Republican rhetoric won’t suffice when it comes to the things Americans value most. At least, Republican rhetoric shouldn’t suffice, especially when the standard of living for Americans is threatening to decline for the first time in history. There’s a struggle going on between the party that wants to empower the people and the one that’s trying to abandon the people – and sadly the good guys are losing.

Social Security is an “entitlement program” Republicans have been against since its conception, so why is George W. Bush introducing new benefits? In reality, the Bush proposal of private accounts is merely a distraction, designed to trick the eye from the drastic cuts Republicans are calling for. And why is the focus even on Social Security anyway when the Medicare shortfall is predicted to be three times greater. Forget both of those, the war on terror is bound to dwarf the two by comparison – maybe we should reform that.

No president has ever cut taxes in a time of war, so why is Bush handing out checks to the wealthiest Americans? If you ask him, the plan was to stimulate the economy, but even the aging theorists of trickledown economics will concede the tax cuts were a failure. It’s tragic to think about how the money could have been spent – to starve the government of resources to the point it has no choice but to abolish social programs.

The Republican ideology isn’t popular with contemporary American values, so they have to sell their positions to the American public in a pretty package. It’s not the destruction of Social Security – we’re going to give you a “private account.” And as far as the tax cuts go, it’s certainly not because we want to abolish social programs and abandon you – it’s because we want you to help yourself. There’s a theme of dishonesty that plagues this administration. Most notably in the buildup to the war in Iraq when administration officials used language such as “imminent threat” and “mushroom cloud.”

Perhaps the gravest act of deception from the president came in his State of the Union Address prior to the Iraqi invasion when he claimed Saddam Hussein bought uranium from Niger. This piece of “intelligence” had been thrown out of a prior speech by the director of the FBI because it wasn’t true, and yet it somehow got slipped back into the State of the Union Address.

Is America even paying attention?

Daniel Gruen is a freshman film studies major.