Governor Perry: Dumb, But Not Crazy

medical problemsThe world may be shaking its head (again) at the Governor of Texas, but his stand against implementing the Affordable Care Act and helping provide health care for millions of Texans is neither an empty gesture nor an isolated case of bravado. It's part of a worldwide strategy to rob and cheat the working class while diverting more of the world's wealth to the upper levels.

A quick look at developments in Spain (and other countries) exemplifies the general strategy of the ruling classes. On July 19, Spain's parliament passed a new round of austerity measures designed to reduce its budget deficit by approximately 65 billion euros ($79.8 billion) by 2015, AP reported. The measures, which include [regressive] sales tax increases and civil servant wage cuts, sparked anti-austerity protests involving hundreds of thousands of Spaniards in cities throughout the country.

An increase in sales taxes, by the way, does not hurt the rich. It hurts the poor, who spend their entire income on necessities and thus pay sales taxes with every cent that passes through their hands.

Spain is just one example. The same thing is going on in Greece, Ireland, Italy, and the United States.

Among other things, austerity is:

1. The effort to cut Social Security
2. The effort to reduce wages
3. The [highly successful] effort to get rid of pensions altogether
4. The efforts to undercut unions
5. The fiscal crisis in local governments that causes more increases in regressive taxation
6. The effort to reduce people's right to health care
7. Refusing to do anything about rampant unemployment
8. Refusing to pay unemployment benefits

And other crimes that are being perpetrated even while the ruling class raises its demand for more tax cuts and corporate welfare! Control of the nation's wealth has dramatically piled up at the rich end of the spectrum, while working people get less and less of the wealth we have made.

What's the answer?

In the short run, the immediate answer is "tax the rich." Reverse the trend and let working people have a larger share of the total wealth. This is a program that, thanks to the pile of facts, is already understood by many workers and can help galvanize a collective and strong response.

It may be temporary, but France's new social democratic government is giving it a try. France’s lower parliamentary house passed a revised budget for 2012 that will raise 7.2 billion euro (about $8.8 billion) by implementing taxes that target corporations and wealthy citizens, AP reported July 20. President Obama's idea of letting the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy lapse goes in this direction.

What's the real answer?

In the long run, even this attempt to reverse the economic flow of wealth is a stopgap measure. Everything that workers win under capitalism is temporary and has to be won over and over. The only long-term real answer is to remove the capitalists from power.

--Jim Lane