The Real State of the Union

by on January 31st, 2006

President Bush is set to share his vision of the state of the union tonight. My guess is that he hasn’t had a hallucination this wild since he ate that Peyote Jack Abramoff got for him from his Indian Tribe clients.

I know, the Republicans get to make up their own version of reality these days, but even die-hards with a few brain cells left must be thinking that the Bush presidency is beginning to resemble a bad trip. It’s ugly out there.

Let’s face it, the Bush presidency is an unmitigated disaster. From foreign policy failures to domestic doldrums, things aren’t going so well. Not that that’s going to stop the Bush crew from saying it isn’t so. Remember, were dealing with a group who calls legislation that increases air pollution the “Clear Skies Act.” They’re not about to let a few facts get in the way now.

So to get a version of the state of the union that might be a little closer to reality, I thought we should take a look at how one of the President’s former favorite states is faring under the reign of Bush II — Ohio.

You may remember that it was Ohio where Christian conservatives came out of the woodwork to vote to ban gay marriage and deliver the presidency to George Bush. (My bet says we don’t hear anything about the Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in tonight’s speech). I think there is a picture of Ohio voters in the book of famous phrases next to the line “be careful what you wish for, since you will surely get it.”

Since the beginning of Bush’s Presidency in 2001, Ohio has lost 161,400 manufacturing jobs, 16.4 percent of all manufacturing employment. The state added just 3,600 jobs total during 2005, a gain of less than a tenth of one percent of the Ohio job market, according to Policy Matters, an Ohio research organization. Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in December 2005, and just this month Ford Motor Corporation announced more job cuts impacting more than 1700 Ohio workers.

Policy Matters also reports that household income fell for the second straight year and median hourly wages for Ohio workers fell for the fourth straight year in 2004. Twelve percent of the state’s population, 1,362,000 adults, do not have health insurance, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That’s an increase of almost 100,000 since Bush took office. Today, 11.3 percent of Ohioan’s live in poverty according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

On a more positive note there were no gay marriages in Ohio in 2005. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about dying in Iraq. Since the start of the war, 105 Ohio residents have been killed in the war.

There is little doubt that Ohio has paid a tough price for their support of Bush, but the damage done by what is rapidly shaping up to be the worst presidency in United States history is shared by all of us. So tonight, when the President is spinning out his vision of reality, Americans might want to keep a few facts in mind.

• As of January 30, 2006, 2,242 Americans have been killed in Iraq – 62 since January 1. 16,400 have been wounded.

• No weapons of mass destruction have ever been found, and there is no evidence of any link between Sadamm Hussein and Al Qaeda.

• International Public Opinion of the United States has plummeted.

• More than thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty today, an increase of 6 million people since George W. Bush took office in 2001.

• More than 45 million Americans have no health insurance, an increase of more than 5 million since George W. Bush took office in 2001.

• President Bush has the worst record on job production of any modern president. Nearly three million manufacturing jobs have been lost under the current Bush administration.

• Under Bush, the United States has gone from a budget surplus to a budget deficit of more than $300 billion and is expected to surge to more than $400 billion this year. The U.S. Government today announced plans to borrow a record $188 billion this fiscal quarter.

• The trade deficit stands at a more than $700 billion, up 80 percent since Bush took office.

• Wages and income for most Americans are stagnant, and the savings rate is non-existent. Meanwhile, Exxon-Mobil today announced record shattering profits of $36.1 million for the past year, while Americans paid record prices for gas at the pump.

By virtually every objective measure, Americans are worse off today than when President Bush took office. And many would argue that the Presidents actions in Iraq and against terrorism have made Americans less safe.

The Bush presidency is an unmitigated disaster. It is a stunning record of incompetence. And that’s before we even begin to discuss the response to Hurricane Katrina, let alone talk about charges of corruption, spying, illegal searches, torture, rendition, secret prisons and censorship.

The President has done, as he might say, “one heck of a job.” And hold on to your hat. He’s not done yet.

Thanks Ohio.


John McDonald