Against the cuts, bosses and politicians will have to be pared down to size!

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8 December 2009

As we go to press, politicians of all parties are overbidding on how much public expenditure should be cut, to reduce the huge public deficit created by Brown's bailout of the bosses' system.

Not one of them, however, has ever criticised this crazy bailout of the same profit sharks whose greed caused the crisis in the first place. And today, not one of them has anything to say against the fact that this bailout carries on, with billions of pounds of public funds being channelled into the coffers of the big companies every week.

Public services - the easy target

Predictably, public services are the first target of the squeeze, especially public sector workers.

In a demagogic announcement, Brown undertook to "name and shame" all public sector managers earning salaries over £150,000/year or bonuses of £50,000 or more.

Ironically, though, if such high-earners exist at all, it is due to the backdoor privatisation introduced by Labour and the Tories over the past decades. For instance, in the NHS, they are direct offshoots of the internal market and hospital trust system which gave private companies direct access to NHS funding. Just as the growing number of highly-paid executives in local government is the direct result of contracting out local services to private sharks, as a result of government policies since the 1980s.

The demagogy of this announcement becomes even more blatant, when the numbers of the individuals concerned is taken into account: just 300 of them, whose total pay represents a mere drop in the ocean of the government budget!

But then, behind a few public sector high-flyers, those who are really targeted are the millions of low-paid public sector workers whose jobs, pay and pensions are already threatened by all parties.

Recently, the Treasury boasted that 75,000 jobs had been cut in the civil service alone, over the past 4 years. These must be added to the tens of thousands of jobs cut more recently in organisations like Royal Mail. And much more are to come now, as most public organisations will have to reduce their budgets by up to 12% in the coming years.

At the same time, cuts in services are beginning to emerge. For instance, the NHS computerised system is to be dropped, despite the billions already spent on it. It would have helped to improve patients' care, but instead, the government is now saying that progress in the NHS involves the use of SMS (texts) to replace mail! Whatever next?

All of this comes at a cost for the working class as a whole - a cost in terms of jobs available and a cost in terms of services. If anyone should be "named and shamed", it is the politicians who are trying to make the majority of the population pay for their bailout of the wealthy!

Against the sharks and their trustees

Darling had the nerve to talk about a "Budget for jobs", because it includes a £2.5bn package to "help" unemployed youth who have been out of work for more than a year, back into a job. Typical of this package is a new kind of "psychological" counselling, supposedly designed to help the unemployed to be more assertive!

What cynical hypocrisy! Even Darling's own massaged figures show that the number of available jobs is shrinking. Ask the 1,700 Corus workers who have just lost their jobs in Teeside, what they think about their prospects of finding another job in an area so devastated by factory closures! The truth is that JobCentres have long ceased to be anything but a mechanism designed to squeeze the jobless off the claimants' count - and that is all the "help" this latest package is designed to provide.

The same cynical hypocrisy presides over the headline announcement that Brown intends to tax the bankers' bonuses. Tax bonuses? But why not put a substantial tax on all the income of the capitalist class - including company profits, shareholders' dividends, directors' salaries and bonuses, profits from speculation, etc... - so that, at least, the beneficiaries of the government's bailouts pay their due share of the burden?

But, of course, these are not the politicians' objectives. Their role, which ever party they belong to, is to help the capitalists to boost their profits, including by encouraging renewed speculation on state funds in the City, not to defend the interests of society as a whole.

Only the working class population has a stake in defending the interests of society as a whole against the greed of the sharks. There and only there, lies the way forward.