Dec 3, 2007
What can you imagine when you hear all the uproar in state houses from California to Maryland? The states must be running out of money.
Don’t believe it!
It’s true the states have been starved for income – because they gave it away to big business. A study issued by the Multi-state Tax Commission concluded that the 50 states should have had 12.4 billion dollars more income in 2001. Well – they could have had it, if they hadn’t given businesses more tax breaks than they had in the 1980s.
The tax breaks passed between 1980 and 2000 are only a small part of what’s been lost. In the six years since, subsidies followed more tax breaks, followed more subsidies.... Big business made off like a bandit! 50 bandits!
50 state legislatures, hollering “financial crisis,” rushed to cut expenditures – not for business, but for the needs of the population.
California governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, just ordered 10% across the board cuts for the most essential departments in the state: education, transportation, health care. In other words, exactly those services that the population needs – services that should actually be given more money, given all the past cuts.
What’s true of California is true of states across the country this autumn. The Michigan legislature is still figuring out if they can get away with making more cuts, on top of the cuts they just made. The Democratic governor, the Republican-controlled state senate and the Democratic-controlled house are arguing over who gets the blame – while they all agree that cuts will be made.
In Maryland and Illinois, it’s even more absurd. Both states have Democratic governors and Democratic controlled legislatures – there the Democrats not only argue with the Republicans over who gets the blame. They argue with each other!
Blame? They all deserve it – Republican and Democrat alike! They all conspired to make the population pay so that big business gets a free ride.
Public schools are starved for money, forced to increase class size, and cut entire programs like arts, music, physical education and after-school programs.
Public health departments – the only barrier between widespread epidemics and the population – are starved for money.
Public hospitals and clinics close – even while big business destroys employer-paid health coverage, just as the states do for their own work force.
Bridges collapse, highways buckle and water supplies become ever more polluted. Public transportation, never very well developed, faces more cutbacks.
The very underpinnings of our lives are being jerked out from under us. And the politicians of both parties are the ones doing the jerking.
There’s a crisis alright – a crisis in this political system, which attacks the working population in order to give larger and larger gifts to the corporations and the wealthy class that owns them.
Service to the wealthy class is built into this political system. It can be changed only when the working class gathers its forces to demand that the needs of the whole population come first.
Working people create the wealth of this society, and we make up the vast majority of the population. This is what gives the working class the possibility to make society serve everyone.