July 13, 2011

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The US jobs crisis The austerity measures implemented at all levels of the government have already had a disastrous impact on the economy. Federal, state and local governments have slashed two thirds of a million personnel over the past year. In the midst of the greatest jobs crisis since the Great Depression, there is no section of the political establishment or either of the major political parties that supports public works projects or any other measures to put people to work. Nor are there any proposals to provide relief for those being driven into poverty or those losing their homes to foreclosure. In the name of deficit reduction, the entire political establishment is demanding that the full cost of the failure of American and world capitalism be borne by the working class. There is no opposition to this policy of social counterrevolution from the trade unions or their allies among the liberals and the middle-class ex-left organizations. These forces, which represent well-off layers of the upper middle class, remain adamant supporters of Obama and are preparing to back his reelection campaign. They are indifferent and indeed hostile to the interests of the working class. For them, unemployment is a non-issue. The prospect of permanent mass unemployment stands as an unanswerable indictment of the capitalist system. This is not simply an American issue. In country after country, governments, under the whip of the banks, are cutting jobs, slashing wages and eliminating social programs. Each cut only paves the way for the next round of even...
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Claiming the Republican agenda as his own | SocialistWorker.org Now Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has proposed a complicated "Plan B," which involves giving Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling with a minority of votes in Congress in three separate installments, as long as he proposes spending cuts to offset the increase. McConnell said he made the proposal to calm financial markets alarmed by the prospect of a U.S. government default on its debt. But since spending cuts wouldn't be mandatory under the McConnell plan, it isn't clear if House Republicans will go along with the deal. Given the pressure from Wall Street and big business to avoid a potentially catastrophic default, the McConnell proposal may go through. This would move the budget fight to a series of debates over appropriations bills in Congress over the rest of the year. But by offering a "grand bargain" to Republicans, Obama has already done incalculable political damage. He has legitimized the idea of cuts to Social Security and Medicare--big cuts. After decades of being the "third rail of American politics," as the cliché went, Social Security is now slated for the chopping block, thanks to a liberal Democratic president. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - THE SIZE of the cuts Obama was willing to give up to Republicans as part of the debt-ceiling negotiations is staggering. According to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, Obama's offer included a two-year increase in the eligibility age for the Medicare health program...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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