Friday, January 18, 2008

Bawl Street: Wall Street Bankers Cry: Make Us Richer

By Joe Sims

With the stock market crashing another 300 points yesterday (Thursday) amid news of a drop off in production and major financial defaults, a major ideological and political struggle is shaping up over how to address the economic crisis. The New York Times reported that this morning the stock market has dropped a full 9 points since the beginning of the year.

At the bottom of this debate is the class struggle over distribution over profits. Wall Street ideologues are arguing for greater tax cuts for the corporate super rich. Labor and democratic circles are stressing the need to provide a stimulus to the economy by extending unemployment benefits or tax rebates to working people as opposed to business.

A column in today’s Wall Street Journal is a striking case in point. In an article titled No Stimulus Gimmicks, Please, Bill Thomas and Alex Brill cry their eyes out in behalf of Wall Street bankers and the super rich. Thomas is the former chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and is now a consultant at the arch conservative, American Enterprise Institute.

The column argues against any bailout of ordinary working-class Americans in favor of a deepening of "relief"for the big bourgeoisie. Incredibly, they attack the current tax system already which heavily favors the rich. The write: "The current tax code - designed to discourage capital accumulation and projected to collect rising levels of revenue in increasingly complex and distortionary ways - does need serious reform."

Can you imagine?

After disparaging earlier tax rebates to working-class Americans, who they write instead of spending the money, saved it (something only rich folks are supposed to do) they laud, not surprisingly Bush’s tax cuts.

Listen to how they talk about it:

"The 2003 tax cut, which has been shown to have delivered a significant positive economic punch, lowered the tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 15%, accelerated the reduction in tax rates on labor, and offered businesses 50% bonus depreciation to stimulate investment. While it took just six months to be enacted, it required tremendous political valor on the part of many, and political strength on the part of others."

"Tremendous valor" and "political strength?" Try rather tremendous "VENOM" and political "Spinelessness."

It’s all about who controls the surplus and to whose benefit it will be put. In the great class and democratic battles that are to come to address the recession and economic crisis, this will be the central question. Who benefits? Capitalists or the working class.

1 comment:

Greg said...

You're right, Joe. The system of private profit is only truly benefitting those at the top. We need a society where the social surplus is used for things like healthcare, housing and education, not private profit. Getting there won't be easy. It'll take years of patient workplace and community organizing and coalition building, among other things. But it can be done.
- Greg