The Spark

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

Debt Ceiling:
An Excuse to Launch Another Attack on Workers

Jan 23, 2023

On Thursday, the U.S. treasury reached its debt limit, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Yellen said the U.S. Treasury will start implementing “extraordinary measures.”

It’s funding cuts Yellen is talking about, although they are couched as temporary. She laid out what funding was to be cut: The Civil Service, Postal Service and Federal Employee Retirement Funds.

So, at least for now, it’s funding for retirees and workers who will retire that will pay for the U.S. debt! And who can guess when or how much will be repaid to the funds, if any. Bet they don’t report on that.

As usual in Washington, D.C., the Republicans in Congress started this talk on cutting spending. They said they will refuse to raise the government debt ceiling. They said cuts in spending are necessary—cuts in social programs. But the Democrats, who control the executive branch, are doing the cutting—Joe Biden and his Treasury Department led by Yellen.

Last month Congress, still controlled by the Democrats, and with the votes of Republicans, passed the 2023 military budget overwhelmingly—a record-breaking U.S. military budget of 858 billion dollars, and 45 billion dollars MORE than what President Joe Biden had asked for!

So, for the Democrats and Republicans, there is obviously no “ceiling” when it comes to spending billions upon billions of dollars for war. The U.S. has already spent 50 billion dollars on the war in Ukraine—for that bloody, destructive war, for example. And what are Ukrainians and Russians suffering and dying for, and what are American workers paying for? So that the U.S. can use this war to “weaken Russia,” as U.S. officials have openly declared.

When it comes to spending billions upon billions of dollars for that carnage, all that bloodshed and destruction to weaken a rival country that the U.S. cannot completely control, there is obviously no “ceiling” for the Democrats and Republicans in the Capitol.

But when it comes to the pensions of retired government workers, they say, “We have to stop paying you.” And these hypocrites already have their game plan set. The Democrats, who are actually doing the cuts, will blame the Republicans. And the Republicans, who openly front for the military contractors, will resort to their usual “national security” rhetoric.

If they get away with this kind of game again, we can only count on these politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, to go after their favorite targets also: Social Security, Medicare, aid programs for the poor—what millions of working-class people need to survive in today’s economy, and what these fat Washington politicians shamelessly call “entitlements.”

For decades, uttering all kinds of lies, Republicans and Democrats have kept cutting government programs and services that the population needs: health care, education, the infrastructure. At the same time, they started one war after another around the world and poured billions of dollars into the coffers of military contractors—along with the huge tax breaks they handed out to big companies in the civilian sector.

As the living standard of the working class kept deteriorating, and as more and more workers lost their jobs and homes, the profits of big companies broke one record after another.

Now these politicians want to cut more. And their excuse this time is the debt ceiling. It’s another game the Republicans and Democrats are playing, to cut government services for the working class even more, so they can hand out even more to the class they both represent and serve, the capitalist class.