Tag Archives: George W. Bush

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Milk The Taxpayers

From 1929, when the Agricultural Marketing Act  was enacted by President Hoover, through 2008, there was consistent need for agricultural relief. The industry was still receiving massive subsidies from the Federal Government, and the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 was similar in purpose and scope to its predecessor around 80 years earlier. The striking similarity between the two was the rampant subsidy abuse that farmers exploited and took advantage of on the brink of economic collapse in the United States.

In this Jimmy Marguiles cartoon, which appeared in New York Newsdayin 2008, there is a farmer awaking and yawning who says “5am…time to feed the chickens, slop the hogs, and milk the taxpayers”. Given the date of the cartoon, it must relate to the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 – known colloquially as “The 2008 Farm Bill”.

According to the National Agricultural Law Center, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 was the sixteenth law in the United States that was referred to as a “farm bill” (Hyder). The 2008 bill, similar in intent to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929, was intended to subsidize farmers. The 2008 farm bill had an allocated amount of around $300 billion to cover agricultural related costs. This bill also was specific in that it covered a wide range of fruits and vegetables that had not been covered in previous versions of “Farm Bills” (Hyder).

The Farm Act of 2008 was also instrumental in creating the “Average Crop Revenue Election” program – also known as ACRE. This program provided better protection to farmers than previous programs. It gave the farmers more breathing room with subsidies as it paid out to farmers when they had a loss of revenue that could be directly attributed to crop failure, price fluctuations or other specific causes (Hyder).

Within the ACRE program, farmers may elect to receive revenue-based paments instead of price-based countercyclical payments. One of the other main benefits for those enrolled in ACRE – they had a 20% decrease in direct payments and a 30% decrease in marketing assistance loan rates (Cooper).

The bill had a big snafu in Congress. The bill had passed both houses of the Senate and was sent to President Bush to sign. Bush went ahead and vetoed the bill. However, the bill that Bush had vetoed was missing 30 pages from the Congressional version. As such, Congress had to revote on their bill which, again, passed. When the proper version of the bill reached President Bush’s desk, it was again vetoed. Bush’s veto was to the dismay of environmental and agricultural groups. Hundreds of groups sent formal requests to congress to override the veto, despite their own acknowledgement that the bill itself wasn’t “perfect”. The groups stated that the bill was a “carefully balanced and compromise of policy priorities that has broad support among organizations representing the nation’s agriculture, conservation, and nutrition interests” (Hyder). Eventually, Congress overrode Bush’s veto and the Farm Act of 2008 became law.

Since this bill, just like the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929, subsided farmers, there were no shortage of critics. The European Union, for example, cited that the subsidies in the 2008 Farm Bill were a sign of growing American protectionism. They were seemingly in fear of a trade war after the 2007 food price crisis. Likewise, high tariff’s on imports such as sugar can-derived ethanol from Brazil was upsetting to trade partners who were being taxed heavily (Hyder).

The Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum released a report about the 2008 Farm Bill. They specifically note the emergency nature of farm bills from the late 1920’s and early 1930’s to the current farm bills which are “monolithic legislation” of the current versions, including the 2008 Farm Bill. One of the issues that they cite with the 2008 Farm Bill is that it focused more on helping urban farmers for the local economy in those urban areas, especially the rust belt areas, rather than the rural farmers (Mersol-Barg 300).

Because the Farm Bill of 2008 did more to help urban farming, high operational costs in those areas can be considered part of the bills issues. Feasibility studies have shown that a 4.4-acre urban farm with $112,000 in revenue would still result in a loss (Mersol-Barg 287). That is where the government would step in – subsidizing the loss to result in the profit. This would benefit, mainly, only the local economy and not the U.S. economy.

Just as an economic disaster followed the 1929 Agricultural Marketing Act, one did with the  2008 Farm Bill as well. The Great Recession of 2008 occurred largely in part to subprime lending and bank failures. The Great Depression and “Black Tuesday” occurred within six months of the 1929 law being passed. The 2008 Farm Bill was passed just four months before the Lehman Brothers and other large banks begin to fall. Though both occurred just months before economic disasters, they were far from the main factor as to why the economy failed.
While a John Knott cartoon “And the Echo Answers: Where!” from 1930 had touched on the need for farm relief that had yet to arrive, this Marguiles cartoon touches on similar problems.

In the Knott cartoon, we see a drowning farmer with wheat and cotton being shown “flooded” by low prices. It is raining heavily, signaling the prices will seemingly decrease and the product demand will suffer even more. The farmer is asking where the relief for farms is because then-President Hoover, Congress and the Farm Board were largely unable to help them. In the 2008 cartoon, perhaps Bush helped them too much to the point of extreme comfort.

At the time that the Knott cartoon was published, the loophole in the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929 had yet to be fully exploited. That loophole allowed farmers to grow as much as they wanted since the Government would purchase any of the excess crops.

In this 2008 Marguiles cartoon, it is obvious that the farmer subsidies were fully being exploited and therefore agricultural relief was still struggling because of the abuse. The humor in the Marguiles cartoon details the way that the farmers had grown comfortable with the bill. The cap for payment: $750,000. Any farmer making $749,999 or less was eligible to subsidy assistance. So, farmers found loopholes in the law that would allow them to still make a considerable amount of money even if they didn’t really need the money. So, by showing a farmer cozy in bed, it is the same as the farmer being cozy with government existence. They still made money off of their crops and the government stepped in to help fill the “void” in payment.

While nearly 80 years had passed between both laws, neither had worked out for very long. The two cartoons also show a similar pattern: Farm Relief has no easy solution. Throughout the 16 Farm Bills between 1929-2008, there is always need for a new bill to replace the old. The one constant theme, however, is that farmers are taking advantage of Government subsidies to build their wealth while not entirely delivering their end of the deal, though sometimes through no fault of their own.

 

Works Cited

Cooper, Joseph C. “Average Crop Revenue Election: A Revenue-Based Alternative to Price-Based Commodity Payment Programs.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, vol. 92, no. 4, 2010, pp. 1214–1228. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40931076.

Marguiles , Jimmy. “Farming the Government .” Newsday, 2008.

Mersol-Barg, Amy E. “Urban Agriculture & the Modern Farm Bill: Cultivating Prosperity in America’s Rust Belt,” Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum vol. 24, no. 1 (Fall 2013): p. 279-314.

Hyder, Joseph P. “Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.” Food: In Context, edited by Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner, vol. 1, Gale, 2011, pp. 316-318. In Context Series. Science In Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX1918600101/SCIC?u=txshracd2598&sid=SCIC&xid=380563ce. Accessed 15 Apr. 2018.

Will Trump’s Anti-Mexicans Plan Stand?

Donald Trump holds up a dividing wall, the “Anti-Mexican Plan,” to prevent trucks from crossing the border and to keep Mexicans out of the USA.
Donald Trump holds up a dividing wall, the “Anti-Mexican Plan,” to prevent trucks from crossing the border and to keep Mexicans out of the USA.

 

Mexican-American relations have always experienced ups and downs. However, with the election of the 45th U.S. President, Donald J. Trump, Mexican-American relations are at a dangerously low point due to his unique governing style. When Trump announced his presidential bid, he infamously claimed that Mexico is “not sending their best,” but they are sending “people that have lots of problems” (“The Most Controversial Quotes from Trump’s Campaign”). Furthermore, he argued that Mexicans crossing the border were “bringing drugs” and “bringing crime” (“The Most Controversial Quotes from Trump’s Campaign”). Thus, bilateral relations between Mexico and America have become rocky once again, due to Trump’s rhetoric. He insists on building a wall — funded by Mexico — between the USA and Mexico to create a physical divide and separate the two countries. Under the Trump Administration and through executive orders, the Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to restrict and reduce immigration — i.e. announcing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, terminating Temporary Protected Status, and enhancing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Bernal). Multiple issues — i.e. disagreement over trade agreement rules; trade between the two countries; and environment protections — have been exacerbated by Trump’s degrading campaign rhetoric and hardline policies towards people of Mexican heritage.

All of these contentious diplomatic topics are depicted in Nath Parish’s political cartoon, “Mexico/USA: The Wall of Contention” (Parish). The cartoon illustrates the border between Mexico and America. Donald Trump is holding up a wall that reads “ANTI-MEXICAN PLAN” and stopping the trucks behind him from crossing the border. The trucks behind Trump represent political subjects currently causing tensions between Mexico and America.

An article, “How Mexico Deals with Trump” published by The New Yorker in 2017 further describes the feeling of mutual prejudice between America and Mexico. The article explains that, “Trump’s insults and threats have made him a figure of loathing” considering “rants about Mexico were… a regular feature of is campaign events” (Anderson). When Trump announced that he would be running for President he “began his assault of Mexico” (Anderson). Despite Trump’s degrading comments toward Hispanic people, President Enrique Peña Nieto made the decision “to invite Trump to Mexico” (Anderson). However, after returning to the United States, Trump “humiliated his host by promising at a rally that he still planned to build the wall and to have Mexico pay for it” (Anderson). Mexico was furious after they heard Trump’s remarks and retaliated with a protest. The Mexican citizens had posters that read “Mexico Deserves Respect” and chanted “Make America Hate Again” (Anderson).

Mexican-American issues in the past have stemmed from a dynamic in which “Americans didn’t know how to listen and Mexicans didn’t know how to speak up” (Sarukhan). Trump’s openly  negative view of Mexico along with his “‘my way or the highway’ approach” (Sarukhan) has increased rocky bilateral relations between the two countries. With Trump’s demanding tactics of governing, this idea of listening and understanding has been disregarded leading to “President Enrique Peña Nieto cancel[ing] of his trip to initiate talks with Trump” (Sarukhan).

With no regard for the long term political implications of his words and actions, Trump continues to use scare tactics during speeches and reelection rallies that harm relations with neighboring countries. He has allowed Mexican-American bilateral relations to disintegrate throughout the course of his campaign and his presidency. Trump’s stubborn leadership tactics have led to problems involving trade agreement rules, commerce between the two countries, and environmental protections.

In Parish’s political cartoon the first point of contention that is written on a truck trying to cross the border is World Trade Organization rules. WTO is a “trade related entity” that “pertains to the whole globe” while the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement is a “trade related entity” that is just related to the “North American region” (“Difference Between”). Therefore, the USA and Mexico are monitored by both the WTO and NAFTA. Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA and raise the border adjustment tax “about 20 percent on Mexican imports” (Afesorgbor). However, this implementation of a tariff “will contravene WTO principles that stipulate non-discrimination between WTO member countries” (Afesorgbor). Therefore, Trump’s plan to raise tariffs on Mexico will probably not be feasible. The issue of money and reorganizing NAFTA is creating a bigger wedge between the two countries as Trump tries to build up America by taking advantage of Mexico.

An additional problem illustrated in the modern political cartoon is commerce. Trade between Mexico and the United States “totaled an estimated $616.6 billion in 2017” (“U.S.-Mexico Trade Facts”). Yet, Donald Trump wants to renegotiate trade agreements in order to further benefit the United States. Although Mexico is the United State’s “3rd largest goods trading partner,” (“U.S.-Mexico Trade Facts”) talk of building a wall has pushed Mexico to start “pivoting away from a highly-dependent trading relationship with the United States” (Mills). Mexico has began to pull away from the U.S. and make a Plan B meeting with “European Union officials, with both sides eager to accelerate trade talks” (Mills). As Trump tries to better the American economy, he is driving a larger wedge between the United States and Mexico impacting the overall relationship between the two countries.

Yet another problem that contributes to the tenuous relationship between Mexico and America is the lackluster environmental protection offered by President Trump. Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA is clearly impacted by the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and by putting “multinational corporations’ narrow interests first” (Warren) while neglecting family farms and the environment. TPP was a trade agreement that “aimed to deepen economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth” (“TPP: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?”). While Trump focuses on factors that the TPP focused on he “intend[s] to curb environmental, climate, and other important regulations” (Warren) causing issues with the government’s role of creating environmental protection tactics. Trump’s stance of trade negotiation is heavily based on the United States, therefore, again neglecting Mexico’s needs, creating a bigger gap between the two countries.

Trump campaigned on the construction of a massive wall separating the United States from Mexico. However, he still faces a major problem of gaining funds in order to build this wall. By Trump promising “Mexico will pay for his wall,” (Caldwell) he has created deep-seated animosity between the two countries along with polarizing colleagues in Congress. Further conflict can be seen when Trump starts a “call-and-response exchange with the audience” at a rally in Vermont (“Trump: ‘Who’s Gonna Pay for the Wall?”). Trump calls out asking who will build the wall with the audience responding “Mexico!” This action created a larger divide not only between the individual governments, but also between the citizens of each country.

Furthermore, the way Trump has handled bilateral relations is extremely different and unprofessional compared to past Presidents. Contrary to past President, Trump has implemented new ways of dealing with bilateral relations that have caused an increase in friction between Mexico and the United States. Although Trump is on one extreme end of the spectrum, there have been Presidents such as George W. Bush, who believed Mexican-American relations were extremely important. George W. Bush was on the opposite side of the spectrum from Trump and was known for having a strong relationship with Mexico. President Bush had a “network of personal relationships [with Mexican politicians] that [was] unusual for an American President” (Sullivan).

Historically, there often have been highs and lows in the Mexican-American relationship, but there have also been stretches of time that were relatively uneventful — periods of calm between the two countries that were made possible,  due in part, to successful diplomacy. One such period of calm between Mexico and America occurred during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, when he implemented the Good Neighbor Policy. The Good Neighbor Policy is a foreign policy that “opposes any armed intervention in Latin America and aims to reassure the region that the United States will not pursue interventionist policies” (“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations”). Ultimately, the Good Neighbor Policy was constructed based on the diplomatic skills of Dwight W. Morrow, the ambassador to Mexico from 1927 to 1930.

The “Dwight W. Morrow” editorial accompanying the “New International Bridge” cartoon in the Dallas Morning News emphasized how Morrow’s “good-will and understanding” were what caused positive relations between the two countries. Dwight W. Morrow wanted to gain peace through understanding the other country. Morrow goes on to state, “we can best defend the rights of our own country when we understand the rights of other countries” (“Dwight W. Morrow”). Trump’s governing tactics are completely opposite from the political tactics illustrated in John Knott’s 1930 cartoon, “New International Bridge.” Morrow’s efforts are symbolic of the bridge that crosses over the Rio Grande as he reconnects the two countries. On the other hand, Trump does not show interest in steadying relations with Mexico as he tries to create a larger divide between the two countries by building a wall.

Overall, Donald Trump has seriously damaged the symbiotic relationship between Mexico and America due to his negative, insulting comments and hard-line policies towards Mexico. Trump’s blatant bias towards Mexico sets him apart from most previous U.S. Presidents, but not in a good way. Americans will likely be reaping the ill effects from this presidency for years to come, leaving future leaders the challenging task of reestablishing good relations that were hard fought victories exemplified in the 1930s “New International Bridge” cartoon and “Dwight W. Morrow” editorial.

 

Works Cited

Afesorgbor, Sylvanus Kwaku. “What If Trump Kills NAFTA? Remedies for Canada and Mexico.” The Conversation, 6 Apr. 2018, theconversation.com/what-if-trump-kills-nafta-remedies-for-canada-and-mexico-91129.

Anderson, Jon Lee. “How Mexico Deals with Trump.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 2 Oct. 2017, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/mexico-in-the-age-of-trump.

Bernal, Rafael. “Five Ways Trump Is Restricting Immigration.” TheHill, The Hill, 1 Apr. 2018, thehill.com/latino/381103-five-ways-trump-is-restricting-immigration.

Caldwell, Alicia. “Trump’s Border Wall With Mexico Faces All Kinds of Obstacles.” U.S.News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-03-27/trumps-border-wall-with-mexico-faces-all-kinds-of-obstacles.

“Difference Between.” Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects, 12 Oct.2011, www.differencebetween.net/business/difference-between-wto-and-nafta/.

“Dwight W. Morrow.” Dallas Morning News, 19 September 1930. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

Knott, John. “New International Bridge.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News 19 September 1930. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

Mills , Curt. “Mexico Pivots Away From U.S. on Trade.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S.News & World Report, 4 Apr. 2017, www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-04-04/mexico-pivots-away-from-trump-us-on-trade.

Nelson, Louis. “Trump Attacks Canada and Mexico over Trade.” POLITICO, 5 Mar.2018, www.politico.com/story/2018/03/05/trump-canada-mexico-nafta-trade-435820.

Paresh, Nath. “Mexico/USA: The Wall of Contention” Cartoon. The Khaleej Times[Inde/India] 30 January 2017. Cagle Cartoons. Web. 18 April 2018. http://caglecartoons.com/viewimage.asp?ID=%7B3B1644DC-6731-4E32-978F-6361B704DA84%7D

Sarukhan, Arturo. “Opinion | The U.S.-Mexico Relationship Is Dangerously on the Edge.”The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 Jan. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/01/31/the-u-s-mexico-relationship-is-dangerously-on-the-edge/?utm_term=.0fcf401c16d7.

Sullivan, Kevin. “Bush’s Relations With Mexico Rooted in Symbols, Friendship.” TheWashington Post, WP Company, 13 Feb. 2001, www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2001/02/13/bushs-relations-with-mexico-rooted-in-symbols-friendship/50ccbc3c-f778-411e-944d-be0009206548/?utm_term=.38dc7a65ce1c.

“The Most Controversial Quotes from Trump’s Campaign.” Newsday, Newsday, 20 Jan. 2017,www.newsday.com/news/nation/donald-trump-speech-debates-and-campaign-quotes-1.11206532.

“Timeline: U.S.-Mexico Relations.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/timeline/us-mexico-relations.

“TPP: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?” BBC News, BBC, 23 Jan.2017, www.bbc.com/news/business-32498715.

“Trump: ‘Who’s Gonna Pay for the Wall?’.” MSNBC, NBCUniversal News Group, 7 Jan.2016,www.msnbc.com/msnbc/watch/trump-whos-gonna-pay-for-the-wall-598086723533.

“U.S.-Mexico Trade Facts.” Mexico | United States Trade Representative, ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/mexico.

Warren, William. “NAFTA Renegotiation Threatens Family Farmers and the Environment • Friends of the Earth.” Friends of the Earth, 28 Nov. 2017, foe.org/nafta-renegotiation-threatens-family-farmers-environment/.

 

 

2008 Bailout of Wall Street

Uncle Sam struggles to bear the burden of Wall Street while distraught President George W. Bush assures Wall Street, not Uncle Sam, that everything will be okay.
Uncle Sam struggles to bear the burden of Wall Street while distraught President George W. Bush assures Wall Street, not Uncle Sam, that everything will be okay.

 

In the early fall of 2008, America’s financial system nearly collapsed. Some of Wall Street’s biggest corporations had engaged in what President George W. Bush called “irresponsible actions” that caused widespread panic. Eventually, the situation became precarious enough to warrant action by the federal government in the American free-enterprise system. The federal government’s plan was to use $700 billion dollars of taxpayer money to resolve the crisis and bailout Wall Street. President George W. Bush addressed the nation on September 24, 2008 to propose the bailout through a joint congressional bill. The federal government promised that the bailout, while costly to American taxpayers, was essential to the maintenance of the financial system, and that the “irresponsible actions” of Wall Street executives would not be ignored (C-SPAN 2). Many American taxpayers begrudgingly agreed in 2008 that the federal government’s plan to bailout Wall Street was necessary; however, the burden of funding the bailout and empty promises made by the federal government eventually led to a high degree of taxpayer dissatisfaction.

In Daryl Cagle’s humorous depiction of the 2008 bailout, Uncle Sam struggles and sweats under the weight of Wall Street. Uncle Sam, a symbol of American taxpayers, is depicted as small and skinny. He holds the entire weight of a fat pig, representative of Wall Street corporations, on his back. The Wall Street pig is dressed in a formal business suit and is accessorized with features of stereotypical Wall Street wealth, such as a large bag of money, a ring, and a cigar. President Bush, representing not only himself but the federal government at large, worriedly screams “Don’t worry! You’re going to be okay!” (Cagle) The President Bush character worries about the pig instead of Uncle Sam; this cartoon reflects the American taxpayer sentiment of dissatisfaction about the actions by the federal government and the consequences of the bailout.

The financial crisis of 2008 spurned the need for government action and the bailout after Wall Street made some risky investments. President Bush explained the crisis started when Wall Street lenders, including banks and insurance companies, began giving credit to individuals who could not afford the mortgages on the homes they purchased during the good housing market. When the housing market fell, many homeowners were left with mortgages they could not afford and homes worth very little. As a result, the institutions that had lent the homeowners the money began to fail. In addition, many of these institutions had invested in mortgage-back securities which are risky investments. According to President Bush, these securities allowed the investors of Wall Street to borrow “huge sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk”. He then told Americans that action by the federal government was now vital and explained his administration’s proposal that Congress pass a bill for a bailout funded with $700 billion dollars in taxpayer money (C-SPAN 2). Congress passed H.R. 1424, called the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, in early October 2008 (United States).

President Bush placed the blame of the crisis on Wall Street, which satisfied Americans. The unsatisfactory part of the bailout for taxpayers was that they were expected to cover the expenses of Wall Street’s mistake. While many middle class taxpayers opposed having to pay $700 billion dollars to protect what they saw as money-hungry businessmen, President Bush promised that there would be consequences for the Wall Street executives responsible for the crisis (C-SPAN 2). Regardless, many taxpayers felt that an unfair burden was being placed upon them as reflected in Cagle’s struggling Uncle Sam character. The Los Angeles Times released a poll in late September 2008 that showed fifty-five percent of Americans opposed the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the bailout (Bensinger). Other Americans showed their dissatisfaction through protest. On September 25, 2008 protestors gathered outside of Wall Street to demonstrate their opposal to the federal government’s plan. AFLCIO president John Sweeney told reporters, “We want our tax dollars used to provide a hand up for the millions of working people who live on Main Street and not a handout to a privileged band of overpaid executives” (Weissner). This statement by Sweeney reflects the sentiment of Cagle’s cartoon Uncle Sam who struggles to bear the burden of Wall Street.

As earlier presented, President Bush promised that the bailout was not a handout to Wall Street but rather a way to save America’s financial system (C-SPAN 2). This perhaps made it easier for some Americans to agree to support the bailout. However, this sentiment changed greatly in the aftermath of the bailout. President Bush relayed to Americans in his 2008 speech that top executives on Wall Street knowingly made risky investments, were responsible for the crisis, and would face consequences for those actions; However, The New York Times released an article in 2011 addressing this very issue: “no senior executives have been charged or imprisoned, and a collective government effort has not emerged” (Story). Three years after the bailout, no executives had been criminally prosecuted. In fact, many of the institutions that had received money from the bailout actually gave their top executives large bonuses in 2008 (Bernard). A joint poll released by CBS and the New York Times five years after the bailout in 2013 showed that over sixty percent of Americans did not support the bailout and over eighty percent felt that Wall Street had not faced harsh enough consequences for its risky actions and investments (Kopicki). Americans felt that Wall Street was not only saved by the federal government at the expense of regular taxpayers, but that it also faced practically no repercussions for its actions.

As similarly depicted in John Knott’s 1937 cartoon, “How About Sharing The Load”, American taxpayers are depicted in Cagle’s cartoon as struggling to carry a burden of government. In Knott’s cartoon, a figure labeled “taxpayer” struggles to carry a large bundle labeled “expenses of government”. Another man labeled “public jobholder” looks on while smirking because he has a piece of paper in his pocket labeled “income tax exemption” (Knott). This cartoon refers to the nation-wide public dissent from American taxpayers concerning federal tax exemptions for government job holders in the midst of The Great Depression. While both these depictions reflect strikingly similar sentiments and widespread dissatisfaction from Americans, these two situations in American history have reaped different outcomes. In the case of the 1937 federal income taxes, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s sentiments reflected those of the American population; therefore, he was able to use his influence as president to help ensure change in the form of ending the exemptions. In the case of the 2008 bailout, however, President Bush felt that the burden placed upon American taxpayers was not as great as the importance of the financial crisis on Wall Street, so he was able to use his influence as president to perpetuate the passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 despite public dissent.

The financial crisis of 2008 was a large source of public dissatisfaction for average Americans in the early 21st century. While some Americans agreed to support the federal government’s plan to use $700 billion dollars of taxpayer money to bailout many Wall Street corporations in 2008, many Americans later felt that they faced the consequences of Wall Street’s risky actions.  Cartoonists John Knott and Daryl Cagle both reflect public dissent in their respective cartoons by depicting American taxpayers as struggling under a financial burden set upon them by the federal government in a time of economic trouble. Unfortunately, public dissent and frustration did little to reap any kind of change in the 2008 bailout compared to the way it did in the 1937 federal tax exemption issue. Despite this unfortunate outcome, Americans should still voice their opinions to federal government officials in order to keep the average American spoken for as the 21st century progresses.

Works Cited:

C-SPAN 2. “George Bush Wall Street Bailout.” 24 Sept. 2008, Washington D.C., White House.

Cagle, Daryl. “Wall Street Bailout Pig.” DarylCagle.com, darylcagle.com/2008/09/23/wall-street-bailout-pig/.

United States, Congress, Cong. House, Energy and Commerce; Education and Labor; Ways and Means. “Congress.gov.” Congress.gov, 110ADAD. 110th Congress, bill H.R. 1424, www.congress.gov/bill/110th-congress/house-bill/1424.

Bensinger | Times Staff Writer, Ken. “Masses Aren’t Buying Bailout.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 2008, articles.latimes.com/2008/sep/26/business/fi-voxpop26.

Weisner, Christian. “Labor Leaders Decry Bailout.” National Post, 26 Sept. 2008, www-lexisnexis-com.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/hottopics/lnacademic/p. A10.

Story, Louise. “In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures.”The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Apr. 2011,   www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/business/14prosecute.html.

Bernard, Stephen, and Business Writer. “Bailed-out Banks Gave Millions in Exec Bonuses, NY AG Report Shows.” ABC News, ABC News Network, abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=8214818&page=1.

Kopicki, Allison. “Five Years Later, Poll Finds Disapproval of Bailout.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Sept. 2013, economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/26/five-years-later-poll-finds-disapproval-of-bailout/.

Knott, John. “How About Sharing The Load?” Dallas Morning News 10 April 1937, sec 2: 2. Print.

The Texas Miracle

Rick perry dressed as Jesus appears to walk on water. He is actually being held up by people below the water with education cuts, uninsured, and minimum-wage workers on their shirts.
Cartoonist John Cole mocks Rick Perry’s attempts to keep Texas afloat.

The Texas Miracle, by John Cole is a political cartoon mocking Texas Governor Rick Perry for his comments on the well being of Texas and his presidential candidacy. It shows a man wearing a white robe and sandals with the word Perry on his robe. He appears to be walking on water, but directly under the surface are children and men holding him up. The people underneath Perry have “education cuts”, “uninsured”, and “Minimum wage workers” written on their shirts (Cole). The cartoon implies that Gov. Perry is not performing any miracles; he is both physically and metaphorically stepping on the groups of people underneath him. The Texas Miracle is similar to the John Knott cartoon, We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms, in that the subjects in the people depicted are in water, and this water is oppressing them. The “storm” that Knott used as an analogy for The Great Depression could also be parallel to the flood that Noah and his family escaped in the bible. However in The Texas Miracle the population was unable to escape the flood because of an ignorant deity.

The accompanying editorial, Walking on Water talks about Perry’s recent presidential candidacy, and why he appeals to the “mad-as-heck right-wing base”. The authors also talk about the not-so-miraculous Texas miracle (Editorial Team). The miracle that Perry claims to have caused is just Texas continuing to profit off of a new way to drill for oil called fracking, which harvests the oil through horizontal fractures and drilling (Krauss). The editorial also comments on how well the housing district is doing, again emphasizing that this was not Perry’s doing, “Much of what Perry lays claim to is not the result of his governance, but existed well before he took office.”

You may recognize the Phrase “Texas miracle” from President George W. Bush’s two thousand presidential campaign and his “No child Left Behind” education reform act (Leung). The act was plan to make teachers accountable for their students’ grades, and required standardized testing for all students, while attempting to lower drop out rates in Houston especially. The program had great success in the first year but it was too good to be true. A vice principal at Sharpstown High School, found there were no drop-outs in the two thousand one two thousand two school year, when in fact there were four hundred and sixty two drop outs. The system had made a code for when a student dropped out it was programmed as a transfer or other acceptable reasons, so the miracle was just a lie. Just like Bush, Perry took advantage of the natural strength of Texas and used it for his own benefit. “According to The American Statesman, almost half of the state’s job growth came in the education, health care, and government sectors”, but when the state was faced with a twenty seven million dollar deficit Perry took four billion from K-12 schools. Already suffering as one of the least educated states, Perry stepped on education so that Texas would have less debt, and Texas suffered for it.

Texas’ population was been growing more rapidly than any other state from nineteen ninety to two thousand eleven this is in part due to the oil boom, but Perry found a way to make this benefit him (Plumer). Perry brags that Texas has a low unemployment rate but in fact at the time it was just a tenth lower than the national average, and the majority of those workers are working for minimum wage, which means that they have little or no insurance from their job (Meyerson). To add onto that Perry Doesn’t would prefer the states control of minimum wage and opposes the increase of minimum wage, claiming to be protecting the small businesses (Selby). At this time Texas was also the most uninsured state in the country, with twenty six percent of the population uninsured, Rick Perry still resisted universal healthcare. Perry said “They did not want a large government program forcing everyone to purchase insurance”, which may be the case, but this works well with Perry’s views on minimum wage and his refusal to increase the Medicaid (Benen). You see if Texans make less than four thousand five hundred dollars a year they can apply for Medicaid, but if they make less than eleven thousand six hundred dollars a year they are too poor to buy insurance for themselves (Damico). This is called the Medicaid expansion gap, and Rick Perry walked all over the people in this gap just to make the state more profitable.

A few parallels can be made between The Texas miracle and We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms, the major one being the water. In both cartoons the water is rising, because Rick Perry has no intention of changing his policies and will continue to take money from education. The water is also rising on the two business men while they converse in the storm, which was also brought on by the government’s inflation during the twenties. We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms could also have a religious aspect to it, where Herbert Hoover, who was blamed for The Great Depression, could be seen as an ignorant deity. As he told the public over and over that the depression would pass, doing little or nothing to help the floundering public, while the floodwaters continue to rise leaving the population without an ark. In both cartoons the public is the victim of the governments poor choices and both cartoonists depict their suffering through water.

The Texas Miracle by John Cole is mocking Rick Perry’s foolish attempts to take credit for the relative low amount of debt that Texas is in. The cartoon and editorial both ridicule him for refusing to help those beneath him, calling him a lone star blustering bible thumper. The Texas Miracle illustrates just how unlike Jesus Rick Perry truly is, and what lengths he is willing to go to in order to make a profit for the great state of Texas.

Works Cited

Benen, Steve. “Perry Boasts about Texas’ Uninsured Rate.” MSNBC. NBCUniversal News Group, 13 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Cole, John. “John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water.” John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water. The Time Tribune, 18 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Damico, Oct 19 2016 | Rachel Garfield and Anthony. “The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States That Do Not Expand Medicaid.” Kaiser Family Foundation – Health Policy Research, Analysis, Polling, Facts, Data and Journalism. WordPress.com, 19 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Editorial Team. “John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water.” John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water. The Times Tribune, 18 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Krauss, Clifford. “Shale Boom in Texas Could Increase U.S. Oil Output.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 May 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Leung, Rebecca. “The ‘Texas Miracle'” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 6 Jan. 2004. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Meyerson, Harold. “The Sad Facts behind Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 16 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

New World Encyclopedia. “Texas.” Texas – New World Encyclopedia. New World Encyclopedia, 20 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Pallardy, Richard. “Rick Perry.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 9 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Plumer, Brian. “Breaking down Rick Perry’s ‘Texas Miracle'” The Washington Post. WP Company, 15 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Selby, W. Gardner. “In 2014, Rick Perry Saying He Opposes Federal Government Setting Minimum Wage.” @politifact. Politifact.com, 30 May 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.