The Spark

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

Editorial:
Whose “American Dream”?!

Feb 5, 2018

In his State of the Union address, Donald Trump stated that “There was never a better time to start living the American Dream.”

What the hell was he talking about?!

Trump wants to take credit for what he calls an “economic recovery.” 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.

In fact, THEIR recovery is coming at our expense. They are transferring money directly out of our accounts, out of our wages, benefits, and tax dollars, directly into their bank accounts. 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 any 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, part-time, 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%. And the percentage of Americans not in the workforce is still higher than it was in 2007, before the last collapse. People are not employed if they have simply given up looking for work!

Economists report that average wages “jumped” 2.9% last month. Well, such reported rises have disappeared several times before, when figures have been revised. And 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.

They talk about rebuilding the infrastructure, but that’s all it is – TALK! The infrastructure has been falling apart for decades. If there were really a recovery, we would expect to see money going to hire workers to repair roads and bridges, electrical grids and water supply systems. Money to rebuild our schools and school districts, our cities and our neighborhoods. We would see companies building factories, and factories adding shifts. In all sorts of ways, we would begin to see real positive changes for ourselves and our children. IF any “recovery” were real.

But instead, we’ve seen none of that, and often just the opposite. Despite talk of infrastructure spending, nothing has been done as money has continued 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 conclude with the trickle-down theory. Profit windfalls and tax breaks will eventually trickle down and benefit us? Give us a break! They want to convince us not to believe our “lying eyes” and to fall for their twisted view of reality.

Above all, they want to convince us to wait – to wait on the corporations to hire more people and raise wages to a livable level; to wait on the government to start spending on infrastructure, schools and public services; to wait for them to make our lives better.

We might as well wait for a unicorn to pass right in front of us!

For the working class, there is no relief to be found in waiting for the corporations and their government – our enemies – to save us. The ONLY answer for the working class is in organizing ourselves, and in fighting for our own interests.