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Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

US: Historic swindle against working people

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“If Wall Street gets away with this, it will represent an historic swindle of the American public – all sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims.” This is how William Greider described the Wall Street bailout.

The whole capitalist system is in chaos as the financial implosion now threatens to become a depression. For working people, this comes on top of years of stagnant wages, the loss of millions of good jobs, a wave of home repossessions and price gouging for petrol and food.

The crisis was caused by the capitalists themselves. Their greed for profit has destabilised the entire system. All the arguments about the market “solving problems” are now exposed as Wall Street begs for more taxpayer bailouts.

The hypocrisy of the Washington political establishment is breathtaking. With elections looming, yesterday’s cheerleaders of financial deregulation and tax cuts have suddenly transformed into the defenders of ‘Main Street’ against the criminals elites of Wall Street.

Every time working people, unions or community groups demand better wages, benefits or social services, these corporate politicians have told us: “We can’t afford it.” Now the government is authorising up to a trillion dollars (maybe much more) to buy up the bad debts of Wall Street banksters. This money should instead be used to guarantee healthcare, housing, childcare, education, and living wage for everyone.

They claim bailing out the financial elite is necessary to prevent economic disaster for working people. However, even Congressional Democrats are demanding nothing more than token reforms on Wall Street in return for the largest corporate welfare handout in US history. Wall Street and the big banks have been exposed as a den of speculation and corruption. They are the most powerful lobby in Washington, and have financed the careers of countless politicians, Obama and McCain among them.

In reality, this bailout plan has nothing to do with ensuring the economic security of working people, and everything to do with propping up their system of exploitation and profiteering at our expense. Even the cheerleaders for the bailout acknowledge that it won’t prevent millions of families having their homes repossessed. They also admit it won’t stop rising unemployment and inflation.

That is why big business and the politicians they fund refuse to spend taxpayer money where it would really benefit the economy; on cancelling the debts of homeowners, students, and working people generally; on job creating public works programs to build schools, hospitals, clean energy infrastructure, and other social needs. We need to fight back. Working people have the power to stop this massive swindle.

We can win our demands, but we have to organise. We can’t depend on corporate politicians, be they Democrat or Republican. McCain has been a supporter of unregulated markets for decades. Obama’s failure to put forward a concrete program shows that he too is tied to Wall Street and to the capitalist system rather than trying to deal with the problems of ordinary people.

Many commentators have correctly called the Wall Street bailouts “socialism for the rich.” But this has nothing to do with genuine democratic socialism which is the real alternative to the crisis-ridden capitalist system. Democratic socialism is a system that would put the interests of the majority of working people before the interests and obscene profits of the financial oligarchy.

By SP reporters