Socialist Party Of America 1928 Platform

Herewith the economic planks of the Socialist party platform of 1928, along with an indication in parenthesis of how these planks have fared. The list that follows includes every economic plank, but not the full language of each.1

  1. "Nationalization of our natural resources, beginning with the coal mines and water sites, particularly at Boulder Dam and Muscle Shoals." (Boulder Dam, renamed Hoover Dam, and Muscle Shoals are now both federal government projects.)
  2. "A publicly owned giant power system under which the federal government shall cooperate with the states and municipalities in the distribution of electrical energy to the people at cost." (Tennessee Valley Authority.)
  3. "National ownership and democratic management of railroads and other means of transportation and communication." (Railroad passenger service is completely nationalized through Amtrak. Some freight service is nationalized through Conrail. The FCC controls communications by telephone, telegraph, radio, and television.)
  4. "An adequate national program for flood control, flood relief, reforestation, irrigation, and reclamation." (Government expenditures for these purposes are currently in the many [non-adjusted] billions of dollars.)
  5. "Immediate government relief of the unemployed by the extension of all public works and a program of long range planning of public works …" (In the 1930s, WPA and PWA were a direct counterpart; now, a wide variety of other programs are.) "All persons thus employed to be engaged at hours and wages fixed by bona-fide labor unions." (The Davis-Bacon and Walsh-Healey Acts required contractors with government contracts to pay "prevailing wages," generally interpreted as highest union wages.)
  6. "Loans to states and municipalities without interest for the purpose of carrying on public works and the taking of such other measures as will lessen widespread misery." (Federal grants in aid to states and local municipalities currently total [non-adjusted] tens of billions of dollars a year.)
  7. "A system of unemployment insurance." (Part of Social Security system)
  8. "The nation-wide extension of public employment agencies in cooperation with city federations of labor." (U.S. Employment Service and affiliated state employment services administer a network of about 2,500 [in 1980] local employment offices.)
  9. "A system of health and accident insurance and of old age pensions as well as unemployment insurance." (Part of Social Security system.)
  10. "Shortening the workday" and "Securing to every worker a rest period of no less than two days in each week." (Legislated by wages and hours laws that require overtime for more than forty hours of work per week.)
  11. "Enacting of an adequate federal anti-child labor amendment." (Not achieved as amendment, but essence incorporated in various legislative acts.)
  12. "Abolition of the brutal exploitation of convicts under the contract system and substitution of a cooperative organization of industries in penitentiaries and workshops for the benefit of convicts and their dependents." (Party achieved, partly not.)
  13. "Increase of taxation on high income levels, of corporation taxes and inheritance taxes, the proceeds to be used for old age pensions and other forms of social insurance." (In 1928, highest personal income tax rate, 25 percent; in 1978, 70 percent; in 1928, corporate tax rate, 12 percent; in 1978, 48 percent; in 1928, top federal estate tax rate, 20 percent; in 1978, 70 percent.)
  14. "Appropriation by taxation of the annual rental value of all land held for speculation." (Not achieved in this form, but property taxes have risen drastically.)2
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