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irregular times clockBoxGate:
The Sticker Shock of Bush's Economic Snow Job

Late in January 2003, George W. Bush celebrated the winter season by performing a snow job on the American people. As millions of Americans saw it on their television sets, Bush stood in a factory warehouse in St. Louis, surrounded by shelves full of boxes stamped "Made In U.S.A.".

In this wholesome, patriotic, blue-collar setting, he lectured his audience about how his program of special tax breaks for the rich would be "strengthening America's economy". What a great photo-opportunity it appeared to be. Standing behind the presidential podium in a factory located in America's heartland, with boxes of products made right here in the good old U S of A., Bush must have been there to talk to a crowd of America's workers, right?

bush tax cut fraudWrong. This is where Bush's snow job started. The audience he gave his speech in front of was made up of carefully selected government officials and business owners. American workers were not invited.

Of course, American workers were used to set up the display behind George W. Bush. Only, it didn't take as much work as it might appear. Here's where Bush's snow job intensified. You see, those boxes that seem to be stacked up to the ceiling behind bush aren't really boxes at all. They're made up, painted carefully on a canvas that appears to be real when photographed or viewed on television.

Of course, stacked all around Bush were real boxes, with the words "Made in U.S.A." stamped on them, just like in the fake painted boxes behind him. One would think that there must have been some truth to the image Bush's PR people created for him that day. Sadly, it's with these boxes that Bush's snow job turned into a blizzard.

After Bush gave his speech, a curious reporter wondered why there was extra tape around the areas that were stamped "Made in U.S.A." and peeled the tape back to see what lay beneath. The reporter found the words "Made in China". That's right, in order to make George W. look good, a team of people working for the White House printed up special stickers to make the President's speech seem patriotic by covering up the fact that the boxes all around him were full of products made in China, not in America.

At first, White House spokespeople denied that they were involved in the fraud. Later, they admitted that the fake labels were put on the boxes on purpose, in order to make George W. look good.

It's no wonder that the White House tried to lie about its role in the fraudulent photo-opportunity. The efforts of the White House to use journalists to spread deceptive images is just a small part of the Bush Administration's general plans to further its own dangerously extreme economic agenda through techniques of deception and misdirection.

For example, the Bush Administration says that its economic plan would provide tax cuts of an average of two thousand dollars to small business owners. What Bush and his spokespeople do not mention is that the average of two thousand dollars in tax cuts is made possible through huge tax cuts for the richest of small business owners mixed with tiny tax cuts for run-of-the-mill small business owners. Under Bush's economic plan, a large group of small business owners would get no tax cuts at all, but every single one of the richest business owners would get a tax cut substantially larger than $2,000.

This kind of deceptive use of averages is the basis for George W.'s marketing push for his economic plan. To see how this works, pretend that you're standing in a room with a billionaire like Bill Gates. George W. Bush enters the room and announces to you both that he's got a new economic plan that will give the two of you an average tax cut of $50,000. Well, that sounds pretty good, so you vote for the plan and wait for your big tax cut. The next day, George W. comes back in the room and hands the billionaire a check for $100,000 and hands you an envelope with nothing in it. This is like what Bush's tax cut two years ago did, and it's what his new economic plan promises to do again. You see, the average between $100,000 and nothing is $50,000. So, strictly speaking, Bush wasn't lying, but he was telling the truth in a very deceptive way.

When you hear people from the Bush Administration promise big average tax cuts, you can be sure Bush is trying to play you for a sucker. Take a look at the details, and you'll see clear as day that Bush's tax cuts are lop-sided, with almost all of the money going to the richest Americans (Bush's past and future campaign donors) and practically nothing going to hard-working people like you.

I'm no mathematician, but it doesn't take an expert to see that Bush's economic plan is chock full of this kind of deceptive fuzzy math. Bush is counting on the American people to take their eye off the ball so that he can perform his financial sleight of hand.

I know that it's easy to get fooled by Bush's promises of big payoffs for everyone, so I've got a mental image for you to keep in mind whenever you hear someone from the Bush Administration talking about big tax cuts. Close your eyes and imagine Bush giving his speech next to a big box. The box has got a sticker on it that says "For the American People". Think hard, now, and remember to peel the sticker back to see what is hidden underneath. Sure enough, it's the words "For the Rich" stamped in big red letters across the box.

Of course, in the end, it's your vote. When 2004 rolls around, and George W. Bush is at some great big flashy photo-opportunity on a stage that he's hired a bunch of working Americans to put together for him so that he doesn't have to break a sweat, and he starts talking about the big tax cuts he's given to the American people, it's up to you to remember Bush's little snow job with the fake "Made in U.S.A" stickers.

Follow along with Bush's fuzzy math if you want to, but as for myself, I'm going to keep in mind that almost all of Bush's tax cuts go to the wealthiest one percent of Americans. I know that almost none of those tax cuts are going to me because I'm not a member of Bush's wealthy one percent club. You know, I'll wager that you're not part of Bush's elite tax cut club either.

I'll make another wager too. I'll wager that you're smart enough to look beneath the surface of Bush's promises to see what lies beneath. Like that reporter this cold January, you're too smart to fall for George W. Bush's snow job.




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