atheist, California, communist, End Poverty League, EPIC, Great Depression, Montreal Gazette, pension, Republican, sales tax, tax reform, Upton Sinclair
Immediate Epic; the final statement of the plan…
Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
Los Angeles, CA: End Poverty League, 1934?
HC107 C2 S53
Author and socialist Upton Sinclair won the Democratic nomination for governor of California in August 1934. He based his campaign on his “End Poverty in California” (EPIC) plan. Sinclair called for tax reform, including a repeal of the sales tax, legislature for a graduated state income tax (to 30% for those earning $50,000 per year), an increase in state inheritance tax, an increase in taxes of privately owned public utility companies and banks, a pension of $50 per month to needy persons over the age of sixty, a payment of $50 per month to the disabled, and a pension of $50 per month to widows with dependent children. He lost the governorship by 260,000 votes to a Republican campaign that labeled him as an atheist, a communist and a “crackpot.”
Sinclair claimed only 37% of the vote, but the Republican candidate received only 48%. A third party candidate received 13%. The turnout for this election was quite large, demonstrating a strong response from the public for politicians to bring the nation out of the Great Depression. Sinclair’s campaign drew national and international attention. In November, 1934, the Montreal Gazette wrote, “It will be surprising if the Californians vote for a plan that calls for yet more taxation.” And, indeed, they did not.
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