The land of opportunity
(CNN) -- President Bush and Sen. Kerry both campaigned in West Virginia over the long holiday weekend, taking advantage of Labor Day to talk about American workers.

Bush touted the state's lower than average unemployment rate, while Kerry cited the state's loss of 11,000 manufacturing jobs over the past three years. The president trumpeted the nearly 1.7 million new U.S. jobs added since the end of last summer, while his opponent reminded the crowd that many of those new jobs are paying less than the ones outsourced to cheap foreign labor markets, or lost altogether.

With all the talk recently about labor from Bush and Kerry on the campaign trail, you'd think the American worker is the number one priority for each candidate. Sadly, that's not the case.

And in what can only be described as election-year politics, President Bush has proposed the creation of 40 "opportunity zones" across the country. Described as urban and rural communities that have lost manufacturing, textile and other jobs, these opportunity zones would qualify for tax and regulatory relief, investment incentives, education and job training designed to attract new businesses and create new jobs. CNN Saturday September 11, 2004

Bush trades away jobs
In his speech to last week's Republican National Convention, President Bush devoted only a sentence fragment to the discussion of his administration's trade policies.

It was a wise move. This administration's unrelenting advocacy for a free trade model that rewards multinational corporations has done enormous damage to workers, communities and the environment in the United States and abroad.

It has, as well, saddled the United States with record trade deficits that have made it impossible for the country to develop a robust economy. That has certainly been the case in Wisconsin, where the Bush team's misguided approach to trade policy has battered the state's manufacturing sector. Capital Times Tuesday September 07, 2004

Dem. Mayors: Cities Can't Afford Bush
NEW YORK - Cities are taking the hardest hits from the Republican administration's domestic policies, Democratic mayors say.

"We are very frustrated and angry because they are moving us in the wrong direction," said Mayor Douglas Palmer of Trenton, N.J. "We can't afford George Bush and Dick Cheney for four more years." Yahoo News Thursday September 02, 2004

Bush's ruinous economic plans
WE WILL shortly hear from the president himself, but the outlines of his domestic program for a second term are already all too clear. Take five key areas of economic policy -- health, Social Security, energy, taxes, and the deficit.

All five have this in common: In each case the administration program doesn't really address the underlying problem. Rather, the purpose is either to help an industry ally, stir up the party base, or advance an ideological goal (or all three). Boston Globe Wednesday September 01, 2004

Bringing family values to the workplace
WORKING FAMILIES and employers beware. The political debate over family values is turning to the workplace. Last week the Bush administration implemented new rules governing who is eligible for overtime; his campaign is also set to unveil a "flextime" policy that would allow compensatory time off in lieu of paying overtime for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour work week. Senator Kerry denounced both proposals and responded by proposing to expand access to the unpaid leave provisions in the Family and Medical Leave Act to employees of small firms and to increase funding for after-school programs. Boston Globe Monday August 30, 2004

A GOP fleecing of card users
OF ALL the business tycoons assembling for their favorite party's convention this week, none will get a warmer, perk-filled welcome than the personal finance crowd that has figured out how to imprison tens of millions of ordinary Americans with interest charges and other fees worthy of loan sharks.They are profiteering on a growing mountain of debt that is increasingly crucial to meeting expenses in a "recovery" marked by stagnant household income.

What ought to be called the usury business has earned its caviar from President Bush's Republican Party. The banking, insurance, and real estate interests have ponied up more than $25 million for Bush this year, six times more than in 2000. Boston Globe Monday August 30, 2004

Poverty in the U.S. climbs for third year
WASHINGTON The U.S. poverty rate and the number of Americans without health insurance rose last year, each for the third consecutive year, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. The figures, which the administration released a month earlier than usual, quickly became the focus of a partisan debate.

"Under George Bush's watch," said Senator John Kerry, referring to the new data, "America's families are falling further behind." The report said that the number of Americans in poverty rose from 12.1 percent in 2002 to 12.5 percent a year later, totaling 35.8 million people, and that the number of uninsured Americans rose during the same period by 1.4 million, to 45 million, or 15.6 percent of the population. IHT Thursday August 26, 2004

Census Reports Rise in Uninsured Americans
THURSDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDayNews) --- The number of people in the United States without health insurance rose to 45 million last year, the government reported Thursday, and new statistics show that the increase outpaced that for people getting coverage.

A U.S. Census Bureau report found that 1 million more people were covered in 2003 than in 2002, but "the number of people without health insurance coverage rose by 1.4 million over that same period," said Daniel H. Weinberg, the bureau's chief of housing and household economic statistics. Forbes Thursday August 26, 2004

Painting the Economy Into a Corner
President Bush reacted decisively to this month's shockingly bad employment report - by quickly changing the topic to terror. The Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, also focused elsewhere, namely on rising oil prices. Mr. Greenspan used inflationary energy costs as the rationale for raising interest rates a quarter point, despite the drastic slump in hiring and a recent slowdown in productivity growth.

What neither man seems ready to acknowledge outright is that policy makers have run out of tools for stewarding an economy that - nearly three years into a recovery - has yet to flourish and may even be downshifting to neutral. The president's fiscal policies, mainly high-end tax cuts, have resulted in a record federal budget deficit without spurring hiring or income growth. If Mr. Bush continues on the tax-cut path, continuing high deficits will further threaten job creation and living standards. New York Times Thursday August 12, 2004

Bush Says National Sales Tax Worth Considering
NICEVILLE, Fla. (Reuters) - President Bush said on Tuesday that abolishing the U.S. income tax system and replacing it with a national sales tax was an idea worth considering.

"It's an interesting idea," Bush told an "Ask President Bush" campaign forum here. "You know, I'm not exactly sure how big the national sales tax is going to have to be, but it's the kind of interesting idea that we ought to explore seriously." Yahoo News Tuesday August 10, 2004

Few new jobs Symptom of failed policy
As a general rule of political economy, the prudent citizen draws a bright line between developments in the marketplace and events in Washington, D.C. The vast American economy can respond to forces quite beyond the control of politicians, and the behavior of politicians can respond to -- well, who knows?

But the dismal employment report released Friday by the Labor Department makes it impossible to sustain that distinction -- not with an election just three months away. The disappointing numbers should be deeply chastening for the campaign of President Bush and deeply troubling for voters who have suffered the most incompetent economic stewardship in memory. Star-Tribune Saturday August 07, 2004

U.S. Adding More Oil to Emergency Reserve
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration said on Friday it was adding more oil to the U.S. emergency petroleum reserve, despite record high crude prices and strong oil demand.

The U.S. Interior Department said it awarded contracts to ChevronTexaco Corp. and Royal Dutch/Shell Group's Shell Oil to deliver more than 100,000 barrels of crude a day to the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Reuters Friday August 06, 2004

A Record Deficit
THE BUSH administration announced last week its revised figure for this year's budget deficit: $445 billion. This, or so the spin goes, is good news, because the original forecast was even higher -- $521 billion. But outside budget experts had warned that the forecast was inflated, which tarnishes any celebration of the new number. Not that the administration was deterred. "This improved budget outlook is the direct result of the strong economic growth the president's tax relief has fueled," crowed Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten.

Mr. Bolten's argument makes little sense: Economic growth has been no faster than the administration anticipated when it predicted the higher deficit. In any event, $445 billion marks the highest deficit ever (though the administration seems to be setting the stage for a new round of better-than-expected numbers just before Election Day). Only in the administration's upside-down economic world could a deficit $70 billion higher than last year's be hailed as progress. Washington Post Thursday August 05, 2004

Deficit rule No. 1: If you're in a hole, stop digging
WASHINGTON -- Bad economic news presses from all sides. The recovery is faltering. The stock market is in a funk. Consumers are being squeezed between stagnant incomes, rising costs of buying credit, and maxed-out credit cards.

Deficits of all kinds are growing. The federal budget deficit is projected at $5 trillion (that's trillion, as in 5,000,000,000,000) over the next 10 years. The federal government's unfunded liabilities, mainly for retirement and healthcare, are $72 trillion. This will show up later in budget deficits as the baby-boomer generation ages. The trade deficit - the difference between what the US exports and what it imports - was $46 billion in May, the latest month for which figures are available. That's a rate of $552 billion a year, the measure of the obligations to foreigners incurred by the US.

Doing something about the budget deficit and its cousin, the unfunded liabilities, is simply being put off in the hope that they will go away until somebody else is in charge. CS Monitor Thursday August 05, 2004

Red ink more severe in first three quarters, figures show
The government's deficit ballooned to $326.6 billion in the first nine months of the 2004 budget year, according to a snapshot of U.S. balance sheets released Tuesday.

That's more than 20 percent larger than the $269.7 billion shortfall for the corresponding period last year. For the current budget year which began Oct. 1, this spending has totaled $1.73 trillion, 6.4 percent more than the same period a year ago. Revenues came to $1.40 trillion, 3.5 percent more than the previous year. SF Chronicle Thursday July 15, 2004

Help wanted
THE CHANCES are minuscule that Congress will reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act before the fall presidential election, leaving job training in political limbo.

Partisan jousting in the House and penny-pinching by President Bush undermine the hopes of 8.2 million unemployed Americans who need education and training to compete in the job market. NULLBoston Globe Monday July 12, 2004

Bye-Bye, Bush Boom
When does optimism -- the Bush campaign's favorite word these days -- become an inability to face facts? On Friday, President Bush insisted that a seriously disappointing jobs report, which fell far short of the pre-announcement hype, was good news: "We're witnessing steady growth, steady growth. And that's important. We don't need boom-or-bust-type growth."

But Mr. Bush has already presided over a bust. For the first time since 1932, employment is lower in the summer of a presidential election year than it was on the previous Inauguration Day. Americans badly need a boom to make up the lost ground. And we're not getting it. NY Times Tuesday July 06, 2004

More jobs, less pay
A LEADING consumer confidence index hit a two-year high last week, and polls show that President Bush's approval ratings have been hurt by Iraq but helped by a growing belief that the economy is improving. Certainly, there are more signs of that now than in the first three years of Mr. Bush's administration. The economy has been adding an average of more than 300,000 jobs a month since March, the unemployment rate has fallen over the last year from 6.3 percent to 5.6 percent, and consumer spending set a record in May.

All for the good -- but not everything is so good. Beneath the surface lurks disquieting fragility: Baltimore Sun Sunday July 04, 2004

Bush's Tax Cuts Hurt Schools, Spur Local Tax Hikes
June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Al Strazzullo, a retired regional manager for the U.S. General Accounting Office, got the good news first. President George W. Bush's $330 billion cut in personal income taxes put an extra $177 in his 2003 government pension.

In March, Strazzullo, 76, got the bad news. The gain was wiped out by a $538 increase in property taxes on his three- bedroom, brick-veneer house in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The bill went to $3,283 from $2,745. Bloomberg Wednesday June 23, 2004

Factory Bush Touted Closes; 1,300 Ohioans Jobless
Last April, President Bush visited a Timken Company manufacturing plant in Ohio to press for passage of new tax cuts that he said would spur the economy. During the speech Bush said that "the future of this company is bright and therefore, the future of employment is bright for the families that work here". Less than a year after the tax cuts for the wealthy passed, that same factory is shutting down -- putting about 1,300 people out of work and inflicting a "devastating" blow to the Canton community. With the White House pushing even more tax cuts for the wealthy and supporting outsourcing of American jobs, Ohio has lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs since President Bush took office. Misleader Tuesday May 18, 2004

The state fiscal crisis has been deep and prolonged. States have struggled to close deficits that have totaled approximately $190 billion over the past three years. And, as states debate and enact budgets for fiscal year 2005 (which, in most states, begins on 2004-07-1), they are facing deficits of roughly another $40 billion for that year. Federal policies, which have reduced state revenues and imposed additional costs on states, have played a significant role in enlarging these deficits and are impeding states' fiscal recovery. These federal policies have contributed significantly to the need for states and localities to make expenditure cuts and enact tax increases to bring their budgets into balance. CBPP Wednesday May 12, 2004

New Report Questions Effectiveness, Design of Bush Tax Cuts
A new study of three years of Administration tax cuts, issued by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, finds adverse fiscal, distributional, and long-term economic effects from the tax cuts. CBPP Saturday April 24, 2004

The GOP is portraying moderate-tax-cut Senate Republicans as Francophiles
April 18 - More than 60 percent of Americans say large tax cuts now are not needed, yet President Bush is making support for tax cuts a test of party loyalty and patriotism. MSNBC Sunday April 18, 2004

Bush's job-training proposal empty
"A dagger pointed at the jugular of the unskilled." That's how economist and free trade advocate Jagdish Bhagwati recently described the effect of technological change and churning jobs in the world economy on America's workers. Or, as President Bush put it just last Monday to an audience in North Carolina: "We're not training enough people to fill the jobs of the 21st century." In his speech, the president announced he would seek to revamp federal job training programs to double the number of people trained every year. Trouble is, job training isn't cheap. The president's proposal doesn't offer a single dime of new funding -- it just reshuffles the already inadequate funding. Seattle PI Thursday April 08, 2004

Bush's Goal of Affordable, High-Speed Internet Access for All Americans Contradicts Administration Policies
(Washington, D.C.) -- President Bush's much-publicized goal of providing affordable high-speed Internet access to all Americans by ensuring "plenty of choice" in broadband service contradicts Administration policies that actually have strengthened cable and phone monopolies which have led to higher prices and less choice in broadband, Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America said today in a letter to the president. Consumers Union Tuesday March 30, 2004

Snow: Outsourcing Can Help the Economy
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Treasury Secretary John Snow says outsourcing of American jobs, a hot issue in the presidential campaign, can help make the economy stronger. "It's part of trade," Snow said. "It's one aspect of trade, and there can't be any doubt about the fact that trade makes the economy stronger.""You can outsource a lot of activities and get them done just as well at a lower cost," Snow said after being asked about the issue during a stop here Monday. NY Times Tuesday March 30, 2004

Bush Economic Team Draws Fire Over Jobs
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats are pouncing on a series of stumbles by President Bush's economic team, claiming it's evidence the administration doesn't have a credible strategy to deal with a flood of U.S. manufacturing job losses. The latest misstep occurred Thursday when the administration's first choice as point man on manufacturing issues withdrew from consideration after Democrats attacked his decision to set up a manufacturing plant in China. NY Times Friday March 12, 2004

Critics Tackle $10B Request for Missiles
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic senators Thursday criticized the administration's budget request for the missile defense program, questioning anew whether the system will ever work. Supporters urged continued funding for the program still in development. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., called the request for $10.2 billion "truly staggering" -- the largest single-year funding request for any weapon system in history -- and questioned the program as "rudimentary and uncertain." NY Times Thursday March 11, 2004

White House Forecasts Often Miss The Mark
President Bush last week caused a stir when he declined to endorse a projection, made by his own Council of Economic Advisers, that the economy would add 2.6 million jobs this year. But that forecast, derided as wildly optimistic, was one of the more modest predictions the administration has made about the economy over the past three years. Two years ago, the administration forecast that there would be 3.4 million more jobs in 2003 than there were in 2000. And it predicted a budget deficit for fiscal 2004 of $14 billion. The economy ended up losing 1.7 million jobs over that period, and the budget deficit for this year is on course to be $521 billion. These are not isolated cases. Over three years, the administration has repeatedly and significantly overstated the government's fiscal health and the number of jobs the economy would create, but economists and politicians disagree about why. Washington Post Tuesday February 24, 2004

Bush Threatens to Veto $318B Highway Bill
WASHINGTON (AP) -- States would get an additional $100 billion over the next six years to build roads, repair bridges and improve public transit under a Senate-passed bill that the White House says is extravagant in an age of record deficits. The Senate voted 76-21 Thursday to approve the $318 billion surface transportation bill, a winning margin that would be enough to override a presidential veto threatened by the administration. AP Friday February 13, 2004

Homeland Security Spending Under Fire
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration's proposed $6 billion increase on homeland defense spending is a shell game undermined by cuts to other law enforcement programs, four Democratic senators charged Wednesday. The four said that it's disingenuous to tout increases in homeland security spending while at the same time trying to cut programs like the Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS program, which provides grants to state and local authorities for hiring more police officers. AP Wednesday February 11, 2004

Bush report: Sending jobs overseas helps U.S.
WASHINGTON -- The movement of American factory jobs and white-collar work to other countries is part of a positive transformation that will enrich the U.S. economy over time, even if it causes short-term pain and dislocation, the Bush administration said yesterday. The embrace of foreign "outsourcing," an accelerating trend that has contributed to U.S. job losses in recent years and has become an issue in the 2004 elections, is contained in the president's annual report to Congress on the U.S. economy. Seattle Times Tuesday February 10, 2004

Mr. Bush's Revisionism
Just as he did on Iraq and national security, President Bush laid the economic foundation for his re-election campaign during a television interview broadcast Sunday. In a preview of how his campaign will respond to complaints about the huge deficit and overall job losses, Mr. Bush defended his tax cuts as ways to stimulate the economy, blamed Congress for not getting spending under control and made vague promises about avoiding catastrophic red ink in the long run by reforming Medicare and Social Security. None of what we heard made much sense. NY Times Tuesday February 10, 2004

Senators Deride Domestic Security Cuts
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's new budget would not devote enough money to domestic security, senators said Monday, noting big cuts in funds for firefighters, police and others who would respond to a terrorist attack. "A stunning 30 percent cut ... for first responders is the latest alarming evidence of shortchanging the homeland side of the war against terrorism," Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., told Homeland Security Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "We have a long way to go yet before we fulfill the promises that we made to the American people in those dark days following the 9-11 attacks to adequately secure the homeland," Lieberman said at a budget hearing before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs. AP Monday February 09, 2004

Misspending Military Dollars
"The strong defense everybody wants will not come from throwing ever larger sums into the wrong weapons."If the Bush administration were at all serious about fiscal responsibility, it would have sent Congress a Defense Department budget that reflected the real costs of military operations, cut out cold-war-era programs and focused on the things the military needs in the 21st century. Regrettably, none of that happened. The budget plan is inaccurate, anachronistic and laden with pork, and Congress is only likely to make things worse. Mr. Bush is proposing to increase basic Pentagon spending by more than $20 billion over last year's budget, and that does not even count operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which could add a further $50 billion when the bill is presented to Congress after Election Day. Add that money and the nuclear weapons programs run by the Energy Department to the Pentagon's $402 billion request, and the total will approach half a trillion dollars. NY Times Thursday February 05, 2004

Bush cuts rich in, leaves rest out
"the poor are to exist on faith and charity, for such programs as low-income housing, heating assistance, jobs and unemployment insurance are all starved"Budgets, as the president said in his Saturday radio address, are a matter of priorities, of making hard choices. The president's madcap tax-and-borrow policies have run up a staggering $500 billion deficit -- without creating the jobs needed to keep the economy going. Profits are up, but so is poverty. The Bush administration is building schools in Iraq, but not in the United States. How do we get out of this box?The president's budget reveals his priorities, what he truly cares about. It is not a reassuring picture. The president's first priority remains tax cuts, largely for the wealthy. Millionaires are pocketing $30,000 a year in tax breaks from this president. The president wants, first and foremost, to make his tax cuts permanent -- no matter what that means for the deficit, for investments in our future, for already obscene extremes of inequality in what once was a middle-class nation. Chicago Sun Times Tuesday February 03, 2004

State of the Union at Home
When the president delivers his State of the Union address, we like to listen respectfully and respond politely. It is always easy to find things worth applauding. Last night, for instance, President Bush mentioned job retraining, immigration law reform and programs to help newly released prisoners re-enter society. The impulse is always to split the difference -- to decry the ideas we disagree with and then note the ones we like. This time, such evenhandedness seems impossible. The president's domestic policy comes down to one disastrous fact: his insistence on huge tax cuts for the wealthy has robbed the country of the money it needs to address its problems and has threatened its long-term economic security. Everything else is beside the point. NY Times Wednesday January 21, 2004

Weak labor market results in second consecutive year of job loss
According to today's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation's payrolls expanded by only 1,000 jobs last month, a marked deceleration from recent gains over the past five months.Unemployment fell from 5.9% in November to 5.7% in December, but this drop was wholly due to a contraction in the labor force, which declined by 309,000. That left the labor force participation rate at 66%, the lowest it has been since December 1991. Economic Policy Institute Friday January 09, 2004

I.M.F. Report Says U.S. Deficits Threaten World Economy
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 -- With its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, the United States is running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy, according to a report made public today bythe International Monetary Fund. In nearly 60 pages of carefully worded analysis, the report sounded a loud alarm about the shaky fiscal foundation of the United States, questioning the wisdom of the Bush administration's tax cuts and warning that large budget deficits posed "significant risks" not just for the United States but for the rest of the world. NY Times Wednesday January 07, 2004

Soaring trade deficit threatens to destabilize U.S. financial markets
A trade deficit must be financed by net borrowing from other countries. The United States was effectively spending 5% more than it was producing last year, but cannot continue to borrow at such a high rate indefinitely. Worse yet, the trade deficit is growing each year as a share of GDP. Some government officials have suggested that such high levels of foreign borrowing do not pose a problem. Treasury Secretary John Snow recently said that "our current account deficit in large part reflects the attractive investment environment and high growth of productivity in the United States" (Senate Banking Committee on 2003-10-30). This statement ignores a serious problem resulting from the rising U.S. trade deficit: a growing dependence on lending by foreign governments bent on maintaining large trade surpluses with the United States. Economic Policy Institute Wednesday January 07, 2004

Out of Their Anti-Tax Minds
It's hard to overstate Norquist's importance in contemporary Washington. He is head of Americans for Tax Reform, is an intimate of Karl Rove, the president's chief political aide, and has easy access to the White House. He presides over a weekly meeting of important Republican activists and lobbyists where the agenda -- at least Norquist's -- is to ensure that taxes are reduced to a bare minimum, the government is starved and everyone, the rich and the poor, is taxed the same, which is to say almost not at all. The Bush administration has mindlessly applied this doctrine. It has three times reduced taxes -- mostly on the rich -- careening the federal budget from a surplus to a deficit without end. The rich, who can afford their schools or health care, will not suffer. But the poor and the middle class will hurt plenty -- and state and local taxes, often the most regressive, will go up. Washington Post Tuesday January 06, 2004

Bush Readies Budget As Spending Balloons
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Conservatives wait warily as President Bush makes final decisions about his election-year budget, three years into an administration on whose watch spending has mushroomed by 23.7 percent, the fastest pace in a decade. While Bush has emphasized repeatedly the need to rein in spending, overall federal expenditures have grown to an estimated $2.31 trillion for the budget year that started Oct. 1. That is up from $1.86 trillion in President Clinton's final year, a rate of growth not seen for any three-year period since 1989 to 1991. AP Monday January 05, 2004

The $500 billion bender
In just the last few months, Congress, at Bush's request, has doled out $87 billion to rebuild and secure Iraq and Afghanistan; approved a $401 billion defense appropriation bill, the largest ever; completed a $1 trillion tax cut on top of the $1.35 trillion reduction the president won in 2001; and approved a Medicare prescription drug benefit that will cost at least $400 billion over the next decade. If the energy bill is revived next year, add to the list at least another $26 billion in tax cuts for energy companies. All of this, it's worth remembering, comes when the federal government has already logged its largest deficit ever -- some $374 billion last year, $84 billion more than the previous record held by Bush's father, George H.W. Bush. SF Chronicle Saturday December 06, 2003

Looting the Future
One thing you have to say about George W. Bush: he's got a great sense of humor. At a recent fund-raiser, according to The Associated Press, he described eliminating weapons of mass destruction from Iraq and ensuring the solvency of Medicare as some of his administration's accomplishments. Then came the punch line: "I came to this office to solve problems and not pass them on to future presidents and future generations." He must have had them rolling in the aisles. Paul Krugman NY Times Friday December 05, 2003

Editorial: Big spenders/Bush & Co. remortgage nation
Someone recently called President Bush "the mother of all big spenders." It wasn't Howard Dean or any of the other Democratic presidential candidates. It wasn't a Democratic member of Congress. It was fiscal analysts for the conservative-libertarian Cato Institute. Why the harsh rhetoric for George W. Bush from what should be a sympathetic corner? Because Bush has simultaneously shrunk the revenue flowing to the federal government through a string of tax cuts while increasing federal spending like there was no tomorrow, literally. Star Tribune Sunday November 30, 2003

Energy Tax Breaks Go to Industries
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two-thirds of the $23 billion in tax breaks in the Republican-drafted energy bill would go to the oil, gas and coal industries. Democrats criticized the legislation as "a hodgepodge of subsidies for the politically well-connected." AP Monday November 17, 2003

Debt crazy/Reality check on Bush's budget
When the White House reported Monday that the federal deficit for 2003 came in below expectations -- a mere $374 billion -- President Bush's aides were quick to celebrate. "We can put the deficit on a reasonable downward path if we continue progrowth economic policies and exercise responsible spending restraint," budget director Joshua Bolten told the Wall Street Journal. This outlandish spin is an insult to the nation's taxpayers and suggests that the White House is reading its own budget documents as badly as it read the prewar intelligence on Iraq. A new report by two respected budget watchdogs -- the probusiness Committee for Economic Development and the hawkish Concord Coalition -- shows that the federal budget outlook is now the worst in the nation's history and that the Bush administration is doing absolutely nothing to fix it. Star Tribune Thursday October 23, 2003

Bush claims that he inherited the recession, but it didn't begin until later
Bush opened his final radio address of the year this way: In 2002, our economy was still recovering from the attacks of September the 11th, 2001, and it was pulling out of a recession that began before I took office. Bush concluded 2002 with the same dishonesty that defined his economic policy throughout the year--a mendacity that ranged from denying the tax cut had anything to do with the re-emergence of the deficit to arguing that the terrorism insurance bill would create 300,000 construction jobs. In fact, there is no evidence that the economy was in recession when President Bush took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2001. Bush Watch Sunday October 12, 2003

Bush ignores humanitarian needs, spends it on Iraq
By focusing global attention on an economic crisis that does not really exist, America has diverted public attention from serious crises that do. Consider the battles against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. About eight million people will die of these preventable and treatable diseases in 2004. In 2001, the world created a global fund to fight them. Yet for fiscal year 2004, the Bush administration is committing just $200 million to that fund. For every one of these dollars, the administration is committing $350 to Iraq. These are grotesquely distorted priorities. Miami Herald Wednesday October 01, 2003

The rich get richer by 10% over the past year
America's richest people have seen a 10 per cent increase in their net worth over the past year, the latest list of individual fortunes in Forbes magazine reveals. The improving fortunes of those on the list also reflected the largesse being shown to the richest Americans by the Bush administration. . . .They are the main beneficiaries of tax cuts that will pump $100bn into the economy - most of it into the pockets of the top 1 per cent - this year alone. They have also benefited from measures such as the repeal of estate taxes and the lifting of various government regulations on industry and large businesses. The Independent Friday September 19, 2003

CBO projects huge budget shortfalls through 2011
The CBO also predicted the annual budget shortfalls would total $2.3 trillion through 2011, a stunning reversal from the 10-year, $5.6 trillion surplus the CBO forecast in 2001. But Walker, who heads the General Accounting Office, said even those daunting figures do not convey the scope of the problem because conventional government accounting leaves out the impact of promised benefits for veterans' health, Social Security, Medicare and other programs. "These additional amounts total tens of trillions of dollars," he said. "They are likely to exceed $100,000 in additional burden for every man, woman and child in America today, and these amounts are growing every day," he said. Seattle Post Intelligencer Thursday September 18, 2003

Bush says disappearing surplus "incredibly positive news"
What does "reducing the size and scope of government" mean? Tax-cut proponents are usually vague about the details. But the Heritage Foundation, ideological headquarters for the movement, has made it pretty clear. Edwin Feulner, the foundation's president, uses "New Deal" and "Great Society" as terms of abuse, implying that he and his organization want to do away with the institutions Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson created. That means Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- most of what gives citizens of the United States a safety net against economic misfortune. The starve-the-beast doctrine is now firmly within the conservative mainstream. George W. Bush himself seemed to endorse the doctrine as the budget surplus evaporated: in August 2001 he called the disappearing surplus "incredibly positive news" because it would put Congress in a "fiscal straitjacket." New York Times Sunday September 14, 2003

Unfunded federal mandates a burden on states
[U]nfunded federal mandates are driving up the costs of running the cities and making it impossible to balance state budgets. SOHO Daily News Wednesday September 03, 2003

Bush trade practices favor China over US
Bush's trade practices are driving Americans out of jobs and manufacturers out of business, while giving huge advantages to China and other countries. NY Times Monday August 18, 2003

Bush claims $1.7 trillion tax cuts will help economy; deficit caused by other factors
Bush has said that war, recession and the costs of securing the nation after theSept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 have contributed to the federal budget deficit. The $1.7 trillion in tax cuts he signed into law have reduced the impact of the recession his administration inherited, he said. Bloomberg Wednesday August 06, 2003

Bush's 2004 budget fails to include costs of Iraq war
This makes it hard to believe the administration's $475 billion deficit estimate for 2004--or the steady improvement it is forecasting through 2007. The fiscal 2004 estimate again excludes any additional costs for the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though there is no doubt that they will be incurred. And as usual, it is based on a decidedly optimistic economic scenario. Gov Exec Wednesday August 06, 2003

Bush tinkers with deficit estimates
There were some reports after the midsession review was released that the administration had intentionally overestimated the 2003 deficit by considerable amounts in the midsession review so that it would be able to provide what it considered to be good news when the fiscal year was actually over. Gov Exec Wednesday August 06, 2003

Bush's 2003 budget fails to allow for Iraq war, even though it is imminent
When its budget was released earlier this year, the White House refused to project any additional spending for the war with Iraq--even though it was considered highly likely to happen. Like all presidential budgets, this one used an optimistic economic forecast. Gov Exec Wednesday August 06, 2003

Trade deficit continues to widen
In their recent road trip, top Bush economic officials heard that China's absorption of American jobs is killing local economies. America's trade deficit with the rest of the world continues to widen. Common Dreams Wednesday August 06, 2003

Deficit projections consistently understated
Most media coverage overlooked the increasingly obvious truth that the 2004 deficit could be $100 billion or more above what the White House projected, and that its long-term estimates could be equally out of whack. Gov Exec Wednesday August 06, 2003

Budget deficit makes it difficult to handle baby-boom retirement
The swelling budget deficit, projected by the White House to reach a record $455 billion this fiscal year, "will make it even more difficult to cope with the aging of the baby-boom generation, and will eventually crowd out investment and erode U.S. productivity growth," the IMF said. Bloomberg Tuesday August 05, 2003

Bush's job record worst since Herbert Hoover
The nation has lost jobs in 25 of the 31 months that President Bush has been in office, making for the worst jobs record at this point in a presidency of any administration since Herbert Hoover. Including last month's loss of 44,000 positions (when economists had predicted a 10,000-job increase), our economy has shed more than 2.5 million jobs and 3.2 million private-sector jobs since the president took office. AFL-CIO Tuesday August 05, 2003

Foreclosures set record highs during Bush recession
Foreclosures are at a record high. Information Clearing House 5 Saturday June 21, 2003

2003 spending shows highest federal borrowing rate since WWII
The latest budget projections from the Congressional Budget Office indicate that one out of every three dollars the federal government spends this year outside of the self-funded Social Security system will be paid for by borrowing. This will be the highest share of deficit-financed spending since World War II. Citizens for Tax Justice Wednesday June 11, 2003

Bush ends "double taxation"
Bush ends "double taxation" of dividends as unfair even though most things are taxed multiple times Under our system, the same dollar is taxed multiple times as it moves through the economy, from an employer to an employee to a gas station and then on to the next employee, ad infinitum. Singling out dividends for exemption from this process is unfair to those who have little or no dividend income. United for a Fair Economy Friday June 06, 2003

Bush "Jobs and Growth Act" have little stimulus value, are a giveaway to the rich
On May 28th, President Bush signed into law the so-called "Jobs and Growth Act," a tax cut package. This tax cut targets its benefits toward the wealthiest Americans. For that reason alone, this tax cut is not an economic stimulus -- the only thing this tax cut "stimulates" is more economic inequality in the U.S. United for a Fair Economy Friday June 06, 2003

Job shrinkage greatest of any post-WWII recession
Private-sector payrolls are down 260,000 this year and are down by 3.1 million, or 2.8%, since the recession began in March of 2001, the largest percentage decline in any post-WWII recession. Economic Policy Institute Friday June 06, 2003

During first two years of Bush administration, unemployment up, jobs disappearing
Unemployment has averaged 5.8% over the past year, and most recently hit 6.1%, two points above the 2000 rate of 4%. Since then, over 3 million more persons have been added to the ranks of the unemployed. Economic Policy Institute Friday June 06, 2003

Jobless recovery hurting working families
Despite the fact that the economy has been expanding for over a year, our labor market remains mired in a jobless recovery, and these conditions are now hurting the living standards of working families. The President and the Congress claim to have done so with the passage of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Actof 2003 , but as our testimony argues, this plan is unlikely to provide the boost the economy needs. Economic Policy Institute Friday June 06, 2003

Median earnings down for the last four quarters
Persistently high unemployment has caught up with wage growth; for the first time since the 1990s, real median earnings fell for the last four quarters in a row. Economic Policy Institute Friday June 06, 2003

Tax cuts of this nature will not create jobs
Second, the tax cuts are directed in ways that are very ineffective at creating jobs. Nearly all economists agree that excluding taxes on dividends and capital gains will have very little effect on job growth in the near-term. Tax breaks for business expenses will also not create jobs. Businesses have the funds to invest in new equipment and credit is readily available at very low interest rates. Yet, there is very little investment now. The reason is that we have substantial overcapacity. What business needs is more customers people to sell to. As demand grows, so will jobs and investment. Economic Policy Institute Friday June 06, 2003

Tax cuts will lead to deficits
The recently passed package of tax cuts follows a misguided approach to creating jobs in the near future. First, it contains permanent, or semi-permanent, tax cuts when the need is for temporary one-time tax relief. The consequence is that the plan is far more expensive than is needed and will lead to chronic deficits, which ultimately will end up destroying jobs ten years from now. Economic Policy Institute Friday June 06, 2003

Tax cuts favor the wealthy
Third, as is well known, the personal income tax cuts are largely directed at high-income families--according to estimates by Brookings/Urban Institute Tax Center, 62% of the cuts go to households in the top 5% of the income scale. Since these families have higher saving rates -- spend a lower share of their income -- the income tax cuts will be less effective at generating spending than tax relief aimed at low-income and middle-income families. Economic Policy Institute Friday June 06, 2003

Tax cuts sold as a "jobs" plan, but millions of jobs have failed to materialize
The administration argued that its tax cut would lead to the creation of 1.4 million new jobs by the end of 2004. But it is not widely recognized that according to their own projections, these new jobs are expected in addition to the 4.1 million jobs the economy would generate on its own without the tax cuts. Economic Policy Institute Friday June 06, 2003

Bush falsely claims that economists say tax cuts will help economic growth
President Bush proclaimed that a report by leading economists concluded that the economy would grow by 3.3 percent in 2003 if his tax cut proposals were adopted. No such report exists. Gordan Livingston Tuesday June 03, 2003

Tax cuts driven by Republican ideology that will force program cuts
Republican ideology is now focused on creating artificial fiscal crises that will "force" program cuts, without ever stepping up to the plate and owning up to the program cuts they want to make. Why? Because it's electoral suicide. Calpundit Tuesday May 27, 2003

Republicans switch sides, now claim deficits don't matter
In recent months, Republicans who for years decried federal imbalances have minimized their significance, arguing that they were manageable in an economy whose size exceeds $10 trillion. CBS News Monday May 12, 2003

Manufacturing loss of "catastrophic proportions"
The release today and Friday of rising unemployment numbers for April revealed that the 33-month erosion of U.S. manufacturing employment has reached catastrophic proportions and is now undermining the entire American economy, the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) said here today. United Steelworkers of America Monday May 05, 2003

Republican Congress making bad system worse with retirement benefits
The U.S. Congress adjourned last year after failing to address the faults in a pension system that has been laid bare by catastrophic 401(k) losses for thousands of workers, the tumbling stock market, and high-profile corporate abuse of retirement plans. Congress is now setting itself up to make the system even worse. Economic Policy Institute Wednesday April 09, 2003

Bush's "strong dollar" rhetoric hurting small business
The president's continued cheerleading for the "strong dollar" is pricing small domestic producers out of international markets while creating windfalls for companies that can move overseas to produce goods for sale in the United States. Economic Policy Institute Tuesday March 04, 2003

Tax code gives billions to companies that send factories overseas
The current tax code gives billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies to companies that export factories, outsource production, and then hide in offshore tax shelters. Economic Policy Institute Tuesday March 04, 2003

Bush excludes workers' rights from free-trade negotiations
And [Bush's] relentless effort to exclude worker and environmental rights from negotiations on the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and the current "Doha Round" at the World Trade Organization is creating competitive advantages for companies that shirk social protections. Economic Policy Institute Tuesday March 04, 2003

Federal government not delivering promised 9-11 funds to states
Despite $7 billion in federal spending promised over two fiscal years, the federal government has yet to spend a penny reimbursing hard-pressed state and local governments for costs they've absorbed since Sept. 11, 2001. Seattle Post Intelligencer Monday February 10, 2003

States to lose $41 billion from Bush tax cuts
Thus, if these [tax cut] provisions were enacted, states would stand to lose $23 billion between 2004 and 2008. As the proposed savings accounts grow in cost over time, so would the state revenue loss. The state revenue loss would rise to more than $41 billion over the subsequent five years from 2009 to 2013. Center on Budget and Policy Prioities Tuesday February 04, 2003

Bush tax cuts play a significant role in turning surplus to defecit
[The 2001] Bush tax cut combined with a weakening economy and the Sept. 11 attacks to eliminate the surplus and create a $157.8 billion deficit. Slate Tuesday February 04, 2003

Bush proposes allowing 50% pension cuts
Reflecting a deep and growing concern about Americans' retirement security, more than 200 bipartisan members of the House and Senate wrote to President Bush Thursday calling on him to withdraw proposed regulations that, if allowed to go into effect, would permit companies to cut long-time employees' pensions by as much as 50 percent. Committee on Education and the Workforce Thursday January 30, 2003

School week shortened to offset budget cuts
As The Washington Post reported, more than 100 school districts in seven states have shortened the school week to four days in order to offset budget cuts. Tom Paine Wednesday January 29, 2003

Successful programs being cut in K-12 education because of budget cuts
Innovative K-12 programs enacted during stronger economic times have been hacked, and even basic programs for school-aged kids are being downsized. Tom Paine Wednesday January 29, 2003

State budget shortfalls lead to college tuition increases
Huge state budget shortfalls have already begun to eat away at funding for education, health care and higher education. University tuition has increased by more than 10 percent in over one-fifth of states. Tom Paine Wednesday January 29, 2003

Bush tax cuts include deduction for SUVs
One of Bush's proposed tax cuts would raise from $25,000 to $75,000 the amount small business owners -- including doctors, lawyers and financial advisers -- can write off when buying an SUV for business purposes. Tom Dispatch Friday January 24, 2003

Tax cuts go to the rich, who distort democracy through lavish political gifts
Find the Urban-Brookings charts published in the Jan. 7 New York Times showing who gets how much of this tax cut. You can barely see the lines that measure the relief until you get above the 99th percentile. . . . The problem is that the rich are screwing up our democracy. Less than 0.1 percent of the U.S. population gave 83 percent of all itemized campaign contributions for the 2002 elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Common Dreams Wednesday January 15, 2003

Bush late in extending unemployment benefits
"For the 750,000 or more unemployed workers whose benefits will be terminated onDecember 28, the President's support is welcome although it comes painfully late," said Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "Had the President weighed in while Congress was in session, these 750,000 jobless workers almost certainly would not have to go several weeks during the holiday season with neither a paycheck nor an unemployment check." The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Saturday December 14, 2002

Bush administration allows hidden funds to to remain so
With one hand the administration will release the rich from their tax obligations, with the other it will choke off enforcement, allowing hidden funds to remain so. St. Petersburg Times Sunday December 01, 2002

US loses $70 billion annually to offshore companies
We should also thank the Republicans in the House for protecting the interests of all those turncoat companies that have relocated to Bermuda or Barbados with little more than a post office box, to avoid U.S. taxes. The maneuver costs our treasury $70-billion annually. St. Petersburg Times Sunday December 01, 2002

Once fully effective 52% of Bush tax cuts will go to wealthiest 1%
According to Citizens for Tax Justice, when the Bush tax cuts are fully effective, 52 percent of the cuts will go to this country's richest 1 percent. And even if by some miracle of responsible governance they are not made permanent after 10 years, the total amount of tax cuts already going to the richest 1 percent will total $477-billion -- each taxpayer in that rarified category receiving an average of $342,000 worth of cuts. St. Petersburg Times Sunday December 01, 2002

S&P; 500 shows biggest 18 month drop of any presidency since Herbert Hoover
George W. Bush is shattering records for the worst first 18 months in office for a U.S. president as measured by the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500. In his first year-and-a-half in the White House, Bush presided over a 36.9 percent decline, almost twice the percentage drop of Herbert Hoover, the president who led the nation into the Depression. Consortium News Tuesday July 23, 2002

Bush chooses "star wars" funding over education
I strongly support America's war against terrorism. But as a teacher, I believe we also have to "do the math." When we're all being asked to sacrifice, when we've gone beyond trimming the fat to slicing the bone by laying off almost 200 teachers in just one school district alone, should the Pentagon really budget $8.3 billion, for example, on an elaborate and unproven Star Wars system that can neither stop a suicide terrorist nor educate one sixth-grader? Common Dreams Friday February 15, 2002

Bush offers tax cuts as a solution to every problem
"They have one unchanging, unyielding solution they offer for every problem: tax cuts that go disproportionately to the most affluent." This, too, mirrors majority opinion; 54 percent last summer said the tax cut would mainly benefit the wealthy. Tom Daschle ABC News Friday January 04, 2002

Ending the inheritance tax leads to command based on inheritance rather than merit
According to William H. Gates, Sr., father of the richest man in the world, if we eliminate the inheritance tax, we "pass down the ability to command the resources of the nation based on heredity rather than merit." It appears that the Bush administration agrees. Tom Paine Monday April 09, 2001