Voluntary Assessment of Capital Urged by A. Leo Weil As a Cure for the Depression
Menu JTA Search

Voluntary Assessment of Capital Urged by A. Leo Weil As a Cure for the Depression

Download PDF for this date

An interesting plan for ending the depression, which has been submitted to a score of industrial and financial leaders in the United States, was described by A. Leo Weil, Pittsburgh attorney, in an interview.

After Mr. Weil’s plan had been submitted to the industrial and financial leaders and they had pronounced it as impractical on account of the suggested voluntary assessment of Capital upon itself, it was submitted to the United States Senators and to a number of the members of the House of Representatives, with the suggestion that the necessary capital be raised by a Federal bond issue, the proceeds to create an Emergency Construction Fund to be loaned to the municipalities of the country. Many of them have expressed an interest in the plan, and Senator Nye had published in the Congressional Record the full text of this proposed plan.

“The depression has affected capital more than labor,” said Mr. Weil. “Capital, however, can stand it longer than labor.

“But what can capital do to cure the depression? It can start the wheels of industry, give employment to the unemployed, put into circulation the wages of labor, and make this era of depression but a nightmare that came across the sleep of a prosperous nation, whose granaries and warehouses were full and which had capital and capacity in men and machines to supply the world.”

Mr. Weil proposes that “Capital make a voluntary assessment upon itself of say 5%. The capital of the United States in 1930, as compiled by the National Industrial Conference Board, was stated to be $329,700,000,000, with an income of $71,000,000,000 per annum. This would yield, if every interest paid its share, nearly $16,500,000,000. If only 50 per cent paid up it would yield nearly $8,250,000,000. These figures are given merely as illustrations.

“This assessment could be made, in the judgment of those in charge, upon corporations as well as individuals and be limited, if thought advisable, to those exceeding a certain minimum of income or capital. This fund, through committees appointed by contributors, could be allotted to respective communities. By local committees under the supervision and control of the general committee or state committees, as desired (all appointed by those who contributed to the fund), this money, without any restraints such as apply to funds voted by the government, could be used, to illustrate, to tear down and rebuild the slum districts; to open, widen and improve streets; to open and improve parks, playgrounds, and the like; to build bridges, subways and the like; to improve waterfronts, and to countless other improvements that would permanently benefit and enrich the city.

“These direct activities would employ large numbers of the unemployed, and the structural material-iron, steel, lumber, brick, plumbing, concrete, etc.-would create a demand that would reopen the shutdown industries and give employment to those who have been thrown out of employment by these industries for the want of demand. The wages paid would go into circulation, affecting the department stores and other commercial establishments of every kind, and the demand for supplies of all these would in turn create a market for manufactured goods of every variety, and thus put into operation all of those industries now closed down, the resumption whereof would offer employment. If these improvements were inaugurated in every city in the United States, the imagination would be staggered by the demand for products thereby created,” Mr. Weil states.

“This assessment upon capital to cure our present-day ills must be voluntary; it must come from within, not from without,-not by government or by force,” Mr. Weil asserts. The reward will be great, he states.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund