In times of great crisis and economic uncertainty, our country has turned to its Constitution and state apparatus to “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” which is a fancy way of saying we, as a nation, promise to take care of each other, and defend our sovereignty for ourselves and for all future generations. The phrase “promote the general Welfare” was insisted upon by one of the drafters of the U.S. Constitution, George Mason of Virginia as part of his campaign to insert a “Bill of Rights” into the final draft. This simple phrase defines us as a people and our government as being a government “of the people.”
U.S. representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) while campaigning for the presidency of the United States, campaigned as an anti-imperialist candidate, calling for an end to support for what she described as “regime change” wars. She often said that the United States had a failed foreign policy. She was harshly criticized by the hard-right forces representing some of the biggest capitalist enterprises in the world, who asked her to take a position on the question of “capitalism vs. socialism.’ When confronted with this question, she always said “it’s [capitalism v. socialism] a false narrative because we have aspects of our economy that are capitalistic and aspects that are socialistic.” Her point is that historically in the United States the two are not mutually exclusive. It is the PCUSA’s contention that only by utilizing the socialistic aspects of our current society can this crisis be solved.
We propose to the American people a simple program that calls for U.S. government control of key sectors of our economy that have been badly mismanaged by the profiteers in the private sector. Once again socialist measures are necessary to produce recovery from capitalist plundering and failure as was the case in the Great Depression of 1929. Why should private airline executives get economic bailouts when our own publicly owned U.S. Postal Service is intentionally denied the necessary funding to promote the general welfare of the people? Why should airline executives be rewarded with big government
bailouts for failing businesses? We are not talking about taxpayer bailouts of failing capitalist enterprises like General Motors (GM) as was done in 2008.The GM bailout using our tax dollars was a fraud that cost workers jobs because after GM bosses got their money, they moved production offshore and closed plants here at home. The U.S. government made a deal with the devil and good trade union working-class jobs were lost. No, we are talking about complete takeover of failed businesses by the Federal government to protect the integrity of the economy, and thus the general welfare of society. Workers reward success, not failure! We are talking about and recommending that companies like GM that receive economic hardship funding from the government should be placed directly under the control of U.S. taxpayers: the people of this country.
Our simple program is to require the federal government to take over key industries that the capitalists refer to as the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy.
1. Healthcare: All health care should be run by the federal government. The best example of government run health care are the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals where the facilities are wholly owned by the American people and the employees, the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff, are all Federal workers. A bill was introduced in congress in 2007, H.R. 3000, known as the Josephine Butler United States Health Care Service Act. This bill should be introduced and reconsidered in Congress immediately!
The pharmaceutical industry must be under federal control to prevent price gouging and dishonesty. Everyone should receive Medicare/Medicaid as their insurance, regardless if they already have insurance or not. Their Medicare-Medicaid insurance should be the primary form of payment for all medical issues. No one should be denied care because of an inability to pay. All hospital doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff should receive a federal paycheck so that our taxpayer money can be accounted for.
2. Social Security: Benefits need to be increased. Older Americans and the disabled cannot rely on a one-time payment of $1,200! We need regular monthly payments of $2,000 a month in addition to our regular Social Security benefit.
3. Manufacturing: All manufacturing companies like General Motors (GM), General Electric (GE), 3M, Ford, Chrysler, and all the rest should be taken over by the Federal government by the power of eminent domain and retooled to manufacture needed medical equipment like masks, protective face shields, suits to keep out bacterial contamination, hand sanitizers and soap, etc. The airline industry should be nationalized and properly regulated so that health and safety regulations are followed to protect workers and passengers alike. Contracting out of airline maintenance services should be prohibited so that there is public accountability.
4. Distribution: All distribution centers must be managed by the federal government to ensure that proper health and safety protocols are in place. This is especially true in food distribution centers like Tyson Foods and Smithfield, and JBS where outbreaks of COVID-19 have occurred.
5. All public venues and gatherings must remain closed and prohibited until further notice. Communists believe that all life is precious and until we are safe, we must stay at home and only go out when absolutely necessary. Our slogan is: “Our collective health trumps their wealth.”
EXAMPLES FROM OUR HISTORY
The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919. In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. (CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html )
During the Great Depression of 1929-37 the U.S. government established programs to put people to work on public works projects. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) and its companions, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter on May 18, 1933, to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development to the Tennessee Valley, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were ambitious employment and infrastructure programs created by President Roosevelt in the 1930’s, during the bleakest years of the Great Depression. Over its eight years of existence, the WPA put roughly 8.5 million Americans to work. Perhaps best known for its public works projects, the WPA also sponsored projects in the arts – the agency employed tens of thousands of actors, musicians, writers and other artists. https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/works-progress-administration.
The Works WPA produced are some of the greatest achievements our country has ever seen, from bridges, to roads, to dams to schools and public buildings. The Theater Arts Project produced some of our country’s greatest radio programs, plays, and Broadway shows and provided unemployed actors, musicians, and stagehands with steady employment at a time when “big business” failed.
Only the federal government has the capacity and rapid response structure to provide an effective coordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis. A piecemeal, patchwork, private sector bailout system has failed all of us. We must take swift action now to save lives and prevent economic collapse that will be a greater disaster than what occurred here in the 1930’s. As of this writing, official statistics show that there are 33 million people that have filed for unemployment benefits. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/05/07/unemployment-benefits-3-2-million-file-jobless-claims/5175161002/
The unemployment rate stands at 20%. There is no future for our young people. During the Great Depression the unemployment rate was 25%. Anyone can see where this is headed: a total world economic collapse! A global health crisis! https://www.salon.com/2020/04/23/us-unemployment-rate-approaches-20-economists-say/
Our colleagues at the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) have a saying that is worth repeating here: “A world without workers is impossible, a world without capitalism is necessary.” Workers and our allies must join us in this fight to save humanity. Our choice is between scientific socialism and capitalist barbarity. Which side are you on?
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: PARTY OF COMMUNISTS USA LABOR & ECONOMICS COMMISSION P.O. BOX 741104 LOS ANGELES, CA. 90004 [email protected] https://partyofcommunistsusa.org/content/commissions/labor-commission/