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Washington’s “Fiscal Cliff” a Scheme to Justify More Bail-Out of the 1%

January 3, 2013
Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN USA, email:

Fil-Ams condemn bi-partisan moves for austerity on the back of America’s poor

Filipino-Americans, under the banner of BAYAN USA, condemn the 11th hour moves in Washington to further bail-out the 1% at the expense of working Americans during a time of extreme economic depression and deepening impoverishment.

In order to survive the worst global economic crisis in history, US corporations used the spectre of $500 billion in tax hikes set to take place on January 1 to pull puppet strings in Washington towards implementing severe budget cuts on the US public sector in order to save the private sector. Washington even concocted a catchy term– the “fiscal cliff”– to justify these sudden cuts and to make permanent the regressive tax measures which further shift the overall tax burden to wage-earning Americans.

According to the so-called “fiscal cliff” framework, the US is in a deepening debt crisis. It spends $3.6 tn a year, yet makes only $2.3 tn a year. The proposals being negotiated in Congress are to supposedly reduce the $1.3 tn deficit over a 10-year period. President Obama’s claim that “The deficit needs to be reduced in a way that’s balanced. Everyone pays their fair share. Everyone does their part. That’s how our economy works best,” denies the fact that the deficit was not created equally by all Americans but was primarily the result of the overblown military budget, financing endless wars of aggression in the Middle East, and neoliberal economic policy of monopoly capitalism pushed by the nation’s 1%. Yet, the fiscal cliff legislation still hits the poor and working class with tax increases and mainly targets public agencies and services such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and healthcare for steep cuts.
These back-breaking cuts come at a time of when the rate of hunger in the US continues to climb, with nearly 50 million living in poverty and approximately 3 million still unemployed in the US.

It is imperative to understand this push coming from Washington in the context of the global trend in advanced industrialized countries towards enacting harsh austerity measures on working people. The debt crisis accrued and felt in advanced industrialized countries such as the US and across Europe is the result of the failed neoliberal economic policy of monopoly capitalism. By adopting an economic policy that pushes liberalization, deregulation, and privatization in order to accumulate super-profits, turns super-profits into finance capital, and then concentrates this capital in the hands of a few corporate banks and financial firms, advanced capitalist countries such as the US are now afflicted with the very crisis imperialism chronically inflicts on underdeveloped countries abroad, through neoliberal policies in so-called “free trade agreements”.

Despite Washington’s enactment of the “fiscal cliff deal,” what’s most urgent is for Americans to take their cue from the recent waves of strikes and mass protests across Europe in response to austerity programs, as well as anti-imperialist, democratic, and revolutionary movements in underdeveloped countries such as the Philippines and other countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to break free from the chains of neoliberal trade policies that cripple their economies in order to serve and sustain the global financial oligarchy.

As the 1% consolidate their interests and move state power to implement anti-people laws on their behalf, so must the 99% consolidate their interests and move people power by educating, organizing, and mobilizing to resist austerity and the overall economic offensive of monopoly capitalism.
BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Maka bayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of thePhilippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit