I hope that you and yours have a safe and happy new year!
I’m at a loss for words…
President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law a bill extending Bush-era tax cuts and said he hoped the bipartisan spirit that had made it possible would help restore Americans’ faith in Washington.
“The final product proves when we can put aside the partisanship and the political games, when we can put aside what’s good for some of us in favor of what’s good for all of us, we can get a lot done,” he said at a White House ceremony.
Obama brokered the tax deal with Republicans over the objections of many of his fellow Democrats who said it was too generous to the rich, and U.S. lawmakers passed the $858 billion package of renewed tax cuts and more unemployment benefits near midnight on Thursday.
“This is real money that’s going to make a real difference in people’s lives,” Obama said. “That’s how we’re going to spark demand, spur hiring, and strengthen our economy in the new year.”
The bill was expected to provide at least a short-term boost to the U.S. economy and reduce unemployment, which remains near 10 percent. But it will also add to a $14 trillion national debt that some fear is nearing dangerous levels.
President Bush issued a statement yesterday in which he heralded New Year’s day as “an opportunity to remember the events of the past and look forward with hope to the year ahead.” But as Bush looks forward to leaving office, the nation is stuck with the results of many of the Bush administration’s failed policies.
To mark the passing of Bush’s last full year in office, ThinkProgress rounded up statistics on some of the most significant effects of Bush rule in 2008:
– Number Of U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq: 322.
– Number Of U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan: 151.
– Number Of Jobs Lost: 1.9 million.
– Number Of Banks Federal Government Now Owns Stock In: 206.
– Number Of Uninsured Americans: 47.5 million.
– Change In Housing Prices: declined 18 percent.
– Change In Health Insurance Premiums: increased 5 percent.
– Change In Number Of Delinquent Mortgages: increased 75 percent.
– Change In Use Of Food Stamps: increased 17 percent.
– Change In Dow Jones Industrial Average: declined 35 percent.
– Change In Bush Approval Rating: declined 9 percent to 29 percent.
Paul Krugman noted recently that the Bush administration’s failings have often been obscured in the short-run because the White House was particularly effective at inventing an alternate reality that it then “impressed on the public.” In 2008, however, despite its repeated attempts to wish it away, the reality of its domestic policy failures caught up with Bush administration and the nation.