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
Percentage of Americans without health insurance
Average high school graduation rate
U.S. funding for global HIV/AIDS
Average number of endangered species listed per year
Average number of Superfund clean-ups completed per year
Percentage of federal contracts with open competition
FDA letters citing violations of pharmaceutical ad rules
Illegal immigrants deported
FBI agents investigating white-collar crimes
Number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests
Number of personnel who process FOIA requests