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

State of His Union—Not Ours

Feb 3, 2003

What did Bush actually propose in his "State of the Union" message?

Bush says, "We have a duty to reform domestic programs vital to our country ..." What he means by reform is to cut funding for the states, costing states millions of dollars for education, road construction, medical care and low-income housing, among other things.

Bush says, "We must offer younger workers a chance to invest in retirement accounts that they will control and they will own." In other words, younger workers should exchange a guaranteed pension from Social Security for speculation on Wall Street–all so that Wall Street can put its hands on more money.

Bush says, "Our second goal is high quality, affordable health care for all Americans." What he proposes would give older people drug coverage only if they moved to one of the few HMOs accepting Medicare.

How does Bush propose to "promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment"? By giving another billion dollars in subsidies to the auto industry under the pretext of research in hydrogen-powered automobiles–cars which Detroit already had made in proto-type and then put aside after the last billion dollar hand-out was put in their accounts. In every other case, the Bush administration has already shown its willingness to make the air dirtier and reliance on oil greater by easing pollution rules on the energy generation industry and by refusing to insist on better gas mileage. "Energy independence" is another word for giving billions to their buddies running the oil, gas, auto and electricity corporations.

Bush brags, "I propose a 450 million dollar initiative to bring mentors to more than a million disadvantaged junior high students and the children of prisoners." So why did his administration propose to cut back on what the federal government will contribute to school systems which produce so many "disadvantaged" students? Why does he propose policies which lead to higher unemployment and more poverty, exactly the things that lead to crime? Bush’s proposals today will create even more children whose parents are in prison.

In fact, Bush is not "reforming" domestic programs to serve the population, he’s "reforming" them–that is, cutting them–so he has still more money to give to the wealthy. Last year’s tax cuts are estimated to cost more than 600 billion dollars over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The price of Bush’s new tax cuts would be more than a trillion dollars in lost tax revenues. In 2003, the top ten% of taxpayers are due to gain 60% of the tax cuts.

But Bush is proposing to give still more tax cuts to the wealthy. He said, "I ask you to end the unfair double taxation of dividends," and he also proposes to lower the taxes paid by corporations on profits. Who benefits from such proposals? Only the top 10% of the population, which own 90% of the stocks.

But beyond tax reductions, there are all the subsidies Bush is proposing for the corporations. The administration has already given billions in subsidies to the airline industry, which claimed it was hurting after September 11th. The Senate is debating a three-billion-dollar farm disaster aid bill which would provide millions of dollars to large agri-businesses–beyond the subsidies they already receive–even if they were not located in areas of declared disasters, and almost nothing to small family farms which are in desperate shape.

But the biggest gift of all is military spending, at least 364 billion dollars in 2003 and 380 billion dollars in 2004–without counting the extra cost of a war in Iraq. A good part of the defense budget goes to the huge U.S. corporations that make weapons for the military. As with many other government contractors, they are guaranteed profits–and high ones.

Bush tells the nation his government has a "duty to reform domestic programs." What he meant was a duty to the capitalists, which Bush is carrying out very well. His proposals go a long way toward allowing those whose business is making profits to continue making them–at our expense.