When the last George Bush left the White House, the unemployment rate was
nearly twice as high as it is now and the typical household's income was
$4,400 less, adjusting for inflation. Before you're ready to put his son
George W. in the White House, check out where Texas leads the nation, and
where it lags.
Texas is No. 1 in air pollution and No. 2 in people without health insurance.
Nearly one out of four Texans is uninsured.
Debater Bush took credit for the Texas Patient Bill of Rights. Governor Bush
tried to block it.
Texas is No. 1 in toxic releases to the environment and No. 1 in toxic
chemical accidents. Bush likes voluntary pollution controls and wants to keep
studying global warming, rather than do anything about it.
Texas is No. 6 in poverty and No. 44 in homeownership; 34 states have lower
Texas is No. 1 in prison population and No. 38 in college enrollment. It's
No. 1 in executions. In January, the pro-death penalty Republican governor of
Illinois issued a moratorium on executions because the system was "fraught
with error and has innumerable opportunities for innocent people to be
A new report, reviewing hundreds of cases, says the death penalty in Texas is
riddled with racial bias, incompetent defense lawyers and prosecutorial
misconduct, including falsifying evidence. Bush doesn't think there's a
Bush pushed for legislation allowing Texans to carry concealed handguns--even
into churches and hospitals. A Los Angeles Times investigation found that
"since the law took effect, the state has licensed hundreds of people with
prior criminal convictions--including rape and armed robbery--and histories
of violence, psychological disorders and drug or alcohol problems." More than
3,000 other licensees have since been arrested, including for murder.
NRA Vice President Kayne Robinson has said that in Bush, "We'll have a
President...where we work out of their office." The federal assault weapons
ban is up for reauthorization during the next president's term.
Bush's record as a businessman is nothing to be proud of. As Texas
journalists Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose show in their funny, informative book,
"Shrub," Bush had a habit of losing other people's money in the oil business
while walking away with money himself.
Bush made his really big money thanks to corporate welfare for the Texas
Rangers baseball team. Bush and 70 other investors paid $83 million to buy
the team. Bush put up $640,000. Ivins and Dubose write, "The team increased
its book value from $83 million to $138 million by convincing the city of
Arlington there would be no more baseball unless local taxpayers sprang for a
The people of Arlington got a higher sales tax. Bush got rich. In 1998, he
cashed in his share of the team for $15.4 million, an amount 24 times higher
than his initial investment.
Bush and his wife made $1.6 million in income last year. He's got a big stake
in his big tax cut. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, Bush's tax plans
would provide an average tax cut of $42 to the bottom fifth of Americans and
an average $46,072 to the top 1 percent group the Bushes are in. There's
nothing fuzzy about that scuzzy math.
Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition is counting on Bush to appoint judges to
the Supreme Court who will support a rightwing agenda like Clarence Thomas
and Antonin Scalia, Bush's favorite justices. Remember, Supreme Court
appointments are for life.
Bush's running mate, multimillionaire oilman Dick Cheney, has done an even
better job at pretending he's a "compassionate conservative" than Bush has.
While in Congress, Cheney often voted to the right of conservative hardliners
like Newt Gingrich.
Cheney consistently voted against environmental legislation, including the
Safe Drinking Water Act and the Superfund program to clean up toxic waste. He
voted against the most commonsense gun control, including the banning of
armor-piercing ammunition. He was one of only four votes against banning
plastic guns that can evade metal detectors. He voted against abortion even
to save the life of the mother. He voted against Head Start and the
Meals-on-Wheels program for seniors.
Look closely before you leap with Bush and Cheney.
Holly Sklar is co-author of "Shifting Fortunes: The Perils of the Growing
American Wealth Gap." Readers may write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.