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

Editorial:
More Inflation and Joblessness?
Workers Can Say No!

Oct 10, 2022

Inflation is running at a 40-year high. Prices for basic necessities, including rent, food and transportation, are so high, many are forced to work huge amounts of overtime just to make ends meet.

So, what do top government officials propose? Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, says he wants to use interest rate increases to slow economic growth and increase unemployment.

That’s their solution: Increase unemployment and cut wages!

Powell just repeats the same lies as all the other bankers and bosses: unemployment is too low, and workers are making too much money.

This is nonsense! Unemployment is not low. Companies and public agencies have closed so many workplaces and downsized so much over the last decades, tens of millions of workers have been left high and dry. Suicides, overdoses, alcoholism—deaths of despair—skyrocketed.

And homelessness has exploded!

The same goes for Powell’s moronic, really sick claims about workers’ wages. Wage increases haven’t even kept up with inflation. We’re getting poorer, not richer.

The real deal is obvious. The big companies have been increasing prices in order to rob the public. Oil and gas companies boost prices—after creating artificial shortages. Meat packers and supermarkets use inflation as a cover to raise prices much faster than expenses. Auto companies boost prices and limit production to the most expensive cars. As for real estate developers and big landlords, they took advantage of the lack of affordable housing by jacking up rents by 20% in one year.

Inflation has been very profitable. In fact, profits have reached record levels, and it’s all for the benefit of the richest parts of the population.

Now, the Federal Reserve is promising that the slowdown won’t be too painful, that they will engineer what they call a “soft landing.” But that’s a fairy tale. Big layoffs by major employers and much more unemployment are coming. But that won’t necessarily mean an end to high prices and inflation. Big companies could continue to raise prices, even as demand falls. That’s why many economists are predicting a return of “stagflation,” that is, high unemployment and inflation.

Workers need more jobs, not fewer. We need more teachers, more health care workers, more production workers. And we need decent pay so that we are not forced to work all that overtime and second jobs.

But to get that, workers will have to take back the wealth from corporate profits. And that means carrying out a fight, a fight that is not limited to one company or agency, but a fight that will spread and grow. Because all workers face the same terrible crisis. We all face the same money-hungry capitalist wolves. We need to unite together and mobilize the power that workers have as a class.