day now President Bush should be issuing his
end-of-year, first-of-year address, a customary
exercise that presidents seize upon as an
occasion to speak well of themselves, the
great deeds they have performed and those
that are in the offing. Bush can be expected
to follow suit.
W. and his worshipful media have of late been
describing his achievements as only slightly
short of turning water into wine. The coming
presidential election, say the seers, will
be decided on the basis of two issues: the
economy and the war in Iraq, and on both,
Bush is riding the crest of success.
so he is -- if you take his word for it. He
points to the recovering stock market, the
decrease in unemployment and the number of
workers filing for jobless benefits. All this,
he says, is the result of his tax policy,
which put money back into the average American's
pocket for spending.
course, as a candidate for re-election, Bush
can hardly be expected to tell the truth and
nothing but the truth, because the truth is
that his administration has been an economic
disaster. During his stint in office, 2.9
million people have lost their jobs. Nine
million people are still out of work, salaries
are stagnant and wages are down in terms of
the 1999 dollar, while an estimated 250,000
people are not listed among the unemployed
because they have quit looking for work. If
Bush is going to claim credit for the sunshine,
he must shoulder the blame for the rain.
his resort to what his daddy called voodoo
economics has a record of failure. President
Ronald Reagan cut taxes for the rich, saying
they would spend the money saved to reinvigorate
the economy. He got a recession. W. cut taxes
for the rich in 2001, assuring us the same
thing. He got a deepening recession. He cut
taxes on the rich again in 2002. Same result.
Undeterred, he gave the wealthy another tax
gift in 2003 and crowed that the economy was
recovering and proving the soundness of his
tax cut policies. But unpleasant facts challenge
costs have risen more than 13 percent, retirement
plans, along with the 401(k) parachute, have
been battered by the stock market collapse.
Personal bankruptcies are at an all-time high.
So is individual debt. Furthermore, an estimated
43 million Americans have no health insurance.
More than 12 million American children live
in poverty; the United States has the highest
child-poverty rate of any industrialized nation.
year, during Bush's recovery, 1.7 million
Americans slipped below the poverty line,
bringing the total to 34.6 million -- one
American in eight living in poverty. And the
number of people receiving food assistance
was 18 percent higher than in 2001, when Bush
began his prosperity parade.
has Bush responded to this vast human need?
With lavish annual cuts in upper-bracket income
taxes, cuts in estate taxes, elimination of
taxes on dividends, tax breaks for business,
vast subsidies for agribusinesses, failure
to pursue corporations that take their offices
offshore to avoid taxes, and greatly increasing
defense spending and money for so-called homeland
result is the greatest government deficit
in history, which future generations will
is the picture Bush paints as peace, plenty
is the man who promised us honesty and honor
in the White House. He has given us instead
deception, outright lies and dissembling.
He does not deserve re-election.
Ed Pearce can be reached by e-mail at JohnEd2@aol.com.
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