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What Bush Will Say… What You Should Know

A detailed fact list of what Bush has said and what you should know.

“[Kerry] said terrorists are pouring across the Iraqi border, but also said that fighting those terrorists is a diversion from the war on terror.”

FACT: Kerry never said this. In the last debate, Kerry said that the invasion of Iraq – not fighting terrorist who have come into the country after the invasion – was a diversion from the war on terror. Kerry: “The invasion of Iraq was a profound diversion from the battle against our greatest enemy — al Qaeda.” [Washington Post, 9/25/04]

FACT: Terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey said, prior to the invasion of Iraq, the administration “more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists.” [MSNBC, 3/2/04]

“My opponent’s plan would raise taxes on over 900,000 small business owners…people just like you.”

FACT: “President Bush counts every high-salaried person who has even $1 of outside business income as a ‘small business owner…In fact, hundresds of thousands of those ‘small businesses’ have no jobs to offer.'” [Factcheck.org, 9/23/04]

FACT: “According to IRS data, a tiny fraction of small business “S-corporations” earn enough profits to be in the top tax brackets [on which Kerry would raise taxes.’ Most are in the bottom two brackets.” [Washington Post, 10/6/04]

FACT: By the Bush Cheney definition, President Bush would have counted as a small business in 2001 because that year “he reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise.” [Factcheck.org, 9/23/04]

“Tax relief left more money in the hands of American workers so they could save, spend, invest, and help drive this economy forward.”

FACT: One-third of President Bush’s tax cuts have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, shifting more of the tax burden from America’s rich to middle-class families. [Reuters, 8/13/04]

FACT: According to the CBO, Americans with incomes averaging $1.2 million per year are receiving average tax cuts of $78,460. By contrast, households in the middle 20 percent, with incomes averaging $57,000 per year, will receive an average cut of $1,090.  [Reuters, 8/13/04]

FACT: The tax cuts have drained resources from domestic programs utilized by middle-class families. A recent study showed tax cuts for the top 1 percent of U.S. income earners could have been used to eliminate billions in budget shortfalls faced by states. [UFE, 4/7/04]

FACT: The Bush tax cuts have widened the income gap between rich and poor as wages have remained stagnant while the middle class shoulders a larger tax burden. Prices for health care, housing, tuition, gas and food have soared. More Americans slid into poverty in 2003 and the gap between the rich and poor widened. [AP, 8/27/04]

“I believe it is the job of a President to confront problems, not pass them on to future Presidents and future generations…we’ve got to be wise about how we spend your money in Washington.”

FACT: Bush has turned a $5.6 Surplus Into $5.2 Trillion Deficit: a fiscal decline of $10.8 trillion in just three years. The turnaround represents the worst fiscal deterioration in at least the last half century. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/28/04; govexec.com, 1/29/04; CAP, 10/4/04]

FACT: The deficit could Reach $3.5 Trillion in the Next Decade if Tax Cuts Are Made Permanent [Washington Post, 1/26/04]

FACT: “President Bush sent Congress a $2.4 trillion election-year budget on Monday featuring…a record $521 billion deficit.” [CBS, 2/2/04]

QUOTE: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter…We won the midterms. This [more tax cuts] is our due.” [Vice President Dick Cheney, The Price of Loyalty]

“I think we need to simplify the tax code, and one way to simplify it is to get rid of the death tax forever.”

FACT: The “death” or estate tax affects only about 2 percent of America’s estates, mostly multimillionaires. Its repeal would benefit most of President Bush’s cabinet, however. [CNN, 1/8/03; Guardian, 2/27/01]

FACT: Repealing the estate tax would reduce revenues for federal government and state governments – once fully in effect, the repeal would cost over $60 billion a year – while providing a “massive windfall for some of the country’s wealthiest families.” [CBPP, 2/6/01

“Over the past year, America has added 1.7 million jobs.”

FACT: The economy has shed 900,000 jobs since March 2001, assuring Bush he will end his four-year term with the worst jobs record since Herbert Hoover. Census Bureau data shows 35.8 million Americans lived in poverty last year, a 1.3 million increase from 2002. [Jobwatch, 8/31/04; AP, 9/27/04]

FACT: All told, Bush currently presides over the weakest “recovery” in 72 years, in terms of job growth. Additionally, wages are stagnating, personal bankruptcies are up 33 percent since 2000, and consumer confidence is plummeting. [USA Today, 8/27/04; NYT, 8/28/04; AP, 8/31/04]

FACT: The gains from America’s “productivity-led recovery” have been unevenly distributed. While corporate profits, CEO pay and business investment have risen, pay has lagged behind and the wages of production workers have stagnated. [Economist, 8/6/04]

“As well, when you hear [Kerry] say ‘Tax the rich,’ just remember that the rich hire lawyers and accountants for a reason, to slip the bill and pass it to you.”

FACT: Since Bush took office, the effective tax rate for corporations has plummeted from 26.1 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2002 and 21.0 percent in 2003. The effective tax rate for corporations averaged 33 percent in the ten years previous to the Bush administration. [LRA, 2004

FACT: Under Bush, corporate tax enforcement actions and penalties are almost nonexistent.  Of the 2.4 million corporations filing tax returns in 2003, only 12 faced civil negligence penalties, down from 62 in 1999, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). [LRA, 2004]

FACT: The administration’s 2005 budget seriously underfunds tax enforcement, even though the General Accounting Office “estimates that illegitimate tax shelters cost the government more than $85 billion in recent years.” [PBS, 2/19/03]

“Today I signed a piece of legislation that extended the child credit, marriage penalty and the 10% bracket for five more years.”

FACT: The legislation signed by the president revised upwards the threshold for the child tax credit – it may negatively affect about four million working families and more than nine million kids. [JEC, 9/20/04]

FACT: “Even in an election year, Congress ought to be able to do better than a tax bill that adds to the deficit, cuts taxes further for many who don’t need the help and leaves those who do deserve help with barely a crumb.” [Washington Post, 9/21/04]  

“I submitted an (energy) plan to the United States Congress…It’s a plan that encourages conservation.”

FACT: The conservation provisions in the President’s energy bill were estimate to amount to only “three months of U.S. energy consumption between now and 2020.” [Washington Post, 11/16/03]

FACT: The administration’s energy bill “does not require improvements in the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, the main guzzlers of gasoline made from imported oil.” [Washington Post, 11/16/03

“That’s why it’s essential we keep working on No Child Left Behind, to make sure every child has got the skills necessary to read and write and add and subtract.”

FACT: “This year alone, the Bush administration shortchanges American schools $9.4 billion under No Child Left Behind.” [New York Times, 3/14/04]

FACT: “Eleven states will get less federal money for poor students next school year.” [USA Today, 4/6/04]

“Health savings accounts – and I urge you to look into them – give workers the security of insurance against major illness, the opportunity to save tax-free for routine health expense, and the freedom of knowing that you own your own account that you can take with you.”

FACT: “Widespread adoption of [HSAs] could drive up the average annual deductible paid by workers, which is now about $300 for single employees and $600 for families, according to data from Mercer and the Kaiser Family Foundation.” [USA Today, 4/25/04]

“Lawsuits are driving good doctors out of practice.”

FACT: Malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of healthcare spending [CBO, 1/8/04]

FACT: The GAO found that many reported reductions in supply by health care providers due to lawsuits could not be substantiated or “did not widely affect access to health care.” [CBO, 1/8/04]

“I believe in a children’s health insurance program, but we’ve got to make sure all those who are eligible are signed up to do so” 

FACT: On Sept. 30, 2004, the deadline for Congress to act on preserving $1.1 billion in federal funds for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – the program which focuses on insuring the kids of the working poor – was allowed to expire. The money was taken away from the states and returned to the U.S. Treasury. The White House could have stopped these funds from being taken from the states by requesting that Congress extend the time states had to use the funds in the 2005 budget. Over the objections of the National Governors Association and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, the administration decided not to ask for the extension. [Families USA, 9/30/04]

“We’ve got to do something about these frivolous lawsuits that plague our small business owners.”

FACT: “American businesses file four times as many lawsuits as do individuals represented by trial attorneys, and they are penalized by judges much more often for pursuing frivolous litigation.” [Public Citizen, 10/6/04]

FACT: During Vice President Cheney’s 5-year tenure as CEO, “Halliburton was involved in 151 court claims it filed in 15 states around the nation. On average, Halliburton petitioned America’s legal system 30 times per year while Cheney was CEO.” [Halliburton Watch, 9/15/04]

“For millions of our citizens, the American Dream starts with owning a home…we’re creating a home – an ownership society in this country, where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door”

FACT: The administration’s 2005 budget plans to cut federal housing funds by $800 million. [San Francisco Examiner, 5/20/04]

FACT: The Bush administration capped the annual rise in Section 8 grants – the program that helps low-income Americans afford housing — at 1 percent, even though rents rise by an average of 5 percent each year. [Mother Jones, 5/14/04]

FACT: The administration’s 2005 budget proposal calls for an $800 million reduction in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as Section 8, and eliminates a requirement that most housing vouchers be reserved for “very low-income” families. [San Francisco Examiner, 2/16/04]