March 19, 2017
The last federal election campaign kicked up a lot of dirt about Trump not being allied strongly with traditional (“establishment”) Republican ideas. This served as an attempt to create illusions in the political system and promote the trifle that the Republican party, or at least its more libertarian and protectionist elements, could be a political force sympathetic to the interests of the workers. This meant recycling the old stuff and nonsense of depicting the workers as racist and “backwards,” even while allegedly appealing to them. This stunt was empty and fell on deaf ears. However nothing drives the nails in the coffin of this vulgar propaganda more soundly than the budget proposals being debated in Washington today. Once again, the entire discussion starts from the assumption that – first, last, and always – the profits of the capitalists must be protected.
In the first place, this was a pivot borrowed directly from the capitalist politician playbook. The most famous version being borrowed from the workers’ experience with the so-called “left-wing” of the Democratic Party – which routinely promises to make the rich pay for the needed social investments, even while continuing to shift the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the workers through an increasingly regressive tax system, privatization, and directly reducing the public expenditure earmarked to guarantee economic rights.
If Trump and his party were opponents of the way Obama, and Democratic Party governors and mayors, etc. were spending public monies (as they claim) then he/they would have started by cutting out the trillions that were given to the capitalists in the form of fat contracts, research and development grants, infrastructure investments and over-grown interest payments on the debt. The lives and well-being of the people must come first!!
Of course, it goes without saying that they are not and never could have been real opponents of any of that. They are just as earnest as Obama and his party about doling out public monies to the rich and assisting the capitalists in their pitiless pursuit of more profits. They will do nothing to remedy the bitter fact that the workers foot 75% of the yearly tax bill either.
Today, business as usual goes on in Washington. The traditional budget debate is being played out as always within the narrow confines of a pre-set agenda. Thus, for example, the issue of mass unemployment is reduced to a squabble over privileges or “opportunities” because the inability of capitalism to guarantee jobs for all is taken as an immutable law. So too, the alleged “need” to cut the deficit by slashing social programs is presented as an unquestionable axiom and the people are left to “debate” which programs should be cut.
One of the main aims of this pre-set agenda is to create artificial divisions amongst the people, to fragment the people into various “special interest groups” and to polarize the political atmosphere on the basis of artificial lines and dead-end debates. No space is allowed in which the real interests, aspirations, and program of the people can be developed and presented.
Today, as the crisis of capitalism intensifies and monopoly capital imposes its anti-social agenda on the whole country, the need is for the workers and people to break out of the confines of bourgeois politics and develop the new politics which starts from the workers’ own aims and agenda.
The capitalist politicians must be held accountable for what they did with all the immense resources of the country instead of using them to assign adequate funds to legitimate institutions such as public education. We all know the budget is wasted on government expenditures for surplus goods, mixed government-private enterprises, spending on free research and development for private industry, and outright subsidies to particular industries and conglomerates. However that’s something that the political spokesmen of both parties will always want to evade discussion about and liability for.
Workers need only look at the income side of the ledger to know that the public treasury can more than afford to make the needed social investments to rule out any discussion of any need to cut investments in any of its public responsibilities – whether that be public health, universal public education, or income support for the poor and most vulnerable.