Feb 8, 2018
In his State of the Union address, Donald Trump dared to say that “There was never a better time to start living the American Dream.”
What the hell was he talking about?!
Trump says there is an “economic recovery,” and he wants to take credit for it. Democrats want to say that this “recovery” has been happening for nine full years.
But if the economy were REALLY in a recovery, wouldn’t we see an improvement in our conditions of life? Working people have sure not seen any recovery, not in nine years and certainly not in one year.
The press reports all the economic statistics. And some things are absolutely true: corporate profits have never been higher, and the stock market is at record highs. The ruling class is doing better than ever. So, yes, THEY have a recovery.
But THEIR recovery has been paid for by what has been taken from us. They are stealing money from our retirement accounts, from our wages, benefits, and tax dollars; using it to build up their fortunes. How is this a recovery for us?
Unemployment is supposedly at a low of
4.1%. But the total number of hours worked FELL during that time, so jobs being added are increasingly part-time. In fact, almost all of the increase in hiring has been at the bottom of the scale, in fast food joints like McDonald’s and retail outlets like Walmart – hardly bastions of the American Dream! Casual, temporary, part-time, and contract employment makes up 40% of all employment in the country now. And, as the website Shadow Statistics points out, if discouraged workers are also counted, the true level of unemployment is actually 23%. The percentage of Americans not in the workforce is higher today than it was in 2007, before the last collapse. People who give up looking because they can’t find a job are also unemployed – whether or not the government counts them.
The government reported that average wages increased 2.9% from a year ago. Even if true, such a tiny rise sure doesn’t indicate that people’s spending power has increased – not when our real living costs have gone up much more than that.
Politicians talk about rebuilding the infrastructure, but that’s all it is – TALK! The infrastructure has been falling apart for decades. If there really were a recovery, there would be money going to hire workers to repair roads and bridges, electrical grids and water supply systems. Money would flow into our schools and school districts, into our cities and our neighborhoods. We would see companies building more factories, and more factories would add shifts. We would begin to see real positive changes for ourselves and our children. IF any of the “recovery” were real.
Instead, we’ve seen none of that, and often just the opposite. Money for our needs continues to dry up. Many workers are balanced on the edge of catastrophe. Nothing about that is stable. None of this has gotten better for the working class.
To add insult to injury, they try to sell us the old “trickle-down” theory. Profit windfalls and tax breaks will eventually trickle down and benefit us – so they say – just wait. Give us a break!
They’ve been promising this for years, and we’ve been waiting, but their wealth still hasn’t trickled down to us.
Wait once again? Wait on the corporations to hire more people and raise wages to a liveable level? Wait on the government to really spend on infrastructure, schools and public services?
No – we’ll be dead and in our graves, and it still won’t have happened. We’re in such bad shape today, because we have been waiting for such a long time for someone else to bail us out.
For the working class, there is no relief to be found in waiting for the corporations and their government – our enemies – to help us out.
The ONLY answer for the working class is in organizing ourselves, and in fighting for our own interests. There’s never been a better time for that!