From: "Jerry Lobdill" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Jerry Lobdill" <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: 'Dishonest' Would Be An Understatement
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2004 12:39:15 -0600
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook IMO, Build 9.0.2416 (9.0.2910.0)
'Dishonest' Would Be An Understatement
Almost six months ago to the day, President Bush made a Labor Day visit to Ohio, a state which has "lost more than a quarter-million jobs," including 166,000 manufacturing jobs, since 2001. During a speech to workers there, he said he would "appoint an assistant secretary [of Commerce] to focus on the needs of manufacturers, to make sure our manufacturing job base is strong and vibrantWe have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move." Yet, six months later, the country has lost another quarter million manufacturing jobs (and Ohio alone has lost another 9,000 manufacturing jobs) and the Administration has not only failed to offer a policy prescription, it has not even appointed the Commerce department specialist. And yesterday, the situation hit a boiling point: the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly Mass Layoff report which showed "there were more mass layoffs in January 2004 than in any previous January for the nine-years that such records have been kept" a report that prompted outrage from Sens. Schumer, Corzine and Stabenow. The promise to address the manufacturing situation with new policies and a new manufacturing czar and then failure to follow through is only the latest economic contradiction from the Bush Administration. What follows is a list of the most brazen and calculated economic distortions:
MYTH 1 WE CARE ABOUT JOB LOSS: President Bush, echoing an oft-repeated sentiment from the Administration, said recently that "we care about our fellow citizens - we want to make sure somebody who's hurting has a chance to succeed in life by working." Yet, just a few weeks ago, the President personally signed a report wholeheartedly endorsing U.S. job loss to overseas outsourcing, claiming that it was a "good thing" and just an unpreventable side-effect of free trade. But as Paul Krugman notes, free trade is "viable only if it's backed by effective job creation measures and a strong domestic social safety net" both areas the Administration has repeatedly slashed. For the last three years, the Administration has tried to cut more than $1 billion out of job training programs, while underfunding its own education bill by $27 billion in essence robbing workers of the education/training tools they need to compete. At the same time, the Administration has cut funding for a plethora of health care and safety net programs. See more on the Administration's policies that are discouraging job and wage growth.
MYTH 2 WE CARE ABOUT THE MIDDLE CLASS: The Administration has claimed it wants to "help the middle class." Yet, just this week, the President refused to distance himself from Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's proposal to severely reduce Social Security benefits for ordinary people in order to protect the Administration's massive tax cuts for the wealthy. Greenspan said cutting Social Security as opposed to reducing the tax cuts was necessary to deal with growing deficits, "effectively embracing the lunatic notion that cutting taxes will generate more government revenue" and that protecting the rich should come before protecting the middle class. In 1966 Greenspan said "deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth." Now, it is Greenspan and the White House using the "scheme" of deficits to justify Social Security cuts and confiscate wealth from the middle class to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. See more background on the current state of Social Security.
MYTH 3 WE ARE CUTTING TAXES FOR AVERAGE PEOPLE: As a presidential candidate in 2000, then-Governor Bush said "the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." It was an oft-repeated sentiment for the next three years, with the Administration saying that its tax bills would be "an achievement for families struggling to enter the middle class." Yet, the data now clearly shows the Administration's tax cuts were overwhelmingly skewed towards the wealthy: By 2010, the top 1% - who make an average of $1 million - will have received more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks, and will have received over half of all the Bush tax cuts ever passed (this might explain why four in five Americans say they have felt no tax relief). To combat this embarrassing truth, the Administration resorted to disingenuous rhetoric, citing deceptive averages to claim that its most recent tax proposal would give "91 million taxpayers an average tax cut of $1,126." Yet, these averages were artificially inflated because they included huge tax breaks to millionaires. In reality, the middle fifth of all households received just $217, with 83% of Americans getting less than the "average" all while the Administration is effectively raising taxes on the middle class. Most shockingly, the President himself admitted that he knew he was misleading Americans by claiming the tax cuts helped average people. As he asked his economic team when they were pondering even more tax cuts, "Haven't we already given money to rich people? Shouldn't we be giving money to the middle?"
MYTH 4 TAX CUTS WILL NOT CAUSE DEFICITS: Facing questions about the massive size of his tax cuts, President Bush assured the nation that "we can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens." When the tax cuts passed, the surplus evaporated and record deficits hit. Instead of fessing up to its distortion, the Administration blamed the recession for the deficit. Then, realizing that it couldn't take that track because it had said there would be no deficits "even if the economy softens," the President said "this nation has got a deficit because we have been through a war" claiming the deficit was caused by increases in defense/homeland security spending needed after 9/11 . Yet, hard data and the Administration's own budget documents show that tax cuts not defense/homeland security spending - were the single largest factor in creating the deficit. Desperate for some explanation, the President said, "I remember campaigning in Chicago, and one of the reporters said, would you ever deficit spend? I said only -- only in times of war, in times of economic insecurity as a result of a recession, or in times of national emergency." Yet even this explanation was not true as Tim Russert noted, "we have checked everywhere and we've even called the White House as to when the president said this, and it didn't happen."
MYTH 5 WE CARE ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYED: President Bush has said, "I'm worried about those who are unemployed." Yet, with 760,000 scheduled to lose their unemployment benefits this month, his Administration refuses to demand that its allies on Capitol Hill stop blocking a House-passed bill that would extend unemployment benefits. Adding insult to injury, the Administration's key economic officials visited parts of the country hardest hit by unemployment, yet refused to actually meet with any unemployed workers.