The economy is front and center again on the front pages, and President Bush's State of the Union address tonight will reflect that.
Bush is likely going to praise the bipartisan stimulus deal as a cure-all while continuing to tell us that America has been doing exactly the right thing for the past seven years--fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here. No bad decisions were ever made, no recession is occurring, no heads need roll.
That's to be expected from this dead-ender president.
The current economic crisis (recession?!) is not entirely Bush's fault, but it would be hard to say his policies have helped anyone but the rich.
Anticipating an inevitible pass-the-buck from Bush, Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, released a chart last week titled "The Legacy of George W. Bush."
The chart looks at twenty national statistics in January 2001 and today. It's disturbing.
A few lowlights:
--The number of Americans living in poverty has jumped from 31.6 million to 36.5 million.
--The uninsured population has grown from 38 million to 47 million.
--The annual total premium cost has nearly doubled from $6,230 per family to $12,106 per family.
(Bush's heartless health care policy: Let the markets sort it out. Business first, human beings later.)
--The trade deficit has more than doubled from $380 billion to $759 billion.
--Our dependency on foreign oil has shot up from 52.75% of fuel consumption to 60.38%. (Sweetheart trade deals benefit mega-corporations and oil companies, but not people.)
--Public opinion around the world about the U.S. has plummeted. In a Pew Poll of ten nations, respondents viewing America favorably dropped from 58.3% to 39.2%. In specific countries, the drops are steeper.
One would think that any politician with sense would run screaming away from this anti-Midas president. Mind-bogglingly, the G.O.P. presidential front-runners are embracing the man; John McCain is running on Bush's military policy and Mitt Romney is running on Bush's economic policy.
"Change" is the word in vogue again this political season. Let's mean it this time!
Dan Brown is the author of "The Great Expectations School."