Bush's Double-Speak: Deceiving the Public, One Lie at a Time
Issue #
34

With unemployment reaching its highest level in years, the national deficit setting new records, constitutional rights disappearing, and an ever-worsening situation in Iraq, one cannot help but wonder just how George W. Bush still has such a high public approval rating.

Upon closer examination, it appears that the administration’s clever manipulation of the media distorts the public’s perception of Bush’s policies. For while Bush draws applause for touting vital programs when the cameras are rolling, the reality is that those programs are headed for the slaughterhouse. The mainstream media refuses to call the President a liar. Below are some of Bush’s promises, and the sad reality behind them. You be the judge.

Taxes

[rhetoric]
In his 2003 State of the Union address, Bush states: “The tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes – and it will help our economy immediately: 92 million Americans will keep, this year, an average of almost $1,000 more of their own money.”

[reality]
A study by the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution found that 8.1 million taxpayers got left out of the tax cut. Another analysis, by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, concluded the following:
1. Nationwide, the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers will receive, an average of $350 over the next four years, or less than $100 per year.
2. During the same time period the wealthiest 1 percent will receive an average of $96,634.

Education

[rhetoric]
On January 8, 2003, the one-year anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act, Bush talks up the need for education funding, saying: “This administration is committed to your effort. And with the support of Congress, we will continue to work to provide the resources schools need to fund the era of reform.”

[reality]
Bush’s 2003 budget – the first one after he signed the No Child Left Behind Act – proposed to cut the Act’s funding by $90 million, leaving it more than $7 billion short of what Congress authorized. Bush’s 2004 budget for the Act is just 1.9 percent above what he proposed in 2003, less than what is needed to offset inflation.

Children's Health

[rhetoric]
On March 1, 2001, at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Bush said: “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’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 healthcare systems are funded.”

[reality]
Bush’s first budget proposed cutting grants to children’s hospitals like the one he visited by 15 percent ($34 million). His 2004 budget additionally proposes to cut 30 percent ($86 million) out of grants to children’s hospitals.

Veterans' Health

[rhetoric]
Speaking at Walter Reed Army Hospital on January 17, 2003, Bush said: “Having been here and seeing the care that these troops get is comforting for me and Laura. We are –- should and must provide the best care for anybody who is willing to put their life in harm’s way.”

[reality]
The same day, the administration announced it was immediately cutting off healthcare access to about 164,000 veterans.

Medicare

[rhetoric]
On January 29, 2003, the day after the State of the Union address, Bush declared: “Within that budget I proposed last night is a substantial increase in Medicare funding of $400 billion on top of what we already spend, over the next 10 years.”

[reality]
If this were true, there should be a $40 billion increase in Medicare on average every year for a decade. However, Bush’s 2004 budget proposes just $6 billion per year – 85 percent less than what would be needed to meet his stated goal.

Housing

[rhetoric]
On June 17, 2002, while visiting the Carver Homes in Atlanta, Georgia, which were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Bush said: “Part of being a secure America is to encourage homeownership.” He also spoke about his experience meeting the residents saying: “You know, today I went to the – to some of the home – met some of the homeowners in this newly built homes… 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.”


[reality]

Bush’s proposed 2004 budget phases out the very program he praised in Atlanta.

Social Services

[rhetoric]
While visiting a food bank in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 19, 2002, Bush said: “I hope people around this country realize that agencies such as this food bank need money. They need our contributions. Contributions are down. They shouldn’t be down in a time of need. We shouldn’t let the enemy affect us to the point where we become less generous. Our spirit should never be diminished by what happened on September the 11th, 2001.”

[reality]
The 2003 and 2004 budgets propose to freeze the Congregate Nutrition Program, which assists local soup kitchens and meals on wheels programs. With inflation, this proposal would mean at least 36,000 seniors would be cut from meals on wheels and other programs. Currently, 139,000 seniors are on waiting lists for home-meal programs.

Labor

[rhetoric]
On Labor Day 2002, Bush said: “Our workers are the most productive, the hardest working, the best craftsmen in the world. And I’m here to thank all those who work hard to make a living here in America.”

[reality]
Bush’s 2003 Budget proposed a 9 percent ($476 million) cut to job training programs and a 2 percent ($8 million) cut to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Similarly, his 2004 budget proposes a $60 million cut to adult job training programs and a total elimination of the Youth Opportunities Grants, which provide job training to younger workers.

Retirement


[rhetoric]

On August 7, 2002, Bush stated: “We’ve got to do more to protect worker pensions.”

[reality]
In December 2002, the Treasury Department announced plans to propose new rules that “would allow employers to resume converting traditional pension plans to new ‘cash balance’ plans that can lower benefits to long-serving workers.” Critics say the rules changes discriminate against older workers in violation of federal law.

Fiscal Responsibility


[rhetoric]

On Sept. 16, 2002, while in Iowa, Bush stated: “One of the ways we’ve got to make sure that we keep our economy strong is to be wise about how we spend our money. If you overspend, it creates a fundamental weakness in the foundation of economic growth. And so I’m working with Congress to make sure they hear the message – the message of fiscal responsibility.”

[reality]
Less than 6 months later, Bush proposed a budget that would put the government more than $300 billion into deficit.

Americorps


[rhetoric]

In his 2002 State of the Union speech, Bush proclaimed: “Our country also needs citizens working to rebuild our communities.… 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.”

[reality]
The 2003 AmeriCorps budget was cut almost by 50 percent. And Bush’s 2004 budget asks for $40 million less in AmeriCorps grants than he requested for 2003.

Police/Fire Services

[rhetoric]
“We’re dealing with first-time responders to make sure they’ve got what’s needed to be able to respond,” Bush said on March 27, 2002. Bush said he was proposing $3.5 billion in “new” money for first responders.

[reality]
Bush tried to cut more than $1 billion out of existing grants to local police/fire departments to fund this. And in August of 2002, Bush rejected $150 million for grants to state and local first responders.

Port Security


[rhetoric]

In Port Elizabeth, NJ, on June 24, 2002, Bush announced: “We’re working hard to make sure your job is easier, that the port is safer. The Customs Service 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.”

[reality]
Bush’s 2003 and 2004 budget provides no money at all for port security grants. The Republican-controlled Congress provided only $250 million for port security grants (35 percent less than authorized). And in August 2002, the President vetoed all $39 million for the Container Security Initiative, which he specifically backed.

Had Enough?
The Vote To Impeach campaign, initiated by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, aims to convince Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against Bush and certain members of his administration.
For more information:
www.votetoimpeach.org