Democratic Underground

The Pickpocket

August 3, 2004
By Bridget Gibson

I have heard that folks want to know what John Kerry will do differently if he is elected. I want to know what George Bush will do differently.

In 2000, George Bush said that tax cuts would do the trick to make a fairly healthy economy even better. The anticipated federal deficit for 2004 was released yesterday at $445 billion. Since taking office, the national debt has skyrocketed to more than $7.3 trillion - more than $1.6 trillion have been added on Bush's watch - with the debt ceiling being raised three times!

With the Senate, the Congress and the White House all under Republican control, we have been shown that fiscal responsibility definitely does not reside within that political party. For them, it would seem that their motto is "Party On!"

The Bush Administration's economic advisor, Gregory Mankiw, told us that outsourcing was good for our economy. Bush has pushed for tax cut after tax cut - with his goal being one every year he is in office.

Being removed from the worries of the real working world that the rest of us inhabit must be nice. Public schools taught us addition and subtraction so that we could keep our checkbooks balanced, but simple math must have been left out of Bush's private school curriculum. By campaigning on Air Force One using taxpayer dollars, he never needs to notice the ever increasing cost of a gallon of gas that the rest of us struggle to pay.

George Bush castigated Al Gore and Bill Clinton in 2000 for not doing enough to keep gasoline prices down, going so far as to state that he would just tell his good friends in the Mideast, with whom we had such wonderful relationships, to "just open their spigots." On July 29, 2004, the price for a barrel of oil rose to an all-time record high of $43.80. In spite of the cost of crude, ChevronTexaco has posted record profits for the past six quarters - with an economic analyst going so far as to call the last one "an absolute blowout quarter." ChevronTexaco's bottom line was also boosted by Bush administration changes in the income-tax laws for international properties.

Worrying about the Estate Tax (George's "Death Tax") has been a priority to George Bush also. It would seem that he is afraid that he won't get enough money from his family's estate. I just wish that he would stop assessing a Birth Tax (The National Debt) on every child born in the United States.

Each and every one of us have gained an additional burden of paying for the reckless way that our money is being mismanaged. Currently, each citizen's share is $24,842.62 and growing daily. For a family of five, that additional debt is nearly $125,000.00. Under George's plan, the richest 1% in this country will be able to shift their share of the burden of the National Debt to your children and mine.

Raises for CEOs at our nation's largest corporations more than doubled in 2003, with the average pay being $1.85 million. Four top companies, Apple Computer, Oracle, Yahoo and Colgate-Palmolive, increased their CEO pay by more than 1,000 percent. This study was conducted by The Corporate Library, a private company that analyzes corporations for investors. The difference in pay between CEOs and the average employee is currently the highest in recorded history. Some lucky CEOs are receiving more than $500 million a year while millions of workers look forward to a lifetime at $5.15 an hour.

For the past three years, we have been told that the economy is "turning the corner," is "right on the cusp," is going to grow "in the next quarter," and that "any day now" recovery is coming. But Bush's current policies are not designed for an economic recovery that will reach all of the citizens of our nation, they are designed to give illusions and justifications with no results.

George Bush inherited a budget surplus which he rapidly converted to a budget deficit, rewarding his friends and family with massive tax cuts and no-bid contracts.

The disparity is seen by the rising need of families that are seeking help from area food banks. The number of people in the United States that are "food insecure" (meaning they lack the ability to ensure healthy meals and are vulnerable to some form of chronic malnutrition) is 34.9 million, affecting 11% of families. The 2003 U.S. Conference of Mayors survey of 25 cities showed that demand at food banks rose 17%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since June 2000, the number of adults considered "not in the labor force" - those who don't have jobs and have stopped looking for them - has grown by about 4.4 million, to 66.6 million people. These discouraged workers are not counted in the official unemployment numbers. If they were, the unemployment statistic would show a 22.5% unemployment rate instead of the 5.6% unemployment rate claimed by Bush.

Under the guidance of the Bush administration, our jobs are being outsourced at a pace never before seen and the creation of new jobs is fewer than since the administration of Herbert Hoover. The Hoover mantra was "Prosperity is right around the corner," yet Hoover ushered in the Great Depression. Our twin deficits (budget and trade) have reached proportions that are unprecedented and it appears that our country is at equal or greater risk for another Depression at this point in time.

This administration offers only its failed policies and that is why you won't hear them exclaiming how wonderful they are - you will only hear them deride the opposition.

We are all smarter than we get credit for in this country. We know that what we see with our eyes and experience in our lives is reality and we know when we hear lies and obfuscation about the facts. Don't be deceived by the rolled up shirt sleeves - George Bush doesn't know what working is. He didn't work himself through college, he didn't finance his own corporate failures; instead he relied on other people's money, the public's gullibility and his father's name.

We need to have honest representation in our government that understands that life inside the Boardroom and the Beltway is quite different than life on Main Street.

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