The Spark

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

Editorial:
Jobs or Profits?

Feb 1, 2010

"Jobs must be our number one focus in 2012," declared President Obama in his State of the Union address on January 27.

Yes, what's needed is jobs. The recession has destroyed over nine million jobs in 26 months. And that's not counting the 125,000 jobs that should have been created every month just to keep up with the growth of the workforce. Obama may try to sugar coat the situation, claiming, "the worst of the storm has passed." But last month the government reported that – once again – 589,000 fewer people had jobs, proving the job crisis is getting worse, not better.

"I am calling for a new jobs bill tonight," promised Obama.

No, he's not.

The most immediate and effective jobs bill would be for the government to give a large and permanent boost to programs like unemployment insurance, Social Security retirement benefits, welfare, food stamps. That would put more money into peoples' hands, which would boost consumer spending, leading to more hiring immediately.

He's not calling for that.

In the long term, the most efficient government jobs program would be to hire workers directly, putting them to work repairing and rebuilding the vital, but aging and decrepit infrastructure, the roads, water and sewage systems, parks, schools, hospitals. This in turn creates many more jobs that produce machinery, equipment and materials.

But Obama is proposing to do the exact opposite, since he's proposing a three year spending freeze on programs like infrastructure, and aid to the cities and states. A spending freeze is a budget cut, given inflation and the growth of the population.

Instead, Obama's new jobs bill has no jobs in it. It's just more corporate tax breaks.

Obama claims these tax breaks are an "incentive" for companies to hire more workers. That's not true either. Every study done by the Federal Reserve and Congress's research arm, the Congressional Budget Office, shows the opposite: tax giveaways to business don't create jobs.

It is a corporate bailout disguised as a jobs bill. That's all.

We"ve seen this before. Bush, Obama and Bernanke played the same kind of game with the bank bailout. They promised that the bank bailout would save the economy, create jobs, boost lending and stop the foreclosures, keeping people in their homes.

But it did none of that. Instead, it rewarded the very bankers who caused the financial crisis. The bankers took the tax money and paid themselves great big bonuses. To make more money, they took the rest of the government money, turning it into rampant speculation, creating more financial bubbles that could burst at any time.

"We all hated the bank bailout," Obama now says. "I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as root canal."

And yet they did it.

Just like they are doing it today: giving billions to the very companies and corporate executives who caused the jobs crisis.

We are not going to have the jobs we need until we fight for them. First of all, no more job cuts or layoffs. To provide the millions of missing jobs, apportion the available work out to everyone who wants it with no loss in pay for anyone.

The working class produces all the wealth, and makes the society run. Put our needs first, and let corporate profits be damned!