Mar 15, 2021
Democratic Party politicians call the 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus that Biden signed into law on March 11 “an anti-poverty measure with few precedents in the U.S. history.”
But this stimulus bill is neither “far reaching,” nor “significant” for working people. Just look at the three key provisions: a one-time $1,400 stimulus check, six months of supplemental unemployment benefits that end in September of this year, and an expanded child tax credit that lasts for a year.
This aid is very, very temporary and very little compared to the depth of the crisis that people face. It cannot rescue tens of millions of working people and their families from the worst economic and social crisis capitalism has dropped us into since the Great Depression. In fact, it is not much different than the two previous stimulus bills that ran out of money in a matter months.
More than 30 million workers are still out of work or not working enough hours to survive on. More than 42 million people face hunger, forced to rely upon charities and food banks to keep from starving. One in six renters are now behind on their rent, and a wave of evictions and foreclosures is about to break once the government-sanctioned moratorium on evictions runs out in the next few months.
U.S. capitalism generates the most wealth in the world, but does not supply even the bare minimum to an increasingly impoverished population. Driving down our standard of living, it has funneled record amounts of wealth and profits to a tiny minority. Corporate profits are now higher than they were before the pandemic broke out. The stock market has hit one record after another. And the top 25 managers of hedge funds, who speculate with big pools of other peoples’ money, made more than a billion dollars each in the last year!
Of the five trillion dollars in relief passed by Congress over the last year, four-fifths of the aid went to the biggest corporations and the very wealthiest layers of society. The 43,000 richest individuals in the country got extra tax breaks worth 1.6 million dollars each in one year! Special corporate tax breaks amounted to more than six times the cost of the child tax credit that the Democrats are touting in this most recent bill.
At the same time, the U.S. Federal Reserve supplied trillions of dollars of credit to the big banks and financial companies ... practically free of charge! And it bought up trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities and private corporate debt.
Corporate relief to save jobs? Bull! Big business kept the money and laid off millions of workers anyway, taking advantage of the pandemic and crisis to “cut labor costs,” as they said.
Workers cannot expect a rescue from either the Democrats or the Republicans, or their stimulus plans or rescue plans. We need an end to the pandemic! We need jobs! We need a living wage! We need affordable housing, health care, and education for our kids! But capitalism can’t give us these things.
Designed to dampen the anger of the working population, the government’s small, temporary measures are equivalent to putting a band-aid on cancer. But the cancer of capitalism requires radical surgery—a workers’ fight to get rid of the Wall Street profiteers and corporate billionaires and their front men and women in government.
The working class has the capacity to set up our own power to organize and to run society, free from the parasites of capitalism. This is the rescue plan we need.