As 2020 elections take a time out, Congress passes bailout for bosses

By Terry Evans
April 20, 2020

The 2020 presidential campaign is taking a back seat following the shutdown of many of the bosses’ factories and other workplaces, as a deep-going social crisis confronts the working class.

Both the Democrats and Republicans — the twin parties of the capitalist rulers — have stopped holding election rallies and most primaries have been postponed. But the fight over who should occupy the White House continues to simmer. 

President Donald Trump’s poll numbers have risen, increasing many Democrats’ fear that they have little chance of defeating him with Joe Biden as their candidate. While Biden tries to get press coverage from his Delaware estate, issuing online critiques of Trump, the president gets widespread coverage every day touting his hands-on management of the crisis. 

Editors of liberal newspapers continue to spout venom at Trump, claiming he is responsible for the spread of coronavirus. In fact, both parties and the capitalist bosses they speak for bear that responsibility. Their drive for profits means they give no attention to advance preparations for hurricanes, drought or disease, and working people pay for it. 

Democrats’ shining knight emerges

Some liberals have gone gaga over New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, hoping to find a way to get him inserted as the Democrats’ presidential candidate. Like Trump, Cuomo’s elected position means he has daily access to widespread media coverage. 

Cuomo’s “sermons,” gushed Joshua Chaffin in the April 3 Financial Times, are like “Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats during the Depression.” These “chats” in the 1930s were aimed at convincing workers to abandon hard-fought union battles — and any thoughts of forming a labor party based on their unions. Instead, Roosevelt argued, it was time to subordinate their interests to “national unity” with the bosses as the second imperialist war neared. 

Cuomo’s call for workers to subordinate their interests to a classless effort to “fight the virus,” similar to calls coming from other statehouses, is coupled with assaults on vitally needed constitutional rights. Cops have “visited” thousands of small stores and restaurants, demanding to see what steps have been taken to close down. The governor doubled fines and threatened arrests for unauthorized people going outside. And, if the cops have trouble, the National Guard is ready to step in.

All the politicians for the ruling rich blame working people for the economic and social crisis, and are trying to get us to turn against each other, looking for culprits in spreading disease. Their goal is to hide the fact that it is the bosses’ efforts to protect their crisis-ridden, exploitative capitalist system that is the source of what workers face today. 

Unlike the Democrats and Republicans, the Socialist Workers Party and its 2020 candidates refuse to subordinate workers’ interests to the bosses. They explain workers need to get back to work and join resistance to the bosses’ attacks.

Bipartisan package to defend the bosses

Both the bosses’ parties agreed on a bipartisan $2 trillion “assistance” package March 27, to limit the impact of the deepening crisis on the capitalist class. The measure was presented as a way to provide some relief to workers who had been laid off. In fact, its key provisions gave billions to bosses in industries the rulers consider essential to their overall class interests. These include the airlines and railroads, steel mills and defense contractors like Boeing, which makes fighter jets used in the wars the rulers wage around the world. 

The package provides loans to bosses in the auto industry and eased restrictions on bank lending. Hotel bosses were lavished with loans, grants and tax breaks. 

The bill was promoted around a promised $1,200 one-time payout to some working people. But you’re ineligible if you haven’t filed taxes,  are one of the millions of workers without papers, or are delinquent with child support payments.

Nothing in the package was aimed at meeting the most pressing challenge workers face — getting the millions thrown out of work back into jobs at union-scale wages. 

Both parties are now haggling over what should go into a further “aid” measure. Neither of them is capable of addressing the roots of the problem — the crisis of the capitalist system itself, marked by decades of declining profits rates, attacks on workers’ wages and working conditions and increased national frictions.