Take Corporate Profits to Create Jobs!

Apr 6, 2014

Corporate profits continued their record-breaking streak. Stupendously high, profits now account for twice as much of the U.S. economy as they did in the 1990s – when profits were already outrageously high. The Wall Street Journal calls it the long-running “profit-margin miracle.

A “miracle”? Not at all! The capitalists just grabbed more for themselves. They increased the exploitation of the working class. They boosted worker productivity, driving fewer workers to produce more. They extended the time workers spend on the job, being forced to work overtime or second and third jobs. They cut wages and eliminated benefits. Meanwhile tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed people scrape by on practically nothing.

Corporations gorged themselves on public spending. Government officials handed over vast amounts of money from the public treasury through subsidies, privatization and other giveaways. They cut corporate taxes, reducing the tax rate that corporations pay by 25% over just the last five years.

To pay for all these gifts to capital, government officials slashed programs and services that the working population depends on, including education and health care, as well as safety net programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps. And they hiked the taxes and fees that workers pay.

This is what produced such a flood of profits. The big corporations boosted CEO pay to the sky, enriched their biggest stockholders with higher dividends and stock buy-backs, and blew hundreds of billions of dollars buying and selling each other’s companies. And they were still left with a cash horde of eight trillion dollars! Eight TRILLION – that’s equal to half the entire U.S. economy. Put another way, eight trillion dollars is equal to all the money the federal government spent in 2013, 2012 and three months of 2011, according to tax expert David Cay Johnston.

It’s a never-ending drive to extort more sacrifices from the working population in order to increase profit. This is the policy of the capitalist class.

The working class needs its own policy to defend its own interests.

The vast cash horde these companies have accumulated should be taken from them, used to assure that everyone’s needs are met. It’s only simple human decency.

If that money were used for the benefit of the population, millions of unemployed workers could be set to work building and repairing what has been left by the capitalists and their political henchmen to rot and decay. Redo the crumbling infrastructure; create a stock of affordable housing. Millions more could be employed in public services, starting with the schools and health care.

But that’s only the beginning. The priorities have to change. No company making a profit should be allowed to add to the horrendous level of unemployment by laying off more workers. Bring back all the jobs those companies eliminated in their speed-up drive. Put back to work all those people the big companies lock out of the workforce.

Companies want to tell us they don’t have any open jobs? Fine, then divide up the jobs they do have, give work to everyone who wants to work – with no loss of weekly pay for anyone. We could all work only 25 hours a week. That’s what increasing productivity means – if its benefits are shared out among everyone. We could all have a job; none of us would have to work as much – AND everyone’s wages could go up.

No one is going to give us this. The bosses certainly won’t willingly give it up. The two parties won’t impose this – they serve the capitalists. But the working class can fight for a policy like this. Given the central role workers play in economic life, we can determine what happens.

The working class can determine the future. But in order to do it, the working class needs to fight. And it needs its own policy.