U.S. Economy Hijacked

The Chicago Socialist Party, with which, despite being based some 6000 kms away, Spectre has strong links, issued this “Statement on the Economic Crisis” on September 16th, 2001.

In case you thought watching those buildings explode and crumble wasn’t bad enough, now we have to worry about keeping our jobs. Did the hijackers do in the U.S. economy, too? No - the economy was a wreck before this horrible tragedy. More than one million jobs have been terminated so far this year (through August), and with the stock market going crazy, there’s no end in sight.

As bad as those hijackers were, a few fanatics determined to blow something up are not enough to cause an economic recession or depression. The big airlines, for example, were going down the tubes before all this.

Now they’re laying off pilots and flight attendants and ground crew like there’s no tomorrow and blaming the terrorists when it was really there own bad management. And the U.S. government is going to pay out billions in tax dollars to the airlines to cover their losses.

Does any of this money go to the laid-off employees? Nope. Not a dime.

Big layoffs in the airlines, and in transport, travel, entertainment, high-tech, retail and other industries are hitting working people hard.

What happened? A few years ago the economy was booming and jobs were easy to get, even if wages were still crappy. The boom was caused by big corporations who bought and sold big computer networks and cellular phone systems and cable TV and HMOs and everything else. Big corporations were also making a ton of money selling this stuff to brand new markets, in Asia and Eastern Europe and Latin America, and building big factories there because wages are much, much less. They speculated and gambled that the good times would be never-ending. Stock prices went through the roof.

Then the bubble burst, in the U.S. and everywhere else. Big Business built too many factories and web sites and made too many computers and SUVs and cell phones and internet gadgets, and couldn’t sell them no matter how cheap. The markets dried up.

You don’t have to be a socialist to see that the bosses of the big corporations are using this horrible tragedy to cut jobs to the bone.

Shame on them for using the heartbreak in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania for their own economic self-interest, and shame on them for destroying the livelihoods of more than a million regular working people in the U.S. this year alone.

(And this doesn’t count all the jobs lost in outside of the U.S., in places like Mexico and Malaysia and Russia. These folks have it even worse, because wages there were much lower to start.)

We think the government ought to pay that money to the airline workers and others who lost their jobs, not to the CEOs and big shareholders who are responsible for this mess. We think that instead of just talking about national unity, the company presidents and big bankers ought to take a giant pay cut, and make the same wages as their own hourly workers.

The pilots and flight attendants and baggage handlers and jet mechanics deserve secure jobs with decent wages and benefits. We all do.

September 17, 2001