Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Biden - The fake savior


It takes a genuine Marxist economist to place Biden's policies into real perspective, not the progressive liberal sycophants of reformism. 

Paul Mattick Jnr. writes in Brooklyn Rail   describes Biden’s spending plans "if they make it through the legislative grinder" as "actually pretty thin gruel."

2.25 trillion dollars to be spent over eight years amounts to less than 300 billion dollars a year, less than half of the Pentagon budget alone for 2020. Biden's administration is beefing up its military in response to the “Chinese threat,” with a military budget request exceeding that in Trump’s 2020 budget by 1.7 percent. And Biden plans to increase troop strength in Germany, to counter the "Russian threat". There’s going to be money for hypersonic missiles, space war, and other gadgets, along with “nuclear modernization” (building “improved” nuclear weapons). Meanwhile, the administration has maintained the Trump policy of stocking non-self-deactivating landmines, declaring them “a vital tool in conventional warfare.”

The spending proposed to combat climate change under the proposed infrastructure bill is about one eighth (or one tenth) the generally estimated minimum necessary to counter the worst effects of the damage already done to the environment, compared to the approximately half of GDP poured into constructing and using the machinery of mass killing and destruction after 1942.

"...the money has to come from somewhere, and at this point some of it—if only to pay the interest on borrowing—has to come from the pockets of rich people. But rich people can hardly be expected to like this, however enthusiastic about “fixing America” they may be. The plan to raise the corporate tax rate a little, from 21 to 28 percent (it was 35 percent before the 2017 tax cut) has a direct impact on them, because personal wealth now features the ownership of stock, whose prices corporations use their untaxed income to boost..."

Mattick disillusions many leftists in the Democratic Party. 

"...The idea of the Biden Plan as a second coming of the New Deal has even brought with it a wistful wish for the revival of labor unions—though not for anything as radical as raising the federal minimum wage to 15 dollars over the next five years...The idea that Amazon’s victory was due to the efforts at intimidation the company undoubtedly practiced is ridiculous, given the history of successful union drives in the 1930s and ’40s in the teeth of armed (and shooting) police and murderous company goons. Whatever the thinking of the Bessemer workers, only half of whom bothered to vote, it is as if they understand that present conditions are very different from those of the great union drives of the past..."

He also reminds readers that FDR was no workers' savior and it was war-time conditions not the president who presented workers with organisational advantages. 

The conclusion reached by Paul Mattick is that working people  "...have no idea of a viable alternative to the existing social system. But very many, at least, understand that the current state of affairs is not tenable..."

But all is not lost.

"...So long as people and the earth remain, [a] recurrent will for life suggests the possibility of a future decisively different from the past..."

Paul Mattick's full article can be read here:

Back to the Future? – The Brooklyn Rail

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