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by Gary Cook, Editor
Monday, Jul. 28, 2003 at 7:53 AM
email@example.com (626) 839-1949 PO Box 93361, Industry, CA 91715
Former Vermont governor says American people should know the true intentions behind Bush administration's agenda (July 25, 2003)
Former Vermont governor says American people should know the true intentions behind Bush administration's agenda (July 25, 2003)
Des Moines, IA--Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean made the following statement today while campaigning in Iowa:
"When George W. Bush ran for president three years ago, he promised us an era of responsibility in Washington--instead we've got an era of irresponsibility unparalleled in our history. A week after discovering that the cost of occupying Iraq will be double the original estimates, we found out that the nation's deficit is 50 percent higher than estimated just five months ago. In fact, during his two-and-a-half years in office, the President has misled us, the American people, on nearly every policy initiative his administration has put forth.
"Trust and credibility are at the very heart of the relationship between a government and its people. And that trust demands that leaders level with the people about what they are doing, the reason they are doing it and the consequences of their actions. The very soul of democracy is at risk when leaders are not straight and truthful with the people.
"By now, we all know that President Bush misled the American people on the rationale for war with Iraq. We now know that the Niger uranium claim was discredited, that evidence regarding aluminum tubes was highly questionable, and that the link to al Qaeda was virtually non-existent.
"Last week I asked sixteen questions about the war in Iraq that must be answered if the American people are to understand the truth around the rush to war and the failure to plan for peace.
"These questions are, however, only one piece of a far broader practice by this administration of misleading the American people and breaching the fundamental trust that they have placed in their elected leadership. This practice goes far beyond misleading the country and the world about the reasons for taking us to war in Iraq, this practice extends into the state of the nation's economy, its environment, its schools and beyond.
"Mr. President, today I call on you to level with the American people not just about the situation in Iraq but about the true intentions behind the agenda your Administration is pursuing:
· "You claimed that your tax cuts would create jobs. Instead we have three million fewer jobs in our economy than when you took office.
· "You claimed that we would only run deficits that were small and temporary. Instead, we now face deficits in excess of 5 billion--the largest in history--and red ink as far as the eye can see.
· "You claimed that your tax cuts would strengthen and stimulate the economy. Instead, we have record numbers of personal bankruptcies, home foreclosures, and an unemployment rate that is the highest in 9 years.
· "You claimed that the deficits were caused by the costs of 9/11, the war on terror, and homeland security. In fact, the cost of your tax cuts is three times the amount of those items--and your deficit forecasts do not even include the costs of the Iraq war.
· "You claimed that your education program would live up to its name and that No Child would be Left Behind. Instead, school districts all across the country, including in your home state of Texas, are dumbing down their tests to ensure that their schools are not labeled as needing improvement. No Child Left Behind turns out to be a huge unfunded mandate on local governments that now must raise property taxes or find other sources of revenue to meet their legal obligations under the Act.
· "You named your environmental initiatives 'Clear Skies' and 'Healthy Forests' when the truth is that Clear Skies allows more pollutants into the air and Healthy Forests is little more than a bill to reward the logging industry.
· "You claimed that national and community service are central to your vision for the country. Instead, you have sat idly by while membership in the program is threatened to be cut by 80 percent.
· "And you visited soldiers wounded in Afghanistan on January 17th and had the audacity to promise to 'provide the best care for anybody who's willing to put their life in harm's way' when the previous day your Department of Veteran's Affairs cut off health care access to 164,000 veterans.
"Mr. President, it is time for the truth. It is time for the truth on Iraq but, more importantly, it is time to level with the American people on the true intentions of your administration. It is time to end the empty rhetoric and false promises. The issues at stake are too serious: the lives of our soldiers; the livelihood of our families; the health of our children; the future of our world.
"Let us instead work together to rebuild our national community-a community where we truly do not leave any child behind, where we preserve clean skies and healthy forests, and fulfill Harry Truman's dream of health care for all Americans. We must preserve the fiscal trust for our children and grandchildren and ensure that our seniors have access to the Social Security and Medicare that we promised them.
"Let's give people a reason to care about their government and to engage in politics again-to believe that their opinions matter and that their leaders listen. Let us work together to take our country back and to restore our lost idealism-to restore our moral force in the world community and to make this a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people. We can do this, and we will-one voter, one supporter at a time. We will end the empty rhetoric and make the American people believe again."
The following information contrasts the administation's assertions with what the administration has actually done:
ASSERTION: President Bush: "Government cannot manage or control the economy." (President Bush's budget message, 2/3/2003)
TRUTH: George W. Bush's administration cannot manage or control the economy.
ASSERTION: "This budget . . . is a plan to speed the return of strong economic growth [and] to generate jobs" (President Bush's budget message, 2/4/2002)
TRUTH: Since January 2001, over three million jobs have been lost. (WSJ, 7/24/03)
ASSERTION: ". . . [O]ur budget will run a deficit that will be small and short term." (President Bush, State of the Union address,1/28/2003)
TRUTH: "... by 2013 the deficit will reach 0 billion or 3.0 of Gross Domestic product, equivalent to ,300 for each household in America. In addition, such a policy of amassing ever greater debt over the next decade will cause the cost of annual interest payments on the debt to soar to 5 billion a year by 2013. . ." (CBPP, 0 Billion Deficits, As Far as the Eye Can See, 7/8/2003)
ASSERTION: "Tax relief is central to my plan to encourage growth." (President Bush, Western Michigan University remarks, 3/27/2001)
TRUTH: During the first quarter of this year, GDP rose at a sluggish rate of 1.4% (NYT, 6/27/03)
ASSERTION: "Now, you hear talk about deficits. And I'm concerned about deficits. I'm sure you are as well. But this nation has got a deficit because we have been through a war." (President Bush, Canton, Ohio, remarks, 4/24/2003)
TRUTH: The CBPP reports, "Congressional Budget Office data indicate that in 2003 and 2004, the cost of enacted tax cuts is almost three times as great as the cost of war, even when the cost of increases in homeland security expenditures, the rebuilding after September 11, and other costs of the war on terrorism--including the action in Afghanistan--are counted as 'war costs,' along with the costs of the military operations and subsequent reconstruction in Iraq." (Richard Kogan, "War, Tax Cuts, and the Deficit," CBPP, 8 July 2003)
ASSERTION: "The minute I got sworn in, we were in a recession. And that's why I went to Congress for a tax package." (President Bush, Canton, Ohio, remarks, 4/24/2003)
TRUTH: Bush was inaugurated in January 2001; the recession began in March 2001. He did not inherit a recession. Moreover, the tax package he took to Congress was the same one on which he had campaigned. (National Bureau of Economic Research; Richard Kogan, "War, Tax Cuts, and the Deficit," CBPP, 7/8/2003)
ASSERTION: "The growth and jobs plan I outlined earlier this year will provide critical momentum to our economic recovery. For every American paying income taxes, I propose speeding up the tax cuts already approved by the Congress." (President Bush's budget message, 2/3/2003)
TRUTH: Ten recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science said Bush's plan would not provide a short-term boost and would create long-term budget deficits. Franco Modigliani (MIT), who received the Nobel in 1985, called Bush's plan "preposterous." Daniel McFadden, the 2000 recipient, described the plan as a "weapon of mass destruction aimed at the middle class." (Blanton, The Boston Globe, 2/12/2003)
ASSERTION: "My jobs and growth plan would reduce tax rates for everyone who pays income tax." (President Bush, Radio Address, 4/26/2003)
TRUTH: "Analysis shows that 8.1 million lower and middle-income taxpayers, who pay billions of dollars a year in income taxes, will receive no tax reduction under the legislation." (Robert Greenstein, CBPP, 6/1/2003)
ASSERTION: "We have priorities at home as well--restoring health to our economy above all. Our economy had begun to weaken over a year before September 11th, but the terrorist attack dealt it another severe blow. This budget advances a bipartisan economic recovery plan that provides much more than greater unemployment benefits: it is a plan to speed the return of strong economic growth, to generate jobs, and to give unemployed Americans the dignity and security of a paycheck instead of an unemployment check." (President Bush's budget message, 2/4/2002)
TRUTH: During the first quarter of this year, GDP rose at a sluggish rate of 1.4% and 1.2% of mortgages were in foreclosure, setting a record high. The unemployment rate climbed to a nine-year high of 6.4% in June. Setting a new record, 1.6 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy last year. (NYT, 6/27/03; USA Today, 7/10/03; WSJ 7/24/03; U.S. News & World Report; 7/21/03)
ASSERTION: In his 2003 State of the Union, Bush said, "We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents and other generations."
TRUTH: The White House released a deficit projection in July, 2003 of 5 billion. (Source: "White House Sees a 455 Billion Gap in the 03 Budget" New York Times David E. Rosenbaum 7/16/03)
ASSERTION: In January 2003, Bush defended No Child Left Behind: "The main reservations we've heard in the year since we passed the reform have come from some adults, not the children, who say the testing requirement is an unfunded mandate on the states. Well, that's not true. We put up 7 million to provide for testing ...We demanded excellence. We're going to pay for the accountability systems to make sure that we do get excellence." (Official statements, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1/13/03)
TRUTH: The GAO released a report that the new testing will cost the states between .9 and .3 billion. (GAO Report, "Characteristics of Tests Will Influence Expenses; Information Sharing May Help States Realize Efficiencies, May 2003) The FY 2004 Bush budget request was only 7 million; Congress has already appropriated 1 which still leaves a shortfall of 2 million. (Congressional Press Release, 5/8/03)
ASSERTION: President Bush: "You don't teach the test when it comes to literacy. We went to a Title 1 classroom -- or a classroom with Title 1 students in it, where the teacher was using some of the most advanced thought about teaching reading, a balanced approach including phonics. You teach a child to read and he or her (sic) will be able to pass a literacy test. I don't buy teaching the test as an excuse to have a system that doesn't hold people accountable for results." (Townsend Elementary School, Tennessee 2/21/2001)
TRUTH: In Texas, the board voted to reduce the number of questions that students must answer correctly to pass third grade reading exams from 24 out of 36 to 20. In Michigan, officials lowered the percentage of students who must pass statewide tests to certify a school as making adequate yearly progress to 42% from 75% of high school students on English tests. And Colorado overhauled the grading system used on its tests, lumping students previously characterized on the basis of test scores as "partially proficient" with those called "proficient". ("States are Relaxing Education Standards to Avoid Sanctions from Federal Law," Sam Dillon, New York Times, 5/22/03)
ASSERTION: In April 2002, Bush praised Lucy Salazar, a volunteer with the Even Start literacy program: "One of the things I try to do when I go into communities is herald soldiers in the armies of compassion, those souls who have heard the call to love a neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself, and have followed through on that call; Lucy Salazar is a retired federal government worker. She teaches reading skills to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children -- incredibly important...And oftentimes, citizens such as her never get the praise they deserve. Lucy, thank you for coming and representing thousands of people like you."
TRUTH: Bush has since proposed cutting the Even Start budget by 20% (Associated Press, 2/4/2002)
ASSERTION: One program, the Container Security Initiative, which would screen cargo at foreign ports, was specifically endorsed by Bush last June. "The Customs Service," he told an audience in Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, "is working with overseas ports and shippers to improve its knowledge of container shipments, assessing risk so that we have a better feel of who we ought to look at, what we ought to worry about."
TRUTH: Bush's budget provides no new funding for the program. (New Republic, March 2003)
ASSERTION: In March 2001, Bush pledged to support children's hospitals: "This is a hospital, but it's also - it's a place full of love. And I was most touched by meeting the parents and the kids and the nurses and the docs, all of whom are working hard to save lives. I want to thank the moms who are here. Thank you very much for you hospitality...There's a lot of talk about budgets right now, and I'm here to talk about the budget. My job as the President is to submit a budget to the Congress and to set priorities, and one of the priorities that we've talked about is making sure the health care systems are funded."
TRUTH: Bush's first budget proposed cutting grants to children's hospitals like the one he visited by 15% ( million). His 2004 budget additionally proposes to cut 30% ( million) out of grants to children's hospitals. ("Caught on Film: the Bush Credibility Gap," House Minority Appropriations Committee)
ASSERTION: On Earth Day, in April 2002, Bush said, "Clear Skies legislation, when passed by Congress, will significantly reduce smog and mercury emissions, as well as stop acid rain. It will put more money directly into programs to reduce pollution, so as to meet firm national air-quality goals."
TRUTH: The Clear Skies plan would "generate millions more tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and allow three times more mercury emissions than current law." And according to EPA estimates, "the plan would have the effect of raising the amount of coal burned by power companies... potentially generating 50 percent more sulfur emissions and delaying by up to 10 years major cuts in sulfur emissions required by the Clean Air Act." (League of Conservation Voters 2003 Presidential Report Card)
ASSERTION: Pres. Bush: "With the help of Congress, environmental groups and industry, we will require all power plants to meet clean air standards in order to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon monox- carbon dioxide, within a reasonable period of time." (September 29, 2000 file footage, ABC News)
TRUTH: Ted Koppel reported that "... the original pledge [to regulate carbon dioxide] was written off as sloppy work by a campaign speechwriter. The president was persuaded to drop a line restating the pledge from his speech to Congress. Two weeks later, it was officially dead."(Nightline, April 25, 2001)
ASSERTION: President Bush: "I have sent you a healthy forest initiative, to help prevent the catastrophic fires that devastate communities, kill wildlife, and burn away millions of acres of treasured forests. I urge you to pass these measures for the good of both our environment and our economy." (January 28, 2003, State of the Union Address)
TRUTH: "Bush's 'Healthy Forests' initiative likewise suffers from Orwellian doublespeak, felling Western forests to save them. Disguised as a measure for curbing wildfires, the plan invites logging companies to cut healthy trees in national forests while reducing public oversight. Ironically, the probable cause of recent catastrophic fires is global warming, a problem that most Republicans deny." (By Glen Scherer for salon.com January 6, 2003)
AMERICORPS AND NATIONAL SERVICE
ASSERTION: In his 2003 State of the Union address, Bush promised to expand AmeriCorps: "Our country also needs citizens working to rebuild our communities. We need mentors to love children, especially children whose parents are in prison. And we need more talented teachers in troubled schools. USA Freedom Corps will expand and improve the good efforts of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to recruit more than 200,000 new volunteers." (State of the Union Address, 1/28/2003)
TRUTH: The funding of AmeriCorps is currently in conference as part of the emergency supplemental bill. Although the Senate has moved to restore/increase funding, the House is resisting such attempts. As it now stands, membership in AmeriCorps would be slashed by 80%. Throughout the public debate on the subject, Bush has not taken any action to persuade the House to increase or restore the funding. (David Broder House Senate Feuds end up targeting innocent victims, Chicago Tribune- 7/22/03; "AmeriCorps May Still Win Extra Funding; Associated Press,7/22/03)
ASSERTION: In January 2003, Bush praised the Boys and Girls Club: "I want to thank the Boys & Girls Clubs across the country...The Boys & Girls Club have got a grand history of helping children understand the future is bright for them, as well as any other child in America. Boys & Girls Clubs have been safe havens. They're little beacons of light for children who might not see light. And I want to thank them for their service to the country. Part of the vision for America is that we have a mosaic of all kinds of people providing love and comfort for people who need help." ("George W. Bush Delivers Remarks on First Anniversary of the USA Freedom Corps," FDCH Political Transcripts, 1/30/02)
TRUTH: In his 2002 budget, Bush proposed cutting all federal funding for the Boys and Girls Club.
ASSERTION: In January of 2002, Bush had praised Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp while visiting Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta: Out of an idea came the desire to convince folks to teach in schools that are having trouble getting teachers. And she has succeeded way beyond what people thought a single person could do." ("Professional Educators, Politicians and Students Show Support for Teach for America Program in Atlanta," Minority Professional Network, 1/31/02)
TRUTH: On July 11, 2003, Teach for America (TFA) was notified it would not receive any funding from the Corporation for National Community Service, the agency responsible for AmeriCorps funds. TFA expected million in grants and leaves TFA short 2,700 education awards for its teachers out of 3,300 corps members who will be teaching this year. ("Teach for America Shut Out of Americorps National Funding Awards," TFA web site, 7/15/03)
ASSERTION: On January 17, 2003, Bush visited 5 soldiers injured in Afghanistan at the Walter Reed Medical Center. He praised Army doctors and said, "We should and must provide the best care for anybody who's willing to put their life in harm's way." ("Bush Visits Soldiers Mending from Afghanistan Wounds," Associated Press, 1/17/03)
TRUTH: The previous day, Bush's Department of Veterans Affairs announced it was cutting off access to its health care system for 164,000 veterans who were expected to enroll in the current fiscal year. ("VA Cuts Some Veterans Access to Health Care," Washington Post, 1/17/03)
ASSERTION: In June 2002, Bush visited an Atlanta housing project that used HUD's HOPE VI grants: "You know, today I went to the -- to some of the home -- met some of the homeowners in this newly built homes and all you've got to do is shake their hand and listen to their stories and watch the pride that they exhibit when they show you the kitchen and the stairs...They showed me their home. They didn't show me somebody else's home, they showed me their home. And they are so proud to own their home and I want to thank them for their hospitality, because it helps the American people really understand what it means." (Remarks by President George Bush re: Expanding Opportunities for Homeownership," Federal News Service, 6/17/02)
TRUTH: The President's 2004 budget cut all HOPE VI funding.
ASSERTION: In April 2002, at the South Dakota Ethanol Plant, Bush said, "I said when I was running for President, I supported ethanol, and I meant it. I support it now, because not only do I know it's important for the ag sector of our economy, it's an important part of making sure we become less reliant on foreign sources of energy."
TRUTH: The plant had received 2,000 in 2001 under Clinton's Bioenergy Program. Bush cut the plant's bioenergy program in his 2004 budget. ("Ag Department Biodiesel, Ethanol Program May Be Renewed," Associated Press, 4/22/02)
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