As President Bush continues his post-State of the Union tour claiming success on the economy and protecting the country, evidence of rising pressures on America’s families, unsustainable budget deficits and a lack of comprehensive strategic vision on national security directly challenges the president’s sunny, election-year rhetoric= Consider the real state of affairs in America today:
Millions of Americans are left behind in today’s economy. Contrary to the president’s designs, economic recovery for corporate executives and wealthy shareholders has not trickled down into greater opportunities for the middle class. The facts speak clearly: 2.5 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office; wages remain stagnant for many American workers; and costs for health care and college tuition continue to rise with no relief in sight. The middle class remains vulnerable and this administration refuses to offer policies to address the pressures facing working families.
Permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest and out-of-control deficits threaten American security and prosperity. The president plans to submit to Congress a “budget that funds the war, protects the homeland, and meets important domestic needs,” – all while cutting the deficit in half over the next five years. Amazingly, the president believes nearly 3 trillion dollars in new tax cut and spending proposals can somehow be sustained without seriously threatening other priorities. Without significant policy changes, federal government deficits are expected to total around $5 trillion over the next decade, severely hindering the nation’s ability to fund national defense, expand access to health care, and prepare for the coming retirement of the Baby Boomer generation.
The fight against terrorism is misdirected, unfocused, and too politicized. We need a comprehensive vision for national security: refocused efforts to stop al-Qaeda; stronger steps to secure nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and materials around the globe; full protection of America’s ports, borders, and critical infrastructure; upgraded intelligence capacities; and above all, a focus on prevention and international cooperation in the broadest sense rather than preemptive war and “coalitions of the willing” to keep America safe. Similarly, the president needs to honor his promise to bring all Americans into the fight against terrorism. The battle against terrorism is an American battle, not a political tool for challenging people’s patriotism or questioning their resolve in fighting terrorism.