16 Triumph on Two Fronts: Taxes and Labor Injunctions

IN the midst of the battles over relief, public works, and finance, LaGuardia did not lose sight of that most potent of weapons in the arsenal of the House of Representatives -- the power to tax. If taxation involved class issues in the 1920's, it fairly bristled with them in the hard days of 1931 and 1932, and LaGuardia, seeing the growing ranks of apple-sellers as visible evidence of the failure of the Mellon philosophy, sprang into action.

The echoes of Wall Street's market crash in October, 1929, were still faintly audible when Congressman Willis C. Hawley of Oregon, discussing the raising of revenue for the coming year, expressed the belief that corporations were "relatively speaking, overtaxed.... It can hardly be denied that the way to give the greatest federal tax relief to the greatest number is through a reduction of the corporate rate."1

Progressives, on the other hand, maintained insistently that taxes on the higher-income brackets should be increased, and by spring of 1931, when it was becoming evident that the nation was in the grip of a serious depression, they began to plan the introduction of legislation for that purpose. In the House, LaGuardia and James Frear joined in a statement predicting that the nation would probably have to approach the "war-time level" of income taxes and that higher taxes on estates and large incomes were

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1
Congress. Rec., 71:1, Dec. 5, 1929, 160-176.

-218-

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