RUSH: Hal in Carrollton, Virginia, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. Mega dittos.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Merry Christmas. It's a privilege to finally get to speak to my professor.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Yeah. I have a question, though, that I don't quite know how to answer. I heard on one of the Sunday talk shows a couple weeks back -- and then I had it repeated to me in a discussion I was having -- that Republicans or conservatives are hypocrites because we're against the big Medicare cuts that are in the current bill that's in the Senate. And, you know, I was kind of blindsided because if conservatives are against big government, and it's breaking the bank, why are we conservatives so angry about the big cuts in the current bill?
RUSH: That happens to be the question of the day. You have called the right person to get the answer.
CALLER: (laughing) I'm glad I did.
RUSH: Now, you're right theoretically. The Republican Party is against big government, the expansion of big government, and turning people into total dependents of the government and wards of the state. However, here we have a political situation that's reared its ugly head. Here is a health care bill with which the Democrats have promise that they're going to insure everybody at lower cost, and yet while they are doing that they're going to cut Medicare by $500 billion. Now, Medicare is the health program for the elderly in our country. If you cut $500 billion out of it, it's going to have a disastrous effect on senior citizens. Senior citizens are the largest voting bloc. Now, the next element of this goes back to the guy that called here earlier who works for the Senate. He talks about the rules of the Senate being sacrosanct and how they're being blown up. There are certain agreements that we have as a society made with people, and one of those agreements, via legislation, is Medicare. So the elderly, knowing that the program is there, have ordered their lives according to that. You can't blame them. Medicare was devised to provide health coverage and health care for the elderly at a point in time when their earnings disperse. It's the same thing with Social Security. So people have been living their lives and planning their lives based on that promise made to them by their government.
RUSH: So here comes this bill that's going to cut $500 billion, and what I hear you saying is that a clean and pure-as-the-wind-driven-snow Republican, conservative, would stand up and say, "I support the cuts."
RUSH: "I support the cuts because we need to reduce the size of government," and it is a tricky thing, but at this point doing that would be breaking a rule. Doing that would be breaking a promise, a commitment you've made to people. In fixing this stuff going forward -- and this is what so many of us had a problem with the Bush administration with the new Medicare entitlement -- is you don't expand it. You reform the system, not expanding Medicare, not expanding Medicaid but ultimately replacing them, knowing it can't be done overnight. But the political component of this is that the Democrat Party is gonna cut $500 billion out of Medicare, after making these promises to the elderly. Politically, that must be known. The elderly must know what's going to happen to them if the Democrats succeed here because we want their opposition to it so that it doesn't succeed. It's a real dilemma. I know exactly what you're talking about.
Go back to the tax cuts of 1986, the last round of tax cuts. Those tax cuts really caused the savings and loan bubble. They caused the S&L crisis and a real estate crisis because the rules of the game were changed. We took the top marginal rate down to 28% in 1986. In exchange, a whole lot of deductions vanished. The deal was: "We're going to take most of the deductions away but it's going to be worth it to you because you're only going to get charged 28% on the last dollar you earn." There were two rates, 15 and 28. For some there was a bubble rate of 31. Well, that was all well and good, but it did affect people in the real estate business who had built condos and other things based on the depreciation and deductibility of their investments, which all of a sudden -- Pfft! -- vanished. So the rules of the game that they were playing by were changed on them in the middle of the game, the middle of their projects, the middle of the season, if you will.
So it's akin to that. I happen to be in favor of the trade-off. The S&Ls, we bailed 'em out. We ended up bailing out some of the S&Ls and that gave us the Keating Five if you remember that McCain was a part of. You know, the standard, ordinary, everyday corruption that exists throughout any large government bureaucracy. So in this case it's just a matter of, "Okay, we made the promise. We promised the season citizens Medicare is going to be there for them. If you take $500 billion away from it, it ain't going to be there for them," and we want those seniors to know who's taking it away from them. We may not have agreed with it, but we lost the battle. In fact, some of our people back when Medicare was being continually expanded, I betcha most Republicans voted for the expansion. It's the senior citizen voting bloc. So I hope the answer explains it. You may not like it, but I hope that explains. I'm glad you called, Hal. Thanks very much for waiting. I appreciate it.
RUSH: One more comment on the guy who just called and said, "Isn't it sort of hypocritical that we believe in smaller government and yet we don't agree with the Democrats' Medicare cuts?" It's a false premise, and if any of the others of you in this audience are asked that question, "Well, you guys, how come you're so worried about the Medicare cuts? You say you want smaller government! Why are you not in favor of Medicare cuts?" The Republicans never call for Medicare cuts. The dirty little secret here is that it's Democrats who are the hypocrites. It is the Democrats who are always accusing the Republicans of cutting Social Security, of cutting Medicare. They're always charging us with cutting Medicare, always charging with wanting to cut Social Security. Throw seniors out of their homes! Make seniors eat dog food! The Republicans are never the ones who start talking about these cuts. It's all the Democrats accusing us of that -- and when it comes to time to actually cut this stuff, it's the Democrats that do it. Now, I, frankly, think if more people really knew what the Democrat plan is, to cut $500 billion in Medicare -- Whew! That alone would cause the seasoned citizens of this country to rise up.