National Affairs: Man & Plan

"The tide is definitely turning," said the frail old man. "My crackpot idea is becoming the idea that will save America from economic serfdom and will bring happiness and prosperity." The time was 1937, and Dr. Francis E. Townsend was almost right: his Townsend Plan, a Depression-born pension panacea, had caught the fancy of legions of elderly Americans. At flood tide, more than 4,000,000 members in 10,000 Townsend clubs gave the lanky, mesmeric country doctor immense political power, and their contributions, in a river of nickels and dimes, flowed in at the rate...

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