Dean Responds to President Bush's State of the Union Address

Jan 23, 2007, 00:00 ET from Democratic National Committee

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Democratic National
 Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement in response
 to President Bush's State of the Union address this evening:
     "Democrats welcome President Bush's call to achieve 'big things' for
 the American people, but he should remember that the American people know
 actions speak louder than words. For too long, the words from this
 President have not matched the action required to solve the problems that
 hard working Americans face. From the escalation of the war in Iraq to his
 new health care tax to the energy crisis, once again tonight, we heard more
 hollow promises and empty proposals that just won't fix the problems.
     "Last November, the American people spoke loud and clear. Democrats
 heard what they had to say and are focused on continuing to deliver on the
 promises we made as we pass an increase in the minimum wage, improve our
 homeland security, help more kids go to college and promote life saving
 stem cell research. We hope the President will make good on his rhetoric
 this time and truly work with the bipartisan Congress to get things done
 for the American people."
     The Real State Of The Union
     THE ECONOMY: "First, we must balance the federal budget. We can do so
 without raising taxes. What we need to do is impose spending discipline in
 Washington, D.C." [President Bush, 1/23/07]
     Bush Tax Cuts Created Federal Deficit. Congressional Budget Office
 figures show, however, that new tax cuts and spending increases approved by
 Congress since 2001 were a much bigger cause, accounting for nearly
 two-thirds of the budgetary deterioration that occurred over the 2001-2006
 period. The tax cuts are single largest contributor to the emergence of
 deficits. The federal budget would have been balanced last year if not for
 the revenue loss caused by the tax cuts. [CBPP, 10/30/06]
     The National Debt Continues to Climb. In 2001, the total national debt
 was exactly $5,726,968,823,821.55. In January of 2007, the total debt rose
 to $5,932,136,522,924.02 and soared up to $8,672,664,626,584.48as of
 January 17, 2007. [President Bush, State of the Union, 2/27/01;]
     Under Bush's Watch Surplus Disappears. Despite the President's lip
 service to fiscal discipline, he turned his inherited $128 billion budget
 surplus into a $426 billion deficit in FY06.
     SOCIAL SECURITY: "Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are
 commitments of conscience -- and so it is our duty to keep them permanently
 sound." [President Bush, 1/23/07]
     Bush Social Security Plan Failed American Seniors. The Bush plan would
 have eliminated much of a worker's Social Security check. For medium
 earners who retire in 2055, their benefits would be reduced by 66 percent
 compared to the current benefit structure. Moreover, the President's plan
 would have closed only about 30 percent of Social Security's total
 shortfall over the next 75 years. []
     HEALTH CARE: " A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our
 citizens have affordable and available healthcare." [President Bush,
     Bush Health Care Plan Leads To Tax Increases On Middle Class Americans.
 President Bush's latest health care scheme means that "about 20 percent" of
 Americans "would see a tax increase - those workers whose health insurance
 cost more than the standard deduction." [AP, 1/23/07]
     Nearly 47 Million Americans Are Uninsured-Increasing for the Fifth Year
 in a Row. The number of Americans lacking health insurance increased by 1.3
 million last year-and by 6.8 million since Bush took office in 2001. Today,
 a total of 46.6 million people are uninsured-roughly one in seven
 Americans. [U.S. Census Bureau, 8/29/06; Table HI-4]
     Individual Policies Have Only Become More Expensive And Harder To
 Obtain In Recent Years -- Especially For People Who Aren't In Perfect
 Health. Roughly 90% of applicants in what's known as less-than-perfect
 health were unable to buy individual policies at standard rates, while 37%
 were rejected outright." [Karen Pollitz, Kaiser Family Foundation, MSN]
     Bush Proposal Drives Up Enrollment In Flawed HSAs. Bush's proposal is a
 way to drive up enrollment in flawed plans. HSAs weaken the existing health
 insurance market, have little potential to improve the health insurance
 market, provide the largest tax breaks to those who least need help paying
 for coverage, and may actually even increase the number of uninsured.
 [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/5/06]
     ESCALATION OF THE IRAQ WAR: "In order to make progress [in Iraq]...we
 are deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and
 Marines to Iraq." [President Bush, 1/23/07]
     Colin Powell: Troop Surge Would Probably Not Help. According to an
 article in the International Herald Tribune, "The former secretary of state
 Colin Powell said Sunday that badly overstretched U.S. forces in Iraq were
 losing the war there and that a temporary U.S. troop surge probably would
 not help.Powell was deeply skeptical about increasing troop levels, an idea
 that appears to be gaining ground as President George W. Bush weighs U.S.
 strategy options. 'There really are no additional troops' to send, Powell
 said, adding that he agreed with those who say that the U.S. Army is 'about
 broken.' He said he was unsure that new troops could suppress sectarian
 violence or secure Baghdad." [International Herald Tribune, 12/17/06]
     Major General Don Shepperd, USAF (Ret.): I Would Not Even Consider
 Increasing Troop Strength In Iraq. Shepperd, who works as a CNN military
 analyst, offered his analysis of what should be done next after he was
 briefed by members of the Iraq Study Group. He wrote, "I would not even
 consider increasing troop strength in Iraq." [, 12/11/06]
     Michael Vickers, Former Special Forces Officer: "All The Forces In The
 World" Won't Change Security Situation In Iraq. Vicks said, "The security
 situation is inextricably linked to politics. If you can solve some of the
 Iraqi political problems, the security situation becomes manageable. If you
 can't...all the forces in the world aren't going to change that." [The
 Newshour With Jim Lehrer, PBS, 12/12/06]
     Ambassador Richard Holbrooke: 40,000 Troops Would Make Little
 Difference. "[Some people are] saying that 30,000 or 40,000 more troops
 would make a difference. I respectfully disagree. With the tooth-to-tail
 ratios of the
     military -- that is combat soldiers versus cooks, people who run the
 PX's and the bowling alleys and so on -- with the fact that the first thing
 they have to do is build barracks, which are bullet, bomb-proof to protect
 themselves, any military guy you talk to will tell you that 40,000 troops
 will not make that kind of difference." [Charlie Rose Show, 8/14/06]
     IRAQ: "In the sixth year since our Nation was attacked, I wish I could
 report to you that the dangers have ended. They have not." [President Bush,
     National Intelligence Estimate: Iraq War Creating a New Generation of
 Terrorists. "We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of
 terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would
 inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere. The Iraq conflict
 has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of
 US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the
 global jihadist movement." [National Intelligence Estimate, 4/06]
     IRAQ: "Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did
 not happen." [President Bush, 1/23/07]
     Saddam Did Not Have Chief Requirements For Nuclear Weapons. The
 Washington Post reported that Hussein did not have the principal
 requirement for a nuclear weapon, a sufficient quantity of highly enriched
 uranium or plutonium. And the U.S. government, authoritative intelligence
 officials said, had only circumstantial evidence that Iraq was trying to
 obtain those materials. Inspectors in postwar Iraq "found the former
 nuclear weapons program, described as a 'grave and gathering danger' by
 President Bush and a 'mortal threat' by Vice President Cheney, in much the
 same shattered state left by U.N. inspectors in the 1990s." [Washington
 Post, 8/10/03, 1/7/04]
     2001 CIA Report Said Iraq Was Not Reconstituting WMD Programs.
 According to an unclassified CIA report sent to Congress in February 2001,
 Iraq was not reconstituting its WMD programs. The report explicitly said,
 "We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since
 Desert Fox to reconstitute its WMD programs." [Defense Daily, 2/27/01]
     Rumsfeld Says That "It Turns Out" There Were No Weapons Of Mass
 Destruction. Rumsfeld stated that "It turns out that we have not found
 weapons of mass destruction." [AP, 10/4/04]
     2002: CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, And National Intelligence
 Council Warned that Iraqi National Congress Information on Iraq's Nuclear,
 Chemical And Biological Weapons Capabilities Was Suspect. A recent Senate
 report reveals that the Bush Administration received two April 2002 CIA
 assessments, a May 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency fabrication notice and
 a July 2002 National Intelligence Council warning saying the INC source may
 have been coached by the exile group into fabricating information about the
 strength of Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons capabilities.
 [Washington Post, 9/9/06]
     ENERGY: "... for too long our nation has been dependent on foreign
 oil." [President Bush, 1/23/07]
     Bush's 2007 Budget Spent More On Tax Breaks For Big Oil Than On
 Renewable Energy. President Bush's 2007 budget provided paltry amounts of
 money for alternative and renewable energy, far less than the $2 billion
 the oil and gas industry received in 2007 tax breaks. This is on top of
 flat funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and
 development. [Statement of Administration Policy on HR. 6 -- Energy Policy
 Act of 2005]
     2006: Bush Pledged Renewable Energy Initiative -- Then Gutted National
 Renewable Energy Lab. The day after President Bush pledged to end America's
 reliance on foreign oil by funding renewable energy initiatives, the
 Department of Energy announced that 40 researchers at the prestigious
     Renewable Energy Laboratory were being laid off because Republican
 budget cuts had slashed $28 million from the lab's budget. "The Energy
 Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable
 Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget. A
 veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be
 concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol.
 Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as
 holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports." [New York
 Times, 2/2/06]
     2005: Two Years Ago, The Administration Opposed Measures To Reduce Oil
 Consumption And To Increase CAFE Standards. [Statement of Administration
 Policy on HR. 6 -- Energy Policy Act of 2005]
     Bush Administration Did Not Keep Promise On Reducing Petroleum
 Consumption. By 2005, the Federal government was to have reduced its
 petroleum consumption by 20 percent below 1999 levels. Instead, consumption
 had increased by 1.3 percent. The Federal fleet is not close to meeting
 that 20 percent goal. The government was also supposed to use alternative
 fuels for the majority of the total fuel used in those vehicles, but none
 of the 21 agencies had met that baseline. [DOE -- Federal fleet compliance
 report, 2005, Executive Order 13149]
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 candidate or candidate's committee.
     Contact: Stacie Paxton or Mark Paustenbach, 202-863-8148

SOURCE Democratic National Committee