Economic Recovery for Whom?

September 16, 2003

The government keeps telling us that the economy is in recovery. And indeed, production is up and profits are doing well.

Yet unemployment is growing and more than 10 million workers are without jobs. For nearly all workers, wages are stagnant or falling. Every month, tens of thousands of people lose health insurance. Government, at all levels, is slashing social investments in education, housing assistance, income-support programs, Medicaid, etc.

Obviously something is wrong with an economic system and a government which define economic success as a situation in which the standard of living is falling for the majority of the people and tens of millions are denied their most elementary human rights, such as the right to a livelihood, to health care, to decent housing, etc.

And make no mistake about it. Things are going to get worse.

In nearly every sector of the economy, companies are demanding givebacks from the workers -- freezing or cutting wages, slashing health benefits and pensions, eliminating jobs while shifting more and more work onto the shoulders of the employed. The health care crisis is going to intensify; the government will keep letting the schools fall down; etc.

The problem is that the capitalist system is in crisis and the capitalists keep shifting an ever-greater burden of exploitation and misery onto the backs of the people. Under capitalism, the vast productive resources of our country -- built up through generations of labor by the working classes -- are not used for the benefit of the people. Rather they have been usurped and monopolized by a few and are set in motion with the sole aim of maximizing profit. Thus, even though our country has more than enough resources to guarantee the economic rights and well-being of everyone, the capitalist system is unable to meet even the elementary needs of the people.

And the government, rather than assisting the people and guarantying their rights, is putting the entire country at the disposal of the capitalists. While the rich and the corporations pay next to nothing in taxes, the government robs workers' paychecks and turns hundreds of billions of taxpayers' monies over to the Pentagon arms merchants, the big bankers and other capitalist billionaires. The public sector of the economy, including the schools, Medicaid and Medicare, public housing, income-support programs, even Social Security, is under attack. While the government refuses to make the investments necessary to fund these vital programs, it is increasingly privatizing these human services in order to provide even more profits for the corporations.

In the 21st century, in a country with such vast economic resources, it is a crime against humanity that tens of millions of Americans are denied such elementary economic rights as the right to a job or a livelihood, to housing and food, to a modern education, to health care, etc.

The Workers Party says that the economic direction of our country and the economic program of the government must be changed. It can and must be changed by the working class and people coming into the political arena to assert that the economy belongs to us -- that the first claims must go to the working people who create all the wealth and that the very starting point of economic life must be to guarantee the economic rights of the people.