ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Bush by the Numbers

The final report card for George W. Bush won't be in the mail for another few years. (Nixon's is still being revised -- and, for that matter, Lincoln's.) But with just a few weeks to go before the 43rd president moves back to Texas, it's not too early to measure the impact of his policies across American life.

Bush campaigned on a promise of smaller government, a pledge he kept only in part. He stripped staff members and resources from areas like environmental, health and corporate regulatory enforcement. But the extended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the worst financial crisis in decades swelled the national debt to its highest level in absolute terms, and its highest since the 1950s relative to GDP.

We looked for numbers that meaningfully reflected the outcome of Bush's specific goals, quirks and oversights as they played out in the span of eight years.

Our numbers are by no means comprehensive, and we invite readers to contribute their own by e-mail or by adding a comment to this message board. (Please include your sources.) We will update the list, with credit to readers, as new figures come in.

National Debt on Election Day

2000
$7.1 trillion
2008
$10.6 trillion
Adjusted to 2008 dollars. Source: Treasury Department.

Percentage of Americans without health insurance

2001
14%
2007
15%

Average high school graduation rate

2000-01

71.7%
2007-08

74.4%
2007-08 number is projected. Source: Department of Education

U.S. funding for global HIV/AIDS

2001
$1 billion
2008
$6 billion
Fiscal years. Adjusted to 2008 dollars. Source: President�s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

Average number of endangered species listed per year

1993-2000
65
2001-07
9

Average number of Superfund clean-ups completed per year

1993-2000
76
2001-07
39
Fiscal years. Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Percentage of federal contracts with open competition

2001
44%
2007
33%
Fiscal years. Source: OMBWatch

FDA letters citing violations of pharmaceutical ad rules

2001
71
2007
20
Source: FDA

Illegal immigrants deported

2001
110,000
2008
350,000
Fiscal years. Rounded to the nearest 10,000. Sources: Justice Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and USA Today

FBI agents investigating white-collar crimes

2001
1,722
2008
1,097

Number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests

2000
2.2 million
2007
21.8 million
Fiscal years. Source: Department of Justice

Number of personnel who process FOIA requests

2000

5,378
2007

5,367
Fiscal years. Source: Department of Justice

Unemployment rate

2001
4.7%
2008
6.7%
2008 number is as of November. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pounds of meat and poultry inspected per full-time employee of the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

2001
10.1 million
2007
11.4 million
Fiscal years. Source: White House Office of Management and Budget, FY 2009 and FY 2003 budgets

Percentage of new Army enlistees with a high school diploma or higher

2001
85.4%
2007
70.7%
Fiscal years. Includes only active-duty enlistees. Sources: Department of Defense; National Priorities Project

Days in office the president spent at his ranch

Ronald Reagan
335
George W. Bush
483
Bush's ranch is in Crawford, Tex.; Reagan's was in Santa Barbara, Ca. Bush's number is as of Election Day, 2008. Source: Mark Knoller, CBS News Radio; Associated Press

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