McGovern’s economic plan demanded ‘equal treatment’


 The Daily Republic

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a weekly series examining the events of 40 years ago that led to Mitchell native George McGovern’s Democratic presidential nomination and run for the White House.

 In 1972, George McGovern was known as the peace candidate who was among the first American politicians to call for the country to withdraw its forces from Vietnam.

But McGovern also had economic issues on his mind during the campaign. Forty years ago this week, he made a case for them.

McGovern offered a revised welfare and tax reform plan on Aug. 29.

His $29 billion annual program was announced in New York before the New York Society of Security Analysts, a group of Wall Street traders. It called for a $4,000 guaranteed income for a family of four, a plan to expand Social Security and a goal to provide 1 million public service jobs for the unemployed.

He said he envisioned a works program to rebuild American infrastructure while putting people who were out of work back on a payroll. McGovern also called for increased federal aid for education. And he said the federal tax code needed a serious revision.

“Money made by money should be taxed at the same rate as money made by men,” he said. “Tax justice demands equal treatment for Americans who earn their income with a shovel or a slide rule, and Americans who live on stock market and property gains.”

He said he wasn’t seeking to take more cash away from the middle class with his proposal.

“No American whose income comes from wages and salaries would pay one penny more in federal taxes than he does now,” McGovern said.

While many of those ideas were deeply against the views of the Wall Street traders, McGovern offered them a bone as well, promising to appoint Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills as secretary of the Treasury.

Mills, a conservative Democrat from Arkansas, was viewed as someone who would work with the investors and the business community.

The announcement surprised Mills, but he said if McGovern was elected, he would certainly consider the post.