Bush Administration Fails to Jumpstart Economy
As of May, 2005, there have been 893,000 jobs created over the first 52 months of the Bush presidency - a gain that is due solely to the 917,000 jobs created in the government sector that offset the 24,000 jobs lost in the private sector. Since the Great Depression, no other president who served at least 52 months has overseen a net loss in private sector jobs through this point. In addition to lack of job growth, real weekly and hourly wages have declined since the start of the recession. At a time when middle-class Americans are experiencing stagnant wages and vanishing benefits, CEO pay continues to rise.
Source: Center for American Progress, Economic Policy Weekly, Jenna Churchman, June 6, 2005
Legislation Reflects Bush Business-Friendly Climate, Weakens Consumer and Environmental Regulations
President Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress are moving to extend corporate tax breaks, allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and limit lawsuits against corporations — including a settlement of asbestos litigation that has driven 70 companies into bankruptcy. The pro-business momentum is accelerating, analysts say, in part because the steps are easier to take in the lower-publicity atmosphere of a non-election year. A bipartisan deal, moreover, which allowed some of Bush's long-stalled judicial nominees could also be a boon to US corporations. Janice Rogers Brown, a conservative, anti-regulation judge from California, will serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where most cases that affect government regulation are heard. Early in Bush's second term, Congress passed a law sought by banks and credit-card firms that makes it harder for individuals to declare bankruptcy. Another new law shifts most class-action lawsuits from state to federal courts, a move aimed to reduce huge verdicts against corporations.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, "Washington More Open to Business Than Usual," Gail Russell Chaddock, June 9, 2005
Bush Budget Slashes Education, Veterans' Health Care, Law Enforcement, and Environmental Protections
The Bush administration's budget for the 2006 fiscal year will cut non-defense discretionary spending, including education, veteran's health care, law enforcement, and environmental protections. In all, President Bush's fiscal 2006 budget plan calls for elimination of or drastic cuts from 154 programs. Funding for the Iraq war, however, was recently increased. A House subcommittee approved an initial $45 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, two weeks after Congress approved $82 billion for this year's costs of the conflicts. Although President Bush argues that it is too early to request money for the wars during the 2006 budget year, which starts Oct. 1, with no timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, war costs are certain and many lawmakers are reluctant to wait for his request.
Source: Washington Post, "Bush's '06 Budget Would Scrap or Reduce 154 Programs," Judy Sarasohn, February 22, 2005; Washington Post, "House Bill Would Provide $45B More for War," Liz Sidoti, May 24, 2005
Bush Vows to Veto Stem Cell Compromise Bill
The House of Representatives-including 50 Republicans-compromised on a bill to expand stem cell research, touted by scientists as a possible step toward finding cures for diseases and afflictions including Alzheimer's, cancer and paralysis. President Bush, however, said that he will veto any bill that uses federal funds for stem cell research. "The Congress has made its position clear, and I've made my position clear," Bush said. "I will be vetoing the bill they send to me if it were to pass the United States Senate." In response, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., stated his opposition to the President, "Not to have the availability of the best in medical care is simply atrocious. The bill passed the House by a big margin. And I think when it is publicized further, that margin could grow to override a veto."
Source: Washington Post, "Bush Rejects Stem Cell Compromise," Mike Allen and Rick Weiss, May 26, 2005; CNN.com, "House passes embryonic stem cell bill"
Bush's National Energy Policy is Full of Smoke
When Bush announced his National Energy Policy on May 17, he vowed to fund research into "new, clean coal technologies." Although the administration has been handing out $250 million a year as an incentive for companies to develop technologies that reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, the General Accounting Office-the independent research arm of Congress-has repeatedly found this "Clean Coal Technology Program" wasteful and mismanaged. A 2001 report, for example, found eight clean coal projects suffering "serious delays and financial problems" and two of them in bankruptcy. Perhaps most importantly, the new technologies are doing little to actually "clean" coal. The Energy Department's own evaluations of clean-coal projects have shown that many new "clean coal" technologies are actually 40 percent less effective in removing sulfur dioxide emissions than the more conventional smokestack "scrubbers"-the technology required under the laws the administration has so diligently weakened.
Source: Mother Jones, "Dirty Money," Daphne Eviatar, May 26, 2005
Bush's "Political Capital" Account Drained
When Bush won reelection last fall, he declared that he had earned plenty of "political capital" that he intended to "spend." Six months later, however-according to Republicans and Democrats alike-his bank account has been significantly drained. In the past week alone, the Republican-led House defied his veto threat and passed legislation promoting stem cell research; and Senate Democrats blocked confirmation, at least temporarily, of his choice for U.N. ambassador. In addition, Bush's approval ratings in public opinion polls rank at the lowest level of his presidency. In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, taken in May, 47 percent of Americans approved of Bush's performance, tying the lowest marks he ever received in that survey. Similarly, just 31 percent approved of his handling of Social Security, an all-time low in the Post-ABC poll, while only 40 percent gave him good marks for his stewardship of the economy and 42 percent for his management of Iraq. Other polls have recorded similar findings, with Bush's approval rating dipping as low as 43 percent in a Pew Research Center Survey.
Source: Washington Post, "Bush's Political Capital Spent, Voices in Both Parties Suggest," Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei, May 31, 2005
Numbers Contradict Bush's Claims of Economic Growth
In the 2005 State of the Union address, Bush said that more Americans are going back to work and that the economy is growing and healthy. The numbers don't necessarily support this assumption. Job growth over the last 18 months has fallen short of administration predictions by 1,703,000—more than one-third fewer jobs than the president's Council of Economic Advisers said would be created. Present employment levels show only 119,000 more individuals working than when Bush took office in 2001, which is effectively a decrease in employment rates, as the total civilian labor force grew by more than two million workers in 2004 alone, according to the Department of Labor. Additionally, the most recent data from the Census Bureau show that the average income for middle-class households has dropped by $1,525 since its peak in 2000. The labor force participation rate—the percentage of people either working or looking for work—fell in Jan. 2005 to a seasonally adjusted 65.8 percent, the lowest rate since 1988.
Sources: USA Today, "Fewer Americans participating in labor force or seeking jobs," Barbara Hagenbaugh, Feb. 6, 2005; Department of Labor, "Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age," Feb. 2005; Center for American Progress, "American Progress Report: Talking Points," Feb. 2, 2005; Center for American Progress, "On the January Employment Situation," Scott Lily, Feb. 4, 2005; "State of the Union," President Bush, Feb. 2, 2005; Economic Policy Institute, Feb. 4, 2005.
Bush Budget Proposal Heavy on Defense, Light on Domestic Spending
The Bush administration's proposed budget for FY 2006 slashes spending on key domestic programs. Major areas of decreased U.S. governmental spending include Medicaid, the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the environment, and farm subsidies. Places where the budget is seeing larger expenditures include border, airport, and seaport security, anti-terrorism programs, and food and drinking water safety. The budget proposal counts on Bush's tax cuts remaining in place, reinforcing the intent to make them permanent. The new budget does not include the cost of privatizing Social Security, which could reach into the trillions, or the continuation of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sources: New York Times, "Bush Unveils Budget That Favors Security Over Social Spending," David Stout, Feb. 7, 2005; Washington Post, "President Sends '06 Budget to Congress," Peter Baker, Feb. 8, 2005.
Bush Racks Up More Debt
For the third time in three years, Congress will have to raise the federal debt ceiling, thus increasing the government's borrowing authority by as much as $800 billion. According to the Washington Post editorial board, "the Treasury Department has been doing the governmental equivalent of scrounging for spare change in the couch cushions to pay its obligations." This latest hike in the debt limit will amount to a grand total of more than $2 trillion during Bush's first term. "The deficits [the government] racks up year after year impede economic growth, burden future generations and force the United States to rely on foreign governments and investors," the Post reports. "Meanwhile, as the government has to pay more interest on its debt, it has less for health care, education and other programs." In his first State of the Union address, Bush spoke of his plan to pay off over the next decade the entire $2 trillion debt held by the public at that time. He said, "We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now." As it stands today, the debt is on track to reach the $6.5 trillion mark by 2011.
Source: Washington Post, "Soaring Ceilings," Editorial Board, Nov. 17, 2004.
Bush Plans to Overhaul the Tax Code
Bush never gets tired of indulging the special interests of wealthy Americans. Sources close to the White House say that the Bush administration is considering a tax code overhaul that would drastically cut, if not eliminate, taxes on savings and investment. According to advisors, Bush plans to push major amendments that would shield interest, dividends and capitals gains from taxation, expand tax breaks for business investment and take other steps to "encourage economic growth." To pay for these changes, the administration is considering eliminating the deduction of state and local taxes on federal income tax returns and doing away with tax deductions for employers who provide their workers with health insurance. Bush has said that tax policy will be the centerpiece of his domestic agenda in the coming years. And during his campaign, he said replacing the income tax with a national sales tax was "an interesting idea."
Source: Washington Post, "Bush Plans Tax Code Overhaul," Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Nov. 18, 2004.
Bush Taxes Immigrants Wanting to Become U.S. Citizens
George Bush says that America is a "welcoming" nation. So why has he raised fees on the very things he wants incoming immigrants to do: work hard, play by the rules, and become citizens? Over the past four years, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (now a faction of the Department of Homeland Security) has raised the cost of 31 existing fees and has added nine categories of new ones. The tax to become an American citizen has increased 55 percent. The Bush administration has privatized the 1-800 immigration help line, and the new privatized workers usually need to read from a script to answer callers' questions, resulting in the dispension of incomplete or conflicting information. The administration cites the cost of increased security for the price hikes, but that figure ($21 per application) is less than half the amount of the recent fee increases. The real cost of these increased fees may be that fewer immigrants can afford to take the legal route to citizenship.
Source: AlterNet, "Taxing Immigrants," Jonathan Rowe, Oct. 19, 2004.
A Welfare Program for Big Business
In early October, Congress considered a $140 billion dollar tax bill that would provide a tax break to 276 large companies and special interest groups. Instead of using this money to help national financial worries, Congress has decided to give tax breaks to the rich and powerful. As Doug Thompson explains, this "corporate tax reform bill" is more like a "welfare program for big business." A few specific examples include provisions for the following corporations: Starbucks, NASCAR, Carnival Cruise Lines and Home Depot. Thompson claims that many members of Congress, representatives and senators alike, only care about "the golden rule." That is, "he who has the gold, makes the rules."
Source: Capitol Hill Blue, "Corporate 'Tax Reform:' Rich Get Richer While Taxpayers Get Screwed," Doug Thompson, Oct. 12, 2004.
Multi-Millionaire Bush Claims He's Not Rich
During a July 20 talk at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Bush seemed to disavow his own personal wealth: 'You see, if you can't raise enough by taxing the rich, guess who gets to pay next? Yes, the not-rich. (Laughter.) That's all of us.' Bush and first lady Laura Bush had income totaling $822,126 last year, and according to the Wall Street Journal, their net worth is somewhere between $7.7 and $18.9 million. "Bush tries to come off as a regular guy in his campaign appearances," Dan Froomkin noted in the Washington Post, on July 21. "But maybe he pushed it a little too far yesterday."
Sources: Washington Post, Dan Froomkin, July 21, 2004; WhiteHouse.gov, Remarks by the President in 'Ask the President' Event, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, July 20, 2004
Bush's Budget Will Not Help Economy
According to the Associated Press, a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office study found that "the tax cuts and other policies President Bush proposed in his $2.4 trillion budget would probably have a minimal impact on the economy." While the agency stated that Bush's proposal "could either increase or reduce economic output through 2009, and improve it in the following five years," the study concluded that "the differences are likely to be small, affecting output by less than one-half of one percentage point." The effect of Bush's tax cuts and proposed budget are still unclear, and many leaders are demanding immediate and effective action. AP quoted Sen. Kent Conrad, the top Democrat on the budget panel, who described Bush's policies as "truly dangerous to the economic security of our country ... we have a responsibility to alter that course."
Sources: Alan Fram (Associated Press), "Office: Bush Budget Won't Jolt Economy," The Las Vegas Sun, March 8, 2004.
Bush Administration Projects Economic Improvements, Then Backs Away from Data
During the first three years of the Bush-Cheney administration, the unemployment rate increased by one-third and 2.2 million jobs were lost, and the country has gone from a $281 billion surplus to a $521 billion deficit. Debt has increased 23?rom $5.7 trillion, to $7 trillion. Bush recently restated his pledge to create 2.6 million jobs, stating "5.6?nemployment is a good national number." However, the New York Times recently uncovered a White House report indicating that the president is considering reclassifying low-paid fast-food jobs as higher-paid manufacturing jobs to make it appear like the unemployment rate is going down.
Sources: MSNBC Transcript, Feb. 8; The New York Times
Bush Attempts to Paint Rosy Picture of Struggling Economy
When speaking with a group of women small business owners on Jan. 9, Bush said that "unemployment dropped today to 5.7 percent," claiming that this "is a positive sign that the economy is getting better." Unfortunately, according to the Baltimore Sun, that is not the case. The Sun reported that underlying that positive number was "grim economic news—only a handful of new jobs were created and hundreds of thousands of discouraged people dropped out of the workforce." Although unemployment fell from 5.9 percent to 5.7 percent in December, only 1,000 new jobs were created. Furthermore, the work force typically grows when the economy advances, but in this instance it shrank due to the 309,000 people who stopped looking for work. The withdrawal of these workers from the work force, not new jobs, pushed the unemployment rate down, as no significant number of jobs were created in December. The Sun went on to say that "the December numbers are a continuation of a long period of inadequate job creation." The economy has lost more than 2 million jobs since employment peaked in Feb. 2001, and gains in recent months have been "miniscule."
Sources: White House Office of the Press Secretary, "President Speaks with Women Small Business Owners on the Economy," Jan. 9, 2004; Baltimore Sun, "Falling Jobless Figure Deceptive," Jan. 9, 2004.
Poverty here at home increased for the second year in a row under George W. Bush. Find out more.
Under Bush: Surplus Dollars Turn Into Huge Deficits
According to the New York Times, the Bush tax cuts and the Medicare changes enacted this year alone will increase the national debt by $750 billion over the next decade. If the tax breaks are extended as expected, the total comes to $1.25 trillion over the the next ten years. Robert L. Bixby of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan budget watchdog organization, told the Times, "In fiscal terms, there is no doubt in my mind that this has been the most irresponsible year ever." Goldman Sachs economist Ed McKelvey stated in his firm's newsletter that "the U.S. federal budget is out of control." The $374 billion dollar budget deficit in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, which was by far the largest dollar amount ever, is expected to rise to $525 billion in this fiscal year. Should that be the case, the Times reports that "the annual budget picture will have deteriorated by more than $650 billion" during Bush's term as president, from a surplus of $127 billion in fiscal year 2001. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) criticized the Republicans' budget record saying that "they have passed an irresponsible fiscal policy starting with tax cuts and now loaded with giveaways." Worse yet are the forecasts for the future. Critics of the administration's budget policies say that "the problem is not so much deficits today as those in years to come." Read more about who loses when Bush gambles with the economy.
Source: New York Times, "Spending Discipline Proves Unfashionable This Year," Nov. 25, 2003.
Bush Economy: Temporary Growth, Lasting Damage
While George W. Bush has been touting good news on the economy, the picture is not quite so rosy, especially in the long term. The Boston Globe reports that recent economic growth is not "merely a lucky accident." According to the Globe, Bush's enormous military and security spending, and two of the largest tax cuts in the nation's history are likely to result in "short-term growth and long-term damage." The Globe describes the economic policies of the Bush administration as a "crude and destructive cocktail of stimulants." Even if the recent positive economic signals temporarily take hold, "the administration's policies will weaken the economy over time, fall particularly harshly on its working middle- and low- income citizens, and fail to prepare the nation for a century of far more intense global competition."
Source: Boston Globe, "Boom and Bust," Nov. 9, 2003.
Bush Policies Will Keep Nation in Debt, Says U.S. Comptroller General
U.S. Comptroller General David Walker refuted George W. Bush's claims that his administration can cut the federal deficit in half within five years without changing policies. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Bush has argued that by 2006, growth prompted by his $1.7-trillion tax cut plus spending cuts will pare deficits in half." Contrary to Bush's claims, Walker, the nation's chief fiscal officer stated that, "The idea that this is manageable or that we are going to grow our way out of the problem is just flat false." CBSNews.com reports that Walker went on to say that, "It's time to admit that we're in a fiscal hole and to stop digging," yet Bush has refused to change his mind about making the tax cuts permanent. Despite Bush's pledge to not "pass [problems] on to other Presidents and other generations," according to Walker, that's exactly what is about to happen. In an interview with United Press International, Walker grimly states that, "We must begin to come to grips with the dawning fiscal realities that threaten our nation's children's and grandchildren's future." Get more information on how this economic squeeze is forcing states and the federal government to cut back on aid to the nation's poorest families, many of whom are headed by women.
Sources: CBSNews.com, "Watchdog Declaring Deficit Crisis," Sept. 17, 2003; Los Angeles Times, "Bush's Economic Growth Forecast Called 'False'," Oct. 7, 2003.
Under Bush, Rich Get Richer While Outlook for Poor and Middle Class Grows Bleaker
The Associated Press reports that the total net worth of America's richest people rose 10 percent to $955 billion this year from 2002, according to Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the nation's 400 wealthiest individuals. Unfortunately, things are not going nearly as well for the rest of the country, according to two recently released Census Bureau reports. These reports show that median household income declined 1.1 percent in real terms from the 2001 figure to $42,409. Furthermore, the number of people in the U.S. living in poverty has risen for the second year in a row to 34.6 million, an increase of nearly 3 million people since 2000. The proportion of Americans living in poverty increased to 12.1 percent in 2002 from 11.7 percent in 2001—an additional 1.7 million people in poverty.
Sources: Frederick, Md. News-Post, "Net Worth of America's Richest Rises After Two-Year Decline," Sept. 20, 2003; U.S. Census Bureau, "Poverty in the United States: 2002," Sept. 2003; U.S. Census Bureau, "Income in the United States: 2002," Sept. 2003
Bush Tax Cuts Lead to Largest Deficit Ever, Leaving Future Generations to Shoulder the Burden
George W. Bush's 2001 assurance that his tax cuts "could happen without fear of budget deficit, even if the economy softens" have proven to be false, as the estimated $480 billion budget deficit this fiscal year will be the highest in U.S. history. In a Sept. 5 speech, Bush admitted his tax cuts account for one quarter of the deficit. According to the New York Times, each dollar of tax cuts, federal borrowing to finance the tax cuts, the war and routine government operations will total $3.60 over six years. Citizens for Tax Justice estimate that the 26 million taxpayers making $28,000 to $45,000 are especially hard hit by federal borrowing—each dollar of tax cuts for this group is accompanied by $6.55 of increased federal debt. MSNBC reports that even if the government limited itself to paying only for retirement benefits, health benefits and interest on the national debt, federal taxes would still have to be raised by 70 percent—permanently—to meet those obligations. This is an unfortunate irony, as Bush said during his first year in office that "we owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now" to pay down the national debt.
Sources: Washington Post, "A Sound Bite So Good, the President Wishes He Had Said It," July 7, 2002; George W. Bush, Presidential Speech, Sept. 5, 2003; New York Times, "Studies Say Tax Cuts Now Will Bring Bigger Bill Later," Sept. 23, 2003; MSNBC, "What Do Record Deficits Mean For You?," July 18, 2003; George W. Bush, Presidential Address to Joint Session of Congress, Feb. 27, 2001
Bush Policies Led to Loss of 93,000 Jobs in August
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Sept. 5 that another 93,000 jobs were lost during the month of August. With August's losses, approximately 3.3 million private-sector jobs have disappeared since Bush took office. The Economic Policy Institute reports that this is the largest sustained loss of jobs since the Great Depression. According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., further job losses are yet to come. The firm predicts an additional 399,000 jobs will be cut during the final four months of 2003. Unemployment has risen to over 8.9 million people, as the unemployment rate increased from 4.2?n Jan. 2001 to 6.1?n Aug. 2003. Critics believe that the continued loss of jobs and surging unemployment offer unfortunate proof that Bush's "Jobs and Growth Plan" is not really about jobs and growth but about misdirected tax cuts and mismanagement of the economy as a whole.
Sources: AFL-CIO, "Another 93,000 Jobs Disappeared in August," Sept. 5, 2003; Economic Policy Institute, "Job Watch," Sept. 5, 2003
Federal Deficit Skyrockets Under Bush Administration
During his first two and a half years in office, Bush has catapulted the nation from a $127 billion surplus to a projected deficit of $1.9 trillion by 2008. The 2003 budget deficit is set to hit a record high of $455 billion, a dramatic increase from the $158 billion deficit for the 2002 fiscal year, the Washington Post reports. Estimates for 2004 place the budget deficit even higher at $475 billion—a sum which does not include the rapidly accumulating costs of the U.S. military presence in Iraq, which the Defense Department is currently estimating at $5 billion per month. The Post reported that White House budget director Joshua B. Bolton attributes 23?f the nation's deficit to the three successive Bush tax cuts.
Sources: Washington Post, "White House Foresees 5-Year Debt Increase of $1.9 Trillion," Jonathan Weisman, July 16, 2003
Following "Official" End of the Recession, Bush Diverts Blame, Unemployment Continues to Rise
According to the New York Times, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an independent group that tracks the business cycle, recently concluded that the recession ended in Nov. 2001, eight months after it started in March and two months after tens of thousands lost jobs in the wake of terrorist attacks. A number of economists remain skeptical of the economy's potential for growth, particularly as millions of Americans remain jobless and more than one million private-sector jobs have been lost since the recession's alleged end. The Times reported that while the economy exhibited six consecutive months of job growth only 12 months after the official end of the recession in the early 1990's, payrolls are continuing to decline now 20 months after the reported end of the most recent recession. As Bush's 2004 re-election campaign begins to accelerate, the Washington Post reported that Bush has been practicing some of his own "revisionist history" in attempting to pin the blame for the recession on the Clinton administration. The Post reports that in Nov. 2001, Bush made several comments acknowledging the NBER-identified start of the recession in March 2001. Yet beginning in August 2002, and increasingly so in his re-election campaign, Bush began to insist that his administration "did, in fact, inherit an economic recession," which he stamped with a new start date of Jan. 1, 2001.
Sources: New York Times, "Recession is Over; Jobs Aren't Trickling Down," Daniel Altman, July 18, 2003
Bush Administration's Free Trade Policies Contribute to Record Deficit
During the first quarter of 2003, the U.S. reached a record trade deficit of $136.1 billion. The trade deficit—considered to be the best measure of the country's international economic standing as well as the investment flows between countries and unilateral transfers such as foreign aid payments—increased by 5.8 percent during the period of January through March. According to the Washington Post, critics of the Bush administration maintain that the "growing deficits are proof that the administration's free-trade policies are not working." The Post also reports that Bush's free trade policies—which contend that the best way to reduce the deficit is for other countries to remove trade barriers—are being blamed for the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs.
Source: Associated Press, "Trade deficit swells to record $136.1 billion in first quarter," Jeannine Aversa, June 19, 2003
Unemployment Hits Nine-Year High, Democrats Fault Bush's Economic Policies
The Labor Department recently announced that the unemployment rate reached a nine-year high of 6.1?ue to the loss of 17,000 jobs in May. In reaction to the news, several Democrats voiced concern that Bush's economic policies are to blame for the steady rise in unemployment rates since the beginning of his administration. According to the White House Bulletin, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California contends that Bush has established "the worst record of job-creation of any President since the Great Depression." She went on to comment that Bush's policies have resulted in a nearly $3 trillion increase in America's debt and the loss of more than three million jobs. The White House Bulletin also quoted House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland as saying that Bush's "only answer to this glaring problem is to cut taxes in a way that most economists agree won't stimulate the economy and that will impose a greater share of the tax burden on the middle class."
Source: AFL-CIO, "15 Million Unemployed and Underemployed as Jobless Rate Rises Again." No Author, June 9, 2003; The White House Bulletin, "Democrats, AFL-CIO Slam Bush on Unemployment; Chao Defends Administration's Record," No Author, June 6, 2003.
Bush Signs Tax Cut That Neglects Minimum-Wage Families, Local Governments
Critics of the 2003 tax legislation recently signed by Bush—the third largest tax cut in U.S. history—claim that it neglects the needs of minimum-wage families and local governments. In order to pass the bill, Bush increased the federal government's public debt limit by nearly $1 trillion and okayed the omission of minimum-wage families—which include 11.9 million, or one of every six children under 17—from receiving an increased child credit. According to the Los Angeles Times, the tax legislation will cause many localities around the country to make even deeper cuts to already-reduced basic services. The diminished funding to localities is even more damaging in the face of the increased spending on public safety and homeland security now required by the federal government. To minimize the long-term costs of this tax legislation, several of the tax cuts have been implemented on a temporary basis, but the Washington Post reported that the administration plans to push for these cuts to gain permanent status—leading to a ten-year cost that far exceeds the estimated $350 billion cap on spending that several legislators demanded.
Sources: Washington Post, "Bush Signs $350 Billion Tax Cut Measure," Dana Milbank, May 29, 2003; New York Times, "Tax Law Omits Child Credit in Low-Income Brackets," David Firestone, May 29, 2003; Los Angeles Times, "Tax Cut an Empty Gesture to Cities," Vicki Kemper, May 28, 2003.
Bush-Backed House Pension Proposal Might Hurt Workers
A pension proposal backed by the Bush administration and passed by the House would allow workers to receive investment advice from the managers of their 401(k) plans. Opponents of the measure are concerned that the proposal would open the door to "financial conflicts of interest because advisers could recommend funds that pay them fees." Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) argued that the proposal made no sense "when many of the biggest investment houses in the nation… have just paid out nearly a billion and a half dollars for committing just these kinds of abuses."
Source: Associated Press, "House Passes 401(k) Bill Allowing Investment Advice From Fund Managers," Leigh Strope, May 14, 2003
Unemployment Increases to Eight-Year High
Reaching its highest point in eight years, the unemployment rate rose to six percent in April, according to data released by the Labor Department. About 48,000 jobs were lost in April, bringing the total number of jobs lost over the last three months to 525,000. According to economists, indicators do not point to a quick recovery in the job market. The administration has responded to the economic slump by arguing that a nearly trillion-dollar tax cut package is needed to stimulate the economy. However, a broad range of economists have found that the "plan would provide only modest short-term stimulus because the tax cuts are not well-targeted towards quickly increasing demand."
Sources: New York Times, "Jobless Rate Rose to 6?ast Month," David Leonhardt, May 3, 2003; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Administration's Economic Growth Claims Disputed by Broad Range of Economists," April 17, 2003
Economy Continues to Hemorrhage Jobs
March 2003 employment data released by the Labor Department painted an increasingly dire picture of the job market, as more than 108,000 jobs were lost in March—well above the 40,000 analysts had forecast. Although the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent, the figure appeared unchanged partly because the number of people who have given up on trying to find a job jumped from 450,000 in February to 474,000 in March. Also contributing to the unchanged unemployment rate are 4.7 million workers—up by half a million since last year—who are working part-time jobs because they cannot land full-time employment.
Source: Associated Press, "Businesses Slash 108,000 Jobs in March," Leigh Strope, April 4, 2003
Tax Cuts, Economy Push Federal Deficit to Record Highs
Consistent with the record deficits forecast for fiscal years 2003 and 2004, the federal deficit totaled $193.9 billion during the first five months of fiscal year 2003, according to information released by the Treasury Department. This figure is almost three times the deficit amount for the same time frame last year. According to the Associated Press, lower tax revenue due to a struggling economy and lower tax payments from individuals and corporations contributed to the soaring deficit.
Source: Associated Press, "Federal Deficit Soars, Heading for Yearly Record," Jeannine Aversa, March 20, 2003
Unemployment Rises, Economic Forecasts Worsen as Nation Heads off to War
Despite earlier forecasts that painted a brighter employment picture, the economy shed 308,000 jobs during February 2003. The Labor Department reported a 5.8 percent unemployment rate in February, up from 5.7 percent in January. The economy has lost approximately 2 million jobs "since hiring peaked in March 2001." Economists remained pessimistic about the economic outlook and indicated that the prospect of war with Iraq would prevent an improvement in the unemployment situation.
Source: Associated Press, "Unemployment Rate Rises to 5.8 Percent in February as Companies Slash Most Jobs Since Terrorist Attacks," Leigh Strope, March 7, 2003
Bush Withholds Information About State Funding, as States' Deficits Continue to Rise
The White House's Office of Management and Budget announced that it will no longer print a report detailing states' funding for federal programs. According to Democrats, Bush's decision is "an effort to conceal cuts the administration is making in popular programs." The move comes shortly after a meeting of the National Governors Association during which many governors complained about Bush's reluctance to provide assistance to cash-strapped states. According to the Washington Post, states have projected budget shortfalls of $30 billion for this year and $82 billion for 2004.
Source: Washington Post, "Seek and Ye Shall Not Find," Dana Milbank, March 11, 2003
Bush Budget Is Based on Uncertain Expectations, Increases Deficits, Cuts Domestic Spending
Bush unveiled his proposed 2004 budget, which analysts and lawmakers fear will generate larger deficits and will result in the elimination of a number of a domestic programs and which depends heavily on uncertain spending cuts and unreliable tax revenue increases. The proposed budget, which projects a deficit of $307 billion for 2004, does not include the cost of a war with Iraq and other international military operations. Under Bush's proposals almost 60 percent of the proposed increases are for national defense, while many social service programs are eliminated or reduced.
Sources: Washington Post, "Bush Budget Makes Big Revenue Gambles," Jonathan Weisman, Feb. 5, 2003; Washington Post, "Budget Sharply Boosts Defense," Amy Goldstein and Mike Allen, Feb. 4, 2003
Bush's Proposed Tax Cuts Will Decrease Federal Revenues
A package of tax cuts recently presented by the Bush administration as part of his 2004 budget would reduce federal revenue by $1.46 trillion over the next ten years. Bush’s tax plan includes repealing the estate tax, eliminating tax on stock dividends and allowing tax-free saving "for anyone who can afford it." According to the Washington Post, Bush’s proposals would "create numerous opportunities for Americans to pile up enormous sums tax-free."
Source: Washington Post, "Bush Budget Would Shrink Federal Revenue," Albert B. Crenshaw, Feb. 4, 2003
CBO Forecasts Increases in Deficit
The Congressional Budget Office issued a forecast that places this fiscal year's deficit at $199 billion, exceeding by more than a third the figure projected five months ago. The forecast comes shortly before Bush intends to unveil a proposed package of tax cuts totaling $674 billion. Merely two years after the CBO had projected a surplus of $5.6 trillion for this decade, surpluses are not anticipated until at least 2007.
Source: Washington Post, "CBO Worsens '03, '04 Deficit Projections," Jonathan Weisman, Jan. 29, 2003
Dubya's Economic Plan Is a "Giveaway to the Wealthy"
Under the guise of creating a plan to stimulate the economy, Bush proposed a 10-year, $674 billion package that includes $364 billion in tax breaks to investors. The plan, which Democratic lawmakers have labeled a giveaway to the wealthy, would greatly benefit the top one percent of earners, who will receive almost a third of the plan's benefits, while only 8 percent of the breaks will benefit the bottom 60 percent of earners. Bush's proposal, which includes all tax cuts previously considered by the administration, devotes only about 15 percent to short-term economic stimulus and offers no assistance to cash-strapped states. According to several economists, Bush's plan will not provide any stimulus to the economy or increase job growth.
Sources: Washington Post, "Bush Outlines Economic Plan," Dana Milbank, Jan. 8, 2003; Washington Post, "Analysis Finds Little Gain in Tax-Cut Plan," John M. Berry, Jan. 6, 2003
Bush Placing Faith, Country's Future in Economic Theory His Dad Mocked as "Voodoo Economics"
George W. Bush invoked the Laffer Curve—discredited by economists and mocked by his father as "Voodoo Economics"—to justify making the tax cuts permanent. The Laffer Curve theory—which propelled Ronald Reagan's economic theory and tax cut—is based on the premise that cutting taxes will stimulate the economy, ultimately increasing government tax revenues. According to Bush, "the deficit would have been bigger without the tax relief package." While economists across the ideological spectrum believe that tax cuts may "have an 'economic effect' that partially offsets the lost revenue from tax cuts," there is widespread consensus that the tax cuts will nevertheless result in lower tax revenues. According to the Washington Post, even supply-side economists were dubious that Bush's tax cuts had a positive effect on the burgeoning government deficit.
Source: Washington Post, "This Time a Bush Embraces 'Voodoo Economics' Theory," Dana Milbank, Nov. 14, 2002
The Administration Refuses to Support Unemployed Workers and Their Families
The administration indicated that, despite the weakening job market, it refuses to support legislation to extend unemployment benefits to the estimated 1.5 million workers who will have exhausted their benefits by the end of September. An additional 700,000 workers are expected to exhaust their unemployment benefits by the end of the year.
Source: Gannett News Service, "Senate Panel Considers Renewal of Extended Jobless Benefits," Brian Tumulty, Sept. 12, 2002
Tax Cuts Are to Blame for Dwindling Surplus, Contrary to Administration's Assertions
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently issued budget estimates that project a deficit of $157 billion in fiscal year 2002, which ends in September. The CBO's estimates also forecast that the ten-year surplus—which in January 2001 had been calculated at $5.6 trillion—will only reach $336 billion, a figure analysts believe is optimistic since it assumes that the 2001 tax cut will expire in 2010. Although the Bush administration has argued that the last year's tax cuts are not to blame for the grim budget outlook, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the tax cuts are responsible for approximately a third of the depletion of the surplus.
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "The New Congressional Budget Office Forecast and The Remarkable Deterioration of the Surplus," Richard Kogan and Robert Greenstein, Sept. 3, 2002
Bush Devotes $89 Billion to Higher-Income and Healthy Workers, Shortchanges Uninsured Children
Rather than invest more money in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) program to cover uninsured children and adults, Bush chose instead to devote $89 billion over 10 years for health-related tax credits which many experts have said will primarily benefit higher-income and healthy workers; and in the case of one tax credit, could potentially be used as a tax shelter.
Sources: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Administration Budget Includes Additional Health Tax Cuts That Primarily Benefit Higher-Income Individuals," and "Health Proposals in Administration's Budget Could Weaken the Employer-Based Health Insurance System," Edwin Park, Feb. 5, 2002
Bush Rewards Wealthiest One Percent with More Tax Cuts Than Bottom 60 Percent Combined
Bush wants to make his massive tax cuts permanent, at an estimated price tag of $1.7 trillion over the next ten years. According to the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities (CBPP), when all of the enacted tax cuts are in effect the 1.3 million tax filers who make up the most affluent 1?ill receive about twice as much in tax cuts as the 78 million low- and moderate-income filers who comprise the bottom 60?f filers.
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "The Administration's Proposal to Make the Tax Cut Permanent," Joel Friedman, Robert Greenstein, and Richard Kogan, Feb. 4, 2002
Bush Tax Plan Offers Relief to the Rich, Ignores the Unemployed
Bush opposed the Democratic proposal for the economic stimulus package, which consisted of targeted tax relief, assistance for unemployed workers and spending for homeland security and economic recovery. Instead he promoted a plan that funneled the lion's share of income tax relief to the wealthiest 1?
Source: Democratic Policy Committee
Women and Children Left Behind Under Bush's 2001 Tax Plan
According to The National Women's Law Center, 17 million women would receive no tax cut under Bush's plan. Three million families headed by women with children have an income below the federal poverty rate. This large group would receive no benefit from the tax plan. Thirty-six percent of all single mothers would receive no tax benefit, and nearly half of all African-American and Hispanic single mothers would not benefit from Bush's tax cut.
Source: National Women's Law Center, "Women and Children Last: The Bush Tax Cut Plan," March 5, 2001
Bush Attempts to Give Tax Breaks Worth Hundreds of Millions to Corporations
Bush tried to repeal the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Had he been successful in repealing the AMT, corporations would have received the following retroactive tax breaks:
•$1.4 billion to IBM
•$371 million to United Airlines
•$1 billion to Ford
•$254 million to Enron
•$833 million to General Motors
•$241 million to Phillips Petroleum
•$671 million to General Electric
•$184 million to American Airlines
•$608 million to Texas Utilities
•$155 million to IMC Global
•$600 million to Daimler Chrysler
•$144 million to Comdisco
•$572 million to Chevron Texaco
•$136 million to CMS Energy
•$102 million to Kmart
LET ME REPEAT THAT:
"Bush's policies have resulted in a nearly $3 trillion increase in America's debt and the loss of more than three million jobs. The White House Bulletin also quoted House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland as saying that Bush's "only answer to this glaring problem is to cut taxes in a way that most economists agree won't stimulate the economy and that will impose a greater share of the tax burden on the middle class."