Tuesday, September 07, 2004

and again, Crestor

“Watchdog wants Crestor probe”

Bloomberg News - August 4, 2004

Public Citizen says AstraZeneca delayed reports of complications, wants FDA to open investigation


A consumer advocacy group accused AstraZeneca on Tuesday of delaying reports to U.S. regulators about 23 cases of serious complications in people taking its Crestor cholesterol drug.

Public Citizen asked the Food and Drug Administration for a criminal probe of what it said were delays of as much as 97 days in making reports. These include four U.S. cases of kidney failure or damage linked to destruction of muscle cells.

"We continue to urge the prompt removal of this uniquely dangerous drug from the market and your investigation of AstraZeneca is quite likely to uncover further reasons to do so," Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said in a letter to the FDA.

AstraZeneca spokeswoman Edel McCaffrey called the accusations "false and misleading." AstraZeneca, which is based in London, has its U.S. headquarters in Fairfax and employs about 4,800 people in Delaware.

Mary Parks, deputy director of the FDA's unit that regulates cholesterol medicines, said the FDA would consider the allegations made by Public Citizen and, if necessary, take appropriate action. She noted that AstraZeneca has been very cooperative in working with the agency.

The FDA requires companies to report within 15 days when they hear of cases of serious complications in people taking their drugs. Wolfe said AstraZeneca failed to meet that deadline in some cases, mak-ing Crestor appear safer than it is.

McCaffrey denied the allegations. "The company has operated diligently in accordance with the strict reporting procedures of the FDA," McCaffrey said.

Crestor is part of a class of cholesterol-lowering medicines known as statins, which includes Pfizer Inc.'s Lipitor. Statins are associated with rare cases of a breakdown of muscle cells, called rhabdomyolysis. The condition can cause kidney damage and death when it overwhelms that organ's ability to clean up the debris left by dead muscle cells.

Bayer AG had to take its Baycol statin drug off the market in 2001 because of deaths and patient injuries linked to rhabdomyolysis.

AstraZeneca chief executive Sir Tom McKillop predicts Crestor can grab about 20 percent of the $20 billion cholesterol market, and his company needs it to make up for slowing sales of older drugs. The FDA cleared Crestor for marketing last August after delaying approval by a year as it sought more information on the drug's risk-benefit ratio. More than 2.8 million people have been treated with Crestor, AstraZeneca said.

Public Citizen, founded by U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader, asked the FDA not to approve Crestor, and earlier this year wrote letters urging the agency to pull the drug from the market.

http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/business/2 004/08/04watchdogwantscr.html

still more crestor

More on Crestor

Special Access

MHPD_DPSC This document is also available in PDF format
Pages: 3, Size: 28.7 K, Date: 2004-06-22

The Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) posts on the Health Canada web site safety alerts, public health advisories, press releases and other notices as a service to health professionals, consumers, and other interested parties. These advisories may be prepared with Directorates in the HPFB which includes pre-market and post-market areas as well as market authorization holders and other stakeholders. Although the HPFB grants market authorizations or licenses for therapeutic products, we do not endorse either the product or the company. Any questions regarding product information should be discussed with your health professional.

This is duplicated text of a letter from AstraZeneca Canada Inc.
Contact the company for a copy of any references, attachments or enclosures.

Health Canada Endorsed Important Safety Information on
Crestor® (rosuvastatin)

June 15th, 2004

Subject: Association of Crestor® (rosuvastatin) with rhabdomyolysis

Dear Health Care Professional,

AstraZeneca, after discussion with Health Canada, would like to inform you of important safety information regarding the association between Crestor® (rosuvastatin) and rhabdomyolysis.

Rosuvastatin has been associated with post-market reports of rhabdomyolysis in Canada. Internationally, all statins have been associated with rhabdomyolysis.

The occurrence of muscle-related adverse events during statin therapy may be related to the statin dose. In Canada, of the eight reported cases of rhabdomyolysis with rosuvastatin, two cases occurred at the 10 mg daily starting dose, five cases at 40 mg, and in one case the dose was not specified.

All of the Canadian reported cases were associated with predisposing risk factors. Therefore, caution should be exercised when prescribing rosuvastatin in patients with pre-existing risk factors or concomitant medications which pose increased risk for statin induced myopathy or rhabdomyolysis.

AstraZeneca has recently distributed Dear Health Care Professional Letters in the UK and Europe to advise of patients presenting with rhabdomyolysis while under treatment with Crestor® (rosuvastatin). Those communications referred to cases occurring in patients with rosuvastatin therapy initiated at higher than the recommended starting dose of 10 mg daily.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Public Health Advisory advising US physicians to adhere to the prescribing guidelines outlined in the current FDA approved product monograph when prescribing Crestor®, in order to minimize risk of myopathy.

Rosuvastatin is a lipid lowering agent of the statin class and was introduced onto the Canadian market in February 2003. In the Canadian Adverse Drug Reactions Monitoring Program (CADRMP) database, there are 8 Canadian post-market cases of rhabdomyolysis associated with rosuvastatin. Five cases occurred with rosuvastatin 40 mg daily, 2 cases have occurred at the 10 mg usual recommended starting daily dose, and for the remaining case the dose was not specified. The involved patients all had one or more pre-existing risk factors for statin induced myotoxicity. Of the cases occurring at the 10 mg dose the pre-existing risk factors for myotoxicity were: chronic renal insufficiency in one patient and prior experience of myalgia while on another statin in the other, with other factors, including possible polymyositis, still under investigation.

Some patients are at higher risk for statin induced myopathy or rhabdomyolysis. Identifiable predisposing risk factors for statin therapy include the following:

renal impairment
personal or family history of hereditary muscular disorders
previous history of muscular toxicity with another statin or fibrate
alcohol abuse
situations where an increase in plasma levels may occur
Japanese and Chinese patients
concomitant use of fibrates
Caution should be exercised when prescribing all statins in patients presenting any of the above risk factors or concomitant medications. Close supervision and monitoring is recommended.

The occurrence of muscle-related adverse events during statin therapy may be dose related. When prescribing rosuvastatin, as with all statins, patients should be started at the recommended starting dose(s) and titrated to the lowest effective dose. The highest marketed dose should only be considered in patients with significant cardiovascular risk, who do not achieve their treatment goal at lower doses, and careful follow-up is required.

Prescribers of rosuvastatin, as with all statins, should maintain an increased level of awareness of the potential for muscle toxicity and rhabdomyolysis. Concerning features include unexplained musculoskeletal pain and/or muscle weakness, elevated creatine kinase, elevated creatinine, myoglobinemia, myoglobinuria or brown or “cola” coloured urine.

All patients should be advised to report muscle pain, muscle weakness or cramps, or discoloured urine to their physician immediately. Creatine kinase measurements should be performed when symptoms occur. Rosuvastatin, as with all statins, should be discontinued immediately if myopathy is suspected or diagnosed, or if CK elevation is greater than 10X the upper limit of normal (ULN).

Health Canada will continue to monitor the safety profile of statins, including rosuvastatin, and will examine new safety information as it emerges. Meanwhile, it is important to remain vigilant for the possibility of muscle toxicity and to report any possible cases. Health Canada will also review the data submitted by AstraZeneca and will determine the need for product labelling changes.

The identification, characterization, and management of marketed health product-related adverse reactions are dependent on the active participation of health care professionals in adverse reaction reporting programmes. Any occurrences of rhabdomyolysis or other serious and/or unexpected adverse reactions in patients receiving Crestor® should be reported to AstraZeneca or Health Canada at the following addresses:

AstraZeneca Canada Inc.
1004 Middlegate Road
Mississauga, ON, L4Y 1M4
Tel: 1-800-433-0733
Fax: 1-800-267-5743

Any suspected adverse reaction can also be reported to:
Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program (CADRMP)
Marketed Health Products Directorate
Address Locator: 0701C
OTTAWA, Ontario, K1A 0K9
Tel: (613) 957-0337 or Fax: (613) 957-0335
To report an Adverse Reaction, consumers and health professionals may call toll free:
Tel: 866 234-2345
Fax: 866 678-6789

For other inquiries: please refer to contact information.

The AR Reporting Form and the AR Guidelines can be found on the Health Canada web site or in The Canadian Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties.

If you have any questions in regards to this information, please contact AstraZeneca Medical Information at 1-800-668-6000 (English) and/or 1-800-461-3787 (French).

AstraZeneca Canada Inc.

original signed by

Kazimierz R. Borkowski, Ph.D.
Vice President, Medical Affairs



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Do Not Use! Rosuvastatin (Crestor) - A New But More Dangerous Cholesterol Lowering 'Statin' Drug
Worst Pills, Best Pills News article October, 2003

NOTE: Public Citizen is posting this article free of charge because of the serious risks seen in clinical trials with this drug.

Rosuvastatin (CRESTOR) became the sixth cholesterol lowering "statin" drug on the U.S. market when it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 13, 2003. The other members of the statin family are atorvastatin (LIPITOR), fluvastatin (LESCOL), lovastatin (MEVACOR), pravastatin (PRAVACHOL), and simvastatin (ZOCOR). These drugs are only approved to be used along with a low-cholesterol diet and an exercise program to lower cholesterol.

One of the statins, cerivastatin (BAYCOL), was removed from the market because of at least 31 reports of fatal rhabdomyolysis, an adverse reaction involving the destruction of muscle tissue that can lead to kidney failure (see Worst Pills, Best Pills News October 2001). We had warned patients not to use this drug more than three years before it was removed from the market.

Rosuvastatin will be sold by AstraZeneca of Wilmington, DE under license from Shionogi & Co., Ltd., of Osaka, Japan.

AstraZeneca originally filed its application with the FDA to market rosuvastatin in June 2001. The application was delayed when the company halted clinical trials worldwide after reports of kidney damage and muscle weakness (an early signal for rhabdomyolysis) in clinical trials in patients taking 80 milligrams of the drug per day and the FDA asked AstraZeneca for more data. The company stopped development of the 80 milligram dose because of the safety problems, and rosuvastatin will only be sold in 5, 10, 20, and 40 milligram strengths. Because of safety concerns there will be special restrictions on the distribution of the 40 milligram strength that will be discussed further below.

The Health Research Group made a formal presentation before the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee on July 9, 2003 strongly opposing the approval of rosuvastatin because of its unique kidney toxicity. We were also seriously concerned because of seven cases of rhabdomyolysis that were common enough to have shown up in the pre-approval clinical trials of rosuvastatin in which the 80 milligram dose was used. Not one case of rhabdomyolysis appeared in any of the pre-approval studies of the previously approved statins, including cerivastatin, which was removed from the market because of rhabdomyolysis.

As we said in our testimony before the advisory committee, a major factor that distinguishes rosuvastatin from the other five statins remaining on the market is the drug's potential to cause kidney toxicity. In the FDA review documents posted on the agency's web site before the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee it was noted "In contrast to currently approved statins, rosuvastatin was also associated with renal [kidney] findings not previously reported with other statins."

A number of patients taking primarily the 80 and 40 milligram doses of rosuvastatin had an increased frequency of persistent protein in the urine (proteinuria) and blood in the urine (hematuria), that in some subjects was also associated with another abnormal test result that is an early signal for kidney toxicity known as the serum creatinine level. The FDA documents pointed out that there were two cases of kidney failure and one case of kidney insufficiency with 80 milligrams of rosuvastatin in which these patients also had experienced both protein and blood in the urine.

An FDA medical officer reviewing rosuvastatin had sobering comments on the cases of kidney problems with the drug:

These three cases of renal insufficiency of unknown etiology are of concern because they present with a clinical pattern, which is similar to the renal disease seen with rosuvastatin in these clinical trials. There is mild proteinuria associated with hematuria and the suggestion of tubular inflammation or necrosis [death of cells]. All cases occurred at the 80 mg dose which was also associated with the greatest number of patients with abnormal renal findings in these clinical trials. Proteinuria and hematuria could be potentially managed with regular urinalysis screening. However, if they are the signals for the potential progression to renal failure in a small number of patients, this may represent an unacceptable risk since currently approved statins do not have similar renal effects.

AstraZeneca attempted to "spin" the drug's potential for causing elevated protein levels in the urine by claiming that it was due to a previously unobserved effect of the statin family of drugs. However, the research submitted by AstraZeneca to the FDA did not show a similar degree urine protein elevation with any of the other statins.

The Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee recommended that kidney monitoring be required for patients taking 40 milligrams of rosuvastatin per day. The FDA failed to take this advice, rather, the agency approved this puzzling statement in the Laboratory Tests section of the drug's professional product labeling or package insert:

In the rosuvastatin clinical trial program, dipstick-positive proteinuria and microscopic hematuria were observed among rosuvastatin treated patients, predominantly in patients dosed above the recommended dose range (i.e., 80 mg). However, this finding was more frequent in patients taking rosuvastatin 40 mg, when compared to lower doses of rosuvastatin or comparator statins, though it was generally transient and was not associated with worsening renal function. Although the clinical significance of this finding is unknown, a dose reduction should be considered for patients on rosuvastatin 40 mg therapy with unexplained persistent proteinuria during routine urinalysis testing.

The problem with this statement is that it is very unlikely that the average patient would routinely receive urine testing for protein. National guidelines only recommend the periodic urine testing of people without symptoms who have diabetes or for pregnant women. At a minimum the FDA should have required routine urine testing for all dosages of rosuvastatin.

Any elevation of protein in the urine beyond a trace is abnormal and is a possible signal of more serious kidney problems, even more so if there is also blood in the urine.

A popular buzz word frequently used by the FDA these days is Risk Management B assessing public health risks, analyzing methods for reducing them, and taking appropriate action. The FDA's Risk Management strategy for the safety problems associated rosuvastatin can hardly be called "appropriate." The 40 milligram tablet will not be stocked in retail pharmacies and the pharmacy would need to go through a wholesaler to obtain the 40 milligram tablets. This would take an extra day before the tablets arrived at the pharmacy. Somehow the FDA believes that "These steps will help to ensure that the 40-mg dose is available only to patients who truly need this dose." To easily beat this restriction, there is nothing to prevent a physician from writing a prescription for 20 milligram tablets and instructing the patient to take two tablets of rosuvastatin daily.

Clearly, the only "appropriate" and safe Risk Management strategy for rosuvastatin would have been not to have approved the drug in the first place.

Rosuvastatin's professional labeling also carries warnings about elevated liver enzymes, an early signal for possible liver toxicity, and muscle pain and weakness that may be precursors to rhabdomyolysis. These warnings appear in the labeling for all statin drugs:

It is recommended that liver function tests be performed before and at 12 weeks following both the initiation of therapy and any elevation of dose, and periodically (e.g., semiannually) thereafter.

Rare cases of rhabdomyolysis with acute renal failure secondary to myoglobinuria [a protein from muscle] have been reported with rosuvastatin and with other drugs in this class.

The professional product labeling goes on to instruct physicians to tell patients "... to promptly report unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever."

The risk of muscle damage leading to rhabdomyolysis during treatment with rosuvastatin may be increased when it is used together with other cholesterol lowering drugs and cyclosporine (NEORAL, SANDIMMUNE), a drug used after transplantation to prevent organ rejection.

A single rosuvastatin dose given to healthy volunteers on the cholesterol lowering drug gemfibrozil (LOPID) resulted in a significant increase in the amount of rosuvastatin in the body. There is a bold statement in the Warnings section of rosuvastatin's labeling stating that "Combination therapy with rosuvastatin and gemfibrozil should generally be avoided." The risk of muscle problems possibly leading to rhabdomyolysis is also increased when niacin is used to lower cholesterol in combination with rosuvastatin.

When rosuvastatin was given together with cyclosporine in heart transplant patients, the amount of rosuvastatin increased significantly in the blood compared with healthy volunteers. This increase is considered to be clinically significant.

When rosuvastatin was given to patients on stable warfarin (COUMADIN) treatment to prevent blood clots, there was a clinically significant rise in the International Normalized Ratio (INR), the laboratory test used to monitor warfarin therapy that can increase the risk of bleeding.

A number of factors went into our decision to list rosuvastatin as a DO NOT USE drug:

1. Rosuvastatin joins atorvastatin and fluvastatin as the statins that have not demonstrated a health benefit to the patients that use them in terms of reducing the serious cardiovascular consequences of high cholesterol such as a first or second heart attack or stroke. Lovastatin, pravastatin, and simvastatin have shown such benefits to patients in addition to their cholesterol lowering properties and this is reflected in the professional product labels and advertising for these drugs.

The only reliable, valid indicator that consumers can use that a drug has a demonstrated health benefit is if that information is contained in the drug's FDA approved product labeling. Advertising claims for drugs can not be made unless research has been submitted to and approved by the FDA that the drug will actually do what a manufacturer claims it will do.

2. Rosuvastatin causes abnormal elevations in urine protein and blood that are signals for serious kidney toxicity; other statins are not associated with this risk of kidney toxicity.

3. Rosuvastatin is the only statin that has shown life-threatening rhabdomyolysis in pre-approval clinical trials.

In summary, rosuvastatin has no proven health benefit as discussed above, it can cause potentially serious kidney toxicity that is not seen with the other statins, it is the only statin that caused rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening adverse drug reaction, in pre-approval clinical trials, and there are already three statins on the market that are safer than rosuvastatin and have demonstrated a health benefit to patients.

What You Can Do

There is no medical reason for you to be taking rosuvastatin when there are three safer and more effective statins, in terms of reducing cardiovascular events, on the market.

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Bush by numbers: Four years of double standards

September 4th, 2004 4:13 pm
Bush by numbers: Four years of double standards

By Graydon Carter / Independent

1 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security issued between 20 January 2001 and 10 September 2001 that mentioned al-Qa'ida.

104 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein.

101 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned missile defence.

65 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned weapons of mass destruction.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden in his three State of the Union addresses.

73 Number of times that Bush mentioned terrorism or terrorists in his three State of the Union addresses.

83 Number of times Bush mentioned Saddam, Iraq, or regime (as in change) in his three State of the Union addresses.

$1m Estimated value of a painting the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, received from Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and Bush family friend.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Saudi Arabia in his three State of the Union addresses.

1,700 Percentage increase between 2001 and 2002 of Saudi Arabian spending on public relations in the United States.

79 Percentage of the 11 September hijackers who came from Saudi Arabia.

3 Number of 11 September hijackers whose entry visas came through special US-Saudi "Visa Express" programme.

140 Number of Saudis, including members of the Bin Laden family, evacuated from United States almost immediately after 11 September.

14 Number of Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) agents assigned to track down 1,200 known illegal immigrants in the United States from countries where al-Qa'ida is active.

$3m Amount the White House was willing to grant the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 11 September attacks.

$0 Amount approved by George Bush to hire more INS special agents.

$10m Amount Bush cut from the INS's existing terrorism budget.

$50m Amount granted to the commission that looked into the Columbia space shuttle crash.

$5m Amount a 1996 federal commission was given to study legalised gambling.

7 Number of Arabic linguists fired by the US army between mid-August and mid-October 2002 for being gay.

George Bush: Military man

1972 Year that Bush walked away from his pilot duties in the Texas National Guard, Nearly two years before his six-year obligation was up.

$3,500 Reward a group of veterans offered in 2000 for anyone who could confirm Bush's Alabama guard service.

600-700 Number of guardsmen who were in Bush's unit during that period.

0 Number of guardsmen from that period who came forward with information about Bush's guard service.

0 Number of minutes that President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, the assistant Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, the former chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, and the White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove ­ the main proponents of the war in Iraq ­served in combat (combined).

0 Number of principal civilian or Pentagon staff members who planned the war who have immediate family members serving in uniform in Iraq.

8 Number of members of the US Senate and House of Representatives who have a child serving in the military.

10 Number of days that the Pentagon spent investigating a soldier who had called the President "a joke" in a letter to the editor of a Newspaper.

46 Percentage increase in sales between 2001 and 2002 of GI Joe figures (children's toys).

Ambitious warrior

2 Number of Nations that George Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into office.

130 Approximate Number of countries (out of a total of 191 recognised by the United Nations) with a US military presence.

43 Percentage of the entire world's military spending that the US spends on defence. (That was in 2002, the year before the invasion of Iraq.)

$401.3bn Proposed military budget for 2004.

Saviour of Iraq

1983 The year in which Donald Rumsfeld, Ronald Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East, gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs as a gift.

2.5 Number of hours after Rumsfeld learnt that Osama bin Laden was a suspect in the 11 September attacks that he brought up reasons to "hit" Iraq.

237 Minimum number of misleading statements on Iraq made by top Bush administration officials between 2002 and January 2004, according to the California Representative Henry Waxman.

10m Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets on 21 February 2003, in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, the largest simultaneous protest in world history.

$2bn Estimated monthly cost of US military presence in Iraq projected by the White House in April 2003.

$4bn Actual monthly cost of the US military presence in Iraq according to Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld in 2004.

$15m Amount of a contract awarded to an American firm to build a cement factory in Iraq.

$80,000 Amount an Iraqi firm spent (using Saddam's confiscated funds) to build the same factory, after delays prevented the American firm from starting it.

2000 Year that Cheney said his policy as CEO of Halliburton oil services company was "we wouldn't do anything in Iraq".

$4.7bn Total value of contracts awarded to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan.

$680m Estimated value of Iraq reconstruction contracts awarded to Bechtel.

$2.8bn Value of Bechtel Corp contracts in Iraq.

$120bn Amount the war and its aftermath are projected to cost for the 2004 fiscal year.

35 Number of countries to which the United States suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court.

92 Percentage of Iraq's urban areas with access to potable water in late 2002.

60 Percentage of Iraq's urban areas with access to potable water in late 2003.

55 Percentage of the Iraqi workforce who were unemployed before the war.

80 Percentage of the Iraqi workforce who are unemployed a Year after the war.

0 Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender in May 1945.

37 Death toll of US soldiers in Iraq in May 2003, the month combat operations "officially" ended.

0 Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has permitted to be photographed.

0 Number of memorial services for the returned dead that Bush has attended since the beginning of the war.

A soldier's best friend

40,000 Number of soldiers in Iraq seven months after start of the war still without Interceptor vests, designed to stop a round from an AK-47.

$60m Estimated cost of outfitting those 40,000 soldiers with Interceptor vests.

62 Percentage of gas masks that army investigators discovered did Not work properly in autumn 2002.

90 Percentage of detectors which give early warning of a biological weapons attack found to be defective.

87 Percentage of Humvees in Iraq not equipped with armour capable of stopping AK-47 rounds and protecting against roadside bombs and landmines at the end of 2003.

Making the country safer

$3.29 Average amount allocated per person Nationwide in the first round of homeland security grants.

$94.40 Amount allocated per person for homeland security in American Samoa.

$36 Amount allocated per person for homeland security in Wyoming, Vice-President Cheney's home state.

$17 Amount allocated per person in New York state.

$5.87 Amount allocated per person in New York City.

$77.92 Amount allocated per person in New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University, Bush's alma mater.

76 Percentage of 215 cities surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors in early 2004 that had yet to receive a dime in federal homeland security assistance for their first-response units.

5 Number of major US airports at the beginning of 2004 that the Transportation Security Administration admitted were Not fully screening baggage electronically.

22,600 Number of planes carrying unscreened cargo that fly into New York each month.

5 Estimated Percentage of US air cargo that is screened, including cargo transported on passenger planes.

95 Percentage of foreign goods that arrive in the United States by sea.

2 Percentage of those goods subjected to thorough inspection.

$5.5bn Estimated cost to secure fully US ports over the Next decade.

$0 Amount Bush allocated for port security in 2003.

$46m Amount the Bush administration has budgeted for port security in 2005.

15,000 Number of major chemical facilities in the United States.

100 Number of US chemical plants where a terrorist act could endanger the lives of more than one million people.

0 Number of new drugs or vaccines against "priority pathogens" listed by the Centres for Disease Control that have been developed and introduced since 11 September 2001.

Giving a hand up to the advantaged

$10.9m Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person cabinet.

75 Percentage of Americans unaffected by Bush's sweeping 2003 cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$42,000 Average savings members of Bush's cabinet received in 2003 as a result of cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

10 Number of fellow members from the Yale secret society Skull and Bones that Bush has named to important positions (including the Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum Jr. and SEC chief Bill Donaldson).

79 Number of Bush's initial 189 appointees who also served in his father's administration.

A man with a lot of friends

$113m Amount of total hard money the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign received, a record.

$11.5m Amount of hard money raised through the Pioneer programme, the controversial fund-raising process created for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. (Participants pledged to raise at least $100,000 by bundling together cheques of up to $1,000 from friends and family. Pioneers were assigned numbers, which were included on all cheques, enabling the campaign to keep track of who raised how much.)

George Bush: Money manager

4.7m Number of bankruptcies that were declared during Bush's first three years in office.

2002 The worst year for major markets since the recession of the 1970s.

$489bn The US trade deficit in 2003, the worst in history for a single year.

$5.6tr Projected national surplus forecast by the end of the decade when Bush took office in 2001.

$7.22tr US national debt by mid-2004.

George Bush: Tax cutter

87 Percentage of American families in April 2004 who say they have felt no benefit from Bush's tax cuts.

39 Percentage of tax cuts that will go to the top 1 per cent of American families when fully phased in.

49 Percentage of Americans in April 2004 who found that their taxes had actually gone up since Bush took office.

88 Percentage of American families who will save less than $100 on their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$30,858 Amount Bush himself saved in taxes in 2003.

Employment tsar

9.3m Number of US unemployed in April 2004.

2.3m Number of Americans who lost their jobs during first three Years of the Bush administration.

22m Number of jobs gained during Clinton's eight years in office.

Friend of the poor

34.6m Number of Americans living below the poverty line (1 in 8 of the population).

6.8m Number of people in the workforce but still classified as poor.

35m Number of Americans that the government defines as "food insecure," in other words, hungry.

$300m Amount cut from the federal programme that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes.

40 Percentage of wealth in the United States held by the richest 1 per cent of the population.

18 Percentage of wealth in Britain held by the richest 1e per cent of the population.

George Bush And his special friend

$60bn Loss to Enron stockholders, following the largest bankruptcy in US history.

$205m Amount Enron CEO Kenneth Lay earned from stock option profits over a four-year period.

$101m Amount Lay made from selling his Enron shares just before the company went bankrupt.

$59,339 Amount the Bush campaign reimbursed Enron for 14 trips on its corporate jet during the 2000 campaign.

30 Length of time in months between Enron's collapse and Lay (whom the President called "Kenny Boy") still not being charged with a crime.

George Bush: Lawman

15 Average number of minutes Bush spent reviewing capital punishment cases while governor of Texas.

46 Percentage of Republican federal judges when Bush came to office.

57 Percentage of Republican federal judges after three years of the Bush administration.

33 Percentage of the $15bn Bush pledged to fight Aids in Africa that must go to abstinence-only programmes.

The Civil libertarian

680 Number of suspected al-Qa'ida members that the United States admits are detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

42 Number of nationalities of those detainees at Guantanamo.

22 Number of hours prisoners were handcuffed, shackled, and made to wear surgical masks, earmuffs, and blindfolds during their flight to Guantanamo.

32 Number of confirmed suicide attempts by Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

24 Number of prisoners in mid-2003 being monitored by psychiatrists in Guantanamo's new mental ward.

A health-conscious president

43.6m Number of Americans without health insurance by the end of 2002 (more than 15 per cent of the population).

2.4m Number of Americans who lost their health insurance during Bush's first year in office.


$44m Amount the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign and the Republican National Committee received in contributions from the fossil fuel, chemical, timber, and mining industries.

200 Number of regulation rollbacks downgrading or weakening environmental laws in Bush's first three years in office.

31 Number of Bush administration appointees who are alumni of the energy industry (includes four cabinet secretaries, the six most powerful White House officials, and more than 20 other high-level appointees).

50 Approximate number of policy changes and regulation rollbacks injurious to the environment that have been announced by the Bush administration on Fridays after 5pm, a time that makes it all but impossible for news organisations to relay the information to the widest possible audience.

50 Percentage decline in Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions against polluters under Bush's watch.

34 Percentage decline in criminal penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.

50 Percentage decline in civil penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.

$6.1m Amount the EPA historically valued each human life when conducting economic analyses of proposed regulations.

$3.7m Amount the EPA valued each human life when conducting analyses of proposed regulations during the Bush administration.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned global warming, clean air, clean water, pollution or environment in his 2004 State of the Union speech. His father was the last president to go through an entire State of the Union address without mentioning the environment.

1 Number of paragraphs devoted to global warming in the EPA's 600-page "Draft Report on the Environment" presented in 2003.

68 Number of days after taking office that Bush decided Not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases by roughly 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. The United States was to cut its level by 7 per cent.

1 The rank of the United States worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

25 Percentage of overall worldwide carbon dioxide emissions the United States is responsible for.

53 Number of days after taking office that Bush reneged on his campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

14 Percentage carbon dioxide emissions will increase over the next 10 years under Bush's own global-warming plan (an increase of 30 per cent above their 1990 levels).

408 Number of species that could be extinct by 2050 if the global-warming trend continues.

5 Number of years the Bush administration said in 2003 that global warming must be further studied before substantive action could be taken.

62 Number of members of Cheney's 63-person Energy Task Force with ties to corporate energy interests.

0 Number of environmentalists asked to attend Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings.

6 Number of months before 11 September that Cheney's Energy Task Force investigated Iraq's oil reserves.

2 Percentage of the world's population that is British.

2 Percentage of the world's oil used by Britain.

5 Percentage of the world's population that is American.

25 Percentage of the world's oil used by America.

63 Percentage of oil the United States imported in 2003, a record high.

24,000 Estimated number of premature deaths that will occur under Bush's Clear Skies initiative.

300 Number of Clean Water Act violations by the mountaintop-mining industry in 2003.

750,000 Tons of toxic waste the US military, the world's biggest polluter, generates around the world each Year.

$3.8bn Amount in the Superfund trust fund for toxic site clean-ups in 1995, the Year "polluter pays" fees expired.

$0m Amount of uncommitted dollars in the Superfund trust fund for toxic site clean-ups in 2003.

270 Estimated number of court decisions citing federal Negligence in endangered-species protection that remained unheeded during the first year of the Bush administration.

100 Percentage of those decisions that Bush then decided to allow the government to ignore indefinitely.

68.4 Average Number of species added to the Endangered and Threatened Species list each year between 1991 and 2000.

0 Number of endangered species voluntarily added by the Bush administration since taking office.

50 Percentage of screened workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from long-term health problems, almost half of whom don't have health insurance.

78 Percentage of workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from lung ailments.

88 Percentage of workers at Ground Zero who Now suffer from ear, nose, or throat problems.

22 Asbestos levels at Ground Zero were 22 times higher than the levels in Libby, Montana, where the W R Grace mine produced one of the worst Superfund disasters in US history.

Image booster for the US

2,500 Number of public-diplomacy officers employed by the State Department to further the image of the US abroad in 1991.

1,200 Number of public-diplomacy officers employed by the State Department to further US image abroad in 2004.

4 Rank of the United States among countries considered to be the greatest threats to world peace according to a 2003 Pew Global Attitudes study (Israel, Iran, and North Korea were considered more dangerous; Iraq was considered less dangerous).

$66bn Amount the United States spent on international aid and diplomacy in 1949.

$23.8bn Amount the United States spent on international aid and diplomacy in 2002.

85 Percentage of Indonesians who had an unfavourable image of the United States in 2003.

Second-party endorsements

90 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 26 September 2001.

67 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 26 September 2002.

54 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 30 September, 2003.

50 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 15 October 2003.

49 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president in May 2004.

More like the French than he would care to admit

28 Number of vacation days Bush took in August 2003, the second-longest vacation of any president in US history. (Record holder Richard Nixon.)

13 Number of vacation days the average American receives each Year.

28 Number of vacation days Bush took in August 2001, the month he received a 6 August Presidential Daily Briefing headed "Osama bin Laden Determined to Strike US Targets."

500 Number of days Bush has spent all or part of his time away from the White House at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, his parents' retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, or Camp David as of 1 April 2004.

No fool when it comes to the press

11 Number of press conferences during his first three Years in office in which Bush referred to questions as being "trick" ones.

Factors in his favour

3 Number of companies that control the US voting technology market.

52 Percentage of votes cast during the 2002 midterm elections that were recorded by Election Systems & Software, the largest voting-technology firm, a big Republican donor.

29 Percentage of votes that will be cast via computer voting machines that don't produce a paper record.

17 On 17 November 2001, The Economist printed a correction for having said George Bush was properly elected in 2000.

$113m Amount raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, the most in American electoral history.

$185m Amount raised by the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign, to the end of March 2004.

$200m Amount that the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign expects to raise by November 2004.

268 Number of Bush-Cheney fund-raisers who had earned Pioneer status (by raising $100,000 each) as of March 2004.

187 Number of Bush-Cheney fund-raisers who had earned Ranger status (by raising $200,000 each) as of March 2004.

$64.2m The Amount Pioneers and Rangers had raised for Bush-Cheney as of March 2004.

85 Percentage of Americans who can't Name the Chief Justice of the United States.

69 Percentage of Americans who believed the White House's claims in September 2003 that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 11 September attacks.

34 Percentage of Americans who believed in June 2003 that Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction" had been found.

22 Percentage of Americans who believed in May 2003 that Saddam had used his WMDs on US forces.

85 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find Afghanistan, Iraq, or Israel on a map.

30 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find the Pacific Ocean on a map.

75 Percentage of American young adults who don't know the population of the United States.

53 Percentage of Canadian young adults who don't know the population of the United States.

11 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find the United States on a map.

30 Percentage of Americans who believe that "politics and government are too complicated to understand."

Another factor in his favour

70m Estimated number of Americans who describe themselves as Evangelicals who accept Jesus Christ as their personal saviour and who interpret the Bible as the direct word of God.

23m Number of Evangelicals who voted for Bush in 2000.

50m Number of voters in total who voted for Bush in 2000.

46 Percentage of voters who describe themselves as born-again Christians.

5 Number of states that do not use the word "evolution" in public school science courses.

This is an edited extract from "What We've Lost", by Graydon Carter, published by Little Brown on 9 September

Don't send more kids to die - by Michael Moore

September 2nd, 2004 12:00 am
Don't send more kids to die - by Michael Moore

By Michael Moore / USA Today

NEW YORK — Tonight, it's show time for George W. Bush, and I can't wait to hear what he has to tell the Republican convention.

It has been a pretty thrilling week so far, my favorite moment by far being the rebellious Bush twins who, in just a few short minutes, delivered on their promise to issue "payback" to their parents and all authority in general. (Related stories: Moore index page)

They revealed their parents' pet name for each other: "Bushie" or "Bushy" — no spelling was provided. They seemed to have embarrassed their grandmother with a joke about the TV show Sex and the City as a place to have sex. And they claimed to have seen their boogieing parents "shake it like a Polaroid picture." That's one picture that took the rest of the night for me to shake out of my head.

Nonetheless, I loved the Bush daughters: They were funny, sassy and free spirits. Back in 1999, they told their father in no uncertain terms that they did not want him to run for president. They wanted their dad at home, they wanted their privacy, and they wanted to go to college in peace. He chose to ignore their pleas — and I guess Tuesday night was their way of saying, "Thanks, Dad."

And thank him they should. He and Laura have obviously done a good job raising two bright, independent women. He made their privacy a top priority and did what he could to protect them. They clearly love their parents and, when you see that happen, you know the Bushes did something right in their home. For that, they should be commended.

Other fathers and mothers who loved their daughters and sons across America can no longer celebrate with them. That's because their children are dead on the streets and roads of Iraq, sent there by Mr. Bush to "defend" America.

This week, in an appearance leading up to his arrival here Wednesday night, Bush acknowledged he had miscalculated what would happen in Iraq after he invaded it. He had thought it was going to be much easier. It turned out to be much, much worse.

That must be some comfort to the parents of nearly 1,000 brave soldiers now dead because of his "miscalculation." If I made a miscalculation and ran over a child on the street, what do you think would happen to me? Do you think the cops would simply say, "Hey, Mr. Moore, you did your best driving down this street, you made a miscalculation, the kid is dead, but you are trying to save the world, so be on your way?" Something tells me this is not what would happen. What I don't get is that Mr. Bush makes his mistake and thinks he has a right to continue in his job.

Let's hope he isn't getting his inspiration from Richard Nixon, the same man Arnold Schwarzenegger hailed Tuesday night as his reason for becoming a Republican. You have to give Arnold an award for guts. He must be the first Republican convention speaker to mention Nixon since he resigned. Nixon snuck into office in 1968 with his secret plan to end the Vietnam War. Another miscalculation: The war continued for years, and thousands more died.

I would love to hear Bush apologize tonight to the parents and loved ones of those who have died in Iraq. I would like to hear him say he knows what it means to love your children and that he, in good conscience, cannot send any more children to their deaths.

I would like to hear him say tonight, "I'm sorry. There never were weapons of mass destruction and there never was a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. There was no imminent threat, our lives were not in danger, no missiles were going to hit Cleveland. Because of our desire to get our hands on the second largest supply of oil in the world, we sacrificed a thousand of your sons and daughters. For this, we are greatly sorry."

I guess a boy can dream.

The other thing I would like to hear tonight is: Why haven't you caught Osama bin Laden? You've had three years to find him. The man killed nearly 3,000 people here on our soil.

Maybe Bush has no worse explanation than he just hasn't been able to do it. Well, if your town's dogcatcher couldn't catch a wild dog that has been on the loose biting people for three years, what would be the dogcatcher's chances for re-election? Not good.

And so it should be for Bush.

Unless he has the answers tonight. Perhaps he has a reason or can accept responsibility for his actions and promise to send no one else's child off to die for a cause that has nothing to do with the defense of this country.

If he takes a moment to look into his daughters' eyes tonight, he will know the answer and give the greatest speech of his life.

Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

August 29th, 2004 9:38 pm
Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

by John Gray

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

Greg Palast on the Overtime Scandal

The Grinch That Stole Labor Day
By Greg Palast
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 06 September 2004

In celebration of the working person's holiday, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao has announced the Bush Administration's plan to end the 60-year-old law which requires employers to pay time-and-a-half for overtime.

I'm sure you already knew that - if you happened to have run across page 15,576 of last year's Federal Register.

According to the Register, where the Bush Administration likes to place its little gifts to major campaign donors, 2.7 million workers will lose their overtime pay for a "benefit" of $1.53 billion. I put "benefit" in quotes because, in the official cost-benefit analysis issued by Bush's Labor Department, the amount employers will now be able to slice out of workers' pockets is tallied on the plus side of the rules change.

President Bush announced in his convention acceptance speech this week that he was changing overtime rules to give workers "comp time" off instead of pay. He forgot to mention that a couple of days before, on August 23, his Labor Department had already put in half the plan - eliminating overtime pay for millions - while failing to put into the regs one word about comp time. In the pre-September 11 days, we used to call that, "lying."

Nevertheless, workers getting their pay snipped shouldn't complain, because they will all be receiving promotions. These employees will be re-classified as managers exempt from the law. The change is promoted by the National Council of Chain Restaurants. You've met these 'managers' - they're the ones in the beanies and aprons whose management decisions are, "Hold the lettuce on that."

My favorite of Chao's little amendments would re-classify as "exempt professionals" anyone who learned their skill in the military. In other words, thousands of veterans will now lose overtime pay. I just can't understand why Bush didn't announce that one when he landed on the aircraft carrier.

Choice Number Four: Break the Law
Now I should say that, according to Chao's press office, the changes will actually extend overtime benefits to 1.3 million burger flippin' managers. How does that square with the billion dollar "benefit" to business owners? Simple: The Chao hounds at the Labor Department suggest that employers cut wages so that, added to the new "overtime" pay, the employees won't actually take home a dime more.

I can hear the moaners and bleeding hearts saying this sounds like the Labor Department is telling Big Business how to evade the law. Yep, that's what the Department is doing. Right there on page 15,576 of the Federal Register it says,

"Affected employers would have four choices concerning potential payroll costs: ... (4) converting salaried employees' basis of pay to an hourly rate that result in virtually no changes to the total compensation paid those workers."

And in case some employer is dense as a president and doesn't get the hint, Comrade Chao repeats, "...The fourth choice above results in virtually no (or only a minimal) increase in labor costs."

For decades the courts have thrown the book at cheapskate bosses who chisel workers out of legal overtime by cutting base pay this way... but now they'll have a new defense: Bush made me do it.

But then, there likely will not be any cases against employers anyway since Chao herself is supposedly the labor cop whose job it is to stop paycheck theft. She's well qualified for that job. Her resume reads, "Married to Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky." I called her press office to ask if she qualifies for overtime, but they'd left the office early.

And there is good news for our sporting President. Word from the White House is he'll be golfing on the Labor Day weekend. Under Chao's rules he need not worry if he wants to replay that hole. "Exempt professionals" who cannot earn overtime - once defined as doctors, lawyers and those with specialized college degrees - will now include anyone who provides skilled advice... like caddies ("You might try the other end of the club, Mr. President").

Sign up for Greg Palast's reports at gregpalast.com.


Joe Cassidy ... The New Yorker Bush Tax Code

Most people already know that Bush's tax cuts favored the rich, but the size of the giveaway was startling. Based on figures contained in a recent study from the Congressional Budget Office, it now appears that about two-thirds of the benefits went to households in the top fifth of the income distribution, and about one third went to households in the top one-hundredth of the distribution. To put it another way, families earning $1.2 million a year-that is, the richest one per cent in the country-received a tax break of roughly $78,500. Families earning $57,000 a year-middle-income families-got a tax cut of about $1,100.

Even these numbers, though, do not convey the full ambition of the Republicans' agenda, which potentially involves a historic restructuring of the American system of government. Roughly two-thirds of taxable income is paid to workers in the form of wages and benefits. The other third goes to reward capital, or accumulated savings, in the form of corporate profits, dividends, and interest payments. If Bush's economic agenda was fully enacted, the vast bulk of these payments wouldn't be taxed at all, and labor would end up shouldering practically the entire burden of financing the federal government. In a new book, "Neoconomy: George Bush's Revolutionary Gamble with America's Future," Daniel Altman, a former economics reporter for the Times and The Economist, describes what such a system might look like. "The fortunate and growing minority who managed to receive all their income from stocks, bonds and other securities would pay nothing-not a dime-for America's cancer research, its international diplomacy, its military deterrent, the maintenance of the interstate highway system, the space program or almost anything else the federal government did. . . . Broadly speaking, that fortunate minority would be free-riders."

A return to the Victorian world of renters and laborers may seem like an outlandish scenario, but a generation ago it would have been difficult to imagine a White House, even a Republican one, phasing out the inheritance tax, which affects only a tiny minority of the richest families, and slashing the taxes on dividends and capital gains, which few middle-class families pay, either. The people who devised these policies simply do not accept the old rules. Glenn Hubbard, for instance, told me that the progressive income tax "discourages entrepreneurship and risk-taking. We have to trade off our interest in fairness with those costs. I, like many conservative economists, care a lot about progressivity at the bottom. President Bush, for example, made the Earned Income Tax Credit"-a handout to low-income families-"more generous. But progressivity at the top? I don't know. That just sounds like envy to me."

Language like this won't figure prominently at the Convention this week, at least from the podium, but should Bush win in November it is sure to reappear, as the conservative institutes and right-wing lobbying groups continue to promote their agenda, which now includes cutting the dividends tax and the capital-gains tax to zero, getting rid of the corporate income tax, and halving the size of federal spending, from twenty per cent of G.D.P. to ten per cent. "Here's the bottom line of it," Stephen Moore said. "The Republican Party is now a supply-side party. It's a tax-cut party, thanks to people like Grover Norquist and the Club for Growth. We've pushed it in that direction. It has evolved over the past forty years from being a party of Eisenhower balanced-budget Republicans into a party of Reaganite pro-growth advocates.

"That strategy is not just better economically; it also has political benefits, because, in my opinion, nobody lost an election in the past twenty years because of budget deficits. You couldn't point to a single congressional race where a candidate lost because of a big budget deficit. People might say in the polls, 'Oh, yes, I'm very concerned about budget deficits.' But does it change people's voting patterns? No."