In making his final decision to launch an invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush did not seek the advice of his father, a veteran of World War II and a former president who had gone to battle with the same foe a decade earlier. Nor did he seek the overall final recommendation of his secretary of defense, or of his secretary of state, the only man in his cabinet who had been decorated for military service in wartime with the medals befitting a national hero. Instead, as Bob Woodward wrote in his book Plan of Attack, he consulted his God, a God that the president presumes takes sides in disputes between peoples.
That reckless, unnecessary and unforgiving decision to wage a war of choice with a country that was neither an enemy nor a real threat is at the very root of all we’ve lost during George W. Bush’s presidency. We’ve lost our good reputation and our standing as a great and just superpower. We’ve lost the sympathy of the world following September 11 and turned it into an alloy of fear and hatred. We’ve lost lives and allies. We’ve lost liberties and freedoms. We’ve lost billions of dollars that could have gone toward a true assault on terrorism. It could fairly be said that in the age of George W. Bush, we have lost our way.
The deceptions that took the United States into Iraq were the work of an administration without care for logic or truth. The aftermath, a war seemingly without end and one that is costing the country tens of billions of dollars and the lives of about thirteen young American soldiers every week, is the work of an administration without judgment or fore-sight. The United States is a warrior nation with a heart of peace and a history of generally doing the right thing. The cry-wolf invasion of Iraq has not only shaken that opinion of the United States, it will make it difficult for future American leaders to rally nations against an enemy that actually is a credible global threat.
The sideshow in the Middle East proved in the end to be a convenient diversion for the Bush White House: It distracted Americans’ attention from the administration’s domestic agenda, its ideological war at home. Iraq also served as a shield for the administration, in the sense that the White House defined any opposition to or criticism of what it was up to in those early days as the work of the unpatriotic or the traitorous. With the country looking the other way, Bush and Cheney began dismantling decades’ worth of advances in civil liberties, health care, education, the economy, the judiciary, and the environment. It is difficult to point to a single element of American society that comes under federal jurisdiction that is not worse off than it was an administration ago.
The Bush White House inherited a military greater than any ever assembled and spread it so thin that it ultimately had to order thousands of troops to stay in war zones months longer than the terms of their service contracts. At a time of war, the administration tried to cut back on benefits for veterans and soldiers still in the field of battle.
The Bush White House inherited a robust economy brimming with jobs and budget surpluses. It may well end its four years with a net loss of jobs during Bush’s first term, a feat unsurpassed since the Hoover administration. In its desire to create tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, it created a horizon of budget deficits, crippling debt, and trade imbalances.
The Bush White House inherited an education system that, while not perfect, was in many ways the envy of the world. Its unreasonable and underfunded No Child Left Behind program hobbled state systems by placing rigid demands on school districts but pledging little money to meet those demands.
The Bush White House inherited an environment that had been all but saved by the Clean Air and Clean Water acts of the 1970s. The administration, many of whose members were plucked from the oil and gas industries, turned its back on more than thirty years of advances in environmental legislation and global treaties to reward its campaign backers from the petrochemical industry.
The Bush White House inherited a health-care system that favored the rich, then made it worse, turning it into a complex apparatus that will produce unprecedented profits for another set of major campaign backers—the health and pharmaceutical industries—all at the expense of regular patients, the elderly, and the poor.
The Bush White House inherited a government of model transparency and purposefully bent it to the will of the most secretive administration in recent American history.
The Bush White House inherited a judicial system that was America’s centrist, if not conservative, legal safeguard and turned it into an ideological, right-wing juggernaut.
The Bush White House took the world’s warm feelings toward America—remember the days following September 11, when all citizens of the world proclaimed themselves to be New Yorkers?—and turned them into confusion and then rage.
The Bush White House took a nation that was both the cradle and the missionary of democratic freedoms and civil liberties and reduced rights under both for America’s own citizens.
At the heart of all of this loss were two unforgivable deceptions embedded in George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign: that he was a “united and not a divider,” and that he was a “compassionate conservative.” This “uniter” became “the great polarizer,” a president who has divided Americans more than at any time since the Civil War. “Compassionate conservative” was a meaningless bit of public relations designed by Karen Hughes to appease the middle ground of the Republican Party and the conservative flank of the Democratic Party. Once in office, the Bush administration pursued not a compassionate course but rather a harsh, far-right-wing effort to roll back decades of liberal legislation. In a May 2004 interview in The New York Times, the billionaire George Soros said, “The government of the most powerful country on earth has fallen into the hands of extremists.” It seems as if post-September 11 America has been in a slumber—brought on by an anesthetic of fear and patriotism—and is only now beginning to wake up.
* * *
I am an American by choice rather than by birth. I’m a white, fifty-five-year-old Episcopalian. Born in Canada, I’ve lived in America for half my life. I’ve raised four children here, have done reasonably well professionally, and am by most measures a happy man. I’ve followed politics all my life, but politics has never been my life, if you know what I mean. To be honest, I really never had much truck with politicians of any stripe. But I love this country, its land, its soul, and above all its people.
So what does it say about us that we let a man of such blind conviction and willful ignorance lead us? George W. Bush may be the most incurious American president ever. He reads little and is far and away the least traveled president of the last half century. Indeed, most of his trips outside this country have been aboard Air Force One. When he was on the David Frost show in late 2003 before his official state visit to London, Frost brought up previous trips Bush had made there. “Laura and I went to see Cats,” was the president’s chief recollection. Former treasury secretary Paul O’Neill describes meetings with the president as short, limited, and without discussion or inquiry. Five, ten minutes tops, then Bush is up and out of the room.
In polls, America is now regularly listed as one of the most dangerous nations on earth, sometimes ahead of even North Korea. The world, simply put, doesn’t like Bush—or Americans—very much. And Americans, a great people with high ideals, like to be liked. Well, Americans like to be feared and liked, but liked is an important part of the equation. Electing George W. Bush was seen in many quarters of the world as a mistake, a voters’ aberration. His reelection would send those same quarters a message of intent and hostility on the part of the United States that may take decades fully to recover from.
One can only hope that this war, this period, this administration, is not the beginning of a new age. That it is not the true story of our times, a terrible dream from which we will wake up one day only to realize what we’ve lost
George Bush: Scourge of Terrorists Everywhere
1: Number of Bush administration public statements on national security and defense issued between January 20, 2001, and September 10, 2001, that mentioned Al Qaeda.
104: Number of Bush administration public statements on national security and defense in the same period that mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein.
101: Number of Bush administration public statements on national security and defense in the same period that mentioned missile defense.
65: Number of Bush administration public statements on national security and defense in the same period that mentioned weapons of mass destruction.
0: Number of times Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden in his three State of the Union addresses.
73: Number of times Bush mentioned terrorism or terrorists in his three State of the Union addresses.
99: Number of times Bush mentioned Saddam, Iraq, or regime (as in change) in his three State of the Union addresses.
$1 million: Estimated value of a painting the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, received from Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and Bush family friend.
1,700%: Percent increase between 2001 and 2002 of Saudi Arabian spending on public relations in the United States.
79%: Percent of the September 11 hijackers who came from Saudi Arabia.
0: Number of times Bush mentioned Saudi Arabia in his three State of the Union addresses.
3: Number of the September 11 hijackers whose entry visas came through a special United States—Saudi Arabia “Visa Express” program.
140: Number of Saudis, including members of the bin Laden family, evacuated from the United States almost immediately after September 11.
14: Number of Immigration and Naturalization Service agents assigned to track down 1,200 known illegal immigrants in the United States from countries where Al Qaeda is active.
$0: Amount approved by Bush to hire more of these special agents.
$10 million: Amount Bush cut from the INS’s existing terrorism budget.
$690 million: Amount the Pentagon spent bringing oil into Iraq in just 2003.
4: Number of treasury agents investigating Osama bin Laden’s and Saddam Hussein’s money.
21: Number of treasury agents investigating Cuban embargo violations.
7: Number of Arabic linguists fired by the U.S. Army between mid-August and mid-October 2002 for being gay.
$3 million: Amount the White House was willing to grant the 9/11 commission to investigate the September 11 attacks.
$5 million: Amount a 1996 federal commission was given to study legalized gambling.
$50 million: Amount granted the commission that looked into the Columbia shuttle crash.
69: Number of documents, many of which included references to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, the White House attempted to withhold from the 9/11 commission.
George Bush: Military Man
1972: Year Bush walked away from his pilot duties in the Texas National Guard, nearly two years before his six-year obligation was up.
$3,500: Reward a group of veterans offered in 2000 for anyone who could confirm Bush’s Alabama guard service.
600–700: Number of guardsman who were in Bush’s unit during that period.
0: Number of guardsmen from that period who came forward with information about Bush’s guard service.
0: Number of minutes President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, former chairman of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle, and chief political aide Karl Rove-the major proponents of the war in Iraq-served in combat (combined).
0: Number of principal civilian or Pentagon staff members who planned the war who have immediate family members serving in uniform in Iraq.
535: Number of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
8: Number of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who have a child serving in the military (less than half of them in Iraq).
10: Number of days that the Pentagon spent investigating a soldier who had called the president “a joke” in a letter to the editor of a newspaper.
46%: Increase in sales between 2001 and 2002 of G.I. Joe figures.
George Bush: Ambitious Warrior
2: Number of nations George W. Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into office.
130: Approximate number of countries (out of a total of 191 recognized by the United Nations) with a U.S. military presence.
43%: Percent of the entire world’s military spending the United States spends on defense. (That was in 2002, the year before the invasion of Iraq.)
$401.3 billion: Proposed military budget for 2004.
2,300: Approximate number of accounting systems in use at the Defense Department.
44.1% Percent increase in defense spending in the second quarter of 2003, after two quarters of 1.4% growth.
0.001%: Percent the Defense Department proposed cutting its budget in 2003 by closing its 10-year-old Peacekeeping Institute.
9: Number of the government-appointed Defense Policy Board members out of 30 who sit on the corporate board of, or advise, companies that won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002.
George Bush: Savior of Iraq
1983: Year in which Donald Rumsfeld, Reagan’s special envoy to the Middle East, gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs as a gift.
2.5: Number of hours after Rumsfeld learned that Osama bin Laden was a suspect in the September 11 attacks that be brought up reasons to “hit” Iraq.
237: Minimum number of misleading statements on Iraq made by top Bush administration officials between 2002 and January 2004, according to California representative Henry Waxman.
237: Number of these that cherry-picked, misstated, or ignored intelligence on Iraq.
10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets on February 21, 2003, in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, the largest simultaneous protest in world history.
470,000: Number of U.S. service members in the Gulf War.
148: Number of combat deaths in the Gulf War.
124,000: Number of U.S. service members in the Iraq war.
713: Number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq since the onset of hostilities, as of May 1, 2004, the anniversary of the day Bush landed on the USS Lincoln and declared, “Mission accomplished.”
4,924: Number of American troops killed or wounded in Iraq by May 1, 2004.
10,000: Estimate of the number of Iraqi civilians killed in Iraq to date.
3,466: The Pentagon’s official tally of U.S. combat injuries by April 2004.
April 2006: The date that the U.S. death toll in Iraq, if it continues at the same rate as it did in April 2004, will pass the U.S. death toll from September 11.
53%: Estimated percent of recruits who have deserted from the U.S. trained Iraqi army, mostly over complaints about low pay.
$2 billion: Estimated monthly cost of the U.S. military presence in Iraq projected by the White House in April 2003.
$4 billion: Actual monthly cost of the U.S. military presence in Iraq according to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2004.
$400,000: Estimated cost for every American who trains Iraqi police recruits, including salary and living expenses.
$15 million: Amount of a contract awarded to a U.S. firm to build a cement factory in Iraq.
$80,000: Amount an Iraqi firm spent (using Saddam’s confiscated funds) to build the same factory, after delays prevented the American firm from doing it.
$400 million: Amount requested by the Bush administration to build two 4,000-bed prisons in Iraq.
$112 million: Estimated cost to build those two prisons in the United States.
$500: Reward the U.S. military offered for each weapon turned in by Iraqi citizens.
$5,000: Amount one weapon can fetch on the black market.
2000: Year Cheney said that his policy as CEO of Halliburton was that “we wouldn’t do anything in Iraq.”
$73 million: Price of oil field supplies sold to Iraq by two Halliburton subsidiaries during Cheney’s tenure there.
$1.7 billion: Estimated value of Iraq reconstruction contracts awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Halliburton.
$4.7 billion: Total value of Halliburton contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
$680 million: Estimated value of Iraq reconstruction contracts awarded to Bechtel.
$2.8 billion: Total value of Bechtel Corp. contracts in Iraq.
$120 billion: Amount the war and its aftermath are projected to cost for fiscal year 2004.
20%: Percent of the billions of taxpayer dollars going toward the rebuilding of Iraq that is reportedly lost to theft, kickbacks, and corruption.
17: Average number of Iraqi civilians killed by gunfire in Baghdad each day in August 2003.
92%: Percent of Iraq’s urban areas with access to potable water in late 2002.
60%: Percent of Iraq’s urban areas with access to potable water in late 2003.
55%: Percent of the Iraqi workforce unemployed before the war.
80%: Percent of the Iraqi workforce unemployed a year after the war.
1%: Approximate percent of American personnel employed by private contractors during the Gulf War.
15,000-20,000: Number of outsourced private military contractor employees in Iraq.
$32 million: Amount 10 leading private military firms spent on Washington lobbyists in 2001.
0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany following the Nazi surrender in May 1945.
37: Death toll of U.S soldiers in Iraq in May 2003, the month combat operations “officially” ended.
79: Death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq in May 2004.
0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has permitted to be photographed.
0: Number of memorial services for the returned dead that Bush has attended since the beginning of the war.
George Bush: Savior of Afghanistan
$672 million: Amount budgeted for the rebuilding of Afghanistan through 2004.
9%: Percent of eligible Afghan voters that the United Nations has registered as of March 2004.
1.7 million: Number of Afghans directly involved in the production of opium (6% of the population).
$184: Average yearly wages for an Afghan family not involved in the opium trade.
$3,900: Average yearly wages for an Afghan family involved in the opium trade.
50%: Percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product that comes from the opium trade.
75%: Percent of the world’s opium that now comes from Afghanistan.
George Bush: A Man Willing To Take A Stand
35: Number of countries to which the United States suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court.
George Bush: A Soldier’s Best Friend
40,000: Number of soldiers in Iraq seven months after the start of the war still without Interceptor vests. Made of Kevlar, they are designed to stop a round from an AK-47, the most common automatic rifle in the world.
$60 million: Estimated cost to outfit those 40,000 soldiers with Interceptor vests.
$300 million: Approximate cost of a single F-22 air superiority fighter.
62%: Percent of gas masks army investigators discovered didn’t work properly in the fall of 2002.
90%: Percent of chem/bio detectors, which give early warning of a biological weapons attack, that were found to be defective.
87%: Percent of Humvees in Iraq not equipped with armor capable of stopping AK-47 rounds and protecting against roadside bombs and land mines at the end of 2003.
36%: Percent increase since 1999 in the number of U.S. Army deserters.
7: Number of months that veterans in some parts of the country have to wait for an appointment at a VA hospital.
$250: First ever enrollment fee Bush wanted to charge returning troops to enroll in the VA medical plan.
$1,000: Average amount each of the 20,000 private contractors earns per day working in Iraq.
$100: Average amount a marine earns per day working in Iraq.
George Bush: Making the Country Safer
$3.29: Average amount allocated per person nationwide in the first round of homeland security grants.
$94.40: Amount allocated per person for homeland security in American Samoa.
$36: Amount allocated per person for homeland security in Wyoming, the vice president’s home state.
$17: Amount allocated per person in New York State.
$5.87: Amount allocated per person in New York City.
$77.92: Amount allocated per person in New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University, Bush’s alma mater.
76%: Percent of 215 cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in early 2004 that had yet to receive a dime in federal homeland security assistance for their first-response units.
$100,000: Approximate amount the Transportation Security Administration spent in late 2003 to host a party to salute lobbyists, contractors, workers, and other federal agencies.
5: Number of major U.S. airports at the beginning of 2004 that the Transportation Security Administration admitted were not fully screening baggage electronically.
22,600: Number of airplanes carrying unscreened cargo that fly into New York’s airports each month.
5%: Estimated percent of U.S. air cargo that is screened, including cargo transported on passenger planes.
6,000: Number of federal airport screeners laid off in 2003 because of budget reductions brought on by Bush’s tax cuts.
95%: Percent of foreign goods that arrive in the United States by sea.
2%: Percent of those goods subjected to thorough inspection.
$5.5 billion: Estimated cost to fully secure U.S. ports over the next decade.
$0: Amount Bush allocated for port security in 2003.
$46 million: Amount the Bush administration has budgeted for port security in 2005.
15,000: Number of major chemical facilities in the United States.
100: Number of U.S. chemical plants where a terrorist act could endanger the lives of more than 1 million people.
0: Number of new drugs or vaccines against “priority pathogens” listed by the Centers for Disease Control that have been developed and introduced since September 11.
$379.7 million—Amount Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham estimated in 2002 it would cost to adequately secure the nation’s nuclear facilities.
$26.4 million: Amount Bush approved for the task.
20 to 1: Ratio of missile defense spending to spending aimed at securing unprotected stockpiles of warheads and bomb-grade material in the former Soviet Union.
4: Number of times terrorists with ties to Al Qaeda are known to have carried out reconnaissance missions of these stockpiles in 2001 and 2002.
171: Number of positions in the Department of Homeland Security that are unfilled out of 500 career jobs.
90%: Percent of port security positions at the department that are vacant.
51: Number of confirmed cases in 2003 of illicit trafficking in the radiological materials usable in dirty bombs, according to the United Nations.
8: Number of cases in 1996.
George Bush: Giving A Hand Up To The Advantaged
#1: The Bush cabinet is the wealthiest cabinet in U.S. history.
$10.9 million: Average wealth of the members of Bush’s original 16 person cabinet.
75%: Percent of Americans unaffected by Bush’s sweeping 2003 cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.
$12,000: Average savings members of Bush’s cabinet received in 2003 as a result of cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.
10: Number of fellow members from the Yale secret society Skull and Bones Bush has named to important positions (including Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum Jr. and SEC chief Bill Donaldson).
79: Number of Bush’s initial 189 appointees who also served in his father’s administration.
George Bush: A Man With A Lot of Friends
$113 million: Amount of total hard money the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign received, a record.
$11.5 million: Amount of hard money raised through the Pioneer program, the controversial fund-raising process created for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. (Participants pledged to raise at least $100,000 by bundling together cheeks of up to $1,000 from friends and family. Pioneers were assigned numbers, which were included on all checks, enabling the campaign to keep track of who raised how much.)
$30.2 million: Amount raised through the Pioneer program in 2003.
$24.1 million: Amount raised through the new Ranger program in 2003. (Participants pledge to raise at least $200,000.)
37: Number of Pioneers on Bush’s postelection team, which helped place political appointees in key regulatory positions affecting industry.
64: Number of Rangers and Pioneers who are lobbyists.
12: Total number of Pioneers identified by the Bush 2000 campaign.
511: Total number of Bush-Cheney 2000 Pioneers later revealed through court documents.
104: Number of Bush-Cheney 2000 Pioneers subsequently named to government posts.
23: Number of Bush-Cheney 2000 Pioneers subsequently given ambassadorships.
3: Number of Bush-Cheney 2000 Pioneers subsequently appointed to the cabinet (Donald L. Evans, Commerce Department: Tom Ridge, Department of Homeland Security; Elaine L. Chao, Labor Department).
12: Number of Rangers and Pioneers living in Florida.
$175 million: Approximate amount of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign’s preconvention budget.
$5.3 million: Amount Bush raised on one day in September 2003 toward his reelection campaign, breaking the one-day record he himself had set.
270: Number of people the Bushes have invited to stay over at the White House since taking office.
George Bush: Hates to Travel Unless There’s A Real Purpose
65: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Cheney in 2002.
100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Cheney in 2003.
0: Number of trips to Afghanistan by Bush or Cheney before waging war against that country.
0: Number of trips to Iraq by Bush or Cheney before waging war against that country.
$56,800: Cost, per hour, to operate Air Force One.
68,000: Number of miles—all within the continental United States, and one trip to Mexico—Bush has logged on Air Force One through May 2004.
117: Number of trips Bush made between January 2003 and May 2004.
20: Number of trips to 5 key states (Pennsylvania, 5; Missouri, 4; Florida, 4; Ohio, 4; Wisconsin 3)
1% Percent of the $203 million Bush has raised for reelection that has gone toward his travel costs in 2004.
George Bush: Money Manager
#1: Record for most U.S. bankruptcies filed in a single year (1,661 million in 2003).
4.7 million: Number of bankruptcies declared during Bush’s first three years in office.
440,257: Number of bankruptcies filed during the second quarter of 2003, more than in any other quarter in U.S. history.
4,277: Average number of people who file for bankruptcy each day.
#1: Record for biggest 2-year point drop in the history of the stock market during the first half of a presidential term.
$200 billion: Approximate aggregate amount of state budget gaps in Bush’s first 3 years in office, the highest figure since World War II.
#1: Record, in 2003, for most residential real-estate foreclosures in a one-quarter period.
#1: 2002 was the worst year for major markets since the recession of the 1970s.
15%: Percent the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq collectively fell in 2002.
$7 million: Amount of money investors lost in 2001 and 2002.
$17 billion: Amount of government money the Treasury Department was unable to account for in 2001.
#1: The $489 billion U.S. trade deficit in 2003 was the worst in history for a single year.
#1: The $18.3 billion U.S. trade deficit in April 2004 was the worst in history for a single month.
44%: Percent the dollar declined in value against the euro between 2002 and 2004.
$242 billion: White House projected U.S. budget surplus for 2003, issued in February 2001.
$375.3 billion: Actual U.S. budget deficit for 2003.
#1: 2003 budget deficit was, at that point, the largest in U.S. history
#1: $521 billion 2004 budget deficit forecast from the Office of Management and Budget will likely overtake 2003 to become the largest deficit in U.S. history.
$275 billion: Amount of 2004 U.S. budget deficit caused by the Bush tax cuts.
$5.6 trillion: Projected national surplus forecast by the end of the decade when Bush took office in 2001.
$7.22 trillion: U.S. national debt by mid-2004.
$9.7 trillion: Estimated national debt by 2014.
$1.73 billion: Average amount the national debt increases every day.
$24,419: Amount of each U.S. citizen’s share of the national debt by the end of 2003.
George Bush: Friend of the Farmer
74%: Percent of agribusiness campaign contributions that went to the Republican Party in the 2000 election.
75% Percent of federal farm subsidy funds that went to the wealthiest 10% of American farmers.
George Bush: Tax Cutter
87%: Percent of American families in April 2004 that say that have felt no tax relief whatsoever from Bush’s tax cuts.
53%: Percent of American families that received a tax cut of $100 or less in 2003.
39%: Percent of the tax cuts that will go to the top 1% of American families when fully phased in.
49%: Percent of Americans in April 2004 that found that their taxes had actually gone up since Bush took office.
88% Percent of American families that will save less than $100 on their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and dividends taxes.
$30 billion: Amount the tax cuts will bestow on the nation’s 257,000 millionaires in 2004 alone.
61%: Percent of Americans who say they would prefer a balanced budget to tax cuts.
$30,858: Amount Bush saved in taxes in 2003.
$42,409: Median U.S. household income in 2002.
2%: Percent of estates in the United States large enough to qualify for the estate tax.
$6–$12 million: Amount Bush’s heirs stand to gain if the White House succeeds in repealing the estate tax.
$10–$45 million: Amount Cheney’s heirs stand to gain if the White House succeeds in repealing the estate tax.
#1: In 2004, federal revenues (from taxes) as a percent of gross domestic product hit 15.8%, their lowest level since 1950—a time before Medicare and Medicaid.
George Bush: Employment Czar
5.95 million: Number of unemployed when Bush took office.
9.3 million: Number of unemployed in April 2004.
2.3 million: Number of Americans who lost their jobs during first three years of the Bush administration.
22 million: Number of jobs gained during Clinton’s eight years in office.
3.9% Unemployment rate when Bush took office.
5.6% Unemployment rate in April 2004.
7.4% Unemployment rate in early 2004 if the “missing labor force” (unemployed people who have given up looking for work) had been included.
2.8 million: Number of manufacturing jobs lost during the Bush administration through May 2004.
4.8 million: Number of people working part-time because they cannot find full-time work.
19.2: Average number of weeks an unemployed person was out of work in 2003, the longest period at any time in the past 20 years.
#1: The Bush administration is well on its way to being the first since Herbert Hoover’s to preside over an overall loss of jobs during its first term in office.
#1: The Bush administration would be the first in history to win a second term having lost net jobs in its first term.
5.5 million: Number of new jobs the administration claimed the tax cuts would create between July 2003 and December 2004.
130,000: Number of new jobs the Bush administration predicted would be added in December 2003 as a result of his tax cut plans.
1,000: Number of new jobs created in December 2003.
21,000: Number of jobs created in February 2004.
0: Number of those 21,000 jobs that were outside the government.
George Bush: Friend of the Poor
17%: The “relative” poverty rate in the United States in 2003. (“Relative” poverty is defined as a household making less than 50% of the national median income.)
18.8% The “relative” poverty rate in Russia in 2003.
34.6 million: Number of Americans living below the poverty line (1 in 8 of the population).
6.8 million: Number of people in the workforce but still classified as poor.
35 million: Number of Americans the government defines as “food insecure,” in other words, hungry.
9.4 million: Number of people the Department of Agriculture defines as suffering from an “uneasy or painful sensation caused by lack of food.”
250,000: Estimated number of American families that could be forced off the federal rent-subsidy program in 2005, which prevents low-income families from losing their homes, as a result of Bush’s changes to Section 8 housing vouchers.
600,000: Estimated number of American families that could be forced off the program by 2009.
$300 million: Amount cut from the federal program that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes.
40%: Percent of wealth in the United States held by the richest 1% of the population.
18%: Percent of wealth in Britain held by the richest 1% of the population.
17.1 million: Americans receiving food stamps when Bush came into office.
23.5 million: Americans receiving food stamps in January 2004.
George Bush: And One Special Friend
$60 billion: Loss to Enron stockholders, following the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
90% Percent loss in retirement assets of Enron employees who were prohibited from selling their stock.
$13,500: Proposed maximum individual compensation for 4,500 Former Enron employees.
$205 million: Amount Enron CEO Kenneth Lay earned from stock option profits over a 4-year period.
$101 million: Amount Lay made from selling his Enron shares just before the company went bankrupt.
$50,000: Estimated cost of a single trip on a corporate jet.
$59,339: Amount the Bush campaign reimbursed Enron for 14 trips on its corporate jet during the 2000 campaign, including 2 to Florida after the election.
#1: Enron is the largest overall contributor to George Bush’s political career.
30 months: Length of time as of spring 2004 between Enron’s collapse and Lay (whom the president called “Kenny Boy”) still not being charged with a crime.
George Bush: Lawman
#1: As governor of Texas, Bush approved the execution of more prisoners (152) than any governor in modern U.S. history.
15: Average number of minutes Bush spent reviewing each capital punishment case while governor of Texas.
#1: First president to approve the execution of a federal prisoner in the last 40 years.
8: Number of days after that first execution that a second federal prisoner was executed.
46%: Percent of Republican federal judges when Bush came to office.
57%: Percent of Republican federal judges after 3 years of the Bush administration.
33%: Percent of the $15 billion Bush pledged to fight AIDS in Africa that must go to abstinence-only programs.
1: Number of days in office before Bush reintroduced the global gag rule, which made foreign nongovernment organizations ineligible for federal money if they support abortion services or lobby for abortion legislation.
George Bush: Civil Libertarian
#1: Bush became the first American president to ignore the Geneva Conventions by refusing to allow inspectors access to U.S.-held prisoners of war.
45: Number of days after September 11 that the USA Patriot Act was signed into law.
5: Number of amendments in the Bill of Rights that are violated by the Patriot Act.
15: Number of additional crimes punishable by death under Bush’s proposed Patriot Act II.
15: Number of days the government would be able to wiretap a suspect without a judge’s approval under the proposed Patriot Act II.
10%: Approximate percent of the Patriot Act that is set to expire December 31, 2005.
325: Number of American cities, towns, and counties that have passed resolutions opposing the Patriot Act as of June 2004.
4: Number of states that have passed resolutions opposing the Patriot Act.
75%: Percent of “international terrorism” convictions in 2002 that the General Accounting Office discovered were mislabeled.
680: Number of suspected Al Qaeda members the United States admits are detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
42: Number of nationalities of those detainees.
22: Number of hours prisoners were handcuffed, shackled, and made to wear surgical masks, earmuffs, and blindfolds during their flight to Guantánamo.
32: Number of confirmed suicide attempts by Guantánamo Bay prisoners.
24: Number of prisoners in mid-2003 being monitored by psychiatrists in Guantánamo’s new mental ward.
30%: Percent increase in new members of the American Civil Liberties Union in the first 2 years of the Bush administration (the organization’s highest membership level ever).
George Bush: A Student’s Best Friend
38: Number of education programs Bush proposed to cut in his 2005 budget.
One-third of 1%: Percent the average American teacher’s salary has risen since 1970, taking inflation into account.
100%: Percent of U.S. high schools receiving federal aid whose students Pentagon recruiters now have access to under the No Child Left Behind act.
559: Page of the No Child Left Behind act on which the Pentagon’s access to students addresses and phone numbers is noted.
$762,083: Average amount of aid each school district stands to lose if its schools do not supply the information to the Pentagon.
George Bush: A Health-Conscious President
43.6 million: Number of Americans without health insurance by the end of 2002 (more than 15% of the population).
2.4 million: Number of Americans who lost their health insurance in Bush’s first year in office.
800,000: Number of those who lost their health insurance in 2001 who had incomes of more than $75,000 a year.
3%: Percent increase in the U.S. infant mortality rate in 2002.
1958: The last year there was an increase in the U.S. infant mortality rate.
$1.55 million: Amount Americans spent on health care in 2002.
$74 million: Amount of hard and soft money political contributions from the drug industry Bush and Republicans have received since 2000.
$25.9 million: Political contributions from the insurance industry to Republicans in 2002, the year before the new Medicare bill was signed.
$17 million: Amount 10 senators and representatives who got the Medicare bill passed received in campaign contributions from health-care interests between 1999 and 2003.
$26 million: Estimated value of Senate majority leader Bill Frist’s stake in HCA, his family’s hospital chain. (Frist was a chief proponent of the bill.)
675: Number of Washington lobbyists who work only for the drug industry.
$395 billion: Amount the White House claimed the Medicare bill would cost when Congress passed it.
$534 billion: The actual cost of the bill.
6 months: Amount of time the Bush administration withheld from Congress chief Medicare actuary Richard S. Foster’s estimate that prescription drug legislation would cost 25% to 50% more than the White House said it would.
$272–$308: Cost of a prescription for Lipitor in the United States.
$159–$199: Cost of the same prescription for Lipitor in Canada.
3.1%: Average profit margin of Fortune 500 companies.
3.3%: Average profit margin of Wal-Mart, considered one of the world’s best-run companies.
17%: Average profit margin of the top 10 U.S. pharmaceutical companies.
38%: Estimated percent of increased profits to the major pharmaceutical companies as a result of the new Medicare bill.
3: Number of months after Bush signed the Medicare bill in 2003 that health maintenance organizations began to receive more money from the government.
25: Number of months after Bush signed the Medicare bill that elderly Americans will begin to receive their drug benefits.
2.4 million: Number of elderly Americans dropped by an HMO in the first three years of the Bush administration.
#37: Rank of the U.S. health-care system compared with those of other countries around the world, according to a survey by the World Health Organization (France is #1, Saudi Arabia is #26, Iraq is #103, Costa Rica is #36, Slovenia is #38).
George Bush: Environmentalist
$44 million: Amount the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign and the Republican National Committee received in contributions from the fossil fuel, chemical, timber, and mining, industries.
31: Number of Bush administration appointees who are alumni of the energy industry (includes 4 cabinet secretaries, the 6 most powerful White House officials, and more than 20 other high level appointees).
200: Number of regulation rollbacks downgrading or weakening environmental laws in Bush’s first three years in office.
50: Approximate number of policy changes and regulation rollbacks injurious to the environment that have been announced by the Bush administration on Fridays after 5:00 p.m., a time that makes it all but impossible for news organizations to relay the information to the widest possible audience.
50%: Percent decline in Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions against polluters under Bush’s watch.
34%: Percent decline in criminal penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.
50%: Percent decline in civil penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.
$6.1 million: Amount the EPA historically valued each human life when conducting economic analyses of proposed regulations.
$3.7 million: Amount the EPA valued each human life when conducting analyses of proposed regulations during the Bush administration.
0: Number of times Bush mentioned global warming, clean air, clean water, pollution, or environment in his 2004 State of the Union speech. His father was the last president to go through an entire State of the Union address without mentioning the environment.
1: Number of paragraphs devoted in global warming in the EPA’s 600-page “Draft Report on the Environment” presented in 2003.
68: Number of days after taking office that Bush decided not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases by roughly 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012. The United States was to cut its level by 7%.
#1: Rank of United States worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
25%: Percent of overall worldwide carbon dioxide emissions the United States is responsible for.
53: Number of days after taking office that Bush reneged on his campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
14%: Percent carbon dioxide emissions will increase over the next 10 years under Bush’s own global warming plan (an increase of 30% above their 1990 levels).
408: Number of species that could be extinct by 2050 if the global-warming trend continues.
5: Number of years the Bush administration said in 2003 that global warming must be further studied before substantive action could be taken.
62: Number of members of Cheney’s 63-person Energy Task Force with ties to corporate energy interests.
0: Number of environmentalists asked to attend Cheney’s Energy Task Force meetings.
6: Number of months before September 11 that Cheney’s Energy Task Force investigated Iraq’s oil reserves.
2%: Percent of the world’s population that is British.
2%: Percent of the world’s oil used by Britain.
5%: Percent of the world’s population that is American.
25%. Percent of the world’s oil used by America.
63%: Percent of oil the United States imported in 2003, a record high.
8 million: Number of barrels of oil a day SUVs and other light trucks use.
50%: Percent of the passenger vehicle market SUVs and light trucks comprise.
2.5 million: Number of SUVs sold each year.
1 million: Number of barrels of oil per day the United States could save if SUVs had to meet the same fuel efficiency standards as cars.
$100,000: Amount of the $106,185 price of an 11-mile-per-gallon Hummer Hl, used for “business” that owners can deduct under the Bush tax plan.
$1,500: Amount of the $21,000 price of a 55-mile-per-gallon fuel-efficient hybrid that owners can deduct under the Bush tax plan in 2004, down from a $2,000 deduction in 2003.
48: Tons of mercury that coal-powered plants emit each year.
5.5: Tons of mercury that coal-powered plants were going to be limited to in 2008 by the Clean Air Act.
34: Tons of mercury that coal-powered plants will be allowed to emit in 2010 by Bush’s Clear Skies initiative.
42 million: Tons of air pollutants permitted to be released by 2020 under Bush’s Clear Skies initiative.
24,000: Estimated number of premature deaths that will occur under Bush’s Clear Skies initiative.
300: Number of Clean Water Act violations by the mountaintop-mining industry in 2003.
750,000: Tons of toxic waste the U.S. military, the world’s biggest polluter, generates around the world each year.
20 million: Number of acres of wetlands, lakes, and streams opened to development under Bush’s proposal to end federal oversight of “isolated” waters (an area equivalent to Maine).
473,000: Number of miles of streams, rivers, and coastlines that mercury pollution has contaminated.
80%: Percent of tuna eaten in the form of canned tuna a favorite of schoolchildren. Tuna carries some of the highest mercury levels of any food.
8%: Percent of all American women of childbearing age whose mercury levels are at dangerous levels.
15%: Percent of the 4 million children born each year whose mercury levels are at dangerous levels.
88%: Percent of total public land in the Rocky Mountain states on which the administration wants oil- and gas-drilling permits speeded up.
220 million: Number of acres of public land the administration announced in April 2003 it would open to logging, mad building, and mining (an area equal to just less than the size of California and Texas combined).
25% Percent of people in the United States who live within 5 miles of a Superfund toxic waste site.
1,200: Number of Superfund sites that need cleaning.
$3.8 billion: Amount in the Superfund trust fund for toxic site cleanups in 1995, the year “polluter pays” fees expired.
$0 million: Amount of uncommitted dollars in the Superfund trust fund for toxic site cleanups in 2003.
270: Estimated number of court decisions citing federal negligence in endangered-species protection that remained unheeded during the first year of the Bush administration.
100%: Percent of those decisions that Bush then decided to allow the government to ignore indefinitely.
68.4: Average number of species added to the Endangered and Threatened Species list each year between 1991 and 2000.
0: Number of endangered species voluntarily added by the Bush administration since taking office.
50%: Percent of screened workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from long-term health problems, almost half of whom don’t have health insurance.
78%: Percent of workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from lung ailments.
88%: Percent of workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from ear, nose, or throat problems.
22: Asbestos levels at Ground Zero were 22 times higher than the levels in Libby, Montana, where the W. R. Grace mine produced one of the worst Superfund disasters in U.S history.
George Bush: Image Booster for the United States
2,500: Number of public-diplomacy officers employed by the State Department to further U.S, image abroad in 1991.
1,200: Number of public-diplomacy officers employed by the State Department to further U.S. image abroad in 2004.
#4: Rank of the United States among countries considered to be the greatest threats to world peace according to a 2003 Pew Global Altitudes study (Israel, Iran, and North Korea were considered more dangerous; Iraq was considered less dangerous).
85%: Percent of Indonesians who had an unfavorable image of the United States in 2003.
$66 billion: Amount the United States spent on international aid and diplomacy in 1949.
$23.8 billion: Amount the United States spent on international aid and diplomacy in 2002.
George Bush: No Fool When It Comes To The Press
11: Number of press conferences during his first 3 years in office in which Bush referred to questions as being “trick” questions.
George Bush: Shy Retiring Type, Not One To Toot His Own Horn
12: Number of solo or joint press conferences Bush held in the first 3 years of his administration, the lowest number for any president since the advent of television.
72: Number of solo or joint press conferences both his father and Clinton had held by the same point in their first terms.
1: Number of executive orders signed by Bush permitting him singlehandedly to suppress the release of his presidential papers and those of his 3 predecessors.
#1: In 2002, the administration classified more documents as official secrets than had been done in any year in U.S. history.
8 million: Number of documents classified in 1999, the last year of the Clinton administration.
23 million: Number of documents classified in 2002, the second year of the Bush administration.
$5.7 billion: Cost of making those 23 million documents official secrets.
150: Number of pages of Reagan-Bush White House archives to be kept from the public indefinitely by order of George W. Bush.
0: Number of names released by the administration of people arrested after September 11.
George Bush: Second-Party Endorsements
90%: Percent of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on September 26, 2001.
67%: Percent of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on September 26, 2002.
54%: Percent of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on September 30, 2003.
50%: Percent of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on October 15, 2003.
49%: Percent of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president in May 2004.
George Bush: More Like The French Than He Would Care To Admit
28: Number of vacation days Bush took in August 2003, the second-longest vacation of any president in U.S. history. (Record holder: Richard M. Nixon.)
28: Number of vacation days Bush took in August 2001, the same month he received an August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing headed “Osama bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S. Targets.”
13: Number of vacation days the average American receives each year.
500: Number of days Bush has spent all or part of his time away from the White House at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, his parents’ retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, or Camp David as of April 1, 2004.
40%: Percent of Bush’s presidency he has spent at these three vacation retreats.
George Bush: Factors In His Favor
3: Number of companies that control the U.S. voting-technology market.
52%: Percent of votes cast during the 2002 midterm elections that were recorded by Election Systems & Software, the largest voting-technology firm, a big Republican donor.
29%: Percent of votes that will be cast via computer voting machines that don’t produce a paper record.
11/17/01: Date The Economist printed a correction for having said George Bush was properly elected in 2000.
$113 million: Amount raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, the most in American electoral history.
$185 million: Amount raised by the Bush-Cheney 2004 reelection campaign, through the end of March 2004.
$200 million: Amount the Bush Cheney 2004 campaign expects to raise by November 2004.
268: Number of Bush-Cheney fund-raisers who had earned Pioneer status (by raising $100,000 each) as of March 2004.
187: Number of Bush-Cheney fund-raisers who had earned Ranger status (by raising $200,000 each) as of March 2004.
$64.2 million Amount Pioneers and Rangers had raised for Bush-Cheney as of March 2004.
85%: Percent of Americans who can’t name the Chief Justice of the United States.
69%: Percent of Americans who believed the White House’s claims in September 2003 that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11 attacks.
34%: Percent of Americans who believed in June 2003 that we’d found Saddam’s WMDs.
22%: Percent of Americans who believed in May 2003 that Saddam had used his WMDs on U.S. forces.
85%: Percent of American young adults who cannot find Afghanistan, Iraq, or Israel on a map.
30%: Percent of American young adults who cannot find the Pacific Ocean on a map.
75%: Percent of American young adults who don’t know the population of the United States.
53%: Percent of Canadian young adults who don’t know the population of the United States.
11%: Percent of American young adults who cannot find the United States on a map.
30%: Percent of Americans who believe that “politics and government are too complicated to understand.”
George Bush: Another Factor In His Favor
70 million: Estimated number of Americans who describe themselves as Evangelicals who accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior and who interpret the Bible as the direct word of God.
23 million: Number of Evangelicals who voted for Bush in 2000.
50 million: Number of voters in total who voted for Bush in 2000.
46%: Percent of voters who describe themselves as born-again Christians.
92%–96%: Bush’s job approval rating among Christian conservatives in 2003.
5: Number of states that do not use the word “evolution” in public school science courses.
Of the 404 numbers listed above, 368 came from multiple reliable sources. Thirty-six were single-sourced from the following: American Civil Liberties Union, Associated Press, Center for American Progress, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Responsive Politics, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Children’s Defense Fund, Council on American-Islamic Relations, The Economist, Federal Election Commission, The Guardian, Harper’s, Hasbro, The Independent, Information Security Oversight Office, International Institute for Strategic Studies, iraqbody-count.net, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, National Geographic-Roper Survey, Natural Resources Defense Council, The New Republic, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Office of Management and Budget, Pew Global Altitudes Project Survey, Physicians for a National Health Program, Project on Managing the Atom (Harvard University), Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Salem, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Sierra Club, Tax Foundation (Washington), Time, Tom Matzzie on TomPaine.com, U.S. Army War College, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Washington Post, The Week, World Health Organization.
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Excerpt from What We’ve Lost: How the Bush Administration Has Curtailed Our Freedoms, Mortgaged Our Economy, Ravaged Our Environment, and Damaged Our Standing in the World by Graydon Carter. Copyright © 2004 by Graydon Carter. Published in September, 2004 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.