everything old is new again

2 + 2 = Uh…7?

April 28, 2004
2 + 2 = Uh…7?

This arrived in my email today, and I had to post it — it’s excellent.

Some people think it’s a good thing that with George W. Bush, “what you see is what you get.” Unfortunately for the American people, however, what you “get” with Mr. Bush is a man who is not very truthful and not very bright. Sure… he knows how to gladhand, cash millions of dollars worth of checks from special interest groups, and find a way to mention God, 9-11, and “terra” (that’s “terror” to the rest of us) in nearly every sorry sentence that stumbles out of his mouth. (Apparently it wasn’t just military service that Mr. Bush managed to avoid; he seems to have been AWOL from his English classes, too.) He’ll show up at rodeos, go bass fishing with his daddy, and pat cronies like good ole’ “Kenny Boy” (Enron’s Ken Lay) on the back – that is, until he has to distance himself so that his friends’ corporate scandals don’t start smelling up the Oval Office.

It’s no secret that George Bush was a legacy admission to Yale. He got to go to Yale because his daddy went there, not because he was among the best and brightest students in the country. According to an article published in the November 8, 1999 issue of The New Yorker (snippets of which were referred to in a 1999 article in the Yale Daily News), Mr. Bush was in the 21st percentile of his freshman class. In the late 60’s, Yale’s grading system used numbers instead of letters; translating the numbers into their grade-letter equivalents, Mr. Bush’s hard work earned him C-minuses in Economics (71 in the fall term, 72 in the spring), Political Science (73 fall/71 spring), and Sociology (70). Frankly, that explains a lot, such as why he has referred to the Executive branch of government as the “administrative” branch. It explains why he thought that he could invade Iraq without first bothering to get Congressional approval. It explains why he is clueless that spouting his mantra of “Compassionate Conservatism” has yet to help real people who have real problems. And from the headlines that have been in the papers lately, no one can feign surprise at the fact that Mr. Bush never darkened the door of a math class during his four years at Yale. Amazing… but true.

Recently, for example, Mr. Bush accused John Kerry of proposing a $1.5 billion cut in the intelligence budget. Mounting his trusty high-horse, Mr. Bush angrily denounced Mr. Kerry for trying to “gut the intelligence services”. He further claimed that Mr. Kerry had not been able to find any co-sponsors for his bill because it was “deeply irresponsible.”

Never one to let the facts get in his way, Mr. Bush neglected to explain that Mr. Kerry’s proposal (made in September, 1995) would have cut $1.5 billion from the intelligence budget over a five-year period of time. The target of the cuts was the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an agency that had accumulated a slush fund of somewhere between $1 billion and $1.7 billion without advising either the CIA or the Pentagon that it had the extra money. Mr. Bush failed to acknowledge that Mr. Kerry’s proposed cut – rather than “gutting” the intelligence budget – in fact amounted to approximately one (1) percent of the overall intelligence budget in the mid-90’s. He forgot to mention that Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania who at the time was the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was also proposing a similar cut to the intelligence budget… for the exact same reason John Kerry did. As it turned out, Mr. Kerry ended up co-sponsoring Senator Specter’s bill rather than advocating his own. That’s why he didn’t have co-sponsors. So Mr. Bush’s slur that Mr. Kerry didn’t have co-sponsors because the bill was “deeply irresponsible” is either ignorant or a blatant lie. As a matter of fact, the Republican-led Congress approved legislation that resulted in $3.8 billion being cut from the budget of the National Reconnaissance Office for the period from 1995-1997. “Deeply irresponsible”? Mr. Kerry, Mr. Specter, and the Republican-led Congress didn’t think so.

And does Mr. Bush really think that a 1 percent cut to a multi-billion dollar budget amounts to “gutting” it? Does that mean that when he promises to cut the federal deficit “in half” that it will go down by a drastic 2 percent?

If reducing a multi-billion dollar number by 1 percent equals “gutting” it, then that explains why, according to Mr. Bush, a plan which may result in a projected improvement to economic output of less than one-half of one percent is his cornerstone to restoring America’s economy. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan agency that crunches numbers and does economic analysis for lawmakers, Mr. Bush’s tax cuts and other policies he has proposed will have a minimal impact on the nation’s economy. In its annual report, the agency concluded that “Bush’s proposals could either increase or decrease economic output through 2009, and improve it in the following five years. However, the differences are likely to be small, affecting output by less than one-half of one percentage point on average.” [The Kansas City Star published this story from the Associated Press on March 9, 2004.]

Warren Buffett, a billionaire with better math skills and more credibility than Mr. Bush, just issued Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report on March 6, 2004. In it, he accuses Mr. Bush of pursuing tax cuts that favor large corporations and wealthy individuals. Mr. Buffett wrote, “If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning.” He pointed out that the percentage of federal receipts from corporate income taxes were lower in 2003 than they had been in any year except one (1983) since that information was first published (1934). If Mr. Buffett were just another rich fat cat, like – for instance – the “Kenny Boys” of this country, he would have kept his mouth shut. Or maybe he would have found a reason to endorse the idea to make Mr. Bush’s tax cuts permanent, arguing that it would be good for “the” economy (instead of good for “his” economy). But with Warren Buffett, what you see really is what you get. Mr. Bush’s tax cuts benefit the only the very wealthy, and Mr. Buffett is not afraid to say that Mr. Bush’s plan is not in America’s best interests.

Finally, a report published March 11, 2004 says that the Bush administration has repeatedly refused to estimate the cost of future operations in Iraq. Now, given the fact that subtraction and addition seem too daunting for Mr. Bush, surely it is unreasonable that we expect him to multiply! And story problems? Forget it! It’s much easier to say that “we simply cannot predict [the costs]”, as Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim recently said. Astonishingly, however, it seems that those nerdy overachievers at the Congressional Budget Office are able to do the mathematical calculations that elude Mr. Bush and his lackey appointees. A few months ago it (the Congressional Budget Office) estimated that it might cost Americans up to $200 billion to occupy Iraq through 2013, depending on how many troops were stationed there.

It’s no wonder that Mr. Bush has led this country into a period of record deficits that are only going to get worse in the decade to come. He grew up in a world of trust funds and doesn’t seem to comprehend that America doesn’t also have one. In the real world, a person must pay attention to income as well as expenses; and – ideally – he spends a little less than he earns. In Mr. Bush’s world, who cares if the account gets overdrawn? Someone has always bailed him out before…. Why should that stop now? The “little people” can give up some of their future Social Security benefits so that Mr. Bush and his friends don’t have to sell their homes in Vail or let their chauffeurs go. Yes, by God! The key to getting this economy moving again is to make those tax cuts permanent!

Although Mr. Bush will never feel the effects of his disastrous policies, most of the rest of us will. We will be paying for Bush’s ignorance and cronyism for a long time… and so will our parents, kids and grandkids. Our parents, for example, will be paying for Bush’s cozy little deal with the pharmaceutical giants when the Medicare drug prescription “benefit” goes into effect in a couple of years. Thanks to Mr. Bush, the U. S. Government is prohibited from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. According to a report on 60 Minutes on March 14, 2004, seniors will actually end up paying more for drugs under Mr. Bush’s Medicare drug “benefit” plan than they do today. Our kids and grandkids may have to work their entire lifetimes to pay off the federal deficit, which was created carelessly by a man who throws our tax money around as if it were Monopoly money. Families will be scarred forever by the loss of military personnel lost thanks to Mr. Bush’s arrogant challenge, “Bring ‘em on!”

We cannot afford to have George W. Bush in office for another four years. We should not be willing to sacrifice more human lives at the behest of a man who is both arrogant and ignorant (never a good combination). We cannot afford it financially. We cannot afford further damage being done to our reputation as a member of the global community. We cannot afford the long-term damage that Mr. Bush is doing to our environment every time he approves the weakening of regulations that were enacted to ensure that we have clean water, clean air, limits on mercury and pollution emissions, and protected natural resources. We must stand up and reclaim our country, and the best way to do that is to elect John Kerry – an intelligent, articulate man who understands that being President is about more than wasting taxpayer dollars so that he can play dress up in a flight suit and land on a carrier deck.

The stakes in this election are huge. Please vote this November. Please get engaged in the issues and encourage everyone you know to vote. For once, it is not a choice between “the lesser of two evils.” It’s a choice between a decent man and a reprehensible one. Let’s make sure that the next time George Bush issues the taunt “Bring ‘em on!”, he’s branding cattle in Crawford, Texas rather than sending hundreds of innocent people to their deaths.

By Sonya Stokes Hubbard

Sonya’s the wife of an old friend of mine (and a friend in her own right, I might add). In her email to me today, she said this:

Like you, I am extremely concerned about the election this year. I am doing everything
that I can to make sure that Bush is defeated and the United States is spared from the
havoc and destruction he causes through his arrogance and stupidity.

One of the things I HAD to do was write the attached essay. I don’t know if this is possible or not,
or if you’d even be inclined to do this (please don’t feel pressured), but is there any way to get
this out to the world through your blog? I know that it’s long for an essay, but everything in it is
accurate and needs to be said. Nothing would please me more than for your regular readers to
send it to everyone they know who might be interested. We’ve got to take back the White House
(or, as Democracy Means You currently calls it, “The Brown House”), and if I can help in any
way at all I’m determined to do it.

Thanks so much.

An excellent piece. So much so, that I hope to have more from her in the future.

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