The Broken Promises of George W. Bush

Rhetoric vs. Reality

President Bush made a lot of promises - from ensuring our national security to protecting the environment - during his 2000 presidential campaign. The record shows it was mostly talk.

President Bush made a lot of promises during his 2000 presidential campaign. The record shows it was all talk.




"There are 43 million uninsured Americans – 4 million more than when the current administration took office. George W. Bush will reverse this trend by making health insurance affordable for hard-working, low-income families." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]


In the first two years Bush was in office, the number of uninsured American increased by nearly four million. Since Bush took office, health insurance premiums have risen by an average rate of 12.5 percent per year. According to a major study, "widespread adoption [of Bush’s major health care plan] could drive up the annual deductible paid by workers."  [Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 7/8/04; Kaiser Family Foundation, 4/04; USA Today, 4/25/04]

"George W. Bush will establish the ‘Healthy Communities Innovation Fund’ to provide $500 million in grants over five years to fund innovative projects addressing targeted health risks, such as childhood diabetes."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]


Bush never established this fund.  [Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/20/04]




George W. Bush "will also ensure that the federal government, which is the country’s largest polluter, complies with all environmental laws."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]


For the past three years, the Department of Defense has requested that Congress exempt it from environmental laws and regulations like the Clean Air Act of 1970.  The exemptions were requested despite the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency has thus far declined to apply the policies to the military training facilities in question. 

[Source: Government Executive Magazine, 4/6/04]




George W. Bush will "fully fund the Pell grant program for first-year students by increasing the maximum grant amount by more than 50 percent, to $5,100."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 – Education website]


President Bush has frozen the maximum Pell Grant at $4,050 in his FY 2005 education budget. This is the third year in a row that Bush has frozen or cut the maximum Pell Grant. [Source: House Committee on Education and the Work Force 2/2/04]




"To encourage states to help families in crisis, Governor Bush will provide states an additional $1 billion over five years for preventative services to keep children in, or return them to, their homes whenever safely possible." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 – Child Welfare website]


Bush has proposed allowing states to use the federal funds currently earmarked for foster care room-and-board payments to be used for preventative services.  In exchange, states must accept a spending cap on the amount of foster care funding they receive.  [Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/24/04]

Energy, Nominations, National Security

On everything from energy, to judicial nominations, to nuclear nonproliferation policy, President Bush has broken his promises to the American people.




"To provide energy assistance to low-income Households and Address Short-Term Supply Threats, Governor Bush will expand the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by seeking the release of $155 million, and directing a portion of oil and gas royalty payments to the program, costing $1 billion over ten years." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 – Energy website]


Bush’s first budget, for the 2002 fiscal year, cut LIHEAP funding by $300 million as compared with the previous year, despite higher unemployment and a colder winter.  [Source: CBS, 12/11/02]




"To restore confidence in government, George W. Bush will…return civility to the nomination process." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]


When Democrats objected to the nomination of William Pryor to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the White House stood by its allies who leveled charges of anti-Catholic bias at the Democrats.  When Sen. Patrick Leahy confronted Vice President Cheney about the impropriety of this charge on the Senate floor, Cheney civilly told him to "F*** off." [Source: CBS, 6/25/04] 




"In an act of foresight and statesmanship, [Senator Lugar and Senator Sam Nunn in 1991] realized that existing Russian nuclear facilities were in danger of being compromised. The next president must press for an accurate inventory of all this material. [George W. Bush will] ask the Congress to increase substantially our assistance to Russia in dismantling as many of their weapons as possible, as quickly as possible." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 – Foreign Policy website]


Despite repeated claims this spring that he favors further expansion of the successful Nunn-Lugar program, Bush’s proposed budget for FY 2005 cuts funding for Nunn-Lugar by 10 percent and cuts the Department of Energy’s Russian nuclear security funding by 8 percent. [Source: Carnegie Endowment for Peace, 3/3/0/04]

Spending, Deficits and Taxes

Presidential candidate George W. Bush promised to be a fiscal conservative, and not destroy the surplus that had been created during the 1990s. But as the record shows, he has overseen the worst budget deterioration in modern American history – and misled the country about who will receive his tax cuts.




"To restore confidence in government, [George W. Bush] will…attack pork-barrel spending."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]


Since assuming office, President Bush has failed to veto a single bill, despite the enormous amount of pork that has crossed his desk.  Even conservatives are getting frustrated.  The Heritage Foundation recently wrote, "Budget discipline clearly isn’t a priority of this administration, so why pretend it will get tough on frivolous measures like these?"

[Source: Heritage Foundation, 6/28/04]




"[B]y far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." [Source: George W. Bush, 2/15/00]


The top 20 percent of earners received 69.8 percent of President Bush’s tax cuts. [Source: CBPP, 4/23/04, p. 17]

"Governor Bush’s income tax cuts will benefit all Americans, but they are especially focused on low and moderate income families."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 – Taxes website]


Millionaires received an average tax cut of $123,000. Those in the bottom quintile of earners received an average tax cuts of $27. Those in the second to bottom quintile received an average cut of $317. [Source: CBPP, 4/23/04, p. 17] 




"As President, Governor Bush will pay the debt down to a historically low level."

[Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]


As of July 30, the national debt stood at $7,316,567,571,232.89, a record high.  This year’s budget will also create a record deficit: $445 billion, according to the White House.  [Source: Treasury Department, 8/3/04, Reuters, 7/31/04]




"The Social Security surplus must be locked away only for Social Security." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 – Social Security website]


During 2002, the first fiscal year for which Bush was responsible, he spent $159 billion of the Social Security Trust Fund surplus.

[Source: CBO Historical Budget Data, ]

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