Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Truest statement of the week II

In fact, Biden’s relief package does not establish a single social reform. All of its provisions are temporary, ending by 2022. While they provide welcome cash in the immediate term to some families reeling from the economic impact of the pandemic, they are designed to prevent a collapse in consumer spending until Biden’s back-to-school and back-to-work drive, combined with expanded vaccination of the population, can bring about a revival of economic growth. The cash supplements will go largely to pay back rent and accumulated consumer debt, and then disappear.

With his cash handouts to sections of the working class and middle class, Biden and the forces on Wall Street for which he speaks hope to avert a social explosion amid mounting working class anger over being forced to work under unsafe conditions and mounting social inequality, while carrying forward the brutal ruling class policy of reopening the economy and boosting corporate profits, regardless to cost in human lives.

Hence the accompanying endorsement of the unionization drive at Amazon, aimed at further integrating the unions into the state and using them to suppress working class opposition, combined with the promotion of racial politics to sow divisions within the working class.

The New Deal included a series of large scale public works projects, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, which brought electric power to large parts of the country. It included the Social Security Act, which provided a permanent and universal retirement benefit as a social entitlement. Johnson’s Great Society program, through limited and cut short by the Vietnam War, established Medicare and Medicaid, providing basic health insurance to the elderly and the poor.

Roosevelt’s liberal reforms were not freely given, but wrung from the ruling elite through mass struggles of the working class. Roosevelt represented a faction of the ruling class that understood concessions were necessary to preserve the capitalist system, which was widely discredited as the Great Depression devastated workers. The threat of socialist revolution compelled the ruling class to adopt reformist policies.

 --  Trevon Austin, "Biden begins tour to promote his stimulus package" (WSWS).

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