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

Inflation at a 40-Year High, Good Paying Jobs Disappearing—It’s a Crisis for Working People

Jun 20, 2022

What follows is the editorial that appeared on the front of all SPARK’s workplace newsletters, during the week of June 13, 2022.

Inflation jumped up again this month—but this economic system has no relief for working people. Nor does its political system.

In March, Biden promised that inflation would soon start to come down. Instead, it got worse. In April, May and June, prices went up, each month higher than the month before. Government-calculated prices now stand almost nine percent higher than they were a year ago. It’s the highest rate in more than 40 years.

It’s worse when it comes to all the things working people have to pay for every week: food, housing costs, gasoline, transportation costs—in other words, the basics.

Inflation isn’t some benign statistical line on a government chart. Inflation is exactly the same as a wage cut. Our wages buy less this month than last month, and much less than the year before.

Inflation isn’t some accident either. It’s what happens when corporations make a calculated decision to raise their prices, aiming to push up profits.

It’s also the result of government policies that flooded the corporations and banks with trillions of dollars, aiming to let the profit-making system go on making profit.

Those policies continued, no matter who was in office, Republican or Democrat, Trump or Biden.

Inflation is the result. And it is not the only problem. The economy is a mess. There are 800,000 fewer jobs today than there were before the pandemic hit in 2020. The share of working-age adults with a job is smaller today than it was before the 2008 recession.

This is an economy that doesn’t work for working people. And its political system—based on these same two old parties—doesn’t serve working people either.

Now with elections coming up, the two parties will fill the media with campaign slogans and attacks on each other. It’s nothing but a diversion. Concentrate on the crisis we face.

There are simple, direct answers to this crisis. Provide a decent paying job for everyone who wants to work. Immediately push up wages so every job provides a decent living. Tie our wages and pensions directly to prices, so they go up as much as prices go up—and immediately.

Does that sound like an impossible dream? Maybe in this society it does, with the capitalist class in control, deciding how many jobs to offer and what wages to pay.

But why should the capitalist class remain in control?

Working people make up the very large proportion of the population: in the big cities, in the near suburbs, in small towns, in rural areas.

Not only are we the majority. We occupy the workplaces, the very center of the economy. We make this economy run today with our muscles and brains. We could make it run tomorrow to serve the population. If the capitalist class and their politicians don’t want to provide all the jobs needed, we could lay our hands on their profits. If they don’t want to pay decent wages, we could take their companies away from them.

Again—an impossible dream? Well, yes, right now, with the working class quiet, waiting on the politicians to do something, letting the corporations decide how things should run.

But the working class, with its hold on the economy, has the power to make many impossible dreams come true.