Senate Democrats

Rhetoric v. Reality: President Bush And The Economy

Today, President Bush attempted to paper over his record deficits and sad economic record.  Unfortunately, for middle-class Americans struggling to pay the bills and future generations who will be forced to pay off the debt, his record is all too real.  Below is a brief rundown on the reality behind Bush’s rhetoric.

RHETORIC: President Bush Touts Economic Record.  “America’s economy keeps growing, government revenues keep going up, the budget deficit keeps going down — and we’ve done it all without raising your taxes.” [President Bush, 7/11/07]

  • REALITY: Americans Working Longer, But Wages Lagging.  Americans have worked harder – and more productively – for their families, but are not receiving the proportionally increased rewards for their hard work. Employment compensation has lagged behind productivity gains.  While the productivity of the American worker rose by 17.5 percent between the first quarter of 2001 and the fourth quarter of 2006, real compensation per hour increased by only 8.7 percent.  [U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Productivity Data, available at and]

RHETORIC: Bush Claims His Fiscal Policies Have Been Successful.  “[Administration budget policies] have produced a clear and measurable record of success.” [President Bush, 7/11/07]

  • REALITY: Under Bush’s Watch, Record Surpluses Turned into Record Deficits. President Bush inherited a unified budget surplus of $236 billion from President Clinton, the largest surplus in American history.  When President Bush took office in 2001, budget surpluses were expected to continue for at least another ten years, and were projected to total $5.6 trillion between Fiscal Years 2002 and 2011.  Despite this, President Bush and his administration took these surpluses, and turned them into the three largest deficits in US history: [President Bush’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2002, A Blueprint for New Beginnings, 2/28/01; Office of Management and Budget] 
    • $378 Billion in 2003 (2nd largest deficit in U.S. History)
    • $413 Billion in 2004 (Largest deficit in US History)
    • $318 Billion in 2005 (3rd largest deficit in US History) 
  • REALITY: Bush Has Increased Debt by More Than $3 Trillion and Doubled Foreign-Held Debt.  It took 42 presidents 224 years to build up the same level of foreign debt. [Senate Budget Committee] 
  • REALITY: Since Coming to Office, President Bush has Increased Spending by Nearly 50 Percent. [Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad].

RHETORIC: Bush Touts Job Creation and Unemployment Record.  “The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.5 percent, exports are up, the service sector is strong, and more Americans are working today than ever before in our nation’s history.”  [President Bush, 7/11/07]

  • REALITY: Bush Has the Worst Overall Job Creation Record Since Herbert Hoover. [U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary, available at] 
  • REALITY: Private Sector Job Creation Extremely Poor Under Bush’s Watch – Average Annual Job Growth Rate of Only 0.5 % since 2001. [U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry at a Glance, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, available at
  • REALITY: Manufacturing Sector Has Lost Three Million Jobs Under Bush’s Watch. [U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry at a Glance, available at]