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

The 5.6 Trillion Surplus Belongs to the Working Class

Feb 5, 2001

George W. speaks about an economic recession as if it is already here–of course he has political reasons for this. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, says the economy is "very close to zero (growth)", with the risk it could slide into a recession. Other economists say there is only a little "dip."

The corporations, however, are not waiting around for definitions. They are moving to protect their profit rates with another huge round of job cuts, with over 100,000 announced in the last seven days of January alone. In just a few months time, the supposed "endless expansion" we never stopped hearing about seems to have stalled.

So what is the federal government doing to prepare for this coming period? Logically, while there is still time, it ought to be beefing up unemployment funds, social services and other aid programs. Food and housing subsidies should be expanded. Medical care programs and facilities should be strengthened to handle what will be the inevitable increase in demand. Public works programs should be set up to provide jobs for those who could work to rebuild inner cities, housing stock, schools and transportation systems.

Nothing could be more logical than for the government to begin right now to protect its citizens–if it were a government "of the people" and "for the people."

Yes, this would take money. Big money. But these funds exist already in the government’s hands. The White House, the Congress and the Federal Reserve all agree that the government’s budget surplus will reach the huge sum of 5.6 TRILLION dollars over the next decade! That could go a long, long way to protecting every human being from the ravages of an economic crisis.

Why shouldn’t this huge government surplus be used this way? This surplus was generated through all the various taxes, which are taken much more from the working class than from anyone else. What little the corporations and the rich pay finally also comes from the working class, from whose labor their wealth is accumulated.

This 5.6 TRILLION dollar surplus belongs to the working class. It should be used to protect our lives and to rebuild this society for our needs, the needs of the majority of this population.

Today, however, Bush proposes to use this budget surplus to increase military spending–just as Clinton did when he took office until the last day he was in Washington, endorsing a new 100 billion dollar missile shield. The arms manufacturers and aerospace companies couldn’t be happier.

Bush proposes a 1.6 trillion dollar tax cut. Of course he says it is for "all the people." But just like Clinton’s tax cuts in his two terms of office, 80% of the reductions will go into the pockets of the very wealthiest classes and their corporations.

The Republican plans to supposedly "save" Social Security and Medicare, just like those of the Democrats, are designed to give even greater profits to the pharmaceutical, insurance and finance companies. "The people’s" health and comfort are secondary.

It makes not one bit of human or economic sense to give more trillions to the capitalist class which dominates this economy. They will just use it as they always have, to accumulate more profits, recession or no recession. What makes sense is for the working class to claim these funds, to use them to protect our immediate futures if this economic crisis unfolds; and to begin to transform this economy in the interest of "the people."