|...Politex's||for MARCH 3..."Robertson Republican"||
FACTS CONTRADICT BUSH REFORMER CLAIM
The bills that Texas Governor Bush signed as examples of his ability to reform show, among other things, how such "reforms" have primarily benefited his wealth backers. Craig McDonald of Austin's Citizens for Public Justic explains: "A reformer is one who restores the balance between special interests and everyday people, and he's tipped the scales in the other direction. He's a reformer who has delivered new policies, but policies that favor his top donors.''
Tax Cuts Bush got the idea for his 1997 tax cut proposal from Chris Walker, a Reaganite who ran an industry-financed tax reduction advocacy group, writes Wayne Slater in Sunday's DMN. The legislature rejected the $3 billion tax cut bill, but agreed to provide $1 billion in property tax relief. Local property taxes and increased valuations ate up that tax cut, says an analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities: "The bottom line is that most homeowners paid at least as much the next year as they did the year before." Last year Bush managed to get another $1 billion property tax cut passed, but Slater reports that 60 percert went to businesses and none, of course went to those, mostly poor, who didn't own property. Further the CPPP projected that by 2004 60% of all of Bush's tax cuts will go to businesses. While Bush has said that his tax cuts benefit lower-income people, few lower-income people own businesses.
Lawsuit Reform Since 1995 Bush has been behind changes in the civil-justice system that favor business at the expense of consumers. With campaign backing from the businesses and "tort reform groups" ($4 million from the latter) and the support of business lobbying groups the legislation he has backed curbs lawsuit filing, caps damages, and reduces "frivolous claims." While Bush says such changes have reduced business costs, those reductions have not been passed on to the consumer. For example, while the state Insurance Commission estimated a $3 billion savings during Bush's tenure, a study by the former Insurance Commissioner indicated that insurance companies were the major beneficiaries, since there have been greater profits than consumer savings. (Molly Ivins: "As you recall, Bush's sole legitimate claim to be a "reformer with results" rests entirely on "tort reform," if you happen to consider that reform. The package of bills called "tort reform," passed in 1995 with Bush's strong support, makes it much, much more difficult to sue corporations for almost any variety of misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance. Of course Bush was opposed to letting patients sue HMOs. As he said repeatedly, he wanted "to make sure we don't create more reasons for lawsuits.")
Health Patient Protection In 1995 Bush vetoed a patient-protection bill that was not favored by the Texas medical lobby, but in 1997 he signed a number of such bills except for one that would have allowed the patient to sue an HMO. "The Texas governor considered a veto," writes Slater, "saying he feared the bill might lead to the kind of lawsuits against businesses that he had long opposed, but he eventually allowed it to become law without his signature." Today, however, Bush points to the exact bill he refused to sign as an example of his ability to reform. (Ivins, again: " Excuse me, but if anyone is interested in the truth, George Dubya vetoed the patients' bill of rights in Texas when it was first passed by the legislators in 1995; and when they passed it again, over his opposition, by a veto-proof majority in 1997, he threatened to veto it again and then let it become law without his signature because a veto wouldn't hold. He never even signed the patients' bill of rights, and you can look it up. Claiming that "he passed" or "delivered" the patients' bill of rights is turning the truth on its head.")
Campaign Finance Reform It's generally agreed that Bush's campaign finance reform is a farce, tacked on to his list of "reforms" at the last minute in South Carolina in order to confuse those who had little idea of his record or what he has said in the past. "Chuck Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity and author of The Buying of the President 2000, noted that Mr. Bush's campaign-reform agenda in the presidential race advocates raising the caps on contributions and continuing to allow individuals to give unlimited so-called "soft money'' donations to political parties." Lewis suggests that, "Anyone who looks at cleaning up politics and sees that someone wants to increase the limits and allow millionaires to keep writing big checks, it's hard to see what reform that exactly is. [Bush] and his advisers have made a calculation that they can muddy the waters on the 'R' word and the public won't notice."
Education Reform Molly Ivins recently put the final nail in the coffin of Bush's claim to have reformed education in Texas. "Our two best moves were cutting class sizes in the early grades and starting to equalize spending between rich districts and poor districts. Putting in a system of school accountability and starting to test our kids for results were also good moves. All this was done before George W. Bush became governor -- so long before that our school scores were already going up, our minority kids were making great strides, and school accountability was well in place before he ever thought of running. Bush has been helpful on the margins of public education, but he does not deserve the credit he claims for the improvement in public schools. All those who fought and the many who politically died in those long-ago but bloody battles are entitled to resent his claims. I think especially of Bill Hobby, the late Bob Bullock, ex-Gov. Mark White, H. Ross Perot, Ann Richards' education commissioner, Skip Meno, and a cast of hundreds over the years."
How typical of George W. Bush, then, to claim the mantle of reform for helping his wealthy friends and backers, for claiming to be a reformer on the basis of successful bills that he vetoed, did not pass, or had little or nothing to do with creating, and to claim credit for things that were done by others. When it comes to Bush, he's the one in need of reforming. --Politex, 2/28/00
Reasons Seattle Post-Intelligencer Can't Back Bush "Bush's self-styled "compassionate conservatism" has had a decidedly nasty edge, from a welfare reform proposal that would cut off assistance to the children of a mother who did not show up for job training, to his unseemly mocking of Karla Faye Tucker, a woman about to be executed...Bush is the scion of an oil and politics family. His father was president, and that probably helped George W. Bush win the governorship in a conservative state.... Serving as executive of a huge state might seem to give Bush the experience edge. But Texas is constitutionally a "weak-governor" state. In New York, 140,000 people work for the governor; in Texas, it is about 200....Bush inherited much of the Texas education reform for which he has taken so much credit....Exemplified by his visit to Bob Jones University (which prohibits interracial dating among students), Bush has been running to the right....Beyond his record as governor, it's hard to know much about where Bush stands. His habit of speaking in bumper stickers tells us too little. 2/27/00
1st in Children without Health Insurance %...1st in Toxic Air Releases...1st in Smog Days (Houston)...1st in poorest counties(3)...3rd in Hunger %...5th in Highest Teen Birth Rate...45th in Mothers Receiving Pre-Natal Care...46th in Public Libraries and Branches...46th in High School Completion Rate...46th in Water Resources Protection...47th in Delivery of Social Services...48th in Literacy...48th in Per Capita Funding for Public Health...48 in Best Place to Raise Children (29th before Bush)*...48th in Spending for Parks and Recreation...48th in Spending for the Arts...49th in Spending for the Environment...50th in Teachers' Salaries plus Benefits...
*Children's Rights Council. further documentation
Analysis of key states by AP
Delegate Estimates Bush 208 McCain 104
Jan. 24 Iowa caucuses (Bush 42%, Forbes 30%)Republicans Only
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