Urban mass transit is but one example that deserves attention. A huge kerfuffle exists around mass transit over who should pay for it and who profits from its delivery and operation and the production of its fixed assets in subways, trains, roads, bridges and buses. The working class is forced to pay large fares to travel to and from work, to and from school and to and from shopping when this necessity is not a means of consumption but a means of production, and payment should come from the economy itself and its sectors and enterprises and not individuals.
Mass transit exists as means of production serving the economy. How would workers go to and from work without mass transit in the metropolitan regions? The other sectors and enterprises of the economy need to buy workers' capacity to work and for the most part that means those workers must present themselves at a place of work for their use-value to be consumed.
How would students travel to and from schools, colleges and universities without mass transit? Education is crucial to the modern socialized economy. Education raises the level of the capacity to work of individual workers and the working class as a whole to what sectors and enterprises in the modern economy demand.
How would shoppers go to and from the major stores without mass transit? Mass transit is also seen as necessary for a modern economy to combat the negative consequences of the car culture and pollution, and reduce congestion and delays while travelling, which are obstacles to productivity of workers and the efficient transport of goods.
Mass transit is a form of means of production that all productive forces should view as such and pay for in the course of pursuing their business similar to any other fixed and circulating means of production, such as machines, buildings, parts, minerals, electricity, water, sewage and waste services.
The role of mass transit as means of consumption for the people is minimal to non-existent. Even most recreation requires going to and from a business such as a professional sports venue, restaurant, theatre or amusement park. This means individuals should not pay for mass transit or any other infrastructure that exists mainly as means of production for the economy.
The large urban economy cannot function without its means of production in the form of mass transit. Private businesses must recognize and realize by proper payment in an exchange of value for how much each sector and enterprise consumes of the means of production of mass transit, both fixed and circulating value and all the other public services and infrastructure the economy needs to function.
Also starkly revealing in Rattner's lament that "Regardless, taxes need to go up" is his refusal to even mention the largest and most unproductive, parasitic and draining program spending of all -- the U.S. military, spy agencies and other institutions of the immense police powers of U.S. imperialism.
NYT: [...] On the spending side, unfortunately, taking a hard look at the entitlements programs is essential. I'm not suggesting eviscerating them, but ideas like modestly raising the retirement age or scaling benefits based on need should be explored. Even implementing all these adjustments won't prudently provide room for expansive new social programs. Adopting those would require still tougher choices about raising taxes and trimming spending.
Comment: The anti-social offensive to serve powerful private interests and class privilege is where Rattner's backward and outdated thinking ends up. This anti-social outlook is directed at attacking the rights people possess by virtue of being human.
For example, eliminating universality, or "scaling benefits based on need" as he puts it, is a way to weaken, if not destroy, social programs that realize the right to education and health care for all. Once a social program as a reform faces competition from the private sector, such as private education or private health care, the rich abandon the public sector in favour of the more privileged private sector, where they receive preferential treatment based on possession of social wealth. This leads to the degrading of the public sector because the rich ruling elite have no need for the public service and resent any money being directed at it, which besides, they argue, should be made available for pay-the-rich schemes.
Rattner's suggestion of "trimming spending" on social programs, "taking a hard look at the entitlements programs" and "scaling benefits" is a recipe for the anti-social offensive.
The imperialist outlook refuses to recognize the problems facing modern humanity, let alone show any interest in resolving them in a manner that favours the people. Working people themselves must organize and prepare their own forces, institutions and consciousness to deal with the problems they and society face. These problems and their resolution revolve around questions of who controls political power, who decides how the issues and problems affecting people and society should be resolved and in whose interest, and how modern enlightened people affirm in practice the rights they possess by virtue of being human.
The refusal to pay for the social value produced by social programs, public services and infrastructure allows other sectors and enterprises in the economy to consume the value without directly paying for it in most cases. This greatly weakens social programs and their extended reproduction and hinders their capacity to guarantee the well-being and rights of the people.
This final part of this article contains excerpts from and comments on a third New York Times article:
All": The Impossible Dream,"
NYT: Medicare for All only works if politicians ruthlessly enforce spending cuts.
Comment: The article begins with a brutal assertion: social programs drain funds from each other and from the productive sectors of the economy. Brooks contends that the only way to guarantee the right to health care for all is to deny other rights. He poses the problem of affirming the right of all to health care and other social programs as a lack of money. This view derives in part from the conception that social problems such as poverty, homelessness and the power of the ruling elite to deprive people of their right to health care and education and other rights are not results of the prevailing social conditions and human relations, and the actions of the financial oligarchy and its state to block the working class from modernizing those conditions and relations but rather a lack of money.
NYT: [...] So single-payer health care, or in our case "Medicare for all," is worth taking seriously. I've just never understood how we get from here to there.
Comment: Brooks postures as someone in favour of Medicare for all rather than being in outright opposition. From this position he finds the concept "worth taking seriously" but cannot understand how to bring it into being. He then blocks discussion on how to move forward by dismissing as impossible even the hesitant steps and views of several cartel U.S. politicians on the issue. He becomes the flip side of the same coin as those political forces completely opposed to affirming the modern rights of all. Together they seek to stop any development of public opinion on how to build the New.
Medicare for all in essence should encapsulate the concept of health care for all as a modern right. Brooks reduces this to "single-payer health care" where the public treasury buys the social value created within the privately-controlled health care sector but receives nothing in return when that value is consumed in the economy. For his version of Medicare for all as a public single-payer insurance system to exist, it must suck funds from other social programs and the public treasury because the single-payer insurance system has no other source of income.
This misconception or misrepresentation of the economy and in particular the health care sector hinders people from viewing the problem as it poses itself as one of guaranteeing health care for all as a modern right and that the health care sector adds value to the economy and in no way drains value from it. His view attempts to block people from taking action to force resolution of the problem. It obscures the health care sector's vital contribution, interconnection and relation with other sectors of the economy and enterprises, and how all the productive parts must enter into exchange with and realize each other's value.
Brooks is being disingenuous by saying he has "never understood how we get from here to there." He does not understand because he does not want to understand. He does not want to take the first step from here to there. The first step -- the first action taken -- upon reflection would reveal the next step and the next in the journey from here to there.
To "get from here to there," the aim has to be to "get from here to there" as an imperative, to affirm the right of all to health care and to advance along the path of affirming all the rights people have by virtue of being human. This requires building public opinion in this direction and creating the forms for people's empowerment so they can build the New.
Brooks substitutes the objective world, where health care for all is a right that must be affirmed, with his lack of understanding of how to get there. He makes the issue one of not understanding when in fact he understands all too well within his own outdated outlook of refusing to affirm the rights of all. This outlook leads him to deny the objective necessity of affirming the right of all to health care and complain of not knowing how to "get from here to there." To bolster his refusal to recognize the necessity to affirm the right of all to health care he concocts a mental construct of a public single-payer insurance system to pay for health care value, and in conjunction with his view of health care producing no realizable value, becomes dumbstruck when, according to the public accounts, not enough public funds are available, forcing the government to increase taxation and "ruthlessly enforce spending cuts."
Brooks asserts that social programs such as health care and education drain funds from each other and from productive sectors of the economy. Steal from Peter to pay Paul becomes his mantra and explanation for his refusal to recognize the necessity of the objective world to affirm the right of all to health care. Brooks attempts to drag his readers into his outlook, aim and lack of understanding, where no alternative is possible.
The outlook is not to affirm the rights of all because that would require changing the social conditions and direction of the economy, including how people relate to one another within it. This he does not want to do because the ruling elite are satisfied with their social being, class privilege and relations of production, which they dominate and do not want disturbed. Their social being of privilege and wealth blinds them to the recognition of necessity.
Brooks is determined to convince others not to think about any alternative, or even worse, step out boldly in acts of conscious participation in finding out how to "get from here to there" by acting upon the modern aim of affirming the rights of all and taking that first step.
NYT: [...] Despite differences between individual proposals, the broad outlines of Medicare for all are easy to grasp. We'd take the money we're spending on private health insurance and private health care, and we'd shift it over to the federal government through higher taxes in some form.
Then, since health care would be a public monopoly, the government could set prices and force health care providers to accept current Medicare payment rates.
Comment: Interesting that Brooks first makes the issue not understanding "how we get from here to there" yet suddenly emerges as an expert declaring "the broad outlines of Medicare for all are easy to grasp." He then proceeds to tell us what those outlines are, which stumble from a lack of money.
Brooks makes Medicare for all about money and the need to shift it around from one social program to another by having "politicians ruthlessly enforce spending cuts" and increase taxation. With this, the principle and aim of affirming rights are obscured and submerged in the problem of how to shift "spending on private health insurance and private health care [...] over to the federal government through higher taxes" and "ruthlessly enforce spending cuts."
Brooks does not see or rather refuses to see how absurd his line of lack of money in the health care sector becomes. Why would all these private companies be involved in the health care industry for decades if they are up against a lack of money? Private interests and enterprises dominate the entire U.S. health care system, most importantly hospitals, medical clinics, hospital supplies, pharmaceuticals, laboratories and insurance companies. Shifting spending from private to public to buy the privately-controlled health care value does not change the aim of that industry from one of making as much money as possible in the fastest time to one of affirming the right of all to health care. In fact it would strengthen the right of the private health care companies, except the insurance companies, to guarantee their aim to make as much profit as possible because public funds would underwrite their aim.
Those who own and control the health care enterprises enrich themselves by expropriating profit from the added-value health care workers produce in all their divisions. Payment for the value their workers produce mainly comes now from "private health insurance and private health care." Obviously, this arrangement has not solved the problem of guaranteeing the right of all to health care. The refusal to change the social conditions and human relations to guarantee the right of all to health care stems from the social being and outlook of those in control of the economy, state, media and politics, those who profit from the current conditions and are determined to defend their class privilege at the expense of working people, the economy and society.
A step forward in affirming the right of all to health care requires moving the health care industry from its current aim of maximum profits for private interests to the modern aim of affirming the right of all to health care. The private interests in control have shown concretely that the issue is not one of lack of money or the need to cut spending on other social programs, as they have been enriching themselves for decades on the value their health care workers produce. Those decades of taking private profit out of the health care sector have not affirmed the right of all to health care, as the social conditions clearly reveal. It proves that a lack of money is not the problem in the health care sector but rather the outdated aim and relations of production.
The money to increase investments to affirm the right of all to health care has always been available from the added-value health care workers produce. A consistent problem has been the expropriation of this added-value by the private interests in control who then take much of the value out of the sector.
In fact, many of the private enterprises in the health care sector would welcome a change to a public single-payer insurance system as one that would not only guarantee their current profits but would extend their potential gross income to the tens of millions of people who now cannot afford private health care or do not have private or company-supplied health insurance or their insurance is inadequate and does not include essentials such as pharmaceuticals and certain treatments or has restrictions on coverage.
To change the conditions within the industry so that it can affirm the right of all to health care requires two significant changes amongst others:
- using the sector's own added-value for extended reproduction, which requires wresting control of health care away from those in the financial oligarchy who currently dominate all aspects of the sector and expropriate the produced added-value to serve their private interests; and
- adopting measures that assure other sectors and enterprises in the entire economy realize (buy) the produced health care value (broadly speaking the capacity to work of a healthy and educated working class capable of working and reproducing itself) in a proper exchange of value and hand over the realized value in money to the health care enterprises and institutions that produced it or, in the event those enterprises remain in private hands, make payments directly to the public single-payer insurance enterprise, which then reimburses the private health care enterprises.
Brooks raises the spectre of having to bring in "higher taxes" and "ruthlessly enforce spending cuts" in other programs to pay for Medicare for all. He looks at the health care sector and Medicare for all in a very narrow way that includes only public guarantees of spending within a "single-payer system" of public insurance where taxes and possibly individual premiums and user fees are the only source of income for the public insurance company. He excludes any direct payments to the public insurance single-payer company from enterprises that use and consume the social value embedded in their employees.
In this truncated concept, public spending for health care faces the daunting task of paying the full price of production to the private enterprises for goods and services throughout the sector, including health care delivery at hospitals and medical clinics, nursing and seniors' care homes, hospital supplies, pharmaceuticals and laboratories. The single-payer public insurance system is expected to accomplish this realization of production without benefiting from the added-value workers produce in the sector and without receiving payment from those enterprises and sectors in the economy that consume the value produced within the health care sector which is, broadly speaking, the capacity to work of a healthy and educated working class capable of working and reproducing itself.
This is not a conscious first step in an act to affirm the right of all to health care that the suddenly expert Brooks is proposing, but a backward step to pay-the-rich by making spending on health care public, but keeping the entire sector under private control and not receiving any money in return for the social health care value that all enterprises consume within the economy. This puts the burden on the public treasury for the realization (payment) of the full price of production of privately-controlled and produced goods and services within the health care sector, which includes profit from the added-value. Brooks' version of a public single-payer system is denied any subsequent payment in return for the health care value contained within the working class and its capacity to work when bought from the labour market and subsequently used and consumed in work-time.
His public single-payer system is forced to take money from general tax revenue to pay for social value workers produce who work for the private health care enterprises and then see that social value handed to the enterprises in the economy that consume it without the single-payer public insurance system or public treasury receiving in return any direct payment from those enterprises for what should be a proper exchange of a commodity for money.
NYT: [...] If this version of Medicare for all worked as planned, everybody would be insured, health care usage would rise sharply because it would be free, without even a co-payment, and America would spend less over all on health care.
It sounds good. But the trick is in the transition.
Comment: Companies now purchase most private health insurance for their employees along with co-payments from their workers. Brooks says, "We'd take the money we're spending on private health insurance and [...] shift it over to the federal government through higher taxes in some form." The "we" doing the spending or paying at this time is mostly companies buying private health insurance for their employees, usually with co-payments. He proposes shifting or eliminating the private health insurance companies and turning their businesses over to a public single-payer enterprise. But through sleight of hand, he also proposes shifting the paying for health care insurance from the companies, the "we" which presently buy most of the private health insurance, over to the federal government that would have to raise taxes to do so and "ruthlessly enforce spending cuts."
Many enterprises would welcome this transition as it would free them from directly paying for private health insurance for their employees. In this case, the switch to a public single-payer insurance system would entail using mostly public funds from general government revenue, bolstered with user fees and individual health premiums rather than direct payments from companies. It should be noted in this scenario that the global monopolies, which now pay for private health insurance for their employees are notorious for evading corporate taxes. Taxation in its many forms is now mostly individual rather than coming directly from production and circulation of value at enterprises in the socialized economy.
The delivery in the U.S. of an almost completely privatized health care system through single-payer public insurance would immediately confront the necessity to pay for the value produced within the privately-owned and controlled hospitals, medical clinics, nursing and senior care homes, labs, and for pharmaceuticals and other goods and services.
Many immediately question this concept from Brooks that completely frees companies from paying for public single-payer health care insurance. Why would Brooks and others not at least propose that companies should continue paying into the single-payer system in the same way and rate they are currently paying for private health care insurance?
Such a reform, if it wants to be taken seriously as a positive reform, which favours the people, could simply shift the company payments for private insurance into the single-payer public insurance system and eliminate all individual co-payments and other forms of private insurance and health care payments. All individuals would be covered equally within the public health insurance system without discrimination based on wealth.
Those medium and large companies currently not contributing anything for their employees' private health insurance would be enrolled as well into the single-payer insurance system and be required to pay their pro-rated share. For example, those companies employing over 20 workers or reaching a certain threshold of annual gross income would be enrolled and required to pay a pro-rated public health insurance amount directly into the plan. This would include health insurance payments from the head offices of all state-wide and national chains such as Starbucks, Subway and McDonald's, not from the individual franchises or outlets. With this surge of income into the single-payer system well beyond what even private health insurance now receives, the only federal public funds required would be to make up whatever shortfall emerges in the initial stage once Medicare for all is extended to all those presently not covered. As the change takes hold, the full amount to make the single-payer plan universal and equal for all without privilege or discrimination based on wealth or any other consideration could be calculated and the amount companies pay adjusted on an annual basis eliminating any necessity for tax revenue.
Such a step forward would also open up discussion on the necessity to make the entire health care industry public and allow the added-value health care workers produce to be reinvested in the sector. The plan could then be fine-tuned to make it more exact in how much social value companies are directly consuming and required to realize, and the amount needed to ensure the health of all the people from birth to passing away.
With the growth of public health care, the social value realized could be returned directly to the public health care enterprises where health care workers themselves could become expert on assessing how much value they produce, where the value is used and consumed, and how much more should be invested to properly fulfil their role in guaranteeing health care for all as a right at the most advanced level. It would also stimulate discussion of the necessity to do the same in all social divisions, such as to fulfil the right of education for all to the highest level desired.
Regarding the private health insurance companies, they have no role to play in affirming the right to health care. They are obvious parasites that should be eliminated, with their employees transitioned to other employment. In fact, those in control of the private health care industry feed on the added-value workers produce rather than allowing it to be used to strengthen the sector. Those in control of the sector block much of the added-value from being invested in extended reproduction and where health care workers themselves determine as most necessary to solve pressing health problems. The people must face the reality of the modern socialized economy and the necessity for change with courage and determination to forge a new direction in a forthright way if the rights of all are to be affirmed as they must and that working people themselves gain control of their economy and the social product they produce.
On the front of doctors, Brooks paints a dark future and through fearmongering attempts to mobilize medical professionals against any movement or discussion towards public opinion supporting Medicare for all in any form. He suggests a public monopoly on insurance payments could mean hardships for doctors and other health professionals. Brooks writes, "[Doctor] salary losses would differ by specialty, but imagine you came out of med school saddled with debt and learn that your payments [from his version of a public single-payer insurance system] are going to be down by, say 30 per cent. Similar shocks would ripple to other health care workers."
The right of education for all is presently denied. Youth from the working class cannot afford medical school and other higher education without taking on tremendous debt to the financial oligarchy. Brooks uses the denial of the right of all to education and the current reality of suffocating student debt to block aspiring health professionals from participating in developing public opinion to affirm the right of all to health care, and education for that matter.
Adding to his list of impediments to taking any step forward and to further blunt the development of public opinion to affirm the right to health care, Brooks suggests the U.S. people themselves would be traumatized by change away from the current private health care and insurance system because, "Americans are more decentralized, diverse and individualistic than people in the nations with single-payer systems. They are more suspicious of centralized government and tend to dislike higher taxes." In this way, he poses a certain consciousness and lack of understanding in opposition to modern definitions and rights and to the development of public opinion in a pro-social direction.
Understanding and a corresponding consciousness develop in acts of finding out the solutions for existing problems through acts of solving those problems in practice. The broad areas of acts of finding out are the struggle for production, class struggle and scientific experimentation. If human beings throughout their development refused to solve the problems confronting them because of a lack of understanding or it offended their existing consciousness, many problems would have remained unsolved, greatly hindering their advance. Similar to everything else, human understanding and consciousness are in constant change, development and motion.
To solve the problems confronting humanity requires actions with analysis not diversions and superficial laments how difficult or impossible this may be according to our current understanding or how much solving the problems may offend a certain consciousness. Today the human factor/social consciousness is necessary to change the world towards social responsibility on all fronts. The human factor/social consciousness is constrained by imperialist consciousness. The starting point is to step forward to solve the problems confronting humanity through acts of conscious participation in acts of finding out.
NYT: [...] The [Bernie] Sanders plan would increase federal spending by about $32.6 trillion over its first 10 years, according to a Mercatus Center study. [...] That kind of sticker shock is why a plan for single-payer in Vermont collapsed in 2014 and why Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected one in 2016. It's why legislators in California killed one. In this plan, the taxes are upfront, the purported savings are down the line.
Once they learn that Medicare for all would eliminate private insurance and raise taxes, only 37 per cent of Americans support it, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. In 2010, Republicans scored an enormous electoral victory because voters feared that the government was taking over their health care, even though Obamacare really didn't. Now, under Medicare for all, it really would. This seems like an excellent way to re-elect Donald Trump.
Comment: Brooks' words are part of a scaremongering campaign to kill a social program before it starts and prevent any discussion as to what steps could be taken to solve an existing social problem in a way that favours the people. Brooks pretends to be in support of some sort of Medicare for all but presents the payment for the program in a distorted and apocalyptic way as harming the people and not assisting them. This is done to ensure favourable public opinion for a program to solve problems in the health care sector does not develop. His examples of voting results rejecting particular single-payer systems are meant to confirm his thesis that nothing can be done.
This attack on Medicare for all arises from a deep-seated aim of the ruling elite not to affirm the rights of all on any front. From this they refuse to accept the truth that most social programs produce value for the overall economy and its many sectors and enterprises. The private interests in control of the economy, enterprises and politics of the country do not want to pay for socially-produced value embedded in working people as that would transfer social wealth in a general way from the financial oligarchy to the people, in addition to improving the lives of many.
The affirmation of rights that the people possess by virtue of being human entails, in practice, a certain transfer of the social wealth the working people produce, from the financial oligarchy to the people. Through social programs, working people generally claim more of the new value workers produce, as social reproduced-value, while the financial oligarchy expropriates less added-value. The anti-social offensive of the past two decades has meant a reduction in the claim of working people for both social and individual reproduced-value and an increase in the amount of added-value the financial oligarchy expropriates as enterprise profit, interest profit, rent profit and executive profit.
Within this situation, those who control the social wealth and politics must see some sort of benefit for their private interests if they are to support a particular social program or public service, or be forced to give in to the demands of the working people for increased investments in social programs through mass political mobilization of the working people who demand the affirmation of their rights and nothing less.
NYT: The government would also have to transition. Medicare for all works only if politicians ruthlessly enforce those spending cuts. But in our system of government, members of Congress are terrible at fiscal discipline. They are quick to cater to special interest groups, terrible at saying no. To make single-payer really work, we'd probably have to scrap the U.S. Congress and move to a more centralized parliamentary system.
Comment: Brooks admits private interests dominate politics and Congress. However, if the problem were really an absence of a "centralized" system, the U.S. is almost there with power now concentrated more than ever in the President and the executive branch and its police powers. The problem is not Congress or lack of centralization of power but private political control of the entire system and the necessity for democratic renewal through empowerment of the people and new forms of governing and a modern constitution.
Brooks repeats his line to "ruthlessly enforce those spending cuts." He refers specifically to social programs and does not address spending on the military as something that should be cut. The U.S. House of Representatives approved a two-year federal budget of $2.78 trillion on July 25, that was then passed by the Senate on August 1 and signed into law by President Trump on August 2. Military spending receives the absolute majority of budgeted funds at $1.48 trillion while the entire rest of discretionary government spending, including Veterans Affairs receives $1.3 trillion. Two hundred and nineteen House Democrats and 65 Republicans voted to approve the budget. It should be noted that all but two cartel party politicians, who have expressed a policy objective for Medicare for all, voted for the war economy budget, including yes votes from Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ro Khanna who is co-chairperson of Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.
The problem of rights poses itself in a straightforward way, something the ruling elite refuse to face or even discuss. Most social programs represent rights of the people in one way or another that the economy and society must guarantee in practice and which the current socialized productive forces of industrial mass production are quite capable of fulfilling. If private interests and enterprises stand in the way of satisfying those rights, they should be swept aside.
The necessity to affirm rights presents the working class with the task of building its own institutions, advanced social consciousness, democratic personality and mass movement for change through actions with analysis separate from and in contradiction with the financial oligarchy and its institutions, state and imperialist consciousness and agenda.
NYT: [...] If America were a blank slate, Medicare for all would be a plausible policy, but we are not a blank slate. At this point, the easiest way to get to a single-payer system would probably be to go back to 1776 and undo that whole American Revolution thing.
Comment: Not "undo that whole American Revolution thing" but move it forward into the modern world with a new constitution and political forms that guarantee the rights of the people and empower them to govern themselves and control those affairs that affect their lives.
Brooks asserts that Medicare for all is not to guarantee the right of all to health care but to bring in his own particular version of "a single-payer system." He debases the positive reform by making increased taxes the issue rather than finding ways to bring a reform into being that clearly favours the people. His assertion is based on the false assumption that the goal or aim of Medicare for all is his own mental construct of a single-payer system that would drain funds from other programs and would require spending cuts for other social programs, increased individual taxation, user fees and health care premiums. That is wrong. The aim is to guarantee health care as a right for all and to find a way forward to solve this problem in practice.
The social value produced in the health care system, which is essentially the consistent and continuing capacity to work of healthy human beings, has to be realized by other sectors and enterprises in the economy. How to do that is a problem that could be solved within a reform of the present economic system and should be taken up for solution immediately. Brooks declares that the original U.S. constitution and its political institutions are not suitable for bringing in such a reform. He seems to imply that people in the U.S. have not made any advance since 1776 and the original constitution. Such an assumption would negate the Civil War, the civil rights movement, the broad development of the working class movement, the victory over fascism and militarism of the Second World War, and the existence of a consistent anti-war consciousness and desire for political empowerment and the affirmation of rights.
The reform to bring in Medicare for all is possible within the present political arrangement through mass political mobilization of the people to affirm the right to health care. Instead of assisting in developing public opinion in such a direction, Brooks and the New York Times consistently throw up roadblocks.
He raises the red herring or diversion that another style of government is needed, "a more centralized parliamentary system" within the same basic form and content of the existing state and constitution that serves the interests of the ruling financial oligarchy. What he suggests has nothing to do with "go[ing] back to 1776 and undo[ing] that whole American Revolution thing." He suggests this as a cheap joke to prove how impossible affirming rights is within the current system, which he has no interest in changing or challenging just as he has no interest in changing or challenging his class privilege, social being and imperialist consciousness, and affirming the right to health care for all.
The ruling elite in the U.S. have zero interest in a revolutionary restructuring of the system to put the people in power and make them sovereign. They want to keep the people subjects of an artificial person of state who is the sovereign police power ruling over the people on behalf of the most powerful private interests, the financial oligarchy.
The issue is not to "undo that whole American Revolution thing" but to move the political thinking, constitution and institutions into the 21st century with revolutionary new forms and content on every front making the people sovereign through their political empowerment.
The fight to affirm the right of all to health care is a front of struggle along the path to fundamental revolutionary change. Working people must organize their own independent institutions within the present to gain control over their own social wealth, thinking and agenda, and engage in constant struggles to affirm their rights and develop their collective strength, empowerment, social consciousness and democratic personality. The struggles in the here and now serve the collective and individual interests of the working people in defence of their rights in the present by raising up their material, cultural and spiritual well-being. Importantly, the battles to affirm rights in the present when consistently fought with their own thinking, theory and organizations also prepare the working people, their consciousness, leadership and democratic personality for the coming revolutionary storms so they are able to guide the mass movement in a direction to ensure the economy, politics and society are transformed consciously with modern definitions and new forms in conformity with the advanced productive forces and social conditions.
Imperialism is the highest and final stage in the
period of transition from small scale production to industrial mass
production before the coming necessary revolutionary change in the
relations of production to bring them into conformity with the
socialized nature of the modern productive forces.
- the trend of the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer;
- the trend towards a war economy, greater global arms sales and the instigation of regional wars and ever larger wars, and the destruction of those nations the big powers, especially those U.S. imperialism cannot control;
- the trend of the concentration and control of social wealth in fewer hands and the use of that greater social wealth to expand their control globally and to hire police and military mercenaries and bribe political representatives to serve their private interests and attack competitors and working people;
- the trend of more aggressive competition amongst the global cartels degenerating into reactionary civil war and other wars as they fight to dominate all public and state institutions globally and make them serve their private interests;
- the trend of the uneven development of the productive forces under imperialism leading to inter-imperialist war for control of the international working class, markets, economic sectors, natural resources, and regions, and the use of economic sanctions and blockades to strengthen the control of the U.S.-led imperialist system of states and punish all those who refuse to submit;
- the trend of intensifying struggles of the working class to defend its rights and standards of living and to change the direction of the economy and revolutionize the relations of production bringing them into conformity with the socialized productive forces of industrial mass production.
The rich becoming richer and the concentration and control of social wealth in fewer hands can be seen in the dictate of those in control of private monopolies and public institutions attacking the workers' movement and exerting downward pressure on wages, benefits, pensions and working conditions. It can be seen in the cutbacks of public spending on those social programs and public services that favour the people, and directing the private and public sectors of the economy to pay the rich. It can be seen in the continuing wars of aggression, especially those of U.S. imperialism against other nations and its economic wars using sanctions and blockades against all who do not bow down to its will and takeover.
The financial oligarchy now controls almost all social wealth in the economy whether it directly owns it or not. The pension and saving funds of the people are under the control of the financial oligarchy, which uses them for its narrow private interests. It controls as well the public borrowing and debts of governments at all levels, using them as sources of guaranteed additional private wealth. It also controls the public revenue of all levels of government and uses those public monies for its private benefit and war economy. Much of the public revenue withdrawn from social programs now flows routinely from the public treasuries of all levels of government to the most powerful enterprises and global cartels as pay-the-rich schemes handing public monies and contracts to the most dominant private interests as subsidies, research grants, guaranteed government contracts, public-private partnerships, government loans to private enterprise that are subsequently written off without repayment such as with the auto sector, and government buyouts such as the Canadian federal government purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. In countless other ways the entire economy is geared towards paying the rich and their expropriation of the new value working people produce.
To affirm the right to health care is an aspect of the struggle for political empowerment and democratic renewal in preparation for the revolutionary transformation of the relations of production to free the socialized productive forces from the destructive grip of the financial oligarchy and its constant wars, crises and wrecking, and place them under the control and direction of the working people.
The New York Times says Paul Krugman joined the paper in 1999 as an Op-Ed columnist. He is a professor at City University of New York and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. In 2008, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded to Mr. Krugman for "his work on international trade theory."
2. Steven Lawrence Rattner is a member of the U.S. ruling elite. Following the economic crisis of 2008, Rattner served as lead adviser to the Obama Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry preparing a pay-the-rich bailout of the U.S. auto industry, which was in disarray with investor oligarchs poised to lose considerable fortunes. The subsequent Obama auto and bank bailouts channelled billions of dollars to the financial oligarchy saving the private social wealth of many rich oligarchs. The pay-the-rich bailouts closed the door on any discussion or opening towards a new direction for the economy.
According to Wikipedia, "[Rattner] is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Willett Advisors LLC, the private investment group that manages billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's personal and philanthropic assets. He continues to be involved in public policy matters as the economic analyst for MSNBC's Morning Joe, and as a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times Op-Ed page."
3. David Brooks currently writes for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Newsweek, and the Atlantic Monthly, and appears as a commentator on NPR, PBS NewsHour, and NBC's Meet the Press.
With this issue, TML Weekly completes its publication for 2019. It will resume on January 26, 2020. We wish you a safe holiday and encourage everyone to take the time to consider and discuss with others the serious developments taking place in Canada and around the world, and how to effectively intervene in the new year.
The TML Daily 2019 month-by-month Photo Review began on December 16 and concludes on December 30. We encourage everyone to share it and review the achievements of working people in Canada over the past year, with a view of how to take things further.
Please continue to send us your reports, photos and views, and keep up to date with the CPC(M-L) website and calendars of events for important announcements.
We thank you for your support in 2019 and call on you to double it in the new year, especially by working to increase the readership of TML Weekly through regular subscription work as well as by helping to fund this important work.
With best wishes for the coming year,
Technical and Editorial Staff of TML Weekly
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Website: www.cpcml.ca Email: firstname.lastname@example.org