PRESIDENT OBAMA’S annual State of the Union speech was dominated by the internal situation of US capitalism, and his search for Republican partners to tackle the fantastic indebtedness of US capitalism which requires a great new war, this time a class war against the US workers, tackling its gains such as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as lowering wages, to make the US attractive to capitalists seeking big profits.
He began by stating: ‘Fifty-one years ago, John F Kennedy declared to this chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress”.’
utting on his rose coloured spectacles he declared, while standing on the edge of the ‘Fiscal Cliff’: ‘So, together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger.’
However he warned: ‘But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs – but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs – but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged. . . It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love.’
He wants to repair the shattered ‘American dream’.
He said of the US people: ‘But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can.’
He outlined: ‘Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1% of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilise our finances. Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how?’
He continued: ‘In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardise our military readiness. They’d devastate priorities like education, and energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.’
Obama added: ‘Now, some in Congress have proposed preventing only the defence cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse.’
He conceded: ‘Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of healthcare for an aging population.’
He continued: ‘On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of healthcare savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.’
He added: ‘But let’s be clear, deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan.
‘Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. . .’ He pledged ‘Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no-one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. We should be able to get that done.’
Raising the minimum wage to around £6 an hour, less than the ‘living wage’ in London, will allow the big combines to cut wages to this ‘new’ minimum, and open new plants paying this ‘minimum’ to ‘rebuild the US economy’.
Faced with taking on the giant US working class, President Obama is pleading with the Republicans to take their stand with him.
He leaves the US workers and their trade unions with little alternative but to break with the Democrats and form a Labour Party, dedicated to putting an end to capitalism and achieving socialism in the USA.