RUSH: This is what you get. I don't know if you've heard this or not, ladies and gentlemen. But John Thain, who was running one of these places out there, Merrill Lynch. (I don't know which one it was. They all run together.) It was learned that he spent $1.2 million redecorating the office, during all of this bailout shenanigan, all the talk about how they're not lending and they're in deep trouble and the country's going to go to hell in a handbasket if we don't get this money pumped into them fast. So everybody's outraged now, everybody is outraged: $1.2 million for a new office; $47,000 for a rug or some such thing. President-select Obama found out about this and had something to say about it this morning at the White House.
OBAMA: Some of the reports that we've seen over the last couple of days, uh, about companies that have received, uh, taxpayer assistance, then going out, uh, and renovating bathrooms or offices or in other ways, not managing those dollars appropriately -- and, uh, I'm looking forward to having conversations with all the leadership here about how even as we move swiftly and aggressively on, uh, the recovery package, we are also starting to put in place the kinds of reform elements, oversight, transparency, accountability, that's going to be required in order for American people to have confidence in what we're doing.
RUSH: Oh, gee. There's so much here that needs to be picked apart, ladies and gentlemen. Now, this is what you get in a command and control economy. This is what you get with central planning. I'm not justifying what these guys in Merrill Lynch did, or wherever it was, you know, $1.2 million to redecorate an office, especially with money that was given to them by the US taxpayers. But I'm probably like another lone wolf on this, given the sorry state of ignorance as to the country's founding and the kind of country we are and how we're structured. But it ain't the job of the president of the United States to decide how these dollars are spent "appropriately," to this degree. He wants to have conversations with the leadership. The leadership was supposed to be the secretary of the Treasury. Am I the only one that remembers?
The TARP bill named one person the czar of all it is, and that's the secretary of the Treasury. I've read it to this audience multiple times. The Treasury of the secretary is the only person authorized by this law to pass out the money and he's got some responsibilities to "ensure the economic prosperity of the American people." There's nothing in this, there's nothing in the law that says how these people have to spend it. If there were, they would be doing it that way. We gave the money away, requiring that they loan it, but they're not lending it because their customers don't have the ability to pay it back. Their customers aren't in the position to start borrowing now. The banks don't want to lend anyway, they want to use the money to shore up their own reserves for whatever reason.
Now, the Treasury secretary is part of the executive branch, but it doesn't say the president has the authority. I guess the president could go in and tell the Treasury secretary what to do in terms of an order, and he could assert control that way, but it's a small step. It's a small step. Once we accept the notion that the president of the United States can dictate to companies with federal money how they decorate their offices or what they do with the money, it's a small step from that to the president dictating to companies who do not get money from the government, how they can build their cars. We're already there with all these green initiatives. This is why we're troubled out there, ladies and gentlemen, over what we see heading down the road.
RUSH: Now, one other thing, too, folks, because this is exactly how class envy works. The Drive-Bys report this story that Merrill Lynch or whoever, spent $1.2 million redecorating an office with federal bailout money, and that money is supposed to go to the banks and supposed to be loaned. Hey, somebody got work out of that money. In fact, that's the kind of work I would call infrastructure work. You remodel your office. You might remodel your house. Infrastructure work. I would say that Merrill Lynch got a head start on the infrastructure repairs that Obama's talking about, and some company or vendor, series of them had to get hired to do the work. So what's wrong with it? By the way, my good friends, how is it any different for a bank to waste money on some executive office and the government wasting money on some bureaucrat's office or bureaucrat's car or bureaucrat's plane? We shouldn't be paying for any of this, either. You want to talk about Merrill Lynch wasting money, fine and dandy, but the federal government's got no business talking about it because they define wasting money.
This is what infuriates me, these holier-than-thou people stand up there, I don't care if they're the president, I don't care if they're in the House or the Senate and they stand up there, the people from the bridge to nowhere, the people who have redundant social program after redundant social program, the people that advertise for new politics to the food stamp program, the people who devised a welfare program that paid poor mothers to have babies without fathers. And we are to sit here and hate Merrill Lynch and the private sector because they're wasting precious federal dollars? Sorry, folks, they may be wasting it, but they are pikers compared to the wasteful spending of the federal government. This is my hope. These are the last people, elected officials, the president on down, these are the last people to tell anybody else how to do their job, they're the last people to tell anybody what to do. I realize they're being given our taxpayer dollars and that sort of establishes a connection. But until somebody up there can show me that they have learned some restraint and that they don't waste trillions of dollars, as opposed to $1.2 million, then I will listen to them.
Now, again, I know that this is something that requires a lot of thought to reach this conclusion, because, see, the natural human reaction is -- and the Drive-Bys see to this -- they do a story on this evil guy at some evil bank. I think it's Merrill Lynch, $1.2 million, and then they itemize it. You know, I watched this. I forget, it was Fox, somebody reported on Fox that of the $1.2 million they spent $15,000 on a commode. Then they said if you went to Walmart how many toilets could you buy for that. I will guarantee you that there is no $15,000 toilet. Not even the Air Force spends that much, they spend $600 bucks for a toilet seat. There is no $15,000 toilet in this office. Do you know that in the higher realms of antiquing, a commode is like a credenza, except it's a little taller and it's on four legs, and it's not quite as long as long, a credenza is shorter. But a commode, this is what the French call some of the most beautiful antiques that they have. I have commodes in my house. I have two of them in my dining room. And not one person has ever said, "Wow, Rush, what's a toilet doing in here?" They have drawers. Go look it up.
So how many people are going to be thinking there's a $15,000 toilet in the CEO's executive suite at Merrill Lynch? There isn't, unless it's plated with gold, and even then it would be tough to spend $15,000. The only people that spend $15,000 on toilets, I'm telling you, is the United States Defense Department, or whoever rented 5,000 Port-A-Potties for the immaculation inauguration. So, you have bad form, bad PR for this to get out, but who are the critics? This is typical. This is the stuff of the French revolution. This is the stuff of class envy. Obama's a smart guy coming out here and saying he's going to see to it that this doesn't happen again, he's going to run the private sector, he's going to make sure these things don't happen -- this is all about getting you to continue to hate and distrust the entire private sector and instead trust a government that you know, by virtue of your eyes, your ears, and your own experiences, is the last institution anybody would go to for lessons on spending discipline.
RUSH: I also might ask, how much is Obama going to spend redecorating the residence in the White House? It's his right, he can of course do it, but we're paying for it. How much is going to be wasted in there?