I meant to send this out a week ago when it was more current, but it’s still
worthwhile reading. It’s scary how easily Bush is able to raise such
astonishingly large sums of money while the Democratic field is so
financially strapped, despite having done so much damage to the American
The New York Times
June 23, 2003
The Money Magnet
By BOB HERBERT
It’s a great time to be George W. Bush.
The president will waltz into Manhattan today for another $2,000-a-plate
fund-raiser, the latest stop on his fabulously successful
dining-for-dollars tour. These are fun events at which the fat cats throw
millions of dollars at the president to reinforce their already
impenetrable ring of influence around the national government.
Mr. Bush is expected to pull in $5 million at this evening’s sit-down, and
may ultimately raise an astonishing quarter of a billion dollars for his
re-election bid. During a brief stop Friday at a reception in Greensboro,
Ga., where he picked up a quick $2.2 million, the president happily told
his supporters, "You put the wind at my back."
I’m sure there’s no connection between fat-cat fund-raising and, say,
federal tax policy. But there was some particularly interesting
information about the Bush tax cuts in an article yesterday by The Times’s
David E. Rosenbaum. Citing data from a study by Citizens for Tax Justice,
Mr. Rosenbaum pointed out that the richest 1 percent of Americans will get
an average tax reduction of nearly $100,000 a year, while "the tax relief
most people will receive is quite meager."
Half of all taxpayers will get a cut of less than $100 this year. By 2005,
three-quarters will get less than $100.
The middle class and working people don’t seem to mind that they’ve been
blithely left behind. Mr. Bush’s approval ratings are way high, so high
they’ve got the terminally timid Democrats scared to death to confront the
president head on. The man who elbowed his way into the White House with a
minority of the popular vote is on a roll.
But while these may be the best of times for George W., this is not such a
great moment for America.
Start anywhere. Tax cuts? Mr. Bush has behaved like a profligate parent
who spends every dollar the family has accumulated, mortgages everything
the family owns and maxes out every credit card he can get his hands on.
At some point in this scenario the children and grandchildren will be left
with nothing but a mountain of debt.
Jobs? More than three million private-sector jobs have been lost on this
president’s watch. People are staying out of work longer and the pay gains
of the late 90′s are being eroded. Time Magazine recently asked, "Why are
American workers dying the death of a thousand pay cuts?"
Government services? Prepare to wave goodbye to Medicare and Social
Security as you’ve known them. Right wingers have always wanted to cripple
the government’s social service programs and now they are racing toward
achievement of that poisonous goal. With the president’s tax cuts
bankrupting the government, there will be no money left for meaningful
support of even the most popular social programs.
The environment? Among other things, the Bush White House does not like
global warming. So it just edits out, eliminates, erases important
references to it in official government documents. Gas-guzzling S.U.V.’s
are good. But in the Bush II White House, global warming as most
scientists know it doesn’t even exist.
We’ve got some waking up to do.
A budget catastrophe is hammering state and local governments across the
country, driving up taxes and fees, and driving out important government
services. This story is still not getting the attention it deserves. Some
public school districts have had to shorten the school year because they
ran out of money. In some areas medical services to seriously ill
individuals are being curtailed. In some jurisdictions, criminal offenders
are being released from prison early, and some criminal laws are not being
enforced because of a lack of funds.
Because of cuts in the police budget, station houses in Portland, Ore.,
now close at night.
These are not topics that will be explored in depth at this evening’s
presidential fund-raiser. And you can bet that there will not be any
straight talk about the quagmire we are sinking into in Iraq, or the
outlandish deceptions that the president employed to get us in there.
No, this will be a fun evening filled with the sound of joyous plutocratic
laughter. Mr. Bush will leave with his pockets bulging and the wind at his
back. The reality of life in George Bush’s America for working men and
women, and for the poor, will be left for others to attend to, presumably
in some post-Bush administration.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company