The President's First 100 Days,
A Libertarian Point of View

A Surprising Quiz: Bush's First 100 Days
By Steve Dasbach
Libertarian Party National Directorr

To celebrate President George W. Bush's first 100 days in office, let's
conduct a modest thought experiment, shall we?

Imagine, if you will, that you were whisked out of the country on
November 7, 2000, as the outcome of the presidential election hung in
the balance.

Imagine that for the past six months, you've had no access to any news
source. No newspapers. No TV. No internet. No political discussion with
friends.

Now, imagine that on Sunday, April 29 — exactly 100 days after the new
president was inaugurated — you were plunked down in front of a
television as the usual crew of talking-head pundits debated the new
administration's record.

 If those pundits didn't mention the president's name, would you know
whether Bush or Gore had won the election?

"What a foolish question!" most Republicans and Democrats will
sputter. "Bush and Gore are as different as, well — Bush and Gore.
Their records after 100 days would be so utterly and so radically
different that no one could confuse them!"

Really? If that is the case, take this quick 12-question quiz to see
how different the Bush administration has been from the could-have-been
Gore administration:

1) If elected president, which one — Bush or Gore — would boost
spending for Bill Clinton's AmeriCorps program by $282 million?

[ ] Al Gore

[ ] George W. Bush

ANSWER: George W. Bush. Some conservatives had predicted that Bill
Clinton's "domestic Peace Corps" program would be quickly abolished,
but, instead, Bush has requested a funding increase of $282 million.
[Source: USA Today, April 10, 2001]

2) Which one would continue the Clinton administration's lawsuit
against tobacco companies?

[ ] George W. Bush

[ ] Al Gore

ANSWER: George W. Bush. Not only is the Bush administration not ending
the legalized extortion against the tobacco companies, Attorney General
John Ashcroft boasted that the Justice Department plans to spend as
much as Janet Reno did to proceed with the suit. [Source: The
Washington Times, April 27, 2001]

3) Which one would increase federal spending on elementary and
secondary education by a whopping 72%?

[ ] Al Gore

[ ] George W. Bush

ANSWER: George W. Bush. Although Republicans had previously promised to
abolish the federal Department of Education, Bush requested $18.6
billion more in spending for elementary, secondary, and vocational
education — a 72% increase. [Source: USA Today, April 10, 2001]

4) Which one would maintain the so-called "Gore Tax" — a hidden
$2.3 billion-a-year levy on telephone bills, used to wire schools
to the Internet?

[ ] George W. Bush

[ ] Al Gore

ANSWER: George W. Bush. Three years ago, conservatives blasted the
"Gore Tax" as an unconstitutional tax, since it was imposed by the
Federal Communications Commission. But instead of repealing it, the
Bush administration has been working to halt any attempts to limit it.
[Source: Cato Institute Daily Commentary, April 9, 2001]

5) Which one would request a 3.6% pay hike for all federal workers?

[ ] Al Gore

[ ] George W. Bush

ANSWER: George W. Bush. The average federal civilian employee already
makes $50,000 a year — but Bush doesn't think that's enough. His pay-
hike proposal would increase federal wages even faster than inflation.
[Source: The Washington Post, April 10, 2001]

6) Which one would impose by White House decree the Clinton
administration's medical "privacy" rules — which give control
of Americans' medical records to the government?

[ ] George W. Bush

[ ] Al Gore

ANSWER: George W. Bush. After Clinton proposed his so-called "privacy"
rules, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services was flooded with
24,000 letters opposing them. In response, Bush ordered the HHS to
disregard the public comments, and implement the rules immediately.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2001]

7) Which one would boost spending on the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting by $10 million?

[ ] Al Gore

[ ] George W. Bush

ANSWER: George W. Bush. For years, conservatives have asked why the
federal government funds a radio network with tax dollars, since tens
of thousands of free-market stations compete for listeners. Bush's
response was to request a $10 million funding increase. [Source: USA
Today, April 10, 2001]

8) Which one would bar development on privately owned wetlands, and
promised environmental policies that will "continue and complete
the work of [the Clinton] administration"?

[ ] George W. Bush

[ ] Al Gore

ANSWER: George W. Bush. Here, surely, there's a difference between Bush
and Gore! Not as much as you might think. Not only did Bush refuse to
overturn a Clinton-era ban on wetlands development, he boasted he would
continue the Democrat's environmental programs since "this is the way
environmental policy should work." [Source: Syndicated columnist
Robert Novak, April 26, 2001]

9) Which one would vow a "renewed commitment" to enforcing
America's 20,000 gun laws, and budget an additional $158 million
for that purpose?

[ ] Al Gore

[ ] George W. Bush

ANSWER: George W. Bush. And you thought Al Gore was anti-gun? Attorney
General John Ashcroft said there was "no question" the Bush
administration needs a "renewed commitment" to enforce America's
myriad anti-gun laws, and has requested $158 million more for that
purpose. [Source: The Washington Times, April 27, 2001]

10) Which one would spend an additional $46 billion on a new
federal program to give low-cost prescription drugs to seniors?

[ ] George W. Bush

[ ] Al Gore

ANSWER: George W. Bush. During the campaign, both Bush and Gore
promised to dramatically increase the role of the federal government in
the prescription dug business. The cost to taxpayers of Bush's program:
$46 billion over five years. [Source: Associated Press, April 27, 2001]

11) Which one would delay any effort to privatize Social
Security retirement accounts for younger workers by deferring it
to a federal commission for more study?

[ ] Al Gore

[ ] George W. Bush

ANSWER: George W. Bush. As a candidate, Bush made the partial
privatization of Social Security a cornerstone of his campaign. But as
president, he has drop-kicked that potential hot potato to a federal
commission for "study." [Source: Associated Press, April 27, 2001]

12) Which one would give the IRS more money so it can hire
4,000 additional tax collectors?

[ ] George W. Bush

[ ] Al Gore

ANSWER: George W. Bush. At Congressional hearings in 1998, Republicans
harshly criticized the Internal Revenue Service for mistreating
taxpayers and running roughshod over the law. Three years later, Bush
has proposed a $400 million budget increase for the agency. [Source:
USA Today, April 16, 2001]

Shocked by the answers? Perhaps you shouldn't be, since President Bush
made it clear — even during his days as a candidate — that making the
federal government smaller, less expensive, or less intrusive was not
on his agenda. Given that, is it a surprise that he is governing like
Al Gore?

In fact, after looking at the record of President Bush's first 100
days, there's really only one thought experiment question left to ask:
Why was the outcome of the 2000 presidential election so fiercely
contested — since it seems to have made no real difference who won?

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What do you think?  Email me at albert@albertlowe.com with your questions or comments.


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Created: May 5, 2001
Last updated: October 12, 2005
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