Just some facts to consider before voting.  Health insurance premiums have risen by more than one-third since Bush took office leaving 44 million without health insurance.  The health plan the President proposes gives affluent people one more tax break.  Health Savings Accounts are useful for the healthy and the wealthy only.  Under the new Medicare drug prescription law, seniors and persons with disabilities must pay annual out-of-pocket expenses of between $5,100-$2,251.

     Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security would divert payroll tax revenue needed for  Social Security payments into new private accounts with stockbrokers taking their percentage.  Bush doesn’t mention the fact that the world production of oil has peaked.  This along with the Iraq war and the growing demand for oil in India and China point to continued increasing oil prices. 

       The wealthiest 20 percent of households in the U.S. account for 50% of the total U.S. income.  The poorest 20 percent account for 3.5% of U.S. income.  The Forbe’s 400 richest Americans are doing better under Bush as their collective wealth has risen $45 billion since 2003.  Median household income has fallen for the fourth year in a row.

      Two million jobs have been lost since Bush took office.  Some recent job growth has been concentrated in health care, food services and temporary employment firms, all low paying sectors.  Temp agencies account for 20 percent of all new jobs.  One in six manufacturing jobs have disappeared since Bush took the oath.  Workers wages have risen 0.3 percent while corporate profits are up 28.4 percent since Bush was made President.

      For fiscal year 2005, which started this month, the U.S. gross federal debt is projected to be $8.1 trillion.  Just recently in order to not raise the current federal debt limit of $7.38 trillion just prior to the election the administration decided to stop paying in to the federal employees’ retirement fund.  The most commonly reported federal budget deficit doesn’t include borrowings from federal trust funds – mostly Social Security and Medicare.  When this taking is included the current annual federal budget deficit is $639 billion.

       The U.S. is borrowing more than $600 billion each year from the rest of the world, especially from the central banks of China and Japan.  With the trade deficit nearly 6% of the Gross National Product, the dollar has lost a third of its value against the euro.  When the President says things are going well in Iraq he isn’t talking about the military or the Iraqis, he is speaking of Halliburton and the other U.S. corporations receiving dollars meant to reconstruct Iraq.  The Vice-President’s old company alone has received about $18 billion in contracts.

       Last weekend at the Capital lawn in Olympia we placed crosses for and read the names of the eleven hundred plus U.S. troops who have died useless deaths in the President’s war.  This doesn’t count the thousands of troops who have been terribly maimed or the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who have died.  Consider your vote well.

Larry Kerschner  the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better....Richard Rohr