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

Wonderful Economy?
Says Who!?

Nov 27, 2023

A recent opinion poll by the New York Times and Sienna College found that 80% of the American public say the economy is “fair to poor.” Only two percent say the economy is “excellent.” Other opinion polls show the same thing, if not worse.

This is hardly a surprise. Economic instability stalks the working population. Today, a staggering two-thirds of households are forced to live paycheck to paycheck. Their income is often not even enough to pay for ordinary expenses. So, people resort to their credit cards to bridge the gap, leaving them increasingly buried in debt.

In this, the richest economy in the world, tens of millions of people are living on the knife’s edge, not knowing from week to week if they will have enough money to buy food or medicine, not to speak of paying for housing and to cover the car note.

Every day, these worsening conditions push more people over the edge, leading to worsening homelessness, hunger, and “deaths of despair,” that is, people dying from suicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol abuse.

These awful economic conditions are not due to an attack or invasion by an outside power or because all the jobs are supposedly going to Mexico or China, as is often said in the news media and repeated endlessly by our “beloved” experts and officials. No, these worsening conditions are due to a real class war that the capitalist class RIGHT HERE is waging against the working class. This war has given the capitalist class ever-higher corporate profits, which have, in turn, rewarded the capitalist class with ever-greater wealth. Just in the last year, the 400 richest billionaires in the U.S. increased their wealth by 500 billion dollars, according to Forbes magazine.

On the one hand, employers have continually attacked their own workforces, greatly reducing what they pay workers by replacing full-time jobs with full benefits with part-time and temporary jobs. At the same time, employers have been forcing fewer workers to do more work, often through chronic short-staffing. Employers have even been able to shift their ongoing expenses onto many of their employees by turning them into gig workers or “independent contractors.” Altogether, this means that the number of workers without a steady income has more than doubled since the 1970s.

Big companies have also been robbing workers through inflation—that is, by charging ever higher prices, especially for basic necessities such as food, shelter, transportation, health care, etc. Politicians, government officials, and economists may brag that they have brought inflation down. But what they don’t say is that the prices of basic necessities have increased many times faster than the “official” inflation rate, thus squeezing workers from all sides.

Of course, when the New York Times-Sienna opinion poll came out, it made news not because of what the poll revealed about what people thought about this “wonderful” capitalist economy. That issue was completely ignored. Instead, all the commentary revolved around what it might mean for the upcoming presidential election, especially the contest between the Republicans and Democrats for control of the presidency and Congress next year.

But for working people, the biggest problem is not which of the two big parties of the ruling class will gain seats. Because no matter who is in office, the class war of the capitalist class to gain ever more wealth and power at our expense will continue.

For workers, the biggest question is how we can mobilize our power to defend our own interests through our own struggle and organization.