
desire to balance the budget. Bit how can he adhere
to his conservation policies with politicians and instiga-
tors around the country urging first this and that pro-
ject which is detrimental to nature? How can he attain
his desire to balance the budget when there is more or
less secretly, craftily and with vengeance of forethought
an undercurrent going about in Washington which has
resulted in congressional appropriations to care for cer-
tain projects throughout the country.
In the south, a Florida West Coast Inland Waterway,
in addition to the trans-Florida canal, has been suggest-
ed. Senator Copeland from New York, with interests
on the West Coast of Florida, is said to be the godfather
of the waterway. But does it not seem that in backing
such a project, that perhaps he is being spiteful and try-
ing to put Roosevelt in a bad light?
The waterway is strictly an anti-conservation measure,
and if constructed, will be paid for, of course, by the
government through means of more tax exempt secur-
Does it not become apparent then that today politi-
cal enemies do not want the president to balance the
budget, or to follow conservation principles? They are
for the trans-Florida canal, the Inland Waterway-or
for anything they can get an army board to vouch for.
Anything which will cost Uncle Sam more money and
help defeat economic progress under the leadership of
a democratic president. Anything which will make it
possible for them or their banker and insurance-director
friends to acquire more tax exempt government securi-
Undoubtedly, the politicians and instigators are not
interested in conservation when they propose the con-
struction of the Inland Waterway along the West Coast
of Florida. They care nothing about the outrageous
sacrilege it would mean to nature. They are only re-
spectful of the power which such construction would
bestow upon their heads and in their bank accounts.
And it is through just such hedging, maneuvering,
fencing that President Roosevelt may be prevented from
balancing the budget; and thus, will confidence in the
permanency of recovery be destroyed.
THE FLORIDA WEST COAST INLAND
Certain sportsmen of the country have tried time and
again to deprive commercial fishermen of the privilege
of following their occupation of fishing with nets and
seines in the bays of Florida.
Thus far legislators of Florida have firmly refused to
heed this demand. But to many, it is apparent that the
proposed Florida West Coast Inland Waterway may be
a means by which these outside interests (sports fisher-
men and yacht owners,) plan to use the politicians as
their pawns to circumvent the will of the people, as ex-
pressed by their elected legislators.
This proposed waterway would require dynamiting
of the bays, which in turn would create sub-surface
reefs and numerous unsightly islands.
The results of such a waterway would be this: first,
*o destroy tons of edible fish; second, to make net fish-
ing impossible; third, to kill bottom vegetation that has
been formed over myriads of years; and fourth, to for-
ever destroy the natural bottoms, replacing them with
loose material which would permeate and muddy the
waters with every passing yacht.
Sports fishermen, who wish to see the proposed water-
way constructed, prove themselves destructive not only
of nature's bounty, but also of the livelihood of hun-
dreds of commercial fishermen. It is but another ex-
ample of conservation being thrown to the winds by
the leaders in social and economic life who should have
the interest of all at heart.
The Commercial Fishermen
The following resume, published here by courtesy of
Seven Days in Sarasota, gives a very clearcut picture of
the extent and importance of the commercial fishing
industry along the West Coast of Florida.
"To the caustic critic who would deny Sarasota the
credit of being a premier West Coast fishing center, we
present to the public for the first time figures proving
a grand total of near TWO MILLION pounds of fish
caught by commercial fishermen in local waters during
the past year.
"Records, made available for the first time,
show that through only two of our local commercial
fish houses exactly 1,891,122 pounds of varied species
were sold here during 1936 .
"More than $80,000 has been spent locally on equip-
ment such as nets and other necessities Seven
entire families, who in no way are directly connected
with fishing, are wholely supported by the industry. Ap-
proximately 900 persons make their entire living from
fishing in this vicinity."
After you study the above figures, it is no wonder
that the commercial fishermen, all along the West Coast
of Florida, realize how detrimentally they would be af-
fected should the Inland Waterway be foisted upon
them. For this reason, they have prepared and sent to
Washington, to the President of the United States and
to Congress, a petition in which they protest the con-
etruction of the waterway and ask that it be blocked.
So should each and every one of us, interested in con-
servation, do all possible to stop the Florida West Coast
Inland Waterway. In this way will our natural re-
sources be conserved; unnecessary extravagance and
waste eliminated; and the President in his eager attempt
to balance the budget aided.
Labor and Ieligion
There are those who feel that the religious forces have
nothing to do with such a question as labor and capital.
On the other hand there is a growing group that criti-
cizes the Church for refusing to take action, and says
pointedly that the Church has failed to keep abreast of
the problems of the world and has therefore proved
that it is no longer a useful institution.
Little question can be raised over the proposition that
in this country our Church, or any religious body, has
failed to hold the loyal following of labor. In England
we have had great labor leaders who have remained
faithful to the Church and the religion of Christ. Great
leaders, a number of them bishops of the Church of
England, have openly belonged to the labor parties of
that country, but, conservative as we are in America, we
have to admit that our conservatism has failed to engage
the loyalty of working men.
It is also a question as to whether we, as a Church,
have a right to preach methods. Few men are capable
of being authorities in matters of labor controversy, and
certainly some well intentioned gentlemen of the cloth
have done themselves and their congregations harm by
posing as authorities when they had not the necessary
equipment or learning to speak on the subject at all.
With great strikes in the motor industry at present
engaging our attention, the whole question is very con-
troversial. If we take sides with personalities involved,
we shall unquestionably make great mistakes. Forceful
men, like John L. Lewis, can be as wrong at times as
wrong itself, and men of the type of Mr. Sloan and Mr.
Knudsen are not likely to face the correct issues, either.
The Church is primarily concerned with human val-
ues. In a world that has changed and changed until
men and women wonder what is right and wrong, we
know that there are certain principles which in the eyes
of prophets and saints have always been considered prin-
ciples that God wiuld have obeyed by mankind. If,
however, we make the mistake of feeling that these is-
sues are entirely mixed up in the thinking of certain
leaders we will have condemned where we did not have
facts and have praised where very probably praise should
have been tempered with warning.
Unquestionably in the present world, mass industrial-
ism has called for new regimes in industry. The old
order does not hold in anything, and human person-
ality will suffer if men who labor are not allowed some
greater rights and privileges than they have enjoyed
in the past. To a religious man it seems only too evi-
dent that religion is not considered by either side in the
present controversy. Capital will have to make certain
concessions, but labor will have to be very careful about
the statement of its leaders also. Could men and women
be converted to the religion of Christ, we would have
the one thing that would allow two great forces of
humanity to get together for their mutual interests ..
-Editorial from The Southern Churchman, January 30,
Since the beginning of time man has encountered
innumerable barriers in traveling the tortuous path of
progress. In overcoming these obstacles, however, he
has most often resorted to selfish means in order to
make his personal gains more remunerative.
A few years ago Reverend Reinhold Niebuhr, profes-
sor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, gave
an address in which he discussed the predatory nature
of man and showed that selfishness tears down instead
of strengthens our commonwealth.
He said: "Men have established themselves in power
at the expense of other life. There is nothing we do
with so much order as to cover up this predatory side
of our life by conventions. We hide ourselves from our-
selves by egotism. No civilization has ever lived by de-
ceit so much as that now coming to its tortuous end ....
"We lived in the. deceit that selfishness is harmless;
that prosperity would come again even though we do
not mend our ways. Perhaps we are merely blind; per-
haps we have lived so much by deceit because we haven't
the intelligence to see clearly ....
"We make our pronouncements in most pontifical
manner; we go around saying what will save society
when we really are thinking of what will save ourselves.
"Our civilization demands love and justice more than
any other civilization ever has. The whole technical
mechanics of our era demands that we live as brothers.
When we try, we realize how stubborn we are in resis-
tance to God. We may go down to perdition before
we are willing to live as brothers. The way we main-
tain our self-respect is to hold some one else in con-
tempt .. And until God is ceased to be looked upon as
an enemy of man there will be no progress toward this
How true are these words We have only to look
around to visualize and establish evidence that our pres-
ent governmental system depicts selfishness. Instead of
local and state leaders working for the advancement of
the country as a whole, giving consideration to all classes,
they are caring chiefly for themselves and their own in-
terests, all the while disregardful of the welfare or
needs of others.
As it is apparent that all human beings are equipped
with the same number of appendages, organs and gen-
eral characteristics, it is only reasonable to believe that
UP TO DATE
The Florida legislature, in session since April 5th, has
not seriously considered one single fundamental issue
confronting the people of our State.
The members are hogtied by rules of procedure. The
Chairman of the committee gets the bill, consults some
cabinet officer, departmental head or lobbyist and if the
"interests" oppose the bill it never sees daylight. Instead
substitutes are introduced to forestall public outcry and
the defeat of the legislator in the next election.
Senator Rose Explains
Walter W. Rose, Florida senator who was elected on
a platform to abolish ad valorem taxes, wrote the follow-
ing letter, dated May 12, to the editor of The COM-
May 12, 1937.
"Your letter of May 6 has been read with interest.
"Since the session of the legislature will adjourn on
June fourth, I fear your June issue will be out too late
to be of any benefit with regard to the ad valorem tax
system. Several bills which would bring a great deal of
relief to the tax payer have passed the Senate and are
now in House Committees. One of these bills would
place a limitation of fifteen mills for all purposes; another
would require that assessments be made on the basis of
income or use value; another would abolish ad valorem
taxes for State purposes. (Present tax five mills)-the
"I appreciate your interest in this matter and regret
that your June issue will come out after the Legislature
New York Supreme Court Justice Ferdinand Pecora's
two-fisted advocacy of the Presidents court plan drew
a barrage of sharp questions from opposition senators.
In the course of a brisk exchange with Senator "Long-
Tom" Connally, Pecora made a reference to the Ten
Snapped Connally: "I don't think either one of us
is an authority on the Ten Commandments."
"Probably not," returned Pecora sweetly, "but I at
least have read them."
"And I," retorted Connally, flushing angrily at the
wave of laughter that greeted Pecora's sly barb, "en-
deavor to observe them. And now, Mr. Chairman, hav-
ing reached the Ten Commandments I think it is a
good place to stop."
"Yes," observed Pecora reflectively, "they stop a lot
-From the Washington Merry-o-Roand.
There is a group of Senators and Representatives
now in Congress, and legislators in State capitols who
could not qualify, as regards their morals, before the
State Civic Directorate of Class Democracy.
BRAIN CLS-- -(Continued from page 22)
the brain of every normal human being contains exactly
the same number of brain cells.
This hope is expressed by man when he gives support
to the public school system and honors the race by en-
dowing it with unlimited possibilities for gaining in-
All people with two hands, however, are not capable
of accomplishing a like amount of the same kind of
work; but properly developed with thorough schooling
and superior training, different people with different
hands can be taught to do different things better.
So, if the brain cells are not all as active, but the
number is found to be the same in each individual, the
expectation for mankind's eugenic, social, economic and
political progress is boundless. In other words, if this
be man's heritage, a greater commonwealth is in for-
MUNICIPAL DEBT-- (Continued from page 9)
eminent were both claiming constitutional warrant for
Now, as to the president's plan, be it court stuffing,
or be it not, he is merely asking that the congress re-
deem a legislative right in order to bring about harmoni-
ous conditions at the White House and Capitol Hill
and at the same time leave no grounds on which to
challenge the fundamental document under which the
United States operates.
CALL MONEY -(Continued from page 19)
With the crash in the fall of 1929 the "call loans"
with which the public had been "accommodated,"
were called; with the result that the public's stocks were
forced upon the market, where they were later bought
far below their intrinsic worth by those same "call
money" operators who precipitated and made worse the
depression. Thousands of independent Americans lost
all, many more thousands employed by them lost their
jobs, and hundreds committed suicide.
Mr. duPont's taxable income was down to $2,022,-
608 in 1930 and he paid a tax of $21,181. His non-
taxable income was obviously in tax-exempt bonds. So
his contribution to government costs, to the army and
navy and the forces for law and order was practically
*A first mortgage may be considered that sum borrowed on
property, which does not exceed 60 per cent of its value.
About 37 million families, including unattached single
persons, reside in this country. In 1929 about 20 million
families had incomes less than $2,000 a year. In 1932
the number of such families was about 35 million.
ING CONNECTIONS BE
YOND TALLAHASSEE TO
THE NORTH, NORTH-
-WEST,. AND WEST MAY
BE OBTAINED FROM ANY.
S BUS STATION.
.rift A. C. W OM of &. CmlW, 1010,L Lhyma Sk,
I Tpm no"~
DAILY SCHEDULE '
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325 PM 2:00 AM LCrCm City Lv 8:00 PM., 1:55AM
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1. PALM^ BAEACM'
Effective April 10,1937
- and Daily Thaereafter
< .'* :f
i ~_ 1 ~U__~ ___ ~li ~ ~
: '' "
- -* r '
Government by Quinary Civic Council
Quinary (kwina-ri), a. "Consisting of or
arranged in fives."-Webster.
HIS FORM of government is based
upon five civic classes of service. It
recognizes the three industrial divis-
ions, or those actual business-porducing
groups which create widespread occupation
and general prosperity (producer, middle-
man and consumer), and the professional
and educational divisions which contribute
in general to all thp people knowledge.
order and science-the basis for progress.
In order to prevent the control of gov-
ernment by any party or group, political
representatives will be elected from the five
civic classes of service.
To obtain intelligent, capable and trust-
worthy representation, all nominations for
political office will be made by a State
Civic Directorate, instead of by party or-
To be eligible to run in an election, the
citizen will have to have the approval of
the Civic Directorate.
OVERNMENT by Quinary Civic Coun-
cil rests upon the same three branches
of government which exist today in
the American republic. There will be the
executive, the legislative, and the judicial
Representation of the people, however,
will be changed. Government by the peo-
ple will replace rule of the people.
The method of electing the president and
members of a unicameral congress and the
appointment of the judiciary will be
changed. Politicians and political parties
will no longer dictate nominations.
The electorate will be divided into five
groups of suffrage. These five Civic
Classes will be the Producer (farmer,
labor); Middleman (banker, broker, insur-
ance and commission agents, etc.); Con-
sumer (retail business); Professional; and
Educational (secular and religious) classes.
Each will be equally represented, irrespec-
tive of the relative number of citizens be-
longing to each group.
Under this form of government there will
he certain Civic Days, as follows:
National Day-Memorial Day. May 30.
Directors' Day Independence Day,
Primary Day-The first general election,
three weeks before the run-off.
Run-Off Day The first Tuesday after
the first Monday in November.
National Day is the day upon which citi-
zens of all Civic Classes who seek office
will either present their names themselves
or have them presented by their fellow
citizens to the State Civic Directorate. They
will appear in lists according to their Civic
The states will be comparable to cor-
porations. Each will have a state nomi-
nating body, the State Civic Directorate of
fifty members. These will be the long ten-
ure judges, the presidents and deans of
universities and colleges in the state and
the presidents of various civic and profes-
sional state groups.
Equal representation from each civic class
is not necessary upon the State Civic Di-
rectorate. It would tend to recreate politi-
cal parties, which today are productive of
dishonest and wasteful government; it
would emphasize class distinction, which is
offensive to the spirit of democracy. The
Directorate is not a governing body, and
its members will not be eligible for public
office while serving.
The State Civic Directorate will consist
of twenty justices, twenty educators, and
ten civic leaders. Selection of the fifty
will be made by drawings. This will be
done upon National Day by the outgoing
Directorate from complete lists of all those
qualified as state justices, educational lead-
ers, and honorary civic leaders.
The thirty-five active members of the
State Directorate will also be selected by
lot so that there will be fourteen justices,
fourteen educators and seven leaders of
civic organizations. The remaining fifteen
will be alternates. All will receive liberal
In Congress there will be one Quinary
Civic Council to represent each state. The
forty-eight National Quinary Civic Coun-
cils will make a congress of 240 men. There
will be direct equal representation of each
national civic class in the national legisla,
tive body. Today's republican form of
representation of the people which in
1936 necessitated 531 congressmen, of
whom 62 of the 96 Senators and 246 of
the 435 Representatives were lawyers-will
There will be two nominees, made by
each State Civic Directorate, for the Presi-
dent of the United States. The candidates
will be selected, irrespective of civic class
affiliation. The nominees made by the
State Civic Directorate may be residents
of any state.
The President's term of office will be
eight years. Members of Congress will
serve for four years. Their election will
be held in such a manner that adjoining
states insofar as possible will not vote for
their National Quinary Civic Council in the
same year, except to replace deceased mem-
bers. Thus national issues will be placed
before the electorate in one quarter of the
states every year, and congress will reflect
more perfectly the will of the people upon
The office of vice-president will be abol.
ished. In case of the death of the presi-
dent, the speaker of the unicameral con-
gress, under Class Democracy a body rep-
re e atatr-c of the people, wi'l become presi-
dent and serve during the interim before
another president can be elected for a reg-
ular eight-year term. The election for the
new president will occur at the fourth year,
should the president die during the first
four years of his term of office. Other-
.wise no- special election will be necessary.
The president's cabinet, also the staff of
the state governors, will be personal ap-
pointees who will direct the policy and su-
pervise the activities of the various Federal
and State departments. All other em-
ployees will be under Civil Service.
Each unicameral state legislature will be
limited to 50 members-members of ten
Quinary Civic Councils upon which there
will be direct representation through the
presence of one member from each of the
ve civic classes. Equal democratic rep-
resentation will thus be assured to all five
groups of the people.
The governor of each state will be se-
lected from five nominees made by each
State Civic Directorate. The candidates
will be nominated irrespective of civic class
There will be ten counties in each state.
The rural area will be under state super-
vision as to policing, schools, roads, sani-
tation, taxation, relief, etc., and will need
no local government.
Home rule will prevail in every city or
town under Municipal Quinary Civic Coun-
cils elected for periods of four years. Each
city will have two of these councils or, in
larger cities, multiples of two. A Munici-
pal Civic Directorate will nominate candi-
dates for this office. Those elected by pop-
ular vote of the people will serve for a
term of four years, an election occurring
every two years, thus retaining one experi-
enced Quinary Civic Council when a new
group takes office.
The Municipal Civic Directorate will con-
sist of twenty-five members-outstanding
men and women of all the civic classes
who are willing to serve as civic directors
GOVERNMENT BY QUINARY
to promote the general welfare. They will
present themselves or be presented to the
electorate on National Day. A city elec-
tion for directors will be held three weeks
before Directors' Day and five men or
women will be chosen from each of the
five civic classes.
The election of Quinary Civic Council
members will be along similar lines; names
of citizens who would serve on the Muni-
cipal Civic Council will be presented on
National Day. From these names the Mu-
nicipal Civic Directorate, upon Directors'
Day, will place five candidates from each
civic class in nomination to be voted upon
on Primary Day. Thus will be formed a
council with one citizen from each of the
five civic classes.
The office of mayor will be abolished
and in its stead will be the city manager
who, preferably, will be a non-resident. Five
nominees for this office will be submitted
by the Municipal Civic Directorate and
one elected by the people. The manager's
term of office will continue until the uni-
cipal Quinary Civic Councils shall by ma-
jority vote demand a new election.
In a class democracy the people through
their State Civic Directorate will supervise
the appointment of state and county judges.
The present method of executive appoint-
ment with confirmation by the legislative
branch will be abolished. For each judge-
ship to be filled, the Directorate will nom-
inate five qualified men one of whom will
be elected by the people themselves.
Onlh 500 Left .
Just 500 of the largest HERON in this
SUPREME COURT AND FEDERAL
The president shall propose for each
judgeship five qualified men of whom one
will then be selected by vote of congress.
The present twelve-man lay jury will be
abolished. In its place will be a jury of
five judges, one or more of whom shall
have presided at the trial and become quali-
fied to present the facts to his associate
The grand jury will be the direct con,
tact between the people and the court.
Generally an affidavit or information by the
state's attorney, no longer a political ap-
pointee, will suffice to return an indict-
ment. Only in case of his neglect of duty
will it be necessary to resort to grand jury
Many public libraries and the li-
braries of all colleges and universi-
ties in the United States have cop-
ies of each issue of The COM-
MONWEALTH. Old issues of
the magazine are no longer avail-
able. Those persons who have not
subscribed but who are interest-
ed in the trend of political thought
depicted in Government by Quin-
ary Civic Council are respectfully
referred to the libraries.
SAll in Florida
country, the Great White Heron (not to
be confused with the Egret) have survived the inroads of man's exploitation,
hurricane, drought and flood. These spectacularly beautiful birds are all con-
centrated in the Bays of Florida and the Keys.
YOU ARE INVITED
To participate in the activities of the only national organization that is waging a
relentless fight for the protection and increase of all our native wild life.
The coupon below will bring you full details of the part you can play in this
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AUDUBON SOCIETIES
1775 Broadway, New York, N. Y.
National Association of Audubon Societies,
1771 Broadway, New York, N. Y.
I wish to learn more about the activities of your Association, particularly with ref-
erence to the part I can play in saving the wild life of this country.
NAM E .......................... ...----................. .......... ADDRESS........................................
CITY ................. ..................... .... ........ STATE........................................
- -L --
mINLIN6 SNCOOL OF APT
The school of the Ringling Muum. Faculty of
outstanding artists teaching all phuCI of at includ-
ing commercial at and costume design. Outdoor
cldas all winter. Animal study at Raningn Circus
winter quarter. Jr. College connected. Dormi.
tories. Write for catalog. Address Registrar.
SAIASOTA :-: FLO IDA
A adool widh a wineir hear in Rlds
Preparation for college under ideal di-
matic conditions all year. Olde private
military school in America. or booklet.
Col C. IL. Rd Pro.
B< B, LBtdaa.
'o~ mber zo, 1766
College., of cArts and Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences, En-
gineering, Agriculture, Education,
Chemistry, and Pharmacy; the New
Jersey College for Women, and Uni-
LUTIlI t. MATIN
NEW BRUNSWI(K N. J.
Ost oue Reached
"A Scenc in the Summer on Our Beaches"
BRADENTON, FLORIDA, Offers Climate, Health and Opportunity, to youth of
today, and a comfortable resting place for
CLIMATE-A winter climate that averagesi 10 degrees
warmer than any other State in the Union .... With
its maximum of sunshine, nowhere in the U. S. A. can
life be more pleasant and agreeable.
SWIMMING-Nature has provided one of the best
beaches along the Gulf Shore .... Ten miles of white
sand beach . Adequate bathing facilities available
each day of the year . It's never too cold to enjoy
a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
FISHING-Is a year 'round pastime . The waters
of the Manatee River, the Braden River, Terra Ceia Bay,
Sarasota Bay and many others teem with game fish ....
Each season brings the fisherman a new finny foe to test
his skill .. .. Mackerel-then kingfish-then tarpon are
but a few of the many varieties.
GOLF-Is enjoyed winter and
summer Golfers are in form
all year No winter layoff
to handicap your game .
Minor sports are well rep-
resented with fine facil-
ities for enjoying
the Green .Shul-
fleboard a n d
Roque are some
-- of the most
the retired business man of tomorrow.
BASEBALL -Bradenton H.gh School is fortunate in hav-
ing its baseball under the supervision of none other than
Bill Doak, one of America's most beloved baseball play-
ers. No better instruction could be secured in the game
and in good sportsmanship than from this famous player.
EDUCATION-Bradenton's public school system is rec-
ognized as one of the best. The regular eight-year cram-
mar course is offered and a modern County High School
prepares the student to enter any College or University
S. ... All school buildings are beautiful structures.
equipped with approved methods of sanitation and hy-
RINGING SCHOOL OF ART-Offers to the young
an opportunity to secure a college education or a com-
plete course in Art in its popular forms under the most
favorable conditions Capable instructors, each ex-
perienced in his field, are on the staff of the College.
and as the registration is limited, the classes are not
large, and each student receives personal instruction that
cannot be secured in the larger institutions.
FOR INFORMATION PERTAINING TO
BRADENTON & MANATEE COUNTY. WRITE:
Bradenton chamberr of commercee
-- ------- THIS ADVERTISEMENT SPONSORED BY
J. H. CARNEY
STEWART ELECTRIC CO.
DUNAN LUMBER COMPANY
TRIMBLE RADIO SALES COMPANY
BRADENTON OFFICE EQUIPMENT CO.
DRS. PIERCE, PIERCE & PIERCE
AQUATITE TILE CO.
DIXIE GRANDE HOTEL
HOTEL MANATEE RIVER
MAemLer of the
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44 Avenue De3 Champs Elysecs
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