Posted by: jt | January 15, 2009

no day but today

Re-blogging from NBC’s First Read, via The Rachel Maddow Show.

You’re watching Rachel, right? I love her. A progressive point of view that’s smart, witty and not angry? In mainstream American media? It’s delightfully disorienting.

The statistics in this post are bleak, but I like having hard facts close at hand to support my intuitive horror about the last eight years. Regardless of where we are, I’m optimistic. Regardless of knowing people who have been laid off, knowing people who cannot find work, knowing people who can’t pay their bills, I’m optimistic.

For the first time in eight years, we have leadership and someone coming into power who is – already – not insulating himself with disingenuous lackeys. Will there be spinning of facts? Of course. Will there be willful ignorance of facts? I have a fair amount of confidence that there won’t be.

I’m overwhelmed with a sense of relief (and almost disbelief) that – finally – an intelligent, articulate, thoughtful person will now be dealing with this:

THE BUSH YEARS — THEN AND NOW
From NBC’s Mark Murray

With President Bush set to leave the White House less than two weeks from now, here’s a “Then and Now” to show what the United States looked like when Bush was entering office and what it looks like now as he’s leaving. The “Then” is the best-available figure as Bush was taking office in 2001. The “Now” is the most recent figure.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Then: 4.2% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2001)
Now: 6.7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2008)

DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE
Then: 10,587 (close of Friday, Jan. 19, 2001)
Now: 9,015 (close of Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009)

BUSH FAVORABILITY RATING
Then: 50% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 31% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

CHENEY FAVORABILITY RATING
Then: 49% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 21% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

CONGRESS APPROVAL RATING
Then: 48% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 21% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

SATISFIED WITH THE NATION’S DIRECTION
Then: 45% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 26% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE (1985=100)
Then: 115.7 (Conference Board, January 2001)
Now: 38.0, which is an all-time low (Conference Board, December 2008)

FAMILIES LIVING IN POVERTY
Then: 6.4 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 7.6 million (Census numbers for 2007 — most recent numbers available)

AMERICANS WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE
Then: 39.8 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 45.7 million (Census numbers for 2007 — most recent available)

U.S. BUDGET
Then: +236.2 billion (2000, Congressional Budget Office)
Now: -$1.2 trillion (projected figure for 2009, Congressional Budget Office)

………

Bleak? Indeed.

Optimistic? I am.

I’m afraid that “change” is turning into a buzzword along the lines of “freedom” and that it may cease to actually mean anything. I think the difference – at least at this point – is that we’re seeing signs of actual change, as opposed to the painfully ironic abuse of “freedom” in the soon-to-be-previous administration.

Change: the prospect makes me giddy.
Hope: I’m still brimming with it.

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Responses

  1. Your hero said it best to Bill O’Reilly when he stated “There’s lies, damn lies and statistics.”
    We’re in a democrat-inspired recession. Bush’s tax cuts grew the economy, until the housing bubble burst (directly attributable to the dem’s equal housing act). He kept us safe, and we even enjoyed prosperity during wartime. If Clintion had done his job, it’s probable 9/11 wouldn’t have happened.
    http://www.smellytourist.wordpress.com

  2. I would love to see some facts supporting your argument, smellytourist.

    Here are a few more for you to consider:
    – Clinton told Bush, in person, that bin Laden was the greatest security threat facing the U.S. (stated in multiple public venues and interviews and not once denied by the Bush administration)
    – Clinton’s chief counter-terrorism adviser (who had cabinet-level access under Clinton) was still in this position under Bush (though Bush demoted his access to no longer be cabinet-level) and he “urgently” warned Bush about the threat in January 2001: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB147/index.htm
    – Bush was warned, again, in August 2001 that bin Laden was “determined to strike in the U.S.”:
    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB116/index.htm

    If you wish to point fingers at people other than the hijackers for 9/11, I suggest you follow the facts.

    I believe most economists, as well as the Bush administration, have attributed the housing crisis to many complex issues, including financial institutions’ failure to exercise due diligence in granting loans, unsound risk management and a lack of government regulation: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/11/20081115-1.html

    There’s no such thing (in the U.S.) as the “Equal Housing Act.” Perhaps you’re referring to the “Fair Housing Act,” but I fail to see a direct connection there, given that it passed in 1968 and was an extension of the Civil Rights Act. It focuses on preventing discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, ability and age (children): http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing/title8.php

    I’m assuming you’re not averse to banning people from buying or renting property based on those criteria.

    I’m a little confused as to what you’re talking about there. Could you clarify?


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