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
Dec 13, 2010
The elections are over; the “compromises” have begun.
Compromises? Not hardly. Backroom deals is what they are – between Democrats and Republicans, handing over hundreds of billions of dollars to the wealthy – with a few crumbs thrown to the working class to get us to shut up.
Obama began the “compromises” by eliminating a cost-of-living wage increase for all federal employees, followed by a two-year wage freeze. Most of the people whose wages were cut are ordinary workers: clerks, secretaries, data entry, maintenance, phone operators, park employees. And most don’t make $50,000 a year.
This was no joint sacrifice, no compromise. It was an open attack on workers, intended to show the Republicans that Obama would work with them.
The Republicans weren’t impressed. They wanted more. And Obama gave it to them, deal after deal. Extend Bush’s tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires for the next two years. Lower the taxes paid on inheritances over five million dollars. Tax capital gains and dividends at a much lower rate than ordinary income – the benefits to go almost entirely to the wealthy. Let hedge fund and private equity speculators pay a lower rate than do people with wage income. Change the “alternative minimum tax” to lower the taxes paid by those making more than $150,000 a year. Let companies deduct nearly all their material expenses. Decrease the corporate tax rate.
The richest one% of Americans, on average, will get a tax break of $70,000 a year from these backroom deals, more than most of us make in a year. At the same time, taxes will actually go up for families struggling on less than $40,000 a year.
And what did Obama get in return from the Republicans in this “compromise”? An extension of unemployment benefits for only some of the long-term unemployed. In fact, many of the long-term unemployed have already been cut off; and they will remain cut off, because the extensions don’t run long enough.
The long-term unemployed should be covered until the capitalists provide enough jobs, so that everyone who wants to work can work. But that wasn’t part of the compromise that Obama worked out with the Republicans.
This is no “compromise” between some politicians who want to attack us, against other politicians trying to defend the working class. No, it is a deal cut between two bunches of thieving politicians, both of whom will cut us to the bone in order to let the wealthy gorge all their appetites.
The bitterest irony of all is that both the Republicans and Democrats say they want to cut the budget deficit – while these gifts to the wealthy are about to increase the deficit by 900 billion dollars! One thing is sure: next year, the Republicans and Obama will cut another deal – this time to reduce the budget deficit they themselves created. But they won’t cut the gifts they just hand out to the wealthy. They will cut deeper into all those programs the population depends on: social programs, public services, education.
Obama says he has no choice, he must “compromise,” since the Republicans now control the House of Representatives. Well, Bush pushed through his programs even when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.
Obama does have a choice, and he made it – to steal from the poor and working population, to give to the wealthy. It’s the same choice made by the Republicans. The same choice made by the Democratic Party over the past two years, when they controlled the White House and both houses of Congress.
They’re all thieves. Every last one of them.