# What GOOD has George W. Bush done for the USA?

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Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
The deficit shrank in 2007 from what it appears, but perhaps because of the housing bubble? (it will probably enlarge now). However, I agree on the spending habits. The Republicans could likely have kept the deficit a lot smaller if they hadn't gone on such a wild spending spree. A temporarily increased deficit, to cut taxes, I think is okay, if government is truly reigning in spending at the same time, but when they openly go and spend so much money, that is wrong.

A true Republican, even if they cut taxes and tax revenues start going up highly, still should have the discipline to reign in spending as much as possible.
Like I've pointed out repeatedly before, cutting tax rates does not make tax revenues go up, it makes tax revenues go down. What does go up is the realization of capitals gains taxes, but that's only in the short term and is completely meaningless in the long term.

Furthermore, for all the insane tax cutting from the Bush terms, you'd think we would have the highest growth rate and job creation rate ever. On the contrary, we've had lower growth in GDP, lower growth in the markets and lower private sector job creation than most any other President in the last few decades.

How does protecting America make the rest of the globe more prone to terrorist attacks?
My point was a statement of fact (just as yours was), not an argument of reason. But to answer your question, here's a reason: "protecting" America can make the globe more prone to terrorism, if that protection involves unjustified invasions of other countries that live on the same globe.

It also did not demand the same from countries such as China and India, which are huge releasers of carbon. Kyoto called for some severe carbon constraints on American industry and would have also made America answerable to the United Nations, infringing on our national sovereignty.
I guess it's okay to have the United Nations so long as it only infringes on other countries' sovereignties.

Well the thing is, that was before 9/11 occurred. Things changed.
I honestly can't fathom the level of ignorance required for this whole pre-9/11 mindset business. Anyone that talks of a pre-9/11 mindset is essentially admitting to being nothing more than a Neanderthal with a really good tailor and hairdresser. Did these morons in the WH really think we were protected by oceans?!! Really, you ought to be able to impeach them for just saying something like that.

And I think he did bring back some integrity to the White House.
That has to be a joke! Really, what Nixon did to the reputation of the WH was probably lame compared to the destruction caused by Bush.

I wouldn't say so necessarily. It would mean he has tried more than other Presidents to aid in developing new forms energy. Politicians have been talking about dependence on foreign oil and so forth all the way back to Jimmy Carter.
So what? Bush also spent more on stem cell research than any previous president. And people have been talking about preventing disease since the Ancients.

This doesn't say anything about "trying" more than other Presidents. There just wasn't the technology before. Now there is.

I really don't know where to stand on the issue of illegals. On the one hand, they are illegal, and I don't think they should get things like education, healthcare, etc...off the back of the taxpayer who struggles to afford these things; on the other hand, I think they do lower prices for things like food and so forth by providing cheaper labor (however certain companies have been found to be abusing them as well, which isn't good).

Also, it's not like we can just round up these millions of illegals and ship them out of the country.

So I have mixed feelings about the issue.
It is a difficult issue, no doubt.

It also did not apply to China and India, two enormous CO2 emitters.
Get your facts right. The average Indian emits less than a tenth of the CO2 that the average American emits. And a decade ago, that ratio was close to a thirtieth. India's per capita emission rate is currently even below the global average.

The ACLU, in order to challenge the whole thing, had to go and get a judge named Anna Diggs Taylor, a Carter appointee and very Leftist judge, to rule against it, and her ruling was then overturned by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The overturn said nothing about the legality of the wiretaps. It only ruled that the ACLU specifically did not have the legal standing to sue.

It isn't "warrantless wiretapping" from my understanding. It is a foreign surveillance program that intercepts international signals. It isn't as if the government is illegally wiretapping its own citizens. The President went through all the proper means to enact such a program, it was challenged by the ACLU, and held up by the court system.
Absolutely not true. If it were, Congress wouldn't have had to pass a new law (S.1927) to make the wiretapping program legal. Bush's argument all along has been that his Executive powers during wartime supercede any requirements to follow the FISA law.

I would say waterboarding is legal when applied to terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay; I do not believe that terrorists are subject to the rules of the Geneva Convention.
You are wrong, and the Supreme Court said so June 29, 2006.

What should it matter when dealing with terrorists?
The question is not about whether it should matter or not. The question is about whether it is legal or not. You brought up the legality issue, not I.*

These are captured terrorists, not ordinary U.S. citizens. They are not subject to the same rights as American citizens.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court called BS on this one too, on three different occasions, I think (most recently in Boumedine v. Bush, a couple months ago).

* Reminds me of an interesting anecdote recounted in Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror. You might find it interesting too.

Clarke said:
'Extraordinary renditions', were operations to apprehend terrorists abroad, usually without the knowledge of and almost always without public acknowledgment of the host government…. The first time I proposed a snatch, in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, 'That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ***.'

mheslep
Gold Member
Like I've pointed out repeatedly before, cutting tax rates does not make tax revenues go up, it makes tax revenues go down.
That needs to be qualified, even for only wage taxes, perhaps you already have elsewhere. Obviously neither the 0% or 99% rate extremes are optimal for revenue.
Gokul43201 said:
What does go up is the realization of capitals gains taxes, but that's only in the short term and is completely meaningless in the long term.
No, as that short term revenue is now in the treasury, the time value of money means it is not meaningless even in the long term. That is, revenue taken today is worth more than cap gains revenue that might fade in the future.

Gokul43201 said:
Furthermore, for all the insane tax cutting from the Bush terms, you'd think we would have the highest growth rate and job creation rate ever. ...
Perhaps. Or, given 9/11 one might have thought the economy, already ailing from the dot com bubble collapse, might have continued declining into a full fledged depression.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
That needs to be qualified, even for only wage taxes, perhaps you already have elsewhere. Obviously neither the 0% or 99% rate extremes are optimal for revenue.
Of course I mean in the context of the prevailing tax rate. Yes, if we were taxing near 90%, a cut in tax rates would give rise to an increase in revenues. But we are not on that side of the Laffer curve. There have been reports by the CBO, the President's CEA and I think the OMB, who all concur with this. I provided links in the hate Obama thread.

No, as that short term revenue is now in the treasury, the time value of money means it is not meaningless even in the long term. That is, revenue taken today is worth more than cap gains revenue that might fade in the future.

Perhaps. Or, given 9/11 one might have thought the economy, already ailing from the dot com bubble collapse, might have continued declining into a full fledged depression.
That would really have debunked the idea that our economy is fundamentally strong, if a single event like 9/11 can send it into depression. Besides, what kind of depression could it possibly be that a couple wars wouldn't fix?

In any case, the onus is on the person who made the claim that Bush tax cuts were great for the economy to substantiate it. What you've provided is at best a speculation.

mheslep
Gold Member
I was accepting as true for the moment that the revenue from cap gains tax cuts would vanish in the long term, for whatever reason.

That would really have debunked the idea that our economy is fundamentally strong, if a single event like 9/11 can send it into depression. Besides, what kind of depression could it possibly be that a couple wars wouldn't fix?
9/11 was a single, extraordinary event, far different from, say, the 70's OPEC oil embargo. No nationwide stoppage occurred ala week long airlines shutdown because of the oil embargo. Their was the possibility at the time that people would just hunker down and start hiding money under the mattress. Move away from cities (my wife talked it up), etc. I recall hearing a lot conversations along those lines and amazingly I think its mostly forgotten now. A couple more attacks might have reached that tipping point, who knows.

The wars, though costly in many ways, are not much of a stimulus seen historically, Iraq spending as a percentage of GDP is a fraction of WWII and even Vietnam. Iraq spending is still dwarfed on a yearly basis by entitlement spending (SS, medicare, medicaid, etc). In any modern US war the money is mostly going 'over there' and not to some massive retooling of the domestic economy to build B27's and P51s.

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
9/11 was a single, extraordinary event, far different from, say, the 70's OPEC oil embargo. No nationwide stoppage occurred ala week long airlines shutdown because of the oil embargo. Their was the possibility at the time that people would just hunker down and start hiding money under the mattress. Move away from cities (my wife talked it up), etc. I recall hearing a lot conversations along those lines and amazingly I think its mostly forgotten now.
You think it's amazing that it's forgotten now rather than it being amazing how people tend to overreact (we had a recession in the 70s, not a depression)?

The wars, though costly in many ways, are not much of a stimulus seen historically, Iraq spending as a percentage of GDP is a fraction of WWII and even Vietnam. Iraq spending is still dwarfed on a yearly basis by entitlement spending (SS, medicare, medicaid, etc). In any modern US war the money is mostly going 'over there' and not to some massive retooling of the domestic economy to build B27's and P51s.
Aren't most of the folks doing the work "over there"...us?

Still, this is a persuance of a side issue, that is a sidetrack from the main point of the thread. I'll accept your response to my two questions, and let this line of discussion rest.

mathwonk
Homework Helper
he has done wondrous good. did i mention i am ceo of a big oil company?

i believe this is the only group of people who can say this.

i also conjecture this is his only real constituency and thus he will try hard to open up offshore drilling in the last 5 months of his so called presidency.

i have also considered revising my assessment that he is a hapless moron.

i.e. it is possible he never intended to do anything the vast majority of people would approve of, but only meant to pour the US (and other) treasury receipts into the pockets of oil execs, which he has skillfully done.

this could make his presidency a big success in his eyes.

oh and did you catch his impassioned appeal to russia not to invade a neighboring sovereign country unprovoked? that was pitiful.

actually for an incompetent like him to even become president twice is quite a feat, he should be applauded in some perverse way.

mathwonk
Homework Helper
now i got it: his absolutely disastrous presidency has made more people take an interest in politics and may have given us a barack obama presidency and a democratic majority.

i.e. never in my lifetime can i recall so many people agreeing vehemently that we need a change from what we have now in the white house.

this is a good outcome.

Lowered taxes to a point that it actually raised Federal tax receipts. This benefit was offset by out-of-control spending, leading to debt which is just a tax on the future. However, he has set it up so people pay less taxes than they did before his Presidency and the gov't makes more money. All that needs to be done know is bring spending back down to levels below when Bush became President to balance the budget and help pay for ailing social programmes.

Increased funding for HIV/AIDS treatment in poor countries, if you're into foreign aid.

The rest is much more iffy, but I think these two can largely be agreed on as positive things.

One thing that will not be accepted so generally as "GOOD" is the fact that he signed many bi-lateral Free Trade deals. These deals allow us easier access to foreign markets, meaning more $$for U.S. manufacturers, and allow us to import cheap foreign goods without taxes that raise their prices, keeping inflation down and helping everyone's pocketbook since goods are cheaper than they otherwise would be. Lowered taxes to a point that it actually raised Federal tax receipts. This benefit was offset by out-of-control spending, leading to debt which is just a tax on the future. However, he has set it up so people pay less taxes than they did before his Presidency and the gov't makes more money. All that needs to be done know is bring spending back down to levels below when Bush became President to balance the budget and help pay for ailing social programmes. Increased funding for HIV/AIDS treatment in poor countries, if you're into foreign aid. The rest is much more iffy, but I think these two can largely be agreed on as positive things. One thing that will not be accepted so generally as "GOOD" is the fact that he signed many bi-lateral Free Trade deals. These deals allow us easier access to foreign markets, meaning more$$$for U.S. manufacturers, and allow us to import cheap foreign goods without taxes that raise their prices, keeping inflation down and helping everyone's pocketbook since goods are cheaper than they otherwise would be. In defense of the idea that lowering taxe rates can't raise tax receipts, it's surprising that such smart people would deny this. If the government taxes people at 0%, the government makes no money. If the government taxes people at 100%, they make no money, because who is going to go to work and hand over 100% of their paycheck? So then, there's some level between 0 and 100% that's optimal for maximizing tax recepits. It probably isn't 1%, and it probably isn't 99%, but it's hard to know exactly where it is in that mid range. I live in NY, here's a BASIC rundown of the taxes people pay in my state: 8% sales tax on everything we buy 6% social security payroll tax on all income under 90k a year, which for most people is 100% of their income 25% if you're single and make between$32,000 and $78,000 a year 4-7% NY state income tax, depending on income. 3% Medicare tax. Various other small charges by NY state, and other **** on things like phone bills etc. So just those numbers add up to 46% right there, not counting the other random ones they stick you for here and there, which add up to around 50% or more for someone doing moderately well for themselves. Before you get to take your paycheck and buy anything, various levels of government take half of your money, and this is AFTER Bush's tax-cuts, before it was even more. Though the main impact of the tax-cuts wasn't on the middle-class wage earner doing decently for himself, but on the very rich, who contribute the lions-share of this country's tax revenues. Lowering tax rates for them encourages more investment within the U.S., and did raise revenues. Lowering the capital gains rate also encouraged more investment in the U.S. stock-market as opposed to other markets, providing much more potential for tax collection, and indeed, after rates were lowered, revenues rose. http://time-blog.com/curious_capitalist/capitalgainstaxreceipts.jpg Last edited: Gokul43201 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Lowered taxes to a point that it actually raised Federal tax receipts. This benefit was offset by out-of-control spending, leading to debt which is just a tax on the future. Both points are untrue, and have been debunked repeatedly. Lowering taxes actually lowered revenues and the loss of revenues from tax cuts overshadowed the increase in spending on domestic programs. See: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/90xx/doc9076/MainText.3.1.shtml Several major pieces of legislation—the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA)—all lowered individual income tax liabilities between 1994 and 2004. (see Figure 3) http://www.cbpp.org/1-25-05bud.htm The new Congressional Budget Office budget projections released today show that the nation faces a fourth consecutive year of substantial budget deficits. Some seek to portray “runaway domestic spending” or growth in the costs of entitlement programs as the primary cause of the shift in recent years from sizeable surpluses to large deficits. Such a characterization is incorrect. In 2005, the cost of tax cuts enacted over the past four years will be over three times the cost of all domestic program increases enacted over this period. WO2 said: In defense of the idea that lowering taxe rates can't raise tax receipts, it's surprising that such smart people would deny this. Yes, smart people like the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Here's a Republican blog bashing one of McCain's Economic Advisers for being a smart person, and telling the truth. McCains main finance advisor had this to say:Douglas Holtz-Eakin concluded the session responding to a question on whether the Bush tax cuts of 2001 pay for themselves. “They don’t pay for themselves,” said Holt-Eakin. “No tax cut pays for itself.” Eakin was Chief Economic Adviser for GWB and Director of the Congressional Budget Office. Or try this article in Time:Tax Cuts Don't Boost Revenues Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts enacted during the past six years have not paid for themselves--and were never intended to. Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005, even devotes a section of his best-selling economics textbook to debunking the claim that tax cuts increase revenues. WO2 said: If the government taxes people at 0%, the government makes no money. If the government taxes people at 100%, they make no money, because who is going to go to work and hand over 100% of their paycheck? So then, there's some level between 0 and 100% that's optimal for maximizing tax recepits. It probably isn't 1%, and it probably isn't 99%, but it's hard to know exactly where it is in that mid range. This is called the Laffer curve. The US, with its relatively low tax rates, has been shown to live on the left half of the Laffer curve, not the right half. In this regime, raising tax rates raises revenues. The Nixon Economic Adviser after whom the curve is named, had this to say: Laffer said: The Laffer Curve should not be the reason you raise or lower taxes But I don't imagine we will ever stop hearing this false argument. OrbitalPower Very interesting links and information worthy of bookmark. Thanks for posting a study that debunks the it's only because of the "out of control spending" myth and also the "tax cuts increase revenue" myth indirectly as well, which seems economically baseless. mheslep Gold Member .. The US, with its relatively low tax rates, ... The US corporate tax rate of 35% is not low relative to other nations, and that is just federal collection. Ireland is 12%, even the UK is lower at 30%. quadraphonics The US corporate tax rate of 35% is not low relative to other nations, and that is just federal collection. Ireland is 12%, even the UK is lower at 30%. Generally speaking, Europe has lower corporate tax rates than the United States, and higher income tax rates. Gokul43201 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member The US corporate tax rate of 35% is not low relative to other nations, and that is just federal collection. Ireland is 12%, even the UK is lower at 30%. True. To my knowledge, there are only a handful of countries (Canada and Japan, among them, I think) that have higher corp. tax rates. turbo Gold Member The US corporate tax rate of 35% is not low relative to other nations, and that is just federal collection. Ireland is 12%, even the UK is lower at 30%. Have you noticed that due to targeted tax credits, most US companies pay NO taxes? It's been in the news a bit lately, though if you only watch FOX you might have missed it. Gokul43201 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Have you noticed that due to targeted tax credits, most US companies pay NO taxes? It's been in the news a bit lately, though if you only watch FOX you might have missed it. I heard something on the radio last week (on NPR, presumably), but never followed up. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/12/national/main4342535.shtml (AP) Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress. ... The GAO study did not investigate why corporations weren't paying federal income taxes or corporate taxes and it did not identify any corporations by name. It said companies may escape paying such taxes due to operating losses or because of tax credits. ... More than 38,000 foreign corporations had no tax liability in 2005 and 1.2 million U.S. companies paid no income tax, the GAO said. Combined, the companies had$2.5 trillion in sales. About 25 percent of the U.S. corporations not paying corporate taxes were considered large corporations, meaning they had at least $250 million in assets or$50 million in receipts.
Thing is, with the complex array or credits, subsidies, and other government aid, it's hard to "calculate" an effective corporate tax rate. I would think, however, such a number should be easily extractable from IRS data (probably even from that same GAO study).

Not in the United States. There have been plenty of attempts though.
No.. there have been plenty of terrorist attacks in the United States.

No one can know for sure, but I think it would have come out by now if he was.
Lots of people cheat on their spouses and never get caught.

So I'm saying why are you giving president Bush accolades for not cheating on his wife when there's no possible way for you to know if he has in fact been faithful?

I thinik by "us" he meant people in the United States. And it is a fact that there has been much less in the past 7 years than in the previous 7 years. In particular, zero attacks by al qaeda.

Here's a list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents
Another list, only to 2003:
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/5902.htm
List of thwarted attacks:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,335500,00.html

So really there are only two possibilities here: either we've been spectacularly lucky or the ant-terror policy (ie, the DHS) has been very succesful.

I know what he means by "us" as in people in the United States, he claimed there were no terrorist attacks against people in the US since 9/11 and that is completely false because there have been plenty.

Your lists are showing international terrorism all over the world. As far as terrorist attacks within the US borders, were there really less of them in the last seven years than the seven years that preceded?

What I'm getting at is the claim that was made about Bush somehow turning the US into some terrorism proof utopia since 9/11, which there is no real indication that this happened.

So in the last seven years either you were lucky, or Bush's anti terror strategy worked.. Okay then.

So then in the seven years BEFORE 9/11, there were a total of zero AQ attacks on US soil as well. So then either you were really lucky, or Clinton's anti terrorism strategy worked. Which is it?

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mheslep
Gold Member
I know what he means by "us" as in people in the United States, he claimed there were no terrorist attacks against people in the US since 9/11 and that is completely false because there have been plenty.

Your lists are showing international terrorism all over the world. As far as terrorist attacks within the US borders, were there really less of them in the last seven years than the seven years that preceded?
yes

What I'm getting at is the claim that was made about Bush somehow turning the US into some terrorism proof utopia since 9/11, which there is no real indication that this happened.
No such 'terr. proof utopia' claim has been made here, that is a strawman. The question is one of relative improvement.

So then in the seven years BEFORE 9/11, there were a total of zero AQ attacks on US soil as well. So then either you were really lucky, or Clinton's anti terrorism strategy worked. Which is it?
'93 World Trade center attack under Clinton?

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WarPhalange
Anthrax attacks don't count? Domestic terrorism = terrorism.

mheslep
Gold Member
Anthrax attacks don't count? Domestic terrorism = terrorism.
Yes they count, but that was immediately after after 9/11 (30-60 days) before any policy changes were put in place.

WarPhalange
I see. I must have misread what he said. It looked like he said "since 9/11", not "since 30-60 days after 9/11"

mheslep
Gold Member
Missing the forest for the trees. The discussion was about judging the effectiveness of US policy in preventing terror attacks in the US, not about cute word play. Since policies did not change significantly on 9/12, slicing the calendar that finely is meaningless.

WarPhalange
Clinton: 1

Bush: 2

LowlyPion
Homework Helper
And so the search for something nice to say about him continues.