Despite the jobless recovery, despite that most Americans don?t feel safer from terrorism than they did two years ago, despite that forty-four million Americans still don?t have health insurance, despite that the U.S. still doesn?t have a viable energy plan, despite the fact we still haven?t gotten the independent report on 9-11, despite that the investigators still haven?t told us who outed Valerie Plame, despite that 500 Americans (and literally uncounted numbers of Iraqis) have been killed in the continuing war in Iraq ? well, in thirty minutes I will watch the Bush State of Union Address.
My Aussie friend Emma, who has lived in France for many years, forwarded an item from The Independent (UK)
See George W Bush and the real state of the Union, January 20, 2004
It contains this:
Well, that?s cheery. And the spelling so British!
232: Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and January 2004
501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning of the war - so far
0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender to the Allies in May 1945
0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home from Iraq that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed
0: Number of funerals or memorials that President Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq
100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice-President Dick Cheney in 2003
13: Number of meetings between Bush and Tony Blair since he became President
10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest
2: Number of nations that Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into the White House
9.2: Average number of American soldiers wounded in Iraq each day since the invasion in March last year
1.6: Average number of American soldiers killed in Iraq per day since hostilities began
16,000: Approximate number of Iraqis killed since the start of war
10,000: Approximate number of Iraqi cililians killed since the beginning of the conflict
$100 billion: Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to American citizens by the end of 2003
$13 billion: Amount other countries have committed towards rebuilding Iraq (much of it in loans) as of 24 October
36%: Increase in the number of desertions from the US army since 1999
92%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that had access to drinkable water a year ago
60%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that have access to drinkable water today
32%: Percentage of the bombs dropped on Iraq this year that were not precision-guided
1983: The year in which Donald Rumsfeld gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs
45%: Percentage of Americans who believed in early March 2003 that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks on the US
$127 billion: Amount of US budget surplus in the year that Bush became President in 2001
$374 billion: Amount of US budget deficit in the fiscal year for 2003
1st: This year's deficit is on course to be the biggest in United States history
$1.58 billion: Average amount by which the US national debt increases each day
$23,920: Amount of each US citizen's share of the national debt as of 19 January 2004
1st: The record for the most bankruptcies filed in a single year (1.57 million) was set in 2002
10: Number of solo press conferences that Bush has held since beginning his term. His father had managed 61 at this point in his administration, and Bill Clinton 33
1st: Rank of the US worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per capita
$113 million: Total sum raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, setting a record in American electoral history
$130 million: Amount raised for Bush's re-election campaign so far
$200m: Amount that the Bush-Cheney campaign is expected to raise in 2004
$40m: Amount that Howard Dean, the top fund-raiser among the nine Democratic presidential hopefuls, amassed in 2003
28: Number of days holiday that Bush took last August, the second longest holiday of any president in US history (Recordholder: Richard Nixon)
13: Number of vacation days the average American worker receives each year
3: Number of children convicted of capital offences executed in the US in 2002. America is only country openly to acknowledge executing children
1st: As Governor of Texas, George Bush executed more prisoners (152) than any governor in modern US history
2.4 million: Number of Americans who have lost their jobs during the three years of the Bush administration
221,000: Number of jobs per month created since Bush's tax cuts took effect. He promised the measure would add 306,000
1,000: Number of new jobs created in the entire country in December. Analysts had expected a gain of 130,000
1st: This administration is on its way to becoming the first since 1929 (Herbert Hoover) to preside over an overall loss of jobs during its complete term in office
9 million: Number of US workers unemployed in September 2003
80%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce now unemployed
55%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce unemployed before the war
43.6 million: Number of Americans without health insurance in 2002
130: Number of countries (out of total of 191 recognised by the United Nations) with an American military presence
40%: Percentage of the world's military spending for which the US is responsible
$10.9 million: Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person cabinet
88%: Percentage of American citizens who will save less than $100 on their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and dividends taxes
$42,000: Average savings members of Bush's cabinet are expected to enjoy this year as a result in the cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes
$42,228: Median household income in the US in 2001
$116,000: Amount Vice-President Cheney is expected to save each year in taxes
44%: Percentage of Americans who believe the President's economic growth plan will mostly benefit the wealthy
700: Number of people from around the world the US has incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
1st: George W Bush became the first American president to ignore the Geneva Conventions by refusing to allow inspectors access to US-held prisoners of war
+6%: Percentage change since 2001 in the number of US families in poverty
1951: Last year in which a quarterly rise in US military spending was greater than the one the previous spring
54%: Percentage of US citizens who believe Bush was legitimately elected to his post
1st: First president to execute a federal prisoner in the past 40 years. Executions are typically ordered by separate states and not at federal level
9: Number of members of Bush's defence policy board who also sit on the corporate board of, or advise, at least one defence contractor
35: Number of countries to which US has suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court
$300 million: Amount cut from the federal programme that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes
$1 billion: Amount of new US military aid promised Israel in April 2003 to offset the "burdens" of the US war on Iraq
58 million: Number of acres of public lands Bush has opened to road building, logging and drilling
200: Number of public-health and environmental laws Bush has attempted to downgrade or weaken
29,000: Number of American troops - which is close to the total of a whole army division - to have either been killed, wounded, injured or become so ill as to require evacuation from Iraq, according to the Pentagon
90%: Percentage of American citizens who said they approved of the way George Bush was handling his job as president when asked on 26 September, 2001
53%: Percentage of American citizens who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president when asked on 16 January, 2004
Molly Ivins from Austin, Texas has another take.
See It's about money
Follow the greenbacks to learn where seemingly haphazard Bush policy comes from
Molly Ivins - Creators Syndicate, Tuesday, January 20, 2004
And then she gets on her high horse about jobs, of all things.
My fellow Americans, the state of the union's finances is enough to make an Enron accountant gag. When George W. Bush took office, he was handed a going concern. Projected annual surpluses from 2002 to 2011 were $5.6 trillion. In its most recent projection, the Congressional Budget Office says it expects $1.4 trillion in total deficits from 2004 to 2013. Bush's new future spending proposals -- including everything from the goofy manned-flight-to-Mars to the promotion of marriage -- already total an additional $2 trillion.
? It is unclear to me why anyone would believe anything the president says about our fiscal situation. Keep in mind, this is a man who took three Texas oil companies into bankruptcy.
So what will Bush say about all this?
I anticipate a painful skewing of the statistics on jobs, but there's not much even the finest spinners can do with the basic problem. Under Bill Clinton, the economy gained an average of 236,000 jobs every month. Under George W. Bush, the economy has lost an average of 66,000 jobs a month. Nor is the news getting better. Last month, the economy, supposedly in full recovery, added 1,000 jobs. The economy needs to generate 150,000 jobs a month just to absorb new workers.
Not only are the 2 million jobs we have already lost not coming back, but the trend will continue. The lead story in Monday's Wall Street Journal is about IBM's plan to shift 3,000 high-paying jobs overseas, known as "off-shoring." We are not just hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs. As the Journal reports, "This ?off-shoring' process has raised fears that even high-skill jobs that were supposed to represent the U.S.'s future are being lost to countries that have already taken over low-skill factory work." In the other words, your nice, middle-class butt is on the line here.
There are, of course, some jobs that cannot be exported -- farms cannot be moved to another country, nor can restaurants. So the president proposes a giant new bracero program to import foreign workers legally to fill those jobs. As Jamie Galbraith wrote in Salon, the online magazine: "There is no reason to believe the Bush administration's hand-wringing over its pathetic record on employment. The president's backers want a stagnant job market -- it keeps the help from getting uppity."
In another sign of how deeply Bush cares about workers, the plan to end overtime pay for millions of workers is back. You may recall this little charmer from last year, the Bush proposal to "update" the Fair Labor Standards Act. Both the House and the Senate nixed the idea by passing an amendment proposed by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, but in the magic way of the Republican-run Congress, the amendment was later dropped from a spending bill after heavy pressure from the White House.
Now, in another move typical of the administration, they plan to bypass Congress altogether and issue the new regulations as an "administrative rules change," to go into effect in March. The administration claims the new regulations will extend overtime pay to an additional 1.3 million low-income workers. That would certainly be a good thing, except for the fact that it would exempt another 8 million workers from getting overtime by reclassifying them as management or professionals. Another great deal for the corporations -- they get to cut overtime for a lot of higher-paid workers and only have to add a few lower-paid workers. Do you really have any doubts about whom this administration is being run for?
I can hardly wait, and I recommend you click on the link and read the whole Ivins piece.
Oops. Time to turn on the television and see what Bush actually has to say.