If you haven't been reading the Communist Manifesto - penned by those rollicking Reds, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in 1848 - maybe you've been reading about it.

The original 23-page pamphlet is being reissued in a 150th anniversary commemorative edition that may turn out to be a best seller, if good ol' American advertising know-how still counts for anything.Waldenbooks promoted the volume on its publication date - May 1, that red-letter day marking International Workers Day - with commie banners flying on Wall Street and pinko quotes decorating chic store windows.

Never mind that communism is as dead as Marx and Engels. Their influence is still felt today.

Actually, more so on April 15 than May 1.

"A heavy progressive or graduated income tax" is indeed Item No. 2 in the Manifesto's program for communism.

"Progressive," if that's the right word, just means that a bigger income is subject to a bigger percentage for taxes.

You may not think that's the American way - penalizing success - but that's just the way it is.

Income tax was simply one of 10 points outlined in the Manifesto. See if any of the others sound familiar in one form or another:

- Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

- Abolition of all right of inheritance.

- Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

- Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

- Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.

- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands; and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

- Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

- Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

- Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc.

To which I can only add:

Public housing, rent control, inheritance taxes, the Federal Reserve System, Federal Communication Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, Interstate Commerce Commission, federal highway funds, Soil Conservation Service, Civilian Conservation Corps, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of Labor, Farmer's Home Administration, Social Security, your local school district, child labor laws, trade schools, etc., etc.

It's enough to make you wonder.

Did democracy actually conquer communism? Or simply co-op it?