Inauguration day and the Bush legacy
NextArt in San Francisco organized a live simulcast of inauguration events in front of City Hall and not far down the road, a small group of people had set up a game booth called Throw a Shoe at Bush. This city is not fond of Bush to say the least, and everyone who wished that shoe had found its mark in that pressroom lined to live out a fantasy redo. Some people got up close and personal to hit the cutout as hard as they could, and others yelled insults as they let the shoes fly. (“The only one term president to serve two terms!!”) The crowd cheered and giggled every time a shoe found its mark. The loud THUNKs of shoes bouncing off the cutout were rather cathartic.
But it’s not quite over, is it? The Harper’s Index for Jan. lists much of Bush’s legacy. Some highlights:
Factor by which an Iraqi in 2006 was more likely to die than in the last year of the Saddam regime: 3.6
Factor by which the cause of death was more likely to be violence: 120
Minimum number of times that Frederick Douglass was beaten in what is now Donald Rumsfeld’s vacation home: 25
Estimated amount Bush-era policies will cost the U.S. in new debt and accrued obligations: $10,350,000,000,000
Portion of all U.S. income gains during the Bush Administration that have gone to the top 1 percent of earners: 3/4
Increase since 2000 in the number of Americans living at less than half the federal poverty level: 3,500,000
Percentage change since 2001 in the average amount U.S. workers spend on out-of-pocket medical expenses: +172
Percentage change since 2001 in U.S. government spending on paper shredding: +466
Percentage change in U.S. discretionary spending during Bush’s presidency: +31
Percentage change during Reagan’s and Clinton’s, respectively: +16, +0.3
You know there’s something wrong with your legacy when old ladies are throwing shoes at you.