From the Left: The Sequester: Another attempt by the corporate elite to crush labour
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 01:03
The media has been up in arms recently about the economic sequester that is, as the Republican Party says, an attempt to offset the “reckless spending” of our leaderless and partisan President. Even though the sequester cuts only a mere 3 percent of federal spending – which, in the scope of the nation’s $15.1 trillion GDP and $16.72 trillion federal deficit – is only a drop in the bucket, it represents a particularly dangerous road for us to take if our goal is to balance the federal budget. Despite the fact that the working class’s discretionary income has stayed fairly consistent (and, in some regions and demographics, even dipped), inflation has reduced its economic purchasing power, leaving the middle class with increasingly little influence over the economy. As capitalist-style “tax reform” continues to redistribute wealth upwards, workers have less power to influence the state of the economy. The only other entities with enough purchasing power to impact the state of the economy are: first and foremost, the federal government, with its incredible collective bargaining power accounting for trillions of dollars and millions of participatory taxpayers; and secondly, to a lesser extent, private corporations, who currently sit on over $2.2 trillion unused and untapped assets and armies of lobbyists (nearly five per every one member of Congress).
If individual consumers no longer have the power to impact the economy through their elective expenses, then we need to have the second and third most powerful economic entities take responsibility and do something to defibrillate the American economy. Private corporations have no desire to do so – not only does the Dodge v. Ford Supreme Court case require them to operate in the interests of profiteering shareholders rather than in the economic interests of the community, but they exist to generate profit regardless of their legal obligations.
We cannot trust in the corporate aristocracy to work in the interests of the working class. I am not arguing that we should place our faith in federal institutions rather than corporate ones (indeed, I’m much more a fan of the abolition of the State), but we need to be intellectually honest with ourselves by acknowledging that the federal government has enormous power, and it has the potential to use that power to jump-start the economy.
At the risk of sounding like an angsty, deficit-spending-obsessed Keynesian, we need to use the government’s extraordinary budget to invest in the working class. Gutting the federal budget in such a delicate time is not something that will serve the direct interests of the American middle class.
The sequestration is not a good idea. We should not be pulling billions of dollars out of the economy when our recovery is still so fragile. We should be pumping money into the economy, be investing in the working class and small business, and enacting massive public works programs that hire millions of thousands of American citizens to repair, expand, and modernize our roads, bridges, ports, and infrastructure.
There is nothing about this “sequestration” that involves fiscal responsibility; the entire concept reeks of an overt attempt by the bourgeois class to initiate privatization at all levels under a fabricated illusion of financial collapse. Without these budget cuts, they cry, our debt will skyrocket to a point wherein our interest payments to China will consume our entire budget, and it, along with other foreign powers, will effectively own the rights to our economy. Without this sequestration, they argue, the evil, socialist president that we re-elected (by voter fraud, some right-wingers argue) will increase our debt to consume our entire budget and a second Great Depression will be ushered in by our outrageously left-wing president.
The entire sequestration is the result of an illusion by the corporate aristocracy, who are so financially irresponsible that, instead of claiming responsibility for the Wall Street collapse of 2008, they are willing to create an elaborate illusion of pending economic collapse in order to have the working class shoulder their burden. The sequestration is an attempt to shift the responsibility for our economic woes from the 1 percent to the 99 percent. It is a way for the élite to shift responsibility to the Average Joe through a series of intricate lies about the state of the economy.
No matter what Wall Street says - about the “bankruptcy” of Medicare in the coming years, the shrinking Social Security surplus, the atrocious tax-and-spend policy of our “far-left” President, or the budget-busting cost of our progressive Congress - we are not broke. The United States is not poor; we are not out of money. We have the funds to do anything that we want - the problem is merely that we have chosen to spend our tax-payer dollars in horribly irresponsible ways. Of course, why on Earth should we invest in modern, eco-friendly green energy when we can fund the construction of ten thousand more wartime missiles instead? Why should we spend our money on universal healthcare, comprehensive education, or the mass-repair of our national infrastructure when we can spend it on a bloated Pentagon bureaucracy and imperialist war?
We need to realize that the host of economic reforms that President Obama has passed – from the Affordable Care Act to the Economic Recovery Act – have already begun to pay off and have started to defibrillate our economy. The reckless spending of the previous administrations has hit a critical point wherein its begun to compound at an exponential rate: Nixon’s $ 2 trillion-and-counting “war on drugs” and Bush’s $2.2 trillion “war on terror,” when combined with the post-2001 tax cuts for the rich that constitute 48 percent of our entire federal debt, put Obama’s entire “socialist” agenda to shame. I am not defending the Democratic Party in any sense; it is riddled with internal corruption and financial waste, but we cannot blame the current administration. Our debt is the result of generations of tax-and-spend obsessed bureaucrats, not a single president.