Monday, August 6, 2018

Capitalism is Theft

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Yes capitalism, the vibrant so-called free market. We know it was bailed out through taxpayer money in 2008, dragged from the edge of the abyss by socialist measures. We saw the nationalization of major private concerns by the state, although the capitalist mass media refers to it as "Conservatorship".

The predator in Chief’s trade policies are interesting in that the taxpayer comes to the rescue again forking over $12 billion (we don't get to vote on it) to agribusiness that will be hurt by the tariff wars Trump has started. It could have come from the war budget but that’s sacrilege, it would create unnecessary tension between competing sections of the US ruling class; best use public funds.

Here’s a list of subsidies the oil industry received in 2011 compiled by  Taxpayers For Common Sense.

  • Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit - $31 billion.
  • Intangible Drilling Costs - $8.9 billion.
  • Oil and Gas Royalty Relief - $6.9 billion.
  • Percentage Depletion Allowance - $4.327 billion.
  • Refinery Equipment Deductions - $2.3 billion.
  • Geological and Geophysical Costs Tax Credit - $698 million.
  • Natural Gas Distribution Lines - $500 million.
  • Ultradeepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and other Petroleum Resources R&D - $230 million.
  • Passive Loss Exemption - $105 million.
  • Unconventional Fossil Technology Program - $100 million.
  • Other subsidies - $161 million.

Now Business week reports in its latest issue that the US treasury aims to increase borrowing in the “second half of the year” to “compensate for tax cuts and spending hikes”.  The interest on this new borrowing will be borne by the taxpayer of course and add to the already outrageous $21 trillion national debt the US owes.  As most analysts project, the tax breaks (as always) will benefit the rich as opposed to working people.

As for spending, Congress increased the FY 2018 defense budget to $700 billion—an increase of $108 billion. And since Trump took office, the defense budget will have grown by $133 billion, or 23 percent. Lockheed Martin is doing very well.

As economist Michael Roberts pointed out in his latest commentary,  “According to the IIF, the international research body of major multi-national banks, global debt (including financial sector debt) has reached $247trn, nearly 250% of world GDP”

What a screwed up system we live in. Workers are paid less value in the form of wages (price of labor power) than the value the use of our labor power by the capitalists creates in the form of commodities, which makes it impossible for workers as consumers to buy the commodities our labor power produces. So the capitalists, have an end product that contains labor power they’ve paid for (wages) and labor power they got for free by keeping workers over the time it took to produce those wages in value. But that “surplus value” cannot be realized or released from the commodity and in to the capitalist’s pocket until the commodity is sold.

So the owners of capital and the labor process and its finished product, provide us with capital, wealth they have stolen from workers through this unequal exchange (labor power for wages) so that we can buy from them what we make and they can realize the surplus value that is the source of their wealth.  Not only that, they charge us interest, rather exorbitantly I might add, for the use of this capital we create,----“our” collective wealth.

This debt, and the global debt crisis that Roberts points out above, is placed at the feet of the working class in form of declining living standards and public services. At some point, the debt becomes unsustainable and the whole system crashes. We are moving closer to that global scenario daily. The whole system is very inefficient and wasteful apart from being violent and exploitative.

This can’t be the end of civilization as Fukuyama claimed.

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