President George H.W. Bush was a nice man. In fact, he was much too nice to be a good president.
Bush was no conservative. We knew that before he was elected. However, after watching him capitulate to Democrats again and again, I asked someone who knew him well if the Democrats had something on him, or did he simply desire to be liked by them. His friend’s voice fell as he confirmed it was the latter.
I do not begrudge the honors our 41st president has received following his death. The office should be respected, and these things are befitting anyone who has held the office of head of state of this great country. I also feel for his family as they mourn the loss of a beloved father and grandfather.
I do, however, resent the attempt to reinvent the man as a great president. He was not even adequate. If anything, he torpedoed much of the good that began under President Reagan and is responsible for many terrible things that live on.
Let’s be clear about what happened when he broke his “no new taxes” pledge in 1990. Ostensibly, it was to save the country from mounting debt, which totaled $2.8 trillion. This debt was not due to Reagan’s tax cuts, which saved the country from a dire recession, but due to the Democrats reneging on their promise to cut spending.
The deal Bush hatched with Democrats was labeled a “$500 billion deficit reduction package.” Sounded great – but it was a farce! It was actually designed to get Congress out from under the spending restraints that were enacted in the b-partisan 1995 Gramm, Rudman, Hollings, Act which, had it been followed, would have eliminated the deficit entirely by 1991.
This deal not only contained the largest peacetime tax increase in history, $175 billion to be exact, but (surprise, surprise) an avalanche of new spending! Instead of eliminating the deficit, the new deal was actually designed to increase the deficit to $527 billion over the next five years. By the following year, the estimate was revised to $1.2 trillion. This sleight-of-hand was repeated again during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations.
While the Bush 41 deficit increase may not seem like very much by today’s standards, let me put it in perspective for you. Reagan had managed to decrease the deficit to 2.87 percent of the GDP. After Bush’s bargain with the devil, it ballooned to 4.58 percent. Furthermore, it threw us into another recession, and unemployment rose from 5.3 percent to 7.5.
But there is more. One of the most destructive things tucked into Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act was something called the Patient Self-Determination Act. It requires hospitals and nursing homes to “provide information about advance directives” when patients are admitted. In practical terms, with all the mandatory forms you have to sign before you can be treated, you now receive a document designed to get you to voluntarily limit the amount of care you receive.
Most patients unknowingly sign their basic rights away. This stays in your record forever, unless it is revoked. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with a good advance directive, but not the type devised by the government, which is designed to get the elderly out of the way as quickly as possible in order to limit the government’s costs. Many go in for routine surgery and, when something goes wrong, they will not be resuscitated simply because they signed one of these documents. Some will meet an early death thanks to this “nice” president.
Then there was his “no net loss of wetlands” pledge. When Bush made that pledge, he naively thought he was talking about wetlands. Nothing, could have been further from the truth.
In 1987, the definition of a wetland was so broad that if you dug down 18 inches and found moisture, not water, for seven days during the “growing season,” you had yourself a wetland. It cost thousands of people their property rights, and in the case of farmers and ranchers, their means to support their families. Bush promised to fix this, but after tinkering around with the regs, that was another promise he left unfulfilled.
I could go on, but make no mistake. The media’s newfound love affair with Bush 41 is designed to show Mr. Trump how “successful” he could be if only he would play nice with Democrats and make all their dreams come true.