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The Bush Economy
April 29, 2003
By Justin Hill

Americans have finally stood up against President George W. Bush's failed revival of trickle-down economics. Last week, the Senate denied Bush his plutocrat-tilted tax plan for a scaled down version aimed at immediate economic stimulus.

Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Greenspan, in speaking out against the dividend tax cut, could have delivered the prophetic kiss of death in early February when he doubted the stimulative effects of Bush's dividend tax elimination, according to CNNMoney. Americans and some courageous congressmen on both sides of the aisle have joined Greenspan in declaring that a time of war, nation building and ballooning deficits is not the time to push a large, questionable and heavily slanted tax cut on the United States.

Bush came into office with a stalled economy and claimed to hold the key to its revival with his $1.8 trillion tax cut. Granted, Bush inherited the tail end of a slightly inflated economic boom, but the current state of the economy is inexcusable.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since Bush took office, unemployment has risen 43 percent, 2.7 million people have become unemployed with 2.4 million coming from the private sector and the Clinton legacy 4.2 percent unemployment rate has gone up to 5.8 percent. Bush is actually the only president to post an average monthly job loss since the Bureau began keeping statistics in 1939. No longer can he pin the blame on Clinton. His tax cuts have been in place for more than two years, and America is still in an economic recession.

Since jobs do not wholly represent the health of the economy, one might look at the stock market since more than half of the United States is now invested. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have lost $2.8 trillion since Bush's inauguration and the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have all fallen more than 15 percentage points. Along with jobs and the stock market in the toilet, America's federal deficit is in the red for the first time since 1997 while the Bush administration condescendingly refers to Rubinomics as baseless and ineffective.

Bush has proven many things since taking office. He has proven that he is not as inept as many believed. He proved he could console and lead the country after a tragedy. He has shown great political skill and has easily installed many aspects of his agenda for the United States, all with a closely divided Congress. Currently, he is proving that he can proceed down a road of foreign policy that is divisive and exploratory at best. He has also proven he cannot responsibly steer the economy into growth and progress.

Former President George Bush earned a superior resume and a longer list of accomplishments than his son throughout his career but found out quickly that a failing economy is the albatross on the neck of a floundering president. Bush used his pseudo-mandate of election in 2000 to push his massive tax cuts, which were overwhelmingly tilted to the hyper-rich to avoid a one-term presidency. Those tax cuts have put Americans deeper in debt and economic stimulation is still unseen.

The current White House has proven its incompetence in maintaining a healthy economy and has chosen to pursue an agenda to help its donors and corporate bedpartners. The talk of short-term stimulus has obviously not been the practical aim of the administration. The reduction of the burden on the working class has been overlooked. It has chosen to focus tax adjustments on the upper brackets of the U.S. progressive tax system while overlooking the most regressive tax in the United States, the payroll tax.

The Bush economic plan centers on corporate welfare, tax rebates to the richest 1 percent of Americans and corporate investor incentives in a blurred quest for economic stimulation. Bush is still advocating what his father referred to as "voodoo economics." One could argue that it succeeded under Reagan, although the wealth distribution under Reagan was so skewed it resembled the early 1900s wealth stratification.

Furthermore, Bush is reigning in a new era of corporate excesses by allowing corporate and industry executives to completely govern themselves. Corporations are given discretion over their polluting and pollution controls, labor unions have stricter financial disclosure rules than corporations such as Enron, and America's energy plan now includes controlling the oil resources of other countries in "trust."

U.S. priorities have faded and America's direction is sketchy. No matter what ideology one claims, the United States is in dire need of an economic jump-start that confronts corporate crime, workers rights and the environment. So far this administration has succeeded in cloaking the issues most Americans hold paramount in war and a constant state of fear. It might be time for the administration to swallow its pride and start tackling the burgeoning deficit and disappearing middle class because its tax cuts have proven they are not the paths to economic prosperity.

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