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I read with some interest in the latest ABCWashington Post poll that 59% of Americans approve of the way the President George W. Bush is handling his job. It got me to wondering, just who are these people?

It certainly isn’t the 2.7 million Americans who, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor, have lost their jobs since he took office. Yeah, I know, 9/11 and all that.

It couldn’t possibly be the over 9 million Americans who don’t have jobs. Once again, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, unemployment has just risen to 6.4%. When Clinton left office, I believe this number was hovering around 4%. You do the math.

There’s no way it could be the 75 million Americans who, according to the United States Census Bureau don’t have adequate health insurance. That number represents a 55% increase since January of 2001.

I thought it might be those greedy Americans, mostly senior citizens, who rely on such programs as Meals on Wheels for their daily bread until I read this quote:

I hope people around this country realize that agencies such as this food bank need money. – George W. Bush 12/19/02.

So what happened? In his 2003 budget, Bush proposed a spending freeze on something called the Congregate Nutrition Plan. All that does is provide funding for your local soup kitchens and Meals on Wheels Programs. There are still approximately 140,000 senior citizens on the waiting list for these type of programs. I guess their gonna have to wait a little longer.

Then I thought, maybe it’s the backbone of America, the labor force. After all, here’s how Bush described them back in September of 2002:

”Our workers are the most productive, the hardest working, the best craftsmen in the world. And I’m here to thank all those who work hard to make a living here in America.”

Wow, just reading that sends a chill up my spine. I almost got misty eyed until I read that the Bush 2003 budget calls for a 9% cut in job training programs. (A mere 476 million dollars but who’s counting). OSHA is looking at about a 2% reduction and by the time 2004 rolls around, if the President has his way, there’ll be 60 million dollars cut for adult job training programs. To keep younger Americans occupied, Bush has proposed the elimination of the Youth Opportunities Grants. All this program does is provide job training for younger workers and keep kids off the streets.

That must leave the over 1.5 million Americans who declared personal bankruptcy during the one year period between March 2002 and March 2003 but somehow I don’t think so. By the way, that number, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, is a new record. Hooray for us!

I thought to myself, “It must be the economy then. People’s investments must be paying off.”

How wrong can I be? During its first 18 months in office, the Bush Administration shattered any records about a decline in the stock market. If you look at the Standard and Poor’s 500 index, the bellwether of the economy, it declined 36.9 percent in his first year and a half in the White House. Yeah, I know, 9/11. I don’t mean to down play the events of that day but c’mon.

Herbert Hoover, the one-time heavyweight champion when it came to stock market declines and who led us spiraling into the Great Depression, only managed to register an 18.6 percent decline. Richard M. Nixon was the previous champ recording a mere 23.6 percent drop in his first 18 months in office. Do I have to mention that all three of those fella’s are big business friendly Republicans?

In all fairness though, if we look at another little economic indicator known as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Bush fairs a little better. His 18 month decline clocks in at 24.3 percent, just behind Hoover who managed a 24.8 percent drop. I guess we should have tried a little harder!

It can’t be mathematicians. According the USAToday the latest deficit is expected to come in somewhere around 455 billion dollars. They, Bush Administration officials, had originally predicted that the number would be about half (or 227.5 billion) of that. Anybody ever hear of a calculator?

I know who it must be then! All of those people who were (are) in favor of the latest tax cut!. That’s right, I just got mine and it means I’ll be saving a whopping 40 a month to do with it as I please. But then again….

The state that I live in recently realized that the federal government was cutting a bunch of funding that they relied on for such minor things as roads and such. This meant a jump in the state and local sales tax and I can just about kiss the extra 40 bucks goodbye.

So, who are you people that make up the almost 60 percent of Americans who approve of how Bush is handling the job? I’d like to hear from you.

PS. The title of this node was used by many newspapers and editorial columns throughout the country in order to describe the events of 9/11 and to paint a picture of how the nation felt. I don’t mean to downplay those events and while I still mourn for those folks who lost loved ones on that day or who lost love ones in the current war with Iraq, I mourn for other reasons too.

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