Last night, I was watching a movie about George W Bush titled "W" directed by Oliver Stone. I am not sure how much of it was based on fact but it was entertaining to say the least.
One particular scene in it got me thinking though. Other than the War on Terrorism, particularly the invasion and occupation of Iraq, what will end up being Bush's legacy in our nation's history?
So I decided to do a little bit of reading and looking into what legislation was implemented while he was in office, which ones he supported and what not. Here is what I found:
The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act
This legislation was simple a law that enacted some huge tax cuts. Probably the biggest in our nation's history. This legislation was signed and implemented almost immediately after Bush took office.
I think this was a good piece of legislation and in general if it is looked at by itself it had an overall positive impact on the country in my opinion.
This controversial act in a nutshell allowed law enforcement agencies to monitor private telephone calls, emails and other records in an effort to prevent and intercept terrorists in our country. It also made it easier for intelligence agencies to gather information inside the United States.
While I agree with the legislation in theory, I think in practice it went overboard. I think it gave too much power to those law enforcement agencies. That's just my opinion though.
No Child Left Behind Act
This legislation reauthorized several federal programs in an effort to improve the performance of primary and secondary schools by increasing standards. It also provided more flexibility for parents in choosing their children's schools.
Another piece of legislation that I approve of in theory however I think education is an issue better left to the states. I also do not think it provided enough flexibility in choosing schools.
Campaign Reform Act
The major changes in this legislation were reforming campaign finance reform.
Nothing special here. I approve of the bill. Probably could have gone further but it was a good start.
This business reform law set standards for the regulation public company boards, management and accounting firms.
I am actually a little bit surprised that Bush approved of this. I really honestly thought he was pro-big business all the way. Shows how much I know about him. In any case, I did not dig very deep into this bill because it was terribly confusing to me so I don’t have any real logical comments about it.
Homeland Security Act
This Act created the department known as the Department of Homeland Security.
Not a big fan myself. Not a big fan of the government creating new departments with new bureaucracy. I think an existing agency could have done the same job this one does.
This was a law designed specifically for reform in the laws toward sexual offenses on minors. Its biggest provision was that it allowed for mandatory life sentences for child molesters.
I’m all for that. Put them all in jail!
Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act
As the title suggests, this law prohibits late term abortions. This act by the way was upheld by the Supreme Court in a decision on the Gonzalez v Carhart case.
In my own mind, this piece of legislation is going to be one of President Bush’s lasting legacies. I think it took great courage to sign this bill into law.
Medicare Improvement and Modernization Act
This legislation overhauled Medicare by adding provisions for prescription drug benefits.
I’m okay with this. From what I have read about it the economic impact was minimal.
Unborn Victims of Violence Act
Another one that I think will be a legacy in my mind for Bush. This recognized a fetus as a legal victim for numerous crimes. The only problem I have with it is that for whatever reason it did not define abortion as a crime against a fetus.
Real ID Act
It set federal standards for drivers licenses and state identification cards.
I have no problem with this bill. Overall I think it was a good thing.
Bankruptcy Reform Act
This enacted many changes in federal bankruptcy laws, making it more difficult to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. It affected both consumers and businesses.
This was not a bad law. Over time it seems like a lot of people starting using bankruptcy as a crutch to stop having to pay their bills. Bankruptcy in my opinion lessens the amount of personal responsibility in people.
Energy Policy Act
The legislation provided for tax incentives to businesses that research and manufacture alternate energy sources.
Good act here. Incentives to businesses (rather than penalties) is a good way to get things going in that direction. Heck of a lot better than some sort of cap and trade law.
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Security Act
Further reformed sex offender laws. This organized sex offenders into 3 different tiers based on their threat to society. It also required all of them to register their whereabouts at specific times. Tier 3 sex offenders have to report their whereabouts for the rest of their life.
I support this law as well. There is a very small part of me that says it violates their right to privacy but I get over that really quick when I think about the little kids or women they have violated.
Secure Fence Act
This allowed for 700 miles of fence to be built along the Mexican border in an attempt to curb illegal immigration.
This was a good law too.
So overall, I think the few bad things that Bush did during his presidency (invading Iraq in the 1st place based on questionable intelligence; his abuses of presidential power) unfortunately are going to always overshadow the good things that he did during his presidency in most people’s eyes.
While I think that in most cases (most cases) everything he did, he honestly thought was for the good of the American people, I think in a lot of those cases where the wrong decisions were made he was probably misguided and relied too much on the advise of dishonorable people.