John Kerry's "Trickle-Down Economics"

August 24, 2004

George Bush and the Republicans openly flaunt their loyalty to the capitalist class and their eagerness to use the power of government to help the rich get richer at the expense of the rest of us.

Yet John Kerry and the Democrats, even though they advertise themselves as "friends of the workers," are just as loyal to the capitalists as the Republicans.

To begin with, let us not forget that during the Clinton years, Kerry enthusiastically supported NAFTA and the so-called "welfare reform" which drastically slashed income-support programs for the poor and most vulnerable.

Let us not forget that all across the country, Democratic governors and mayors have been in the forefront of slashing public investments in education, in health care, in income-support programs and other vital social services.

During the elections, Kerry and the Democrats are campaigning largely on a promise to help the workers by "putting jobs first." But the real program of the Democrats tells a different story.

The Democrats' election platform, approved at their recent national convention, explains the Democrats' economic philosophy like this: "We believe the private sector, not government, is the engine of economic growth and job creation."

The Democratic platform then goes on to outline a series of governmental measures to give the private sector more and more capital to "encourage" business to create new jobs. The Democrats promise to make "our businesses more competitive" and "speed the growth of new industries" by setting up government-funded "investment corporations to give small and medium-sized businesses access to capital." The Democrats also promise to increase government funding for corporate research and infrastructure.

Yet more. While lavishing billions in government funds on the private sector, the Democrats simultaneously plan to cut taxes for the capitalists. The platform promises: "Under John Kerry and John Edwards, 99 percent of American businesses will pay lower taxes than today."

In other words, Kerry and the Democrats plan to take billions of dollars accumulated by the government through taxes on the working people and use these monies not to give jobs or income-support to the workers but to give business more capital. Again, our country's social capital is being turned over to a handful of private owners. Thus the Democrats entire "job creation" program is another replay of the "trickle down" economics made infamous by the Republicans.

This "trickle down" economics is a double and triple fraud. In the first place, providing the capitalists with investment funds, research and development grants, tax breaks, etc. will not create jobs but rather result in more unemployment. This is because the capitalists invest in new technology and equipment with the precise motive of sweating more and more work out of fewer and fewer workers. The capitalist goal is not to create jobs but to increase profits by increasing the exploitation of the workers.

Furthermore, Kerry's "trickle down" economics turns truth upsidedown. It is not the capitalists who create economic growth and jobs. It is the labor of the workers which produces all the wealth of the country.

The capitalist economic system is nothing but a system of organized class privilege. By granting a handful of private businesses ownership over the country's means of production, capitalism enables these owners to exploit the labor of the workers and control the economic life of the country. Kerry and the Democrats, just like the Republicans, wield the power of government to arbitrarily strengthen this system of privilege and turn even more of the country's economy over to the capitalists.

In opposition to the "trickle down" economics of Kerry and Bush, the economic program of the working class goes directly against the power and privilege of capital. The workers demand that the economic resources of the country must be directly in service of the people and that the first principle and very motive of economic life must be to guarantee the economic rights and well-being of everyone, including the right to a job or a livelihood, to free, comprehensive health care, the best possible education, etc.