As a result of the crippled economy and the costs of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments across the country face massive budget crises. The state of California is an example of this, where the state now faces a $54.3 billion deficit. In response to this situation, deep spending cuts to areas like education, infrastructure, health care, and transit have been proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom for next year to “balance the budget” – including a proposal to impose a 10 percent wage cut on state employees.
If the government and the bosses have their way and are able to impose these austerity measures in California and across the country, workers and their children will bear the brunt of these budget cuts – not the One Percent. Among many things, this will mean even lower funding to public schools and universities, meaning even more teachers will be laid off and class sizes will increase. The education system in this country is already in a deep funding crisis. Since 2008, the number of K-12 students has increased by over 1.4 million, while the number of teachers and school workers has decreased by 135,000!
This is how the system of capitalism works – no matter what, we get screwed! We have had to pay with our lives, our health, and our jobs as a result of the government’s inaction in the face of COVID-19, and now we will be expected to live with austerity in the years to come as education, transit, and health care budgets are slashed.
Even though California has more billionaires than almost every country on Earth, taxing the ultra-rich and corporations is not even on the table for the Democrats in state government as a way to fix the deficit. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Newsom has also not proposed to reduce any state law enforcement spending, but wants to cut other things instead!
We need to organize ourselves to demand a budget to meet our needs, and ultimately organize to remove this profit-based system structured in the interests of the One Percent.
featured image credit: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons