August's Lowdown

August 2004, Volume 6, Number 8

Edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer


It all adds up to a sorry story

The numbers tell the tale of the Bush presidency

Listening to all this talk of "swing voters" and "battleground states," I often think about my dear ol' daddy, W.F. "Hi" Hightower. When I was growing up in Denison, Texas, my father didn't expound much on political philosophy, but if you backed him into a corner he'd have called himself a conservative. Probe a little deeper, however, and ol' Hi would maintain that the community had a moral obligation to look out for the least among them, that a public library was essential in creating an informed citizenry (even though it would cut into his newsstand business), that we needed to pay a small tax to the county if we expected to have good roads, and that any leader— whether in business or government— had to be accountable for his (or her, but mostly his) actions. And if he proved himself incompetent or dishonest, or both, he should be hoisted out of office on his own petard.
The numbers tell the tale of the Bush presidencyThe numbers tell the tale of the Bush presidency
I got to thinking about this election, which everybody says is the most important in recent history— wondering what Hi would make of George W and the Bushites; First, he'd have to break out his hipwaders to slog through the rhetorical muck spewing from the podiums of these high-dollar conventions, with their Hollywood production and vetted and canned stump speeches.

But then, being a businessman, Hi would've wanted to see the hard, objective numbers and make his decision on solid, logical deduction rather than on the cut of a man's hair or his choice of hobbies. Like Joe DiMaggio's 56- game hitting streak, like Hank Aaron's 755 dingers, the numbers don't lie.

So even though my daddy's long gone, I wanted to put together this special Lowdown with him in mind—he'd be all for boiling the President down to a job performance review.

The Economy

Federal deficit under Bush administration: $2.3 trillion projected through 2011

Federal surplus when Bush came into office: $5.6 trillion projected over 10 years

2004 deficit: $450 billion

Current U.S. debt to the penny: $7,298,671,067,464.27

"Our projected budget deficits are not manageable without significant changes [in taxes or spending]...We simply cannot grow our way out this problem." Says U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, a former Reagan Administration official, who is a non-partisan auditor appointed to a 15-year term.

Source: Congressional Budget Office

Wages

Americans' average income growth from 2000-2002: -5.7%

Americans' average income growth from 2000-2002 adjusted for inflation: -9.2%

2002 is the most recent year for which data is available. This is the first time Americans' overall income shrank for two consecutive years since the current tax system was put in place during World War II.

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Hourly wage growth for production, non-supervisory workers in 2003: 0.6% (the 80% of the workforce that are blue-collar workers in manufacturing or are non-managers in services)

CEO pay growth in 2003: 27%

Hourly wages fell for middle- and low-wage men and women (adjusted for inflation), making 2003 the worst year for wage growth over the 1998-2003 period. This happened in spite of the acceleration of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in late 2003. Meanwhile, the 27% climb in overall pay for CEOs exceeds the 11.5% rise in 2002 over 2001. Since 1990, average CEO pay has risen a total of 279%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Week

Ratio of CEO:to worker pay in 2003: 300 to 1

Ratio of CEO:to worker pay in 1982: 42 to 1

CEO to worker pay ratios in Mexico (45 to 1), Hong Kong (38 to 1), and Britain (25 to 1) are much less obscene. Unfortunately, under George W's tax system, all those gabillions for executive pay are now treated by the IRS as a "reasonable business expense," so they are fully deductible from a corporation's taxable income—no matter how huge the sum.

Source: Business Week

Jobs

Number of jobs lost since Bush took office: 1.2 million

Number of jobs promised to come from Bush tax cuts: 5.5 million

Number of jobs created during Clinton administration: 21 million

Since the recession began 39 months ago in March 2001, the 0.9% contraction in the job market represents the greatest sustained job loss since the Great Depression.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment rate today: 5.6%

Unemployment rate when "recovery" in November 2001: 6%

Underemployment rate today: 9.6%

Underemployment rate when "recovery" began: 9.4%

Bush's "Jobs and Growth Plan" has yielded no change in the nation's unemployment rate for all the talk of a "recovery." Underemployment, meaning involuntary part-time work, discouraged workers, and other workers who have looked for work in the last year but are not counted as unemployed, has actually increased.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

DID YOU KNOW?

Of imports into the U.S., China accounts for:

95% of stuffed toys

88% of radios

83% of toys

70% of leather goods

67% of shoes

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

The War

2005 Defense budget: $447 billion

2001 Defense budget: $291 billion

2005 Intelligence budget passed by House of Representatives: approx. $40 billion(classified)

While the Bushites have poured buckets full of cash on defense contractors for high-tech weaponry, they have shortchanged our troops on the ground, failing to provide essential equipment such as body armor, working rifles, gloves, and flashlights.

Number of U.S. military killed in action under Bush in Iraq & Afghanistan: 1,041

Number of U.S. military killed in action in Iraq since Bush announces "major combat operations have ended": 797

Estimated number of civilians killed and wounded in Iraq & Afghanistan: 14,673

The Bushites promised that American "liberators" would be welcomed with flowers and sweets by jubilant Iraqis.

Number of U.S. military wounded in Iraq & Afghanistan through July according to Defense Department: 5,976

Number of U.S. military wounded in Iraq & Afghanistan through July according to United Press International: 11,700+

Source: Department of Defense, Iraqi Coalition Casualty Count, Iraq Body Count

Globaloney

Number of U.S. jobs lost due to NAFTA and WTO trade deals between 1994 and 2000: 3 million

Number of U.S. jobs lost in manufacturing sector alone under Bush Administration: 1.7 million

Manufacturing jobs lost in 2003: 582,000

Manufacturing jobs eliminated since 1997: 3.3 million

Increased imports spurred by the NAFTA and WTO trade deals eliminate U.S. jobs. Under Bush, 10% of total U.S. industrial employment has vanished.

Sources:Economic Policy Institute, Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. trade deficit in 2003: $549 billion

U.S. trade deficit in 1999: $271 billion

U.S. trade deficit in 2003 with China alone: $124 billion

Growth in the trade deficit reflects surging imports and the declining competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing industries. This deficit is financed by borrowing money from other countries, which buy US Treasury securities. Major creditors are Japan/$542b., China/$168b., Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

Number of states shifting from higher-paying to lower-paying jobs since November, 2001: 48 Exceptions, Nevada and Nebraska.

Nationwide, the fastest-growing job-creating industries—food & customer service, nursing, sales, computer support, security guard—pay 21% less annually than the fastest-growing jobs from just a few years ago.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Number of jobs lost in software- producing industries from 2000 to 2004: 128,000

Number of jobs gained in India in software- producing industries from 1999 to 2003: 150,000

India exports two-thirds of its software products to U.S.-based customers.

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Social Security
Year through which Social Security and Medicare are fully funded without any changes to system: 2042

Percentage of Social Security and Medicare benefits that will be funded after that, even without changes to program: 73%

In its push toward Social Security and Medicare privatization, the Bush administration has used a faulty "infinite horizon" model to predict the programs will face a multitrillion dollar shortfall.

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Taxes

Average tax break for top 1% of earners under Bush tax plan: $96,634

Average tax break for bottom 60% of earners under plan: $350

When the Bush administration sent its proposed 2004 budget to Congress in February 2003, it omitted a U.S. Treasury Department report that predicted huge deficits far beyond the administration's projections. The Treasury study also said tax increases were needed to close the astonishing deficit being projected.

Source: Citizens for Tax Justice

Healthcare

Number of people who have become uninsured since Bush took office: 3.8 million

Number of people who gained health insurance under Clinton administration: 2.3 million

Since Bush took office, family healthcare premiums have risen by more than $2,700 a year. The average cost for a family plan is now above $9,000. This increase, combined with the loss of so many jobs, has left a total of 43 million Americans uninsured.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Cost of Bush Medicare drug proposal: $534 billion

Cost of program originally announced by White House: $395 billion

Before Congress approved the bill, Richard Foster, who was chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was prepared to reveal the higher cost estimates to Congress. Thomas Scully, who was Bush's Medicare director at the time, told Foster he'd be fired if he did.

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Number of retirees who will lose employer-paid drug coverage due to new Medicare bill: 2.7 million

Number of retirees whose employer- paid drug coverage will be cut by the new Medicare bill: 9 million

Number of Medicaid recipients forced to enroll in Medicare drug benefit, resulting in higher cost sharing and no coverage for some drugs: 6.4 million

These are the facts not revealed in the Bush administration's $22 million advertising campaign to sell this flawed plan to the public.

Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research

Average cost increase of the 10 most-used prescription drugs in 2003 alone: 8.7%

Additional profits that the pharmaceutical industry will realize from Bush Medicare initiative: $139 billion

Source: Citizens for Tax Justice

Education

Amount Bush administration underfunded No Child Left Behind Act in 2004: $9.4 billion

Amount Bush administration underfunded NCLB Act since it was passed in 2001: $26.4 billion

Sources: U.S. Department of Education
By failing to fully fund his NCLB, Bush left states to find the money for the federally required education programs designed to hold schools accountable for children's academic progress. So severe is the gap in funding that 21 states have passed or proposed measures to opt out of or seek changes in the Act, including Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Arizona, Minnesota, Idaho, Connecticut, Wyoming and New Mexico.

Amount Bush Administration provided to groups promoting voucher programs from 2001 to 2003: $75 million

Amount Bush Administration provided for voucher program for District of Columbia schools in 2004: $14 million

Amount Bush Administration provided for DC school district: $13 million

The $14 million voucher program in DC will enable 1,700 students to attend private schools, while the $13 million is all the other 65,000 students in the city's public schools get.

Source: People for the American Way report, Funding a Movement

Civil Liberties

Number of states that have passed resolutions to protect residents from the USA PATRIOT Act's erosion of civil liberties: 4

Number of cities and counties that have passed similar resolutions: 338

Rather than submit to Bush & Ashcroft's Orwellian intrusion into our lives, citizens all across the country, from Des Moines, Iowa, to Lexington, Kentucky, are taking action to protect the civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Source: Bill of Rights Defense Committee

The Enviroment

Anti-Environment Actions of Bush administration in last six months alone:

July:

• Court nixes Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan to send nuclear waste to an earthquake zone at Yucca Mountain

• EPA allows power plant and factory repairs costing up to 20% to be called "maintenance," so they don't have to comform to new, court-mandated pollution controls

• EPA proposes giving pesticide approval authority to bureaucrats instead of biologists, adding a new risk to wildlife

• Forest Service proposes roadless rule rollback

June:

• General Accounting Office (GAO) criticizes Pentagon for perchlorate pollution

• Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holds largest federal lands auction in Utah history

• EPA resists further mercury studies

• EPA lifts ban on drilling in Gulf of Mexico. Bush administration slashes funding for global warming research

May:

• Army Corps of Engineers loosens clean water, stream protections for mountaintop removal mining

• Bush administration may roll back fuel standards

• Bush administration unveils controversial salmon plan

• Bush administration planning cuts in environmental funding

•Energy Department seeking to expand natural gas drilling on federal lands

April:

• Hatchery fish to be counted under Endangered Species Act

• Bush budget cuts lead poisoning prevention funding

• White House altered scientific findings on mercury threat

• U.S. strong-arms E.U. to back down on chemical safety requirements

• Mining whistleblower accuses Bush administration of cover-up

March:

• EPA letting Clean Water Act violators off the hook

• Forest Service eases rules to boost Northwest logging

• BLM okays energy exploration in sensitive Utah lands

• Budget cuts crippling national park system

• Forest Service hires PR firm to sell Sierra Nevada logging

February:

• National Park Service approves more drilling for Padre Island

• Bush cuts funding for endangered species

• Secret Pentagon report warns that global warming is a very real threat

• Private ranchers get rights to public lands

Source: National Resources Defense Council

Get those jobs outta here!

"Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade," said N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors when he released the Economic Report of the President. "More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And that's a good thing."



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