The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

“Debt Ceiling” Deal Paves the Road to War

Jun 4, 2023

Biden and McCarthy announced a last- minute deal that supposedly averts the possibility of a U.S. government default.

There was never a real possibility of default, only just talk—talk about government not paying its bills, financial markets going into convulsions, Social Security payments suspended.

That was scare talk. There was never any chance the government would default, that is, stop payment on its bonds. There are hundreds of billions of dollars in those bonds held in the vaults of the big banks and financial groups. Does anyone seriously think the government would miss a single payment going to its bankers?

Every year or so, the politicians put on the same melodrama. (And, by the way—if you were wondering—there has been a “debt ceiling crisis” in 11 of the last 13 years.)

Underneath all the high drama, there is only this simple fact: the two parties agree to cut public spending on the needs of the population, in order to slide more money into the bulging bank accounts of the capitalist class.

This deal guarantees that government debt, which currently stands at 31.4 trillion dollars, will go even higher. That means more government bonds issued, with higher interest payments, funneling more money into the big banks.

The centerpiece of the Biden-McCarthy deal is an agreement to increase “regular” military spending at least one percent faster than the rate of inflation, while ordinary civilian spending will decrease in absolute terms in the coming year, and will lose out to inflation in the year after that.

There will be more cuts to public services—to roads, water sources, dams, levees, bridges, parks, woodlands, and so on, as well as to schools, already starved for the money needed to hire teachers. More people will be cut from programs like food stamps, family income and Medicaid, under a series of “policy changes.”

Today, the economy is in crisis, the standard of living of the working people is being driven down. But the two parties have nothing to offer other than more cuts.

The goal of these cuts is to find more money to fund a bigger military. The U.S. is the biggest military power in the world, accounting for more money spent than the total spent by the next nine countries put together. The U.S. has bases on every continent, and in almost every country in the world.

The U.S. not only has its own troops; it uses the people of other countries as cannon fodder in the wars it pursues and pays for, just as it is doing today in Ukraine. And the U.S. has former soldiers enrolled in the many “private” military companies that patrol the world.

Biden and McCarthy may pretend that all this government spending on the military is for “defense.” But think about it. Do other countries have military bases on U.S. borders?

The size of the military budget, and its continual growth, says one thing and one thing only: the U.S. is preparing for an offensive war, a massive war, one which would far surpass its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Viet Nam, Korea.

Capitalism has already taken the world to two global wars. World Wars One and Two were the only way capitalism could get past economic crises in which its system was mired. Once again, the capitalist world is caught in an economic crisis. And capitalism, with U.S. capitalism in the forefront, is taking us on a race to a new world war.

The working class, which is the only force that has the capacity to rid the world of capitalism, is not aware of the stakes today. That’s true in this country, true in Ukraine and Russia, true in China, true around the world. But there is no other answer than for the working class to uproot capitalism, throw it away—before the war comes, or when the war comes. In Russia, in 1917, the Bolshevik Party proposed to the working class to turn capitalism’s war into a class war for the emancipation of itself and of humanity. There was no other answer then, there can be no other answer today.