Who Will Benefit 2013 Budget and What Will Workers Get?

Workers and toilers are expecting in hope a betterment of their lives as the turn of the year approaches. Although the struggle to earn a living makes workers’ lives ruined since they cannot afford even their basic needs, are afraid of losing their jobs and of not being able to pay the bills and house rents, are tired of the hardships of living conditions, they hope to get over their grievances.

Some set their hopes on lottery, some try to increase their income by doing too much overtime, some imagine a decent increase in the minimum wage by the New Year.

In fact workers and toilers at large are tired of tightening their belts!

And what’s happening on the part of bosses while the broad masses hope to find a rescue from such a deep misery? Well, they are very pleased of themselves. They enjoy Turkey being the 17th biggest economy of the world, which has been achieved by intense exploitation of workers. 

Zealous representatives of the bosses are working hard in parliament. The AKP government is busy working out the 2013 budget. While they plan to increase the minimum wage by only a few pennies, they plan to increase the taxes dearly on the other hand.

What section of society gives how much to the budget and gets how much reveals for whom the budget is made.

It is obvious that the state pleases the class of bosses while squeezing workers. The new budget, just like the previous ones, has been planned in the interests of capital.

The 2013 budget makes it clear how the bosses are attacking the workers’ rights.

The hopes and demands of millions of workers are ignored this year again. And what is in the budget for the millions of workers and toilers? Tax increases, new cuts in public and social expenditures, the bill of the crisis, the burden of the war!

AKP is aiming to make up most of the budget revenues through taxes (318 billion liras out of 370 billion liras). And the biggest part of it will be cut from workers and toilers through direct and indirect taxes.

Workers’ lives are ruined by various taxes under the guise of income tax, value added tax, special consumption tax and other taxes the names of which we do not even know.

When it comes to allocating the share of workers and toilers the government is very mean. The government takes from workers’ plates by scoop and gives them not even by spoon.

The share of education, health and social expenditures is limited.

The increase in the minimum wage and salaries of public employees is only a pittance.

There are dramatic price increases in natural gas, electricity, utility water, public transport and food. Inflation rate is increasing. Purchasing power of workers is steadily decreasing.

The Minister of Finance, a fine representative of the class of bosses and an arch enemy of workers, speaks shamelessly: “In 2013 we will not let the employees, pensioners and minimum-wagers be bent under inflation. We will continue to spend our assets to serve our nation. In other words we are in good condition in 2013.”

Is not he the same Minister who deemed proper an increase rate of 4% for the salaries of public employees saying that “we should not upset the balance”?

Is not he the same Minister who increased the salaries of MPs saying that they are in misery?

Is not he the same Minister responsible for the financial affairs of the AKP government that raised the number of dollar billionaires to 40 and increased the number of those who have to live under the real poverty line in the last ten years?

Is not he the same Minister who is the main actor in setting the minimum wage to 774 liras while the starvation line is about 1050 liras?

Millions of workers work for a minimum wage. And the share that is allocated for education, health and social welfare is decreasing. Despite the increase in population, the share that is allocated for public services such as education and health has decreased from 20% to16% in the last 20 years. Turkey, “a great economy and regional power,” is in the 92nd rank among 187 countries in terms of human development! What a sense of “balance” has the Minister of Finance! What kind of balance is this? This is an abject cruelty.

That is why the fat cats who scream when something does not suit their interests are quite pleased to follow the situation with the new budget in parliament. Everything in the garden is rosy for them.

Their hands never reach for their wallet when the time to pay taxes comes, but they have the lion’s share of the budget.

Things are going well for the bosses whose profits are raised by sweet stimulus packages, tax reductions, investment promotions!

Things are going well for the MPs and high-ranking bureaucrats of the state who are rewarded with a new pay rise!

Things are going well for the masters of war!

The government takes the same amount of tax from a worker of minimum wage and from a billionaire for bread, for tomatoes and for natural gas and so on.

While the bosses put every kind of expenditure into their statement of expenses and benefit tax reductions, a significant part of a worker’s salary is cut under the name of tax even before that salary reaches his/her hand.

The extent of social security is restricted and the “contribution” rate for medical examination, treatment and medicine is raised.

Education is not only turned into a paid one by making the poor toiling families pay money for their children at schools, but its quality has become lower.

Yet the share that is allocated for armament and “security” forces is a refined 45 billion liras!

When we add the 70 billion liras allocated for the discretionary fund, it is very clear that the 2013 budget is a budget of armament, war, oppression, tear gas and batons.

The AKP government will escalate the oppression and exploitation of the working class and its aggressive attitude towards the oppressed peoples in 2013.

In conclusion, the working day will effectively be lengthened even more. Lay-offs will continue without slowing down. Joblessness will increase. Flexible work and subcontracting will be generalised. There will be renewed attempts to transfer the severance entitlements of workers to a fund and then abolish it. Workplace accidents will keep mounting. It will also be in the agenda of parliament to increase the age of retirement.

The working class cannot tie its hands and stand still as all these attacks are imminent!

Workers must wage a struggle to get the most out of the value they have created and to put an end to this system of exploitation.

Translated from İşçi Dayanışması (Workers Solidarity) 57, 15 December 2012

11 January 2013