Flawed 'New Beginnings':
The Bush Clue-print
by Maren L. Hickton
Before the election, George W. Bush ran a centrist campaign
and made many promises about what he would do if he became
president in his "Blueprint for New Beginnings."
How is he to keep his promises if his $1.6 trillion tax cut
1. Paying down the National Debt
By the Bush's charts, debt as a share of the GDP in 1980
was 26%. By the time Reagan and Bush, Sr., left office in
1990, it had escalated to 42%, nearly half the amount of the
GDP. When Clinton took office, he reduced the debt by billions,
to 35%. It is unrealistic to project economic growth 10 years
out, but Bush spins his inaccurate numbers anyway. Hence,
the calculations for paying off the debt under the President's
prescription, a high priority for America, is not presently
realistic, if the tax cuts are passed at the rates he describes.
2. Provide Relief for American Families
It would be great if we could reduce the tax rate for all
Americans without trading cuts in taxes for cuts in necessary
federal programs that the President promoted along the campaign
trail. But unfortunately, the President's prospectus, "A Blueprint
For New Beginnings," was written pre-election and takes into
account only what was going on in the U.S. economy through
the first quarter of 1999. While most Republicans (including
me), are aware of this, they need to make the public aware
that Bush's analysis is flawed on this basis alone.
The detailed Bush plan states, "Recent gains in real wages
account for roughly 20 percent of this individual income tax
surge." Not true now. Businesses have been unstable since
the last quarter of 2000 and many people are in the midst
of losing their jobs -- a trend in reorganization resulting
from our flailing economy which is expected to continue, with
or without the tax cuts.
3. Strengthen and Reform Education
The centerpiece of the Bush Blueprint, Bipartisan Education
Reform, is one of the most important needs in our great nation:
Children are the future of this country. But to accomplish
the related tasks to fulfill the Reform's objectives will
cost BILLIONS of dollars. In the current state of the economy,
in accordance with the Bush Budget, many preschool and other
education programs will have to be cut and with no hard evidence
that the President's current budget can meet most of the educational
programs he outlines if we have no tax money to pay for them.
As Americans, we must decide what is important to us: a huge
chunk out of the budget for tax cuts or having the necessary
funds to really educate our children?
4. Modernize And Reform Social Security
The President's efforts in attempting to put forth a sound
proposal regarding Social Security Reform should be applauded.
However, in addition to the likely fact that "Social Security's
spending trend is unsustainable in the long run," based on
the demographics of longer life spans with less population
growth to support the program, the current funds, the "surplus"
in taxes that the President continues to discuss, must be
guarded to be able to continue to support current retirees,
of which the President interestingly agrees.
But as the President knows, if the tax cuts are passed, Social
Security surpluses will be jeopardized, which, as they have
in the past, "...been used to mask spending increases in programs
unrelated to Social Security." There is simply not enough
money in the "surplus" to pay for established and long-standing
federal programs like Social Security and Medicare, and still
meet the President's other budget objectives. The President
goes on to propose that in order for Social Security reform,
"...it must be built upon a core of individually controlled,
voluntary personal retirement accounts."
The Bush administration does not want to be responsible to
invest Social Security funds in the private economy. Presently,
we have a zero savings rate, despite the fact that IRAs, 401Ks
and all sorts of other tax-incentive savings accounts have
been available for a long time. Before passing the tax cuts,
we must consider the following: if the general public also
discharges its responsibility to invest money for retirement,
the taxpayers of the future will either have to be willing
to take their extended family in, or we will have a nation
of homeless seniors.
Without an active vision to find the ways and means to educate
and sponsor savings programs for retirement, our children
will end up with the largest tax increase ever, to recoup
refunded tax monies.
5. Modernize and Reform Medicare
The need to address the Medicare program in a broad way is
clear to all Americans. The expensive need for prescription
drugs and nursing care to our sick and aging seniors are astronomical.
Duplication of services, fraud, bureaucratic red tape, and
other issues -- such as attracting professionals in the field
of gerontology are some of the problems. Non-coverage for
essential services such as for preventive care, including
devices such as new prescription eye glasses and hearing aids
for safety, are included in the problems with the current
However, what the President's budget fails to address is
the need for extended nursing care and prescription medicine
insurance and the fact that his "Immediate Helping Hand" program
only provides catastrophic coverage for all seniors with over
$6,000 in out-of-pocket drug costs per year." While the President
promises to cover the full costs of drugs for individuals
with incomes up to $11,600 and married couples with incomes
up to $15,700, he has not defined how the taxpayers are all
going to pay for this, which can easily be as much as $1,000
a month/per retiree.
For these reasons, the purported "surplus" that the President
wants to refund to all Americans, could easily be wiped-out
with the current needs of our seniors alone.
6. Revitalize National Defense
As the President points out, "Ensuring a common defense is
the sworn duty and first responsibility of any President."
The best defense is working with other democratic governments
to promote peace. It also involves paying respect to our military
forces, home and abroad, with suitable housing, competitive
compensation -- and restoring morale by insuring "quality-of-life
issues," and, of course, "a clear sense of mission."
The President, as part of this "revitalization" proposes
a national missile defense system. The ongoing published commentary
from the President concerning this extremely expensive program
is creating a fearful international environment causing other
nations to react negatively. While we must be ready for unknown
threats and work with our allies in participating in a cooperative
investment for R&D leading to international defense systems,
the President cannot continue to set mandates of his own without
NATO consensus. T
his would not only futher jeopardize the morale of our military,
but the peace of mind of all citizens in our own country as
we are now viewed as THE major threat, thanks to Bush's absense
of a "clear sense of mission." Our mission is to defend --
not attack. And "attacks" include both those which are real
and implied. The President has attacked other nations, real
and implied, and has recently been described by the German
Chancellor as an "isolationist." Peace today requires an inter-cooperation
between our allies to insure growing global peace beyond the
7. Champion Compassionate Conservatism
Bush's Budget agenda includes providing federal funds to
aid in the ongoing rebuilding of our nation based on the fact
that, "We are obligated to care for one another because it
is the right thing to do, and this moral root is the basis
for civilization." Most of us agree with this including taking
care of our children and offering parental support programs.
But just like we cannot invade other nations with our intrinsic
philosophies regarding what we believe to be the correct approach
in meeting the challenges of caring for others, no Presidential
administration has the right to impose his or her values as
a mandate for meeting these challenges if they involve faith-based
Much of this section of the President's Blueprint is in violation
of the separation of church and state, of which most major
faith-based organizations agree. In fact, this initiative
could do irreparable harm to many organizations: If the public
assumes that they will be receiving federal funds, what would
be the incentive to make donations? Further, the President
has reached out to those faith-based groups most vulnerable,
including minority groups, and sadly, some of these churches
are so desperate for help that they are willing to compromise
their own values.
All charitable groups have a duty to provide promised services
without any kind of biased agenda such as deciding whether
or not to provide food or other auxiliary care services based
on the willingness of the participant to engage in specific
religious commitments. If the President is truly compassionate,
he will not toss a carrot to those less fortunate to manipulate
others into participating in a program that is unconstitutional,
just for the sake of serving his own agenda and/or saving
tax dollars to promote tax relief.
In summary, the President's Blueprint for New Beginnings
is flawed in terms of general ethics and financial integrity.
It is the responsibility of those we elected, those in Congress,
to make sure we have adequate and sound representation. The
alternative is tyranny.