Democrats are unwavering in the fight against tyranny and terrorism, but the Bush Administration has left Iraq a mess while allowing Iran and North Korea to develop nuclear weapons unchecked. America can do better than the record of the past five years.
The Bush Record: Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferate on Bush's Watch. Bush Invaded the One "Axis of Evil" Country without WMD. Four years ago, the President called Iraq, Iran, and North Korea an "axis of evil" requiring preemptive action to eliminate the threat of nuclear "mushroom clouds" over American cities. But four years, 2,300 American lives, and more than $250 billion dollars later, we have found that Iraq had no nuclear weapons and no established links with Al Qaeda. [Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD,
Bush: "Here at home, America also has a great opportunity: We will build the prosperity of our
country by strengthening our economic leadership in the world."
Middle class Americans are worried about their economic prospects tomorrow and paying the bills today. President Bush's policies and priorities have benefited the wealthy while squeezing the middle class.
The Bush Record: While Working Families Work Harder, their Wages Continue to Decline. Working families are working harder and earning less today than they were at the start of this administration. Hourly and weekly wages for working families when adjusted for inflation were $46,058 in 2000 and have declined to $44,389 today. At the same time, they have seen their real wages decline, the productivity of the American worker is up 13.5%. Therefore, Americans have worked harder - and better - over the past five years and received none of the benefits for their hard work. [Census Bureau; Bureau of Labor Statistics]
Bush: "We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people - and we are going to keep that edge."
America's edge in talent and creativity has been sharpened by its access to college, yet though costs have risen to new heights, the Bush Administration is planning to cut federal student loan aid. Americans can't keep their advantage if they can't afford their education.
The Bush Record: College Tuition Continues to Skyrocket. Tuition and fees at four-year private
universities have increased by almost $1,200 or 5.9 percent in 2005 and 32 percent since 2001. At four-year public universities, tuition and fees increased by 7.1 percent this past year and 57 percent since President Bush took office. [College Board, 10/05]
Bush Claims of Reforms to Education Will Mean Cuts to Student Aid. The cost of a public higher education has increased by a staggering 46% since 2001, making it no wonder that more than 5.3 million students depended on Pell Grants in the 2004-2005 academic year. Instead of helping students succeed, the Republicans have responded by making the largest education cuts in history -- $12.7 billion from the student loan program -- and imposing higher fees on
students and parents. Instead of increasing the Pell Grant amount, the Republicans' Labor-HHS appropriation bill held the maximum Pell grant at $4,050 for the fourth year in a row. [House Budget Committee Democrats; College Board, 10/05; Labor-HHS Appropriations Conference Report]
Bush: "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world... The best way to break this addiction is through technology."
If America is addicted to oil, President Bush is its enabler. Under his Administration the price of gas and the profits of oil companies have risen to record highs. Americans need more than words from an Administration that let Big Oil write our energy policy, we need action.
The Bush Record: America Has Become More Dependent on Foreign Oil. Although the war in Iraq and the war on terror should serve to remind the Administration about the national security dangers of relying on foreign oil, America's dependence on foreign oil has increased
since this Administration took office. In 2000, 58.2 percent of the oil consumed in the United States was imported. That has increased to 61.7 percent today. [EIA, "Overview of US Petroleum Trade"]
Bush: "Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care ...strengthen the doctor-patient relationship ... and help people afford the insurance coverage they need."
President Bush has made this pledge before, and the result has been Orwellian doublespeak: instead of compassion, an attempt to cut the poor from Medicaid; instead of a Medicare Drug Benefit, a program that denies our seniors their medicine. Americans need real reform that makes healthcare less expensive and more accessible, not corporate giveaways to lobbyists, drug companies, HMOs, and other special interests.
The Bush Record: Health Care Premiums Have Increased by Over 71 Percent Since Bush Took Office. Average family premiums for health insurance have increased 71 percent during the Bush presidency, rising from an average of $6,348 in 2000 to$10,880 in 2005. [Kaiser
Family Foundation and Health Research & Education Trust, 9/05]