S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Check this out -- 8 years of Bush

Bush administration will be leaving quite a legacy -- A letter to the editor caught my eye this morning. I am quoting the entire letter, and following the letter with links to background information on a number of Mr. Kelly's claims:

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Section: Opinions
Edition: Tarrant
Page: B12

FOCUS ON ... And after nearly eight years ...

According to the government's own figures, the following things have increased during the Bush administration's tenure: The number of uninsured, unemployed and underemployed; Americans in poverty; CEO salaries; pollution of our air and water; opium production in Afghanistan; the national debt; nuclear proliferation; and home foreclosures.

The following have decreased:

The value of the dollar; the amount of taxes paid by the largest companies; your income adjusted for inflation; your rights as an American; jobs; retention of military personnel; military induction standards; and America's standing in the world, morally and economically.

This administration would have you believe that its actions are the reason we haven't experienced a terrorist attack since 2001. (Yes, terrorists are out there, but they're not hiding under every rock, as the administration would have you believe.)

Since 2001, more Americans have drowned in bathtub accidents than have been killed worldwide in terrorist attacks.

Since 2001, nearly 300,000 people in this country have died in traffic accidents.

If you believe that this administration is the reason we haven't been attacked since 2001, I'd seriously suggest that you make an appointment with a good neurologist.

— Stephen Kelly, Arlington

Bit by bit increases:

  • Number of uninsured -- U.S. Census Bureau: 44.8 million (15.3 percent) in 2005 to 47 million (15.8 percent) in 2006.

  • Number of unemployed and underemployed -- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Unemployment rates IV-2007 = 4.8%; March 2008 - 5.1%. For the year 2000, "The economy grew for the ninth consecutive year in 2000, with the unemployment rate falling to 4.0 percent, its lowest level in more than three decades."

  • Americans in poverty -- 2000 vs. current, from U.S. Census Bureau: Rate of poverty, families in 2000 = 8.7%; in 2006 = 9.8%.

  • CEO salaries -- The ratio of executive salaries to worker pay was highest in 2000, went down for a time, but has turned upward again. However, more than ever before, it pays to be the top executive in the company.

  • Pollution of air and water -- Voters can expect improvements to the environment with a new president.

  • Opium production in Afghanistan -- ". . . the IMF said opium production in Afghanistan had spiraled to 8,200 tons in 2007 from 185 tons in 2001"

  • U.S. national debt -- Current debt: $9,007,653,372,262.48 ; year 2000 debt: $5,674,178,209,886.86.

  • Nuclear proliferation -- In 2000 the talk was all about the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; by 2008 the list had changed. Iraq did not have a nuclear program and Iran and North Korea have talked about nuclear arms. All the other nuclear states are holding on.

  • Home [mortgage] foreclosures -- In January 2008 the foreclosure rate was up by 57% over the previous January. In October foreclosures were up 94% over October, 2006. The housing bubble that began in 2001 has burst.

Bit by bit decreases:

  • The value of the dollar -- The value of the dollar has declined 40% in the last six years.

  • The amount of taxes paid by the largest companies -- Over the three-year period, the average effective rate for all 275 [Fortune 500] companies dropped by a fifth, from 21.4 percent in 2001 to 17.2 percent in 2002-2003. Almost a third paid no taxes. . . earning $102 billion in pretax profits.

  • Your income adjusted for inflation -- Average US income in 2005 remained below the 2000 peak (adjusted for inflation) . . . the top 0.25% taxpayer group (those making more than $1 million) "reaped almost 47 percent of the total income gains in 2005, compared with 2000." . . . 2000 is a considered a base year by analysts . . . is that . . . income listed on tax returns grew every year after World War II, with a single one-year exception, until 2001."

  • Your rights as an American -- have declined markedly. Here is an example of American Civil Liberties Union testimony.

  • Jobs -- Total number of American manufacturing jobs in 2000: 17,263,000. Total number of American manufacturing jobs in 2006: 14,197,000. Number of American manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2006: 3,066,000. [Bureau of Labor Statistics.]
    Yearly average number of new private sector jobs created from 1992-2000: 1.76 million. Yearly average number of new private sector jobs created from 2001-2008:
    369,000. [Bureau of Labor Statistics.]

  • Retention of military personnel -- The stress of repeated deployments . . . show in the declining quality of Army recruits, retention of midlevel officers, desertions and other factors such as suicide, the Army's top general said Tuesday (2/19/08)

  • Military induction standards -- [General] Casey said it hasn't met its target for recruits with high school diplomas. The Army wants 90% of recruits to have diplomas; this year, records show, only 79% do. Further, it has accepted more soldiers who require waivers for felony convictions.

  • America's standing in the world, morally and economically -- Glenn Greenwald's July 2007 essay calls it a "tragic collapse" To quote:

    The new comprehensive worldwide Pew poll of public opinion conclusively disproves both of those views. The polling data demonstrates that while America's standing in the world is dangerously low on every continent in the world (the sole exception being Christian nations in Africa), pervasive anti-American sentiment has emerged only in the last six years. Prior to the Bush administration, America was respected and admired in most of the world, its values a source of inspiration, the ideals it espoused a source of widespread respect. Those are just facts.

Eight years of Bush was very well summarized in this letter to the editor. And the author was right on target in all his claims. Thank goodness there are only 273 more Bush days in office.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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The Future Was Yesterday said...

And millions of Americans voted for that - twice! I have to wonder if our national IQ average is in single digits, and how long before it reaches negative numbers.

Carol Gee said...

Future, what do you suppose accounts for Senator Clinton's win in Pa.?
It is going to be a long time until August, huh?
Thanks for your comment, Dan'l!