Commentary :: Labor & Class
Working people relying on stimulus checks, coins and lotto
The platforms of the Socialist Party USA and Peace and Freedom Party outline fundamental approaches that will promote economic policy that will benefit working people. Both socialist parties are rejecting the economic strategies of the Democrats, Republicans, and their candidates; advancing U.S. imperialism and waging war is not the answer for our economy that is now in economic free fall.
Stewart A. Alexander
Nominee for Vice President Socialist Party USA
Candidate for Vice President Peace and Freedom Party
June 16, 2008
During the month of February, President George W. Bush announced to the nation that the U.S. government was preparing to issue more than $160 billion to millions of Americans as a means to help stimulate the sagging U.S. economy. Thomas Lee, a resident of Lake Elsinore, California responded to the president’s announcement like millions of Americans nationwide; with joy and excitement.
Thomas Lee had calculated that his family of four would receive a check for $1,800; looking forward to the extra money, Thomas made plans to take a mini vacation, to include a little gambling, and to purchase some things for his two girls.
Four months later, Thomas is not doing much better than the U.S. economy; working as an automobile sales consultant, Thomas is earning less than what his wife earns as a school bus driver. Now that gasoline prices are hovering above $4.50 per gallon, his planned mini vacation has been put on hold. Thomas says his new plan is to stay at home and to get a few things done around the house.
Millions of working people are waking up to the harsh reality that the Bush stimulus package is not working and that the U.S. economy is already in a recession. Many economic indicators are revealing that the economy is in serious trouble. Just last week the U.S. Labor Department reported the lost of 49,000 jobs for the month of May, it was the highest lost of jobs since 1986; and as inflation continues to spread, the cost of energy and food will continue to weaken the U.S. economy.
Working people are struggling to survive under the leadership of the Democrats and Republicans and the signs are everywhere. Recently, as I entered the local State Bros. Market, in Murrieta, California, I observed a woman depositing her coin savings into a Coin Star Center. Over the past two years, some local television stations have publicized how coins are easily deposited into the Coin Star Center to offer customers the convenience of redeeming cash. As I returned to the check-out, there were three people in line at the Coin Star Center and two others filling out their lottery tickets at a near-by lottery station. This is a by-product of modern day capitalism.
Within the past few days, President Bush announced that his administration is exploring other measures that may help to stimulate the U.S. economy. The $168 billion stimulus package has failed to energize the weak U.S. economy, while more and more working people are facing job loss, foreclosures, evictions, automobile repossession, depleted savings and an uncertain future. President Bush has refused to accept the one option that would stimulate the U.S. economy and restore world peace, and that would be to end the U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the United States approaches the final six months of the Bush administration, there will not be any creative programs that will reverse the economic set backs of the past seven and a half years; and the Democrats and Republicans, Barack Obama and John McCain are only the representatives for the corporate ruling class. Both parties and both candidates are firmly committed to advancing U.S. imperialism and protecting the interest of the few over the needs of the many.
Socialists believe it is necessary to transform our entire U.S. economic system from capitalism to socialism; a system that will establish a new social and economic order in which workers and community members will take responsibility for and control of their interpersonal relationships, their neighborhoods, their local governments, and the production and distribution of all goods and services; that program can be found in the National Platform of the Socialist Party USA and the Platform of Peace and Freedom Party.
Millions of working people do not understand that capitalism only benefit the capitalists and will never offer working people any long term benefits. Below, I am presenting an economic plan that was introduced in February 2008; this plan has been design to meet the needs of working people; this plan has been modified to address critical needs.
First, we must end the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars, whose tremendous cost is not offset by taxes, are the immediate cause of the weakness of the dollar, skyrocketing oil prices, and the widening trade deficit, as well as being a pointless waste of precious lives.
We must put an end to the present housing market crisis; the weak measures that have been taken by the Democrats and Republicans are not enough. The federal government needs to take action to protect the millions of Americans that could lose their homes in 2008 and 2009, and shift the cost of this disaster from working people to the financial operators who created the problem.
An immediate change in tax policy must reverse the trend of the last thirty years of shifting the tax burden to those least able to pay. Income taxes should end on individuals earning less than $60,000 annually and couples earning less than $100,000 annually, and increased federal taxes on those with incomes in the millions, who pay less proportionately than they have for a century; this would replace tax revenues.
A real national rebuilding program is needed. The federal government must invest $3 trillion within the next five years and a total of $5 trillion over the next decade to rebuild the nation’s utilities, communications, and rail infrastructure, refurbish public buildings, strengthen bridges, and repair low income housing across America.
The federal government must invest in constructing low income housing, providing jobs for low income families and providing good paying jobs for women and men.
The federal government must develop programs to relieve working people from the tremendous debt burden that modern capitalism constantly creates. We need universal health care, free education for college students, a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all working people, and full comprehensive assistance for the aging.
See Basic Income Earth Network: www.basicincome.org/bien/pdf/Flash51.pdf
The laws that tilt the scales against union organizing need to be repealed or changed; this will free millions of workers to fight effectively for better wages, hours and working conditions.
To break the stranglehold of the big energy corporations and associated financial institutions on our government and economy, natural resources including oil must be brought under public ownership and democratically managed by the people, not controlled and owned by private corporations.
Public transportation, electric cars and hydrogen vehicles must be developed to meet the needs of our people in the 21st Century. This will not be fully accomplished without public ownership of the economy under democratic management, as only in this way can the drive for private profit at the expense of society and the environment will be defeated.
The platforms of the Socialist Party USA and Peace and Freedom Party outline similar approaches that will promote economic policy that will benefit working people. Both socialist parties are rejecting the economic strategies of the Democrats and Republicans, and their candidates; advancing U.S. imperialism and waging war is not the answer for our economy that is now in economic free fall.
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander; Socialist: Federal tax relief package is welfare for billionaires; U.S. Federal tax relief vanishing at the pumps.