stands for Wrong
by Eric Munoz
It's ironic that in the year that George W. Bush has
enjoyed such a spectacular approval rating that his political
philosophy has proven to be so fundamentally wrong. His conservative
philosophy has always held that less taxes, smaller government
and less regulation make for a stronger nation. President
Bush derided the military as being poorly prepared and poorly
trained. George Bush was wrong and has been wrong on just
In 1999, when the Bush team formulated their budget scheme
and tax proposal, the government was coming off of successive
years of budget surpluses. Bush proposed that giving some
of that surplus back as tax cuts. The rosy scenario the tax
cuts were based on never materialized and the surpluses vanished.
In early 2000, when all indications were that the economy
was faltering, Bush pushed through his tax cut as an "insurance
policy" against recession. The recession the tax cuts were
supposed to prevent came anyway. Later in the year, when the
recession had kicked in, Bush offered another round of cuts,
this one aimed at large corporations, that he said would lift
us out of recession. This 'economic stimulus'
package has been described by many, including the Congression
al Budget Office, as having little to do with stimulus.
Recently, George Bush tried to convince the American people
that any reduction in tax cuts was an increase in taxes and
bad for the economy. In a speech given January 5, 2002 Bush
said, "[t]here's going to be people who say, we can't
have the tax cut go through anymore. That's a tax raise. And
I challenge their economics, when they say raising taxes will
help the country recover. Not over my dead body will they
raise your taxes."
Bush's speech was in response to a speech given earlier
by Sen. Daschle, who said, "the continued high interest
rates and the adverse impact on investor confidence, in turn,
leads to less investment, less consumption, more job losses,
and bigger deficits. That's the hidden tax of the current
fiscal policies. So, not only did the tax cut fail to prevent
a recession, as its supporters said it would, it probably
made the recession worse."
George Bush did not, however, challenge the economics of
Alan Greenspan, who made similar comments. The January 12,
2002 LA Times reports that Alan Greenspan concurred
that deficits could be slowing recovery by keeping long-term
interest rates higher. "Some of the firmness of long-term
interest rates probably is the consequence of the fall of
projected budget surpluses and the implied less rapid pay
down of Treasury debt," Greenspan said.
The massive tax cuts have not only failed to stave off recession
but have exacerbated it. During his campaign, George Bush
repeatedly claimed that government did not have the all the
answers and as a result should be pared back. While it is
true that government does not have all the answers, it is
wrong to suggest that government services are not needed.
The 9-11 tragedy testified to the necessity of government
programs. The heroics of public servants have been well documented
and have served as an inspiration to the nation as a whole.
Government for the people and by the people provides services
that will not be undertaken by private enterprise, but are
still necessary for the society to function.
George Bush also held that government regulation is bad for
the economy. Companies like Enron found the White House to
be a willing ally in their struggles to roll back regulations.
While the collapse of Enron has mired the front pages, it
is the regulation rollbacks that allowed Enron to expand that
should be investigated. Deregulation that served the interest
of one company at the expense of the nation is wrong.
Regulation was instituted so that private companies could
not monopolize commodities, like utilities, that have become
essential in our society. Regulation was instituted so that
snake-oil salesmen could not cook their books to hide their
losses. Regulation was instituted so that investors would
be well informed about what they were investing in and what
they were getting back. Regulation is essential in markets
that are not conducive to competition, it is essential in
keeping corporations honest about their earnings, and it is
essential in providing a stable securities market.
During the 2000 presidential debates, George Bush criticized
the military as not prepared and in a state of decline. Now
George Bush is riding on the tailcoats of military success
to stratospheric level approval ratings. Donald Rumsfeld didn't
even have time to arrange his desk drawers much less conduct
a thorough review and implement a strategic plan to improve
the ‘ailing' military before it was called into
action. The military has done a superb job and it has demonstrated
its awesome strength with efficiency and precision. The military
has performed remarkably well for being in such disarray.
George Bush's oxymoronic first year in office would
seem to be a mixed blessing for him, but eventually the truth
will come out. George W. Bush was wrong about the economy,
his tax cuts, the strength of the military and the role of
government. George W. Bush is wrong about his stimulus package,
his military strategy, and his anti-environment, anti-worker,
W is, quite simply, Wrong.