Judging the Republican Debate With My Handy Bush-o-Meter

Bill Scher

Watching the Republican presidential primary debate last night, I heard many of the candidates say they’d be the second coming of Ronald Reagan. But what they said sounded a lot more like the second coming of George W. Bush, he of the “worst jobs record on record” according to the Wall Street Journal.

To show you what I mean, I’ll use my trusty “Bush-o-Meter” to translate what the candidates said last night, and quantify it’s Bushiness on a scale from 1 to 10.

PERRY: You look at the state of Texas and see what we’ve done there from the standpoint of lowering that tax burden, the regulatory climate in the state of Texas. We’ve taken those types of regulation off the throat of small business operators.

Translation: Like the last decade, let’s cut more taxes for the wealthy, enforce fewer regulations on business, create wider inequality, and set the stage for another colossal financial crisis.

Bush-o-Meter Rating: 10

ROMNEY: I know what you have to do is make America the most attractive place in the world for business, and that means our corporate tax rates, our employer tax rates have to be competitive. Small business pays at the highest rate. We need to get those rates down to globally competitive levels. Number two, government and regulators have to be allies of business, not foes. Number three, we’ve got to become energy secure in this country. Number four, we have to have trade policies that work for us, not just for the other guys, and crack down on cheaters like China.

Translation: Like the last decade, let’s cut taxes for the wealthy, enforce fewer regulations on business, forget about clean energy, forget about the BP spill and let’s drill even more. Let’s also use campaign rhetoric on China that is unlikely to matter once elected, as Bush did in 2000 when he needled China as a “strategic competitor” then did nothing to challenge its trade strategies.

Bush-o-Meter Rating: 10

CAIN: May I offer a solution for Social Security, rather than continuing to talk about what to call it? I have proposed the Chilean model. It’s been around 30 years, and it works. It’s a personal retirement account.

Translation: Let’s privatize Social Security like Bush wanted to, so Wall Street can invest our retirement funds in fraudulent mortgages.

Bush-o-Meter Rating: 10.

HUNTSMAN: We’re going to have to fix our taxes. And we put forward a program endorsed by the Wall Street Journal that phases out for individuals all the loopholes, all the deductions, and creates three rates, 8, 14, 23.

Translation: You can never cut taxes for the wealthy enough. Look how awesome it worked the time.

Bush-o-Meter Rating: 10

CAIN: …my 9, 9, 9 plan is a bold solution. It starts with throw out the current tax code and pass 9 percent business flat tax, 9 percent personal income tax, and the 9% national sales tax. This is the most important part, it eliminates, or replaces corporate income tax, personal income tax, capital gains tax as well as the estate tax.

TRANSLATION: You can never cut taxes for the wealthy enough. Look how awesome it worked the time.

Bush-o-Meter Rating: 10

BACHMANN: I think you earned every dollar. You should get to keep every dollar that you earn. That’s your money; that’s not the government’s money.

Translation: As Bush said when campaigning for his tax cuts for the wealthy: “That money isn’t the government’s money, it’s the people’s money.”

Bush-o-Meter Rating: 1,000,000

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