The Spark

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

Editorial:
States cutting jobs and programs
– worsening the crisis

Nov 17, 2008

At a recent press conference, Chicago mayor Richard Daley raised the alarm: “Huge layoffs are coming in November and December. And next year, there’s going to be [even more] huge layoffs. All the corporate CEO’s have come in to tell me.”

In the face of this disaster, it’s obvious that the government should be moving to create jobs. It should increase spending on public services. It should expand the social safety net. It should increase unemployment benefits, food stamps, housing and access to health care.

Cities like Chicago and states like Illinois should do everything possible not only to relieve the effects of the crisis for the working population and the poor, but to start the economy moving again.

So, what is Daley proposing? The exact opposite. His administration is laying off 929 workers, and imposing big increases in taxes, fines and fees. Meanwhile the Chicago Transit Authority is increasing one-way fares by 50 cents.

All these measures can only make the crisis worse!

The Daley administration is not alone. State and local politicians across the country are demanding big sacrifices from the working population. In California, for example, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he wants to cut billions in funding for public schools, cut health care for children and the poor, as well as make it more difficult for laid-off workers to qualify for unemployment benefits. He also says that he wants to cut the jobs and pay of state employees, and increase the state sales tax by 1.5%.

In New York, Governor David Patterson proposes to slash Medicaid and public education funding by billions. In Maryland, Governor Robert Ehrlich says he wants to cut almost 1,000 state jobs. In Michigan, Governor Jennifer Granholm says that she will use her executive authority to impose big cuts at the beginning of December in order to close a projected 600 million dollar deficit. At the same time, she says she is going to provide business with an extra 150 million dollars in aid!

Like all the wealthy CEO’s, the politicians are pushing the full burden of the crisis on the working class and poor. While politicians boost sales taxes and fees paid mainly by working people, nowhere are they proposing to cut any of the enormous tax breaks and subsidies to big corporations. Nor are they cutting back on all the expensive outsourcing of services to their corporate buddies, which is just another way to boost corporate profits with taxpayer money.

No – it’s even worse. They are showering trillions of tax dollars in taxpayer money on the very richest financial companies in the world – the very companies that, in their mad rush to make ever larger profits, created the financial crisis in the first place, by all of their insane speculative and debt-heavy gambles and schemes.

In the middle of the worsening economic crisis and loss of jobs, the government should be creating jobs, boosting social programs for the unemployed and poor, expanding education and health care. Taxes and fees paid by the working class and poor should be slashed and put on those who could afford to pay them, that is, the rich and the big corporations. Such programs would boost spending, thus providing jobs and work for other parts of the working population.

The politicians don’t do it – the very thing needed to get the economy going again. Nothing could show more clearly how bankrupt is this whole economic system and its government.