News Release

Bush at Six Months: Big Picture Issues

THEODORE LOWI
Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University and author of The End of the Republican Era, Lowi said today: “The most serious issue in the Bush administration is that there is a stigma in his election…. The Supreme Court aborted the election process. This was unprecedented. To try to overcome this lack of legitimacy, Bush has engaged in a permanent campaign like no other president has. He visited 26 states in his first 100 days. The tax cut was very skillful politically, it’s spread over 10 years, so you get the credit now and pay later. It’s smart to give people the $300 to $600 checks they’ll be getting. He has to address the weakness and instability of the popular base he has. The system is built on the expectation of presidential initiative, so Bush has done things that don’t require Congress: the bombing of Iraq, withdrawal from the Kyoto treaty…”

GWENDOLYN MINK
A political scientist at Smith College and author of Welfare’s End, Mink said today: “Bush Sr.’s ‘thousand points of light’ were supposed to shine upon a void left by inactive government; Bush Jr.’s ‘armies of compassion’ are supposed to carry government’s mission out. Carrying out the Reagan agenda for less government, the elder Bush harkened to Herbert Hoover-style volunteerism. Pursuing the right-wing Republican agenda for more morally coercive government, the younger Bush walks with the Heritage Foundation and others who don’t trust or respect people to make good choices for themselves. Marriage and fatherhood promotion initiatives, for example, seek to use government money to coerce poor mothers, in particular, to accept government’s decisions about what’s best for their families. The faith-based initiative enlists religious institutions in implementing government’s moral agenda. The Bush presidency is about more governmental coercion with less governmental responsibility. The people who get hurt, obviously, are the targets of Bush’s moral agenda: poor women, children, and men who are stripped of rights by ‘compassionate conservatism.'”

VAN JONES
Executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Jones said today: “Bush’s policies, particularly his appointments, have been further to the right than many anticipated, and his policies have been less compassionate. If our country has to go through these six months seven more times, there could be irreparable harm. He’s moved to reviving a Cold War, threatening the environment, escalating the war on drugs both here and Colombia.”
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DEAN BAKER
Co-author of Social Security: The Phony Crisis, Baker said today: “The Social Security Commission that Bush set up is proposing that the federal government default on the $1.1 trillion in government bonds held by the Social Security trust fund. This would be the largest default in the history of the world. If the Social Security Commission is allowed to carry through its plan, then the 150 million workers in the Social Security system would effectively lose an average of $8,000 a piece in assets they have accumulated through the fund. Since this money was supposed to be paid from general revenue — primarily corporate and individual income taxes paid by the wealthy — it will be a $1.1 trillion windfall for the nation’s wealthy, the exact same people who received the bulk of President Bush’s tax cut.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167