A NEW Gallup poll survey shows that 14% of American households describe poverty wages and the cost of healthcare as their most important financial problems, as the American dream continues to turn into a nightmare for the working class and the poor of the USA, in spite of the empty boast that the worst of the crisis is over.
Nine per cent of US households mention having ‘not enough money to pay debts’ and 8 per cent name ‘college expenses’ as their top most important money woes, the poll found.
‘For Americans earning $75,000 or more a year, retirement savings, college expenses and healthcare costs rank as the most important financial problems,’ Gallup said.
‘Among lower-income Americans, retirement savings and college expenses are less important. Healthcare costs, however, have double-digit-percentage support across the board,’ it added.
The former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers told The Wall Street Journal last Thursday that the American economy continues to face serious challenges in restoring strong long-term growth and is in danger of experiencing a damaging ‘secular stagnation’.
Wage growth for employed Americans has been stagnant, underscoring the job market’s lack of real growth.
Although businesses are creating jobs, many of them are part-time or temporary positions and the proportion of Americans considered to be long-term unemployed remains unusually high. The minimum wage in many states is just $7 an hour, while millions of workers are demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour, and are taking mass strike actions to achieve it.
The labour force participation rate, the percentage of the working age population who either have a job or are looking for one, dropped to 62.7 per cent in December – a 36-year low!
Even Obama in his State of the Union speech had to deliver a damning indictment of US policy in the first 15 years of the new century saying: ‘We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.’ For many but not for all – the bankers and bosses were saved from the crisis by the US president using up trillions of taxpayers money!
He pleaded: ‘Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?’
He had to admit: ‘Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave. Forty-three million. Think about that. And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.’
He pledged: ‘So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let’s put it to a vote right here in Washington. Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It’s the right thing to do.’
However the President’s pledges aren’t serious since he no longer has a majority. He used up all his credibility spending billions of dollars bailing out the banks and the motor industry bosses – all he has now are empty words,which are not fooling the US working class.
They know in Ferguson and other places that the full force of the US state will be thrown at them the moment they start really fighting for their basic rights, and that the Democratic Party is not for them.
The time has come when the requirement of the masses of the US workers is that the trade unions break with the Democrats to form a Labour party that will place the US workers alongside the workers of the world in the struggle for socialism.
The short period of US exceptionalism is over. In fact the time has arrived for the building of a section of the Fourth International in the USA to politically guide the struggle for the Socialist United States of America!