The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
Jobs, the economy and electioneering

Sep 13, 2004

While the election campaign grinds on, the unemployment situation continues to worsen. Even though the unemployment rate has stayed relatively steady, the proportion of people without work continues to grow.

Of course, that hasn't stopped President Bush on the campaign trail from insisting that "our growing economy is spreading prosperity and opportunity and nothing will hold us back."

Prosperity and opportunity are spreading???

Sure they are – for the ruling class. Corporate profits continue to jump from one record high to the next. Top corporate executives have rewarded themselves with ever more money, salaries almost twice as high as they were 10 years ago.

This money is coming directly out of the hides of working people. These companies may call it something else, like "cutting labor costs." But what they are really doing is cutting our jobs through downsizing and plant closings. Then they are using the threat of job cuts to increase the work load of those workers who remain, through speed-up and lengthening hours of work, thus leading to even more job cuts.

That's where our jobs are going. The bosses are robbing them from us.

"Nothing will hold us back," Bush declares. Sure. Nothing is holding the government back from handing over hundreds of billions of dollars of the government budget to these companies in order to boost their profits still further. Fat contracts are produced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Three big tax cuts enacted in the last three years, said to be worth trillions of dollars, are further enriching the very wealthiest.

And how does the government pay for all this? How else but by slashing government jobs, especially for services that are provided to working people. When the government slashes social programs, such as public medical care, unemployment insurance, food stamps, housing aid, aid to children, the elderly, the handicapped, it is cutting government jobs. When the government cuts spending that goes to building and repairing bridges, roads, street lighting and of course, the public schools, they are cutting government jobs.

On the campaign trail, John Kerry denounces Bush for the loss of jobs and the crumbling economy. But Kerry stops there. He doesn't mention the cause of the job losses, the corporations cutting jobs, the government cutting social services and the infrastructure. He doesn't even say that many of the jobs being shipped out of one workplace are going to lower-wage workers in this country.

Why won't Kerry dare condemn these corporations for destroying our jobs? Because he serves those very same corporations. Just like Bush. This is why Kerry's proposal supposedly to save jobs is just a warmed-over version of what Bush proposes. Kerry, too, wants to grant more tax breaks to these same companies that are attacking us!

Just as in the past, in these elections, the working class is confronted by two big parties, the Republicans and Democrats, both of which serve the bosses' interests, the interests of the very ones attacking us. The working class has a crying need for our own party. We have long had that need. But that need is becoming greater, as the situation gets more dire.

So, what is our best choice? If we can't vote for what we want, we should not vote for what we don't want. When we do that, we are giving our seal of approval to the very policies which will be used against us. Our votes for either of these candidates will come back to haunt us.