USA: making the rich richer and the poor poorer since 1776 Ruthless Criticism

2011 leaflet on Wisconsin protests

Let’s make the rich richer and the poor poorer –
that’s the American dream!

America is open 24/7, business is earning money, and to do so it is offering lousy paying jobs, even if not in the amounts desired. Many Americans see – three years after the meltdown on Wall Street – that business is not back to normal and, according to many, that’s a bad thing. They think that the rich have a responsibility which they refuse for no reason: to provide jobs. After all, the rich are the ones who hold the means for it – money – and that gives them an obligation:

“Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich—and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response, and vital human services. We demand an end to the attacks on worker's rights and public services across the country. We demand investment, to create decent jobs for the millions of people who desperately want to work. And we demand that the rich and powerful pay their fair share. We are all Wisconsin. We are all Americans.” –, Call to Rally to Save the American Dream

This is, to say the least, a surprising conclusion after 200 years of business in America. It is surprising because it isn’t exactly a mystery what business offers jobs for. They buy labor to make a profit. And as long as there is a possibility of this, rest assured that the entrepreneurs will not overlook it. For profit, there can never be enough work. And for the same goal, they will also stop buying work. The reason should be well known: work is offered and wages are paid so that those with money make more money. That means that wages are always a cost, a minus from profit, and that’s why they need to be constantly reduced. Businesses all over the world seek and need labor at a price low enough to promote their economic growth. This much-praised competition is felt in shrinking paychecks and an ever growing amount of work for those who still have jobs.

The media explains to everybody, over and over again, that the price of labor hinders business and is therefore too high. This applies to the spending that is necessary before people begin working life, because they need education; after it, because they need a pension; and during it, because they need health care – their need to make ends meet is a constant threat and a burden to the competitiveness of business and the state budget, which also profits from this exploitation. For the success of business and the states that organize it, the livelihood of the worker is nothing but a drain.

And this is the American Dream! Shouldn’t the opposite conclusion be drawn – that it’s really an endless nightmare to be dependent on this demand to earn wealth for others? Instead, there’s a cry for jobs and the accusation that the rich are reluctant to invest. Besides the questionable idea that investment means more jobs – maybe they’ll invest in new machinery to replace paid labor – it should be clear: business invests in their American dream of having others enrich them. Economic growth requires more profits produced at lower costs, and relatively less money in the hands of those who have to live on their wages.

The call by MoveOn and their union endorsers doesn’t criticize the purpose of profit-making, but instead criticizes the corporations and the rich for not making use of people’s labor to make profits. But business doesn’t need to be reminded that there is a world to profit from. One should not pretend that this is an obligation; it is an opportunity for those who want to become richer. It is certainly not an opportunity for those who need to make a living; for them, it’s a necessity. Making a living and making profits do not go well together. Why is this equation worth fighting for? It constantly produces reasons for the opposite!

Just listen to the gospel of all democratic leaders. They define a crisis not as a problem “we the people” have trying to survive on an income. No, for them the crisis is the trouble that business has continuing to grow. And for this, the order of the day is to give companies the incentives they need: less taxes and cheaper labor – proving once again that people’s livelihoods are an obstacle to be overcome. This is not a problem for responsible politicians. They will rush to help and impoverish as much as they can. Of course, Democrats in their more benevolent way, while Republicans scream for their base: it is high time that public servants pay their dues, since the Democrats already stripped benefits from the private sector. They all know what’s good for business: expanding wealth is not to be jeopardized and wasted simply on the needs of the people.