From the politicians and the media, we are told the worst of the crisis is over and the economy is recovering. We are supposed to be relieved by the record-breaking profits of U.S. banks and corporations. Meanwhile, unemployment has still not improved, average wages of workers have gone down, yearly foreclosures are still increasing, and now across the country in nearly every state, budget deficits are being used as the excuse to further attack workers.
The reality is the only reason profits have increased so much is precisely because the lives of workers have been squeezed even more. With fewer workers, lower wages, more budget cuts – money is being transferred from our pockets right into the accounts of the biggest banks and corporations.
Record Profits and Tax Cuts
- In 2010, banks and corporations made the largest profits ever recorded in U.S. history, over $1.68 trillion.
- 2010 bank profits totaled over $76 billion, the highest since 2007.
- In 2010, Goldman Sachs paid out $16 billion in employee bonuses.
- In 2011, ExxonMobil made a first-quarter profit of $10.7 billion, a 70 percent increase from last year while Shell made $9 billion, a 60 percent increase.
- Amidst these record profits, the Obama administration has proposed to pass further tax cuts for banks and corporations. Their latest proposal would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. For 2010, this would mean giving corporations an additional $168 billion in tax cuts.
Unemployment and Wage Cuts
- The government claims the unemployment rate has not decreased and continues to remain at nine or ten percent.
- In actuality, the rate is as high as 25 percent when including any worker who is out of work or is looking for more work but can’t find any.
- The number of people who filed new applications for unemployment benefits increased by 43,000 last week to 474,000, the highest level in almost nine months.
- Over eight million people received some kind of unemployment benefits in April, 2011.
- On average, there at least six applicants for every new job opening.
- In the first quarter of 2011, hourly wages of workers fell by the largest amount in three years, by 2.5 percent.
- The amount of work each worker does has increased 18 percent since 2008, the highest increase since 1947.
The Housing Crisis Continues
- As banks make record profits and continue to pay enormous bonuses, the number of annual foreclosures has steadily increased.
- There are an average of six vacant units for every single person who is homeless.
|2011||3.44 million (estimated)|
We Don’t Have to Pay for Their Crisis!
Clearly the only solution to the crisis the banks, corporations and their politicians have is to make workers pay for it. The question is – how long we will let them get away with it?