It only took four years for President George W. Bush to turn a record surplus into an annual deficit nearing $427 billion.

It only took four years to establish an education policy based on measuring results rather than attaining them and premised on punishing crumbling schools rather than funding them.

It only took four years to invade two countries, overthrow their dictatorial regimes – both of which the United States had aided militarily and/or economically within the past quarter century – and establish new governments to which we can again feel comfortable aiding economically and militarily.

Let’s not forget also that, in the process, more than a thousand American soldiers have died along with more than 100,000 civilians.

Wasn’t it a wild ride? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The Bush’s second term will fit nicely right next to “Rocky V” on the list of sequels that should never have been made.

His agenda is jam-packed with hyper-conservative measures. Feel the earth get warmer as William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman, Jerry Falwell and William Kristol all begin to blush – or perhaps that’s just the carbon dioxide emissions.

Priority one is to discard social security as we know it.

Bush and his truth-twisting cronies are again using the politics of crisis and confusion to begin the slow process of duping the American public into supporting a policy that is based on falsehoods.

The privatization of Social Security is every Republican’s wet dream. They get to cut social entitlements and throw billions to the financial services sector at the same time.

In his State of the Union address, Bush made the contention that “thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in.”

It is an odd metric, given that under the Bush plan, it will begin losing money immediately.

Recently, when asked about how he will pay for the $2 trillion dollar addition to shortfalls that would be created under his privatization scheme, the president stumbled over his words, as he sometimes does. Bush then indicated that he was going to support a change in the way that benefits would be calculated.

This statement seems incompatible with his promise to those 55 and over. “Do not let anyone mislead you,” Bush said. “For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way.”

Heck, I guess there’s always deficit spending. Right?

The president also came out swinging on tort reform. Bush continues to articulate medical liability reform as being particularly important to lowering health care costs.

This, despite the fact that even one of his potential judicial nominees, Richard Posner, admits that “the costs of malpractice premiums are only about one percent of total U.S. health-care costs.” The goal should be less malpractice, not less lawsuits.

Let’s not forget the president’s commitment toward cutting more than 150 “government programs that are not getting results, duplicate current efforts or do not fulfill essential priorities.”

One third of those cuts are in educational programs.

We would save $4.3 billion but we would lose high school vocational programs, the Even Start literacy program, educational technology grants, Safe and Drug-Free School grants and Upward Bound programs for inner city students.

Fear not, there is First Lady Laura Bush to the rescue. She will be “taking on gang life” as part of a “broader outreach to at-risk youth.”

The logic of this administration is to cut proven education programs and soften the blow by sending Laura Bush to the streets of Compton.

Even if we were to accept the president’s budget as introduced, it wouldn’t be balanced.

Maybe if Bush hadn’t introduced an incredibly expensive tax cut during two military campaigns when everyone was already predicting shortfalls in Social Security and in Medicare funding we would be facing a manageable problem.

So, it comes as no surprise that Bush wants to make these tax cuts permanent. Anything else would just be too damn logical.

Long live Republican politics.

Morosi can be reached at mmorosi@campustimes.org.



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