Saturday, February 10, 2018

US Senate Budget Deal. More War, More Debt.

Trump making America great again
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I met a young guy last night that I had previously met only briefly. He was a military veteran and was in the Marines and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan I think. He was very angry at the direction US society was headed. He talked of wasted American lives in these military actions but also stressed the millions of others that die as a result of them. He was a modest person, not a bighead and openly expressed that he was not as well informed as he would like to be but he had come from being a right wing gung ho supporter of US foreign policy to where he is now, ashamed and angry at the situation.

We have ongoing discussions in our Facts For Working People weekly discussions about the Economic, political and social crisis that is engulfing US capitalism. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx likened the giant economic and social forces of capitalism that were rising around him to, ”…. the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.”

That was true then, and it is even more acutely so now. The laws of the system are powerful forces and are wreaking havoc once again.  In response to the crash in 2008 the more cultured and astute representative of capitalism in the White House, Barack Obama, turned to the working class for a bailout and dragged their system from the edge of the abyss. Here we are a decade later and the sorcerer returns.

Trump signed a two-year budget deal yesterday that averted a government shutdown, increased government spending $300 billion for the Pentagon and other programs and by most sober estimates will raise the US public debt to 100% of GDP over the next ten years. Along with this of course is the $1.trillion tax cut, increased welfare for the military industrial complex, increased welfare for the 1%. The Committee For a Responsible Budget analysis quoted in the Financial Times claims that If the temporary policies in yesterday’s deal and the tax cuts passed last year are made permanent, the deficit will reach $2,1 trillion by 2027. Capitalism offers young people no future. War, poverty, misery and environmental catastrophe is what it offers.

It is no wonder the US working class is disgusted with government. The hypocrisy is evident for all to see. The Republicans slammed Obama for his bailing out of the system last time but their fiscal stimulus is even greater. Rand Paul, the Libertarian calls Republicans out for their hypocrisy being the so-called party of fiscal conservatism, yet he voted for the tax cuts for the rich himself---- just two months ago. They are scum these people.

Naturally, the politicians of capital claim the “biggest culprit” is social welfare programs that are, “spiraling out of control”. That US capitalism produces more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the world. That we have military installations in more than 180 countries and prop up all sorts of nefarious characters in the world paid for in the form of reduced living standards and social services, get not a mention. Happy with the increase in the military budget, the Pentagon is planning to spend some of it by sending more troops to Asia. New  “…heavily armed versatile Marine Corps Expeditionary Units” will be sent to East Asia and the Middle East as a response to “growing Chinese Influence”, U.S. military officials tell the Wall Street Journal.

Marx explained that debt allows capitalism to temporarily go beyond its limits. But at some point the economy, like a rubber band, will snap back. The debt has to be repaid in some way. And for the US working class that means increased cuts in social services limited as they are, and a general increase in austerity measures. It will be the working class that will pay for this crises. The two political parties of capital agree with this and only squabble over degrees of pain as they vie with each other for the right to govern and the opportunity to plunder the US and the world for another four years.

The richest US citizens are doing OK amid growing corporate profits.  An indication of things getting better for them is the increased demand for private jets with used ones costing $20 million or more.  In a piece on rising private jet demand, the WSJ gives an example of an owner of a Dallas-based real estate firm who also owns vineyards in California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma County. He was renting jets during the downturn but thanks to the new tax rules he can buy one again because “I tend to travel at odd hours and got to places that commercial aircraft don’t cover well”   

Very handy those changes in tax rules. Now companies “…..can write off 100% of the cost of a plane in the first year after purchase through at least 2023” the Journal explains.”  The taxpayer holds it all up---- We have to get these parasites of our backs.

The frustration and anger the young veteran above expressed must surely be widespread in the US military, it certainly is in society as a whole. Racism and sexism are alive and well in the military and some 40% of the military are minorities.  The level of demoralization and anger will at some point burst more in to the open and that alone will have a huge affect on society in general fueling the social crisis further.  All three major crisis, the political, economic and social are beginning to merge closer together.

A little more on labor and strikes later.

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