Feb 29, 2016
Funding for everything is being squeezed, leading to one catastrophe after another. Just look at what’s been in the news lately. The lead in Flint’s tap water has been poisoning the population. And not just in Flint, but throughout the country. Old, corroded infrastructure led to the largest leak of methane gas in U.S. history in Aliso Canyon, Los Angeles. Public schools, such as in Detroit and Chicago, are being decimated by round after round of school closings and cuts to teachers and staff. Private and public sector retiree pension benefits are being slashed, and retiree health care benefits are being done away with.
None of this is because of a lack of money. No, the money is there. But it is being siphoned off by big companies in their drive for new sources of profits.
Big companies have already increased their profits by cutting their workforce to the bone. They have sped up the work, forcing one worker to do the work of two or three. They have outsourced a lot of the work to low wage companies. Yes, some in other countries – but many more here. And they have slashed wages and benefits. Just look at how auto workers went from the highest paid industrial workers to the lowest paid.
But all those profits from increased exploitation haven’t been enough for the capitalist class. So, the capitalists have been putting their hands on big pools of money that had been set aside to take care of vital needs of the working population and to make the society run. So, money that should be going for schools or water systems is instead swallowed up by banks and big financial companies. The banks and financial companies are cannibalizing vital services and programs.
That’s why the conditions in public schools in working class neighborhoods are more like those in underdeveloped countries, the Third World. That’s why traditional retirement pensions that pay out a regular benefit are increasingly a thing of the past, in the private and now the public sector. And it’s why the physical infrastructure that everyone depends on is rotting and corroding away.
And what do the capitalists do with all those extra profits? They certainly don’t invest it in production. They haven’t done that for a long time. No, they simply speculate with all that money, turning the entire world economy into a great big gambling casino.
They have been blowing up enormous financial bubbles, in real estate, stocks, gold, oil... anything, often taking on huge amounts of debt to increase the chance of a big payout. They bury governments, companies and consumers under huge mountains of debt, making interest on debt an increasingly larger source of profits.
All that debt, all those speculative instruments have grown to such proportions, they far outweigh the workings of the real economy. Fictional wealth based on debt, gambling and speculation has become more important than production, construction and vital services for the entire population.
And what does this lead to? Eventually, every financial boom becomes a bust. And the bigger the boom, the bigger the bust. So far, the government and Federal Reserve have prevented a full financial collapse by turning over to the banks and financiers even more money. But this solves nothing. It just means that the bankers and financiers have even more money to speculate with, which means even bigger bubbles. By putting off the eventual crash, the government and Federal Reserve only add more fuel to the fire.
That just shows how insane the workings of the capitalist economy have become.
The enormous productive potential of the workforce, along with advanced science and technology, is being wasted away by a capitalist class that is driving the entire economy over the cliff. And in the process, it is laying waste to everything working people need simply in order to survive.
In other words, it is an old, outdated economic system that should have been swept into the dumpster of history a long time ago.