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by Stewart Alexander, 2012 Socialist Party USA Presidential Candidate
The phrase that came to mind immediately upon hearing President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech is “too little, too late.” After spending the last few years coddling the banks and the richest 1%, Obama has the nerve to now call for “economic fairness.” To him, this means tweaking payroll taxes and making a rhetorical call to reverse the Bush tax cuts for the rich. For working people in America real fairness means the right to a job, a guarantee of healthcare for all and an end to the Military Industrial Complex. Obama won’t deliver this. That’s why I am running for President against him.
Job creation has been and will continue to be the most obvious way that Obama has sold out working people throughout America. These decisions were made early on in his administration when he made the conscious decision to pour billions of dollars into the Banks that had funded his campaign instead of using those funds to create an emergency employment program to put people back to work. The result is that Americans have experienced nearly three consecutive years of more than 9% unemployment and nearly double that when those workers who given up looking for jobs are counted. This has meant real human suffering for millions of people.
Although Obama has hailed the recent decline in these same unemployment rates, a closer look at the numbers reveal the hollowness of his claims. Economist Doug Henwood has paged through the Unemployment report and discovered that much of the reduction is due to the effects of holiday seasonal employment and, in particular, a shift to online purchasing for Christmas gifts. Of the 200,000 jobs created in December, some 42,000, or over 1/5, came from the hiring of extra couriers and messengers. Bars, restaurants and healthcare companies picked up the bulk of the rest of the new hires. Hardly the manner in which we want to grow the economy.
The jobs program that the Alexander/Mendoza 2012 campaign is proposing calls for the creation of a Full Employment economy. We have a three-pronged approach. First, we want to create an Emergency Jobs Program that will put millions of workers back to work immediately in fields like environmental cleanup, infrastructure creation and maintenance, and education. Second, we support proposals to publicly fund a worker owned and managed cooperative sector. This will serve to not only put people back to work, but to re-build the manufacturing capacity of our country. Finally, we want to fund job training programs that lead to job sharing or job splitting, where workers will work less yet retain the same amount of pay and benefits.
A serious restructuring of the tax code that allows us to take back the wealth created by our work and accumulated by the 1% is key to funding our job creation plan. We want more than Obama’s proposed payroll tax cut. We deserve more than just reversing Bush’s economically suicidal tax breaks for the rich. We need a radical restructuring of the way in which we think about wealth. The great riches of this society need to be put to use to help us all – to make life better for the 99% and create new opportunities for work, relaxation and community.
This is why we propose creating a progressive tax structure where the rich pay far more than the average working person. In a democratic socialist society neither Obama nor Romney would be allowed to pay an effective tax rate of 26% and 17% respectively. Corporate taxation, financial gains taxes and personal income taxes will be modernized – all loopholes will be closed and the rich will pay a steep tax on their income. This is what economic fairness looks like to a socialist.
If Obama’s proposals for “Economic Fairness” are hard to believe, his attempt to present his Presidency as one of peace is simply a farce. The hands of the Obama administration are dripping with blood. He has approved a brutal Drone war on the people of Pakistan that has resulted in massive civilian casualties. He has accelerated the war in Afghanistan, which has increased casualties among soldiers and terrorized the civilian population driving them into the political arms of the Taliban. And Obama has continued to take an aggressive political stance on Iran thereby moving the country closer to another war.
All this, plus a clear continuation of the Bush era security state policies. Obama’s approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) annihilates centuries of civil rights protections. The President now has the right to indefinitely jail any citizen in the America without having to work within the protections of habeas corpus. Added to the NDAA is the fact that, as I write this, Bradley Manning is rotting in a jail cell. Manning is Obama’s prisoner – a moral testament to the President’s commitment to continue the job of restricting civil liberties.
My campaign is staunchly anti-militarist. This means that I commit to bringing the troops home now through the elimination of all foreign occupations and the closing of all foreign military bases and I aim to dismantle the Military Industrial Complex. My campaign calls for an immediate 50% reduction in military spending. We think that democratic socialism offers the best hope for the creation of a world based on peace and solidarity. Eliminating the security state will move us a long way in that direction. America should be a model for civil liberties not a test case for how many rights can be restricted.
I am writing this also to encourage voters to take a serious look at my campaign. They will find that socialist politics are clearly distinct from the politics of the 1% peddled by politicians such as Obama, Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Under their leadership, the State of the Union is neutered – reduced to an exercise in cheerleading for the politicians that have faithfully towed the line for their corporate benefactors. The proposals of the Alexander/Mendoza campaign are made in the interest of the 99%. We think Americans deserve a clear choice come November. We will be working hard to make that possible. Join us in making a demand for jobs, peace and freedom in 2012!