George W. Bush made tough decisions and kept our nation safe. He did not spend 2.5 years criticizing his predecessor.
America was fortunate to have him as its Commander-in-Chief. Even though his contemporaries were not, the verdict of history will be kind. In 2008 no one predicted Barack Obama would continue all of Bush’s war on terror policies, initiate his own surge, and extend all of his predecessor’s tax cuts.
Bush liberated 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the height of his power, Saddam Hussein controlled a one million man Army, sent rockets into space, financed and trained dozens of terrorist groups, and came close to developing an atomic bomb. Thanks to the United States, there are no longer any political prisoners, no executions, no torture at Abu Ghraib Prison and no limit on the freedom of expression.
Now 236 U.S. bases have been turned over to Iraq, and while the terrorists remain, they have to contend with a vigorous, well equipped and well trained Iraq National Army. Millions of pieces of equipment have already left Iraq, and the promises of the former President have been fulfilled. He told us when “Iraq’s Army stands up, America will be able to stand down.” This was a watershed event and Iraq will represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East.
The 315 million people of the Middle East will eventually have a better life because of him, and the World Health Organization credits him with saving over 10 million lives in Africa.
He didn’t always succeed but worked diligently on efforts such as reforming entitlement programs and trying to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It would have been far better for the nation if Bush’s reforms had been enacted.
During the last campaign critics said Bush’s TARP program would lose $700 billion. Now it has made a profit. Taxpayers will not lose anything, and we avoided another great depression.
Bush came to office in a recession and left with a recession, but the Bush tax cuts rescued the economy and provided the nation with low unemployment, low inflation, and continued growth for 5½ straight years. The Dow Jones reached an all time high, and the tax cuts got America out of the dot com recession.
According to the CBO, the Bush tax cuts increased revenue brought into the federal government by 37% over projections from the time they were enacted in 2003 to 2006. In 2007, the CBO stated tax receipts were 11% over projected revenue.
Bush’s average spending-to-GDP (19.6%) compares to Bill Clinton (19.8%), George H.W. Bush (21.9%), and Reagan (22.4%). It also shows that his deficit-to-GDP was 2%—half that of Bush 41 and Reagan.
Deficits under Bush, as a percentage of GDP, were lower than the average over the past 30 years. Why weren’t even more jobs created on Bush’s watch? Because unemployment was at 4.5% for the majority of his administration. Economists consider a 5% rate full employment. It was a rate that had not been seen since the 1950’s.
In 2006, 37 Democratic congressmen wanted to impeach Bush because of the Patriot Act, FISA, the troop surge, the treatment of detainees, military commissions, predator drones, rendition, the use of presidential signing statements, and reductions in Medicare. President Obama now has the same position on all of these issues. I miss W.