As the effects of this economic crisis are being shoved in the faces of workers, the ruling rich have never been richer. Last week, the third quarter profits of U.S. banks and corporations were published. Together banks and corporations earned at a rate of $1.7 trillion per year – this is the highest rate of profit ever recorded in U.S. history, since records began being kept 60 years ago.
This means that banks and corporations are earning the most money they have ever made right now, during what is the worst period of most workers’ lives. Clearly there is something horribly wrong with this picture.
What’s wrong with this picture is that banks and corporations aren’t actually earning anything – they’re stealing it. All across the country, in workplace after workplace, the wealth is being stolen from the pockets of working people and handed over to the corporations. Our lives are being made worse so the bosses can get richer.
The news media will say the source of these profits is what’s called “productivity.” This is just a technical word for theft. Every worker knows what productivity means – it means we do more work without getting paid for it. The boss fires workers – no one is replaced and we do more work. Workers are forced to retire – no one is replaced and we do more work. Workers call in sick – no one else is replaced and we do more work. Every extra cent of profit is there only because we did more work and never got paid for it.
At the same time as workers are doing more work, many of us are actually getting paid even less to do it. Whether it’s direct wage cuts, cuts in vacation pay, cuts in sick days, or cuts in benefits – bosses are not only forcing us to do more work, but are paying us even less to do it. Their profits are going up because they are stealing bigger parts of our wages from us.
The more workers bosses can layoff, the more ammunition they think they have to use against us. At every workplace, we hear the bosses’ same threats: “hundreds of people out there are desperate to do your work for even less; so, you’re lucky you even have a job – now shut up and work.”
On top of the theft of our wages, the bosses are stealing our tax dollars too. In every state in the country, spending is being slashed in services working people rely on, like health care and education, and being handed out in tax cuts to the bosses. It’s the same on the federal level – our money is being handed over as bailouts and tax cuts to the bankers and bosses.
If there ever was any room to wonder who benefits from this kind of an economic system –there’s no room anymore; it’s as clear as day. This system benefits one class of people – the class of the ruling rich bankers and bosses. And this class makes its wealth by ripping off the vast majority of people – the workers, the people who do the daily work of making society run. Not only that – but the more work they can push onto us, and the poorer they can make us, the richer they get.
So, as we struggle to get by on less and less – the rich are the richest they have ever been. This is not an accident – this is the daily functioning of the economic system we live under. And right now, we are experiencing the bosses’ solution to the economic crisis – to steal from us, to make our lives worse, to make us pay. So our lives are not going to improve by waiting around for the bosses and their politicians to do something for us. Clearly that strategy isn’t working.
If we don’t want to pay for their economic crisis, if we don’t want to be robbed of our wages, of our future, of our livelihood – we’re going to have to put up a fight.