Economics and Politics

February 4, 2003

Despite the rosy predictions of economists and the solemn assurances of the politicians, the economic problems facing the people keep getting worse, not better.

The recession continues and millions of workers remain unemployed and underemployed even while the "safety net" of income-support programs is all-but-shredded. With health insurance premiums rising and employers slashing health benefits, tens of millions of people cannot afford decent health care. Again, corporate cutbacks as well as outright thievery have devoured the pensions of millions of seniors. The schools are falling down and the younger generation is growing up with little or no prospects.

And what further stands out is that in this situation, the government, rather than helping, is making matters worse. Federal, state and local governments keep slashing essential public services, including Medicare and Medicaid, public education, public housing, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, welfare, etc.

Why? Because the Republican and Democratic party politicians are taking the workers' tax dollars and giving them away to the Pentagon arms merchants and other big capitalists.

In other words, the capitalist class is relying on its political power and government to protect its profits while shifting an ever-greater burden of misery onto the people. And make no mistake about it, things are going to continue to go from bad to worse!

The workers have no way out except by developing their own independent political movement and challenging the power of the capitalists.

As a starting point, we must come out to demand:

- an end to the militarization of the economy;

- an end to the robbery of the public treasury by the big monopolies;

- full funding for public services and the public sector of the economy;

- ironclad guarantees for all the economic rights of the people, including the right to a secure livelihood, the right to free, comprehensive health care, to a modern education, to food, clothing and shelter.

This is an excellent starting point for bringing about a fundamental change in the economic life of our country, so that the rights and needs of the people come first, not the profits and privileges of a few.