Jul 18, 2011
Two full years into the “economic recovery,” 34 million people are either without a job, unable to find full-time work or considered to be outside the labor force. That is, almost one quarter of the working age population is either unemployed or underemployed.
It’s a catastrophe, and it’s not at all natural. It was created by capital’s race for profit.
Every boss who pushed up his company’s profit margin by coercing three workers to do the jobs of four produced unemployment.
Every boss who eked out more profit by cutting wages, driving more people to work long hours overtime slammed the door on anyone looking for a job.
On one side of the equation stand 34 million unemployed or underemployed people; on the other side is 1.7 trillion dollars in profit, rolled up by the 500 biggest companies in just one year, 2010.
This doesn’t take into account what the banks have done – those villains whose thirst for every last dollar of profit produced the financial crisis. Holding the economy hostage, they threatened to go belly up until they got trillions of dollars in bailout money. How many trillions, nobody knows.
But this we do know: everyone of those dollars given as a bailout to the banks was a dollar that was not spent on the needs of the population. The trillions in bailout money were drained out of public services, social services, education – and this drain of money meant many fewer jobs, much greater unemployment.
Every bridge that wasn’t repaired cost a hundred or so jobs. Every water system left to spring another leak cost a few hundred jobs.
Cuts in school funding meant teachers laid off, aides laid off, school medical workers laid off, cafeteria workers laid off, janitors laid off.
Reduced funding to states and cities meant cuts in fire departments, water departments, police, public lighting – and therefore fewer people working in those services.
The loss of jobs was not something natural or normal. It was the direct result of a system intent on wringing profit out of the hides of working people.
We won’t begin to see the end of this pervasive unemployment, this unnatural catastrophe – not so long as profit is king.
So un-throne the king.
Take part of those trillions away from profitable companies that laid off people. Use the money to put the unemployed to work.
Take back the trillions handed out in bailouts to the banks. Use those trillions to hire people back into public services. Hire other people to rebuild the rotting infrastructure – the roads, bridges, school buildings, public lighting, water systems, sewage systems. Put teachers back into the classroom – provide them with aides and technical support so they can do their jobs.
There is more than enough money in this economy to get rid of unemployment overnight. That money is sitting in the bank accounts of a few thousand big companies and a few dozen big banks.
Take it back from them. Why not? They stole it.