When I studied Political Science in college, we used to joke that you could spot the Communist countries by their names alone. PEOPLE'S Republic of China, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S Republic of Korea (North Korea), United Soviet SOCIALIST Republic. If they have to tell you they are for the people, they really aren't. This double speak in naming came to mind when I was discussing Bush policies with a friend of mine. It seems a lot of the Bush administration policies are following this pattern. They are named one thing, but do the opposite.
Here are some examples.
No child left behind:
No Child Left Behind, enacted in 2002, requires annual testing of students in grades three through eight and forces schools whose students do not improve at a steady rate to take remedial action. The remedies include professional help for teachers, extra tutoring for students and transfers of students to higher-achieving schools. Schools that continue to underperform could ultimately be forced to replace their staffs or even reopen as charter schools.
President Bush said in his campaign opener to the Governors Association: "I know in my heart of hearts it's the absolute right role for the federal government -- to provide money, but insist upon results. … And [if the schools don't pass], there will be special help to make sure they do."
Except, as we find again and again with this administration, that's a bait-and-switch con job. For 2005, the administration has requested $9.4 billion less for No Child Left Behind than the bill supposedly ensures. Title I, the program to help poor kids, is underfunded by $7.2 billion, leaving nearly 5 million kids without academic help. - Molly Ivans
Two years after President Bush proclaimed a "new era" in American public education with the passage of his No Child Left Behind initiative, a growing number of state legislators and school administrators are looking for ways to opt out of requirements they view as intrusive and underfunded.
Howard Dean: While the ideals espoused in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are admirable, the realities of the Bush plan are not. NCLB imposes rigid and expensive mandates on public schools. It judges adequate yearly progress using a one-size-fits-all formula, a measure that gives schools an incentive to lower testing standards in order to meet federal requirements and, sadly, to push out students that may bring down a school's average score. Under these new standards, 26,000 of America's 93,000 schools "failed" to make adequate yearly progress in 2003 and many are not receiving the additional support they need to improve.
Since NCLB passed, we have been hearing horror stories from states desperately looking for money to meet requirements. Schools in Edmonds, Wash., laid off 193 teachers and staff, while districts across the state of Washington have started charging thousands of dollars to enroll children in kindergarten.
Most communities will likely meet NCLB budget shortfalls by raising property taxes, local government's usual source of education funding. Washington's property taxes increased nearly 10 percent from 2001 to 2003. And many other states have followed suit since Bush took office.
Jobs and Growth Act:
The president is working to grow the economy and create the largest number of new jobs possible for America’s workers. He has proposed a jobs and economic growth plan that would help create 510,000 new jobs this year and a total of 1.4 million new jobs by the end of next year. The president will not be satisfied until everyone looking for work can find it.
Add the president’s 1.4 million jobs to be created by tax cuts to the 4.1 million jobs the economy would generate on its own without the tax cuts, and we see that for the administration’s plan to be successful, there will need to be 5.5 million new jobs created by the end of 2004.
Job growth would have to improve dramatically to meet the CEA's just-released prediction of an average of 132.7 million jobs in 2004. The administration's prediction would only be met if job growth averaged more than 450,000 new jobs each month, about four times the level of job growth in January.
• Actual employment levels in recent years have fallen far below administration forecasts. In its 2003 report, for example, the CEA predicted that the average number of jobs in 2003 would be 1.7 million higher than its average in 2002. Instead, it was 400,000 lower.
• Each successive year, the administration has had to lower its starting point for jobs, but it has forecast strong growth just around the corner. For instance, in its 2002 report the CEA predicted there would be 138.3 million jobs in 2004. Now its prediction of 132.7 million (which is also likely to be too optimistic) is for 5.6 million fewer jobs than its 2002 forecast.
The recently passed package of tax cuts follows a misguided approach to creating jobs in the near future. First, it contains permanent, or semi-permanent, tax cuts when the need is for temporary one-time tax relief. The consequence is that the plan is far more expensive than is needed and will lead to chronic deficits, which ultimately will end up destroying jobs ten years from now.
Second, the tax cuts are directed in ways that are very ineffective at creating jobs. Nearly all economists agree that excluding taxes on dividends and capital gains will have very little effect on job growth in the near-term. Tax breaks for business expenses will also not create jobs. Businesses have the funds to invest in new equipment and credit is readily available at very low interest rates. Yet, there is very little investment now. The reason is that we have substantial overcapacity. What business needs is more customers – people to sell to. As demand grows, so will jobs and investment.
Third, as is well known, the personal income tax cuts are largely directed at high-income families—according to estimates by Brookings/Urban Institute Tax Center, 62% of the cuts go to households in the top 5% of the income scale. Since these families have higher saving rates -- spend a lower share of their income -- the income tax cuts will be less effective at generating spending than tax relief aimed at low-income and middle-income families.
US Leadership against HIV/Aids:
During his 2003 State of the Union address, delivered late last month, President George W. Bush surprised many when he urged Congress to approve $15 billion in spending for AIDS relief in some of the hardest-hit countries in Africa and the Caribbean. The program, called the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has been hailed by some lawmakers and AIDS activists worldwide as a bold, generous commitment from an administration that had previously given scant attention to AIDS.
One year has passed since President Bush pledged $15 billion over five years to fight global AIDS. So far, no funds have been disbursed to the new bilateral program, and most of the details about program implementation remain to be worked out -- except that most of the funds are to be backloaded far into the future.
Honoring our Veterans:
Bush promised to reverse a 1995 decision to rescind a promise of free lifetime health care benefits for soldiers, who from 1941 to 1956 had been told that if they signed up and served 20 years they and their dependents would get free care. The government stopped honoring that pledge in 1995, and many veterans 65 and older have been forced to pay for benefits through Medicare, which now costs about $60 a month and pays for 80 percent of medical care after a $100 deductible has been paid.
Bush is violating his oft-repeated campaign pledge to veterans: ''A promise made is a promise kept.''
Hoping to get the president to disavow the 1995 decision on veterans health care, a verteran said he used a Medal of Honor reception in June to ask Bush about it personally.
''I said to him, `Mr. President, I'm Colonel Bud Day. You know your campaign [promise], a promise made is a promise kept, is being broken.' His eyes just glazed over,'' Day said. ''He really had no idea what I was talking about.'' With his wife fuming at her husband's directness with the president, Day said he explained the circumstances of the case. Lawyers from the current Justice Department have defended the '95 decision in court, so Day was hoping Bush would withdraw support for the case. Instead, Day said the president told him, ''`Colonel, you really need to talk to [Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony] Principi.'''
Clear Skies Initiative:
The Bush administration developed a plan called the Clear Skies initiative and submitted it to Congress in February 2003 as a proposal to amend the Clean Air Act, which is the primary federal law governing air quality. Critics state: "Clear Skies" is a clear misnomer, because if Congress passes the Clear Skies bill, the result will be to weaken and delay health protections already required under the law.
The Clear Skies legislation sets new targets for emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury, and nitrogen oxides from U.S. power plants. But these targets are weaker than those that would be put in place if the Bush administration simply implemented and enforced the existing law! Compared to current law, the Clear Skies plan would allow three times more toxic mercury emissions, 50 percent more sulfur emissions, and hundreds of thousands more tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides. It would also delay cleaning up this pollution by up to a decade compared to current law and force residents of heavily-polluted areas to wait years longer for clean air compared to the existing Clean Air Act.
Makes it sound like they will go after bad doctors and help those who they hurt right? Nope.
"For the sake of affordable and accessible health care in America, we must have a limit on what they call non-economic damages -- I propose a cap of $250,000," Bush told an enthusiastic audience made up of health care workers, Republican supporters and students at the University of Scranton. The president was referring to a limit on pain-and-suffering awards.
Critics state that "It appears that President Bush trusts politicians in Washington -- not American juries -- to decide what is fair compensation for a young woman who never can bear children, a retiree who loses his eyesight, or a family whose toddler dies due to preventable medical malpractice."
Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003:
Despite Administration claims to the contrary, the prescription drug benefit provided to seniors is meager, and the Act prohibits the government from using the purchasing power of over 40 million Medicare beneficiaries to negotiate lower drug prices. Drug companies are the clear winners under the Medicare Act of 2003. The pharmaceutical companies succeeded in getting a bill that does virtually nothing to moderate drug costs. The legislation actually prohibits Medicare from using its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices for beneficiaries.
Plus I thought hiding officals so that they could not talk to legislators about the actual costs of programs went the way fo the Do-do long ago, especially with email and cell phones, but I guess not. That's Modern for ya, ain't it.