WASHINGTON, D.C.—AFGE National President John Gage today criticized what he called a litany of disingenuous remarks made by President Bush in last night's State of the Union Message. "There were so many code words thrown about, I thought I was listening in on a room full of CIA operatives," said Gage. "The American people deserve an accurate translation of that code so they understand exactly where the Presidents wants to take this country."
On the Economy
The U.S. economy has lost over two million jobs since President Bush took office. Yet last night Bush described the economy as "strong, and growing stronger" with jobs "on the rise," a characterization bordering along the lines of the illegal accounting practices that brought down the likes of Enron. The American public deserves a sound economic policy, not a bogus pep talk.
On Tax Cuts
When President Bush urged Congress to make permanent his get richer quicker tax scheme for the wealthy, what he's really doing is reducing revenues to the U.S. treasury by $1 trillion and insulting working families. Instead of utilizing smart, targeted tax cuts, Bush opted for a free-for-all with a bone tossed to middle class while the rich get big write-offs like taxpayer financed Hummer SUVs for business owners. This irresponsible policy and burgeoning debt are likely to lead to even more job cuts in the federal government, and the reduction of government services to the American people.
On Fiscal Responsibility
When President Bush took office, the federal debt was well on its way to being paid off. In just three years the United States has set record deficits both in terms of the federal budget and trade. Now Bush wants to push the federal debt onto the next president and future generations by postponing deficit reduction until five years from now, i.e. when he would be out of office if re-elected. President Bush hypocritically called upon Congress to act "as good stewards of taxpayers' dollars" and "cut wasteful spending" while he himself has proposed budget-busting programs like trips to Mars.
On Immigration Policy
While in the President’s words it would, “offer legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States,” it would unjustly reward those who illegally entered the U.S. and encourage millions of others to break our laws in the hope of yet another amnesty. After all, Congress granted amnesty to nearly three million illegal aliens in 1986, and has never taken any meaningful steps to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Our nation needs to enforce existing immigration laws designed to monitor and control the flow of people into and out of the U.S. This is critical to our national security and the only fair way to control our borders. This plan does nothing but encourage the flow of illegal immigrants.
On Retirement Programs and Social Security
In the wake of all these corporate scandals and mutual fund shenanigans, Bush would ask the American people to gamble their future retirement income by entrusting it to tarnished industries, without government accountability.
On Labor Unions
It is incredible that President Bush had the gall to support "free labor unions in the Middle East" when he has waged a tireless anti-labor campaign in the United States. As the West Coast dock workers know, Bush has consistently sided against working men and women. Federal employees have been among the hardest hit, having their collective bargaining rights and civil service protections stripped from them in agencies ranging from the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice.
The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, is the largest union for government employees, representing some 600,000 federal workers in the United States and overseas, as well as employees of the District of Columbia. For more information about AFGE, visit www.afge.org.