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The Latest on Unemployment and the Bush Tax Rate Extensions

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I have a question. I have a whole unemployment stack here, but before I get to the unemployment news stack per se, I have a question. I'm still kind of reeling here over the theories and the philosophy that we got last week, and that is that unemployment benefits create robust economic activity. I'm still trying to get my arms around that, and not only that, unemployment benefits, if we fail to extend 'em, it's going to cost us 600,000 jobs. Now, my question, if unemployment benefits are so good for the economy, why hasn't it worked for the past 99 or 150 weeks? Look at all the people that have been on unemployment. We ought to have just a rolling recovery going on. But of course we don't. It's absurd some of the things that are being said out there. Now, here is the unemployment stack, ladies and gentlemen, and the first story is from Ben Bernanke. Bernanke was on 60 Minutes last night. He said that unemployment might take five years to fall to a normal level and that fed purchases of Treasury securities beyond the $600 billion announced last month in a controversial move were possible. Might do it again. "At the rate we're going, it could be four, five years before we are back to a more normal unemployment rate" of about 5 to 6 percent. That's optimistic, considering other things that I have heard. We're not gonna get out of this as long as Obama's president, in other words. What he's basically saying here, as long as Obama's president, we are stuck.

And now from Business Insider: "Guess what? Unemployment is up again! That's right -- even though Wall Street is swimming in cash and the Obama administration is declaring that 'the recession is over', the U.S. unemployment rate has gone even higher. So are you enjoying the jobless recovery? The truth is that there should not be any talk of a 'recovery' as long as the 'official' unemployment rate remains at around 10 percent and the 'real' unemployment continues to hover around 17 percent. There are millions and millions of American families that are living every day in deep pain because of the lack of jobs. Meanwhile, there are all of these economic pundits that are declaring that we are just going to have to realize that chronic unemployment is the 'new normal' and that if other nations can handle high rates of unemployment then so can we."

Now, this piece says: "If you have never been unemployed, it can be hard to describe how soul-crushing it can be. As the bills pile up and the financial obligations mount, the pressure can be debilitating. ... The vast majority of Americans have at least one family member or close friend that is looking for work right now. Times are really, really tough and unfortunately the long-term outlook is very bleak. We should have compassion on those who are out of work right now, because soon many of us may join them." And then they have a link here, "25 unemployment statistics that are almost too depressing to read." It's a slideshow and I've got the link to it, Business Insider, but it's not good. It's typified here in a story at the UK Daily Mail Online: "No End in Sight to U.S. Economic Crisis as 'Scariest Jobs Chart Ever' Shows Post-Recession Unemployment is at its Worst Since World War Two -- As unemployment in the U.S. nears the dreaded 10 per cent mark, it is a chart to chill the bones of any job hunter."

Now, I can't describe the chart for you. Not even someone with the immense talents that I have can describe this thing. This looks like one of those computer model hurricane spaghetti things. But down at the very bottom -- they're all jumped together, all these different lines starting in 1948 to the present with unemployment rates at 7%, minus six, so forth and so on. Way, way down below everything is where we are now with the Obama regime. All of this, every day this news comes out, and it gets worse and worse and worse, and the fix for this becomes obvious, and yet any time the fix is mentioned, just doing the opposite of what we're doing, Democrats have a cow. Let's go to the audio sound bites. This is hilarious. Friday night, Sergeant Schultz had on his show Alan Grayson, the certifiably insane, soon to be former congressman from central Florida, and during a discussion about the House debate to extend the Bush tax cuts, Congressman Grayson mentioned me on the House floor last week. Sergeant Schultz said, "Why did you do that? It was very entertaining, but what was the mission there, congressman?"

GRAYSON: Because when you listen to these people talk about tax cuts for the rich and how it's gonna benefit the economy and create jobs, you have to realize it's a lie. It's just not true. They have a hidden agenda, they have a hidden motivation, and that's tax cuts for themselves. They should confess that the reason why they keep pushing tax breaks for the rich is because they want a tax cut. It's that simple.

RUSH: Now, what to do with this? "The only reason they keep pushing tax breaks for the rich is because they want a tax cut." In the first place, Congressman Grayson, you and it seems like all of your compatriots in the media -- Alan Grayson is worth $31 and a half million, by the way, that's his net worth, Alan Grayson, 31.3, $31.5 million. That's how much he has. And publicly he would probably say, "I don't want a tax cut, I'm willing to pay more." Well, then pay more, congressman, but keep your hands off everybody else's money. We're not talking about a tax cut. This is something that Jon Kyl tried to drill into Bob Schieffer's head yesterday on Slay the Nation. It's impossible to tell these Democrats and the media people we're not talking about a tax cut. We're talking about two things: maintaining current tax rates or a tax increase, pure and simple. Nobody is getting a tax cut. If Alan Grayson, if that idiot can end up with $31 and a half million, anybody can. It's one of the greatest motivational details that I've ever imparted to you. Grayson can do it, you can do it. But nobody's talking tax cuts here.

Why doesn't Grayson move to a state where he can pay state income tax if he is so high on all this? Leave Florida and go to the Bronx. He was born and raised in New York City, was born and raised in the Bronx. Alan, just head back there. If you're not paying enough taxes there are plenty of places in the country that will take you. Nobody is talking about a tax cut. We're simply talking about extending current tax rates as opposed to a tax increase, which you start talking people at 250 grand or more, you're talking about job creators. I don't think we have to do too big a sales job on this. I think most people have come to understand what this is all about, which is why Obama's gonna cave on this and it's why the Democrats, the left is livid. I mean there are stories today, we got sound bites, too. Krugman is ticked off. Everybody's ticked off on the Democrat side. Claire McCaskill's ticked off. They're all ticked off at Obama. And Mark Halperin at TIME Magazine -- do you remember when 9/11 happened? When 9/11 happened, there were actually a bunch of people, Democrats, who said, (paraphrasing) "Ah, damn it, why couldn't this have happened when Clinton was president? A chance for Bill Clinton to have some greatness, why did it have to be wasted on Bush?" Now, the bottom line on this is Clinton had his disaster. It was the Oklahoma City bombing.

Now, Halperin is writing, it's a piece today all about what does Obama have to do to come back? It doesn't matter if it's good for the country or not, Halperin says, hey, if there's another 9/11, Oklahoma City bombing, people might get killed, that might be what it takes to bring Obama back. To hell with what's good or bad for the country. Well, Claire McCaskill, I think she goes to the same school as Alan Grayson. She keeps saying they're giving money to millionaires and billionaires. This is their latest mantra. This is why I went through this whole little monologue last week about, oh, yeah, okay, so we extend the Bush tax cuts, Washington is gonna write people a check? Is that what's happening here, if we extend these Bush tax rates? This is pure demagoguery; it's pure lying, and it's not working.

Washington News: "White House, Congress Reportedly Near Deal To Extend All Bush-Era Tax Cuts -- Media reports, including stories on all three network newscasts, describe the White House and Congress as very close to a deal to extend -- albeit temporarily -- all Bush-era tax cuts. The potential deal is being cast as somewhat of a defeat for the President, and as a highly disheartening development for Democrats and liberal activists. ABC World News reported, 'The President is preparing to break one of his biggest campaign promises,' as 'it appears Republicans will get all the tax cuts extended.'" They're not tax cuts anymore. They're tax rates. "In a second story, ABC World News said the White House 'views this as the last best chance to get priorities passed, including extending unemployment benefits. But the flip side is, this is happening while Democrats still control Congress. The view of many in the left is, if the President has to move this far right now, it's going to be much farther next month,'" when the Republicans are in the majority.

"The CBS Evening News reported, 'Liberals have been begging President Obama not to cave to GOP demands,' but 'the White House is worried about losing twice' if no deal is reached all tax cuts expire: 'the economy could buckle, and the President would get the share of the blame.'" He already is starting to get the largest share of the blame. "On NBC Nightly News, CNBC's John Harwood said that 'it appears that they're headed toward a perhaps two-year extension of all of those tax rates.' The New York Times reports on its front page, 'Senior Democrats on Sunday said that they were resigned to defeat in the highly charged tax debate, and they voiced dismay.' ... The AP reports 'some Democrats continued to object to any plan that would continue Bush-era tax rates at the highest income levels.' Politico reports Republicans 'seemed more sanguine Sunday about the direction of the debate and the negotiations than did Democrats.' McClatchy reports, 'Despite talk of compromise, the rising level of partisan rancor in recent days remains a possible glitch. Congressional leaders surprised many rank-and-file members by insisting on votes last week on the tax cuts.'" It goes on and on and on about how Obama is caving, when he has the majority in the House of Representatives. And here's the Time piece: "What Obama Needs to Come Back: Nothing Short of Luck." Wait 'til you hear this piece.

Anyway, a lot of on the plate today, my friends, and we've got plenty of knives and forks, in fact pitchforks.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I want to know: How was there a Great Depression, ladies and gentlemen, if 20% unemployment would be twice as good as 9%? And they had unemployment benefits back then. It was call "relief." Remember that? Well, you probably don't. But it was called "relief," and if all of these unemployment benefits are so great for the economy, how did we ever have a Great Depression? How did it happen? How? The two just don't go together. And I also have another question. Just last week the media was wringing its hands over the lack of compromise and wondering, "Will the Republicans compromise with Obama?"

Well, here's compromise taking place, and when Obama does it it's called "caving." Now, everybody loves compromise, I'm told. So, Obama is gonna compromise with the Republicans. We're gonna extend all Bush-era tax rates in exchange for Obama's extended unemployment benefits and his stupid little START treaty, and everybody's upset that Obama's caving. We thought the news media and the pundit class loved compromise. But you see, ladies and gentlemen, they don't because compromise doesn't mean compromise. "Compromise" means "Republicans cave in," and when the appearance is that Obama is caving in, "Why, we can't have that!"

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay, we're gonna go to the phones at 800-282-2882, and who we got? David in Buffalo, we're gonna start with you, sir. Nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Mega dittos, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.

RUSH: You bet, sir.

CALLER: Hey, I wanted to bring up that Bernanke interview on 60 Minutes yesterday.

RUSH: Hm-hm.

CALLER: The point I wanted to make is we have Obama, Reid, and Pelosi making one point, which is that unemployment creates stimulus within the economy.

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: Yet Bernanke yesterday was saying that we need to get people off of unemployment because they lose their skills, they get very complacent of doing nothing, and it's just poor all the way around in the long term.

RUSH: Well, it's exactly where Obama, Reid, and Pelosi want them: unskilled, doing nothing, and dependent.

CALLER: And how is that gonna help anybody in the long term?

RUSH: It helps the Democrats in the long term, in their minds, it helps them. Look at Mark Halperin's piece, it's not about what's good for the country, it's what's good for Obama, "Oh, my God, what could Obama do to come back, oh, no what can we do to help Obama? Nobody wants a catastrophe, but..." We have some of this Bernanke interview last night on 60 Minutes. Scott Pelley talked to him. Here's one bite. Pelley said, "We lost about eight million jobs from the peak, and I wonder how many years you think it will be before we get all those jobs back?"

BERNANKE: You're absolutely right. Between the peak and the end of last year we lost eight and a half million jobs. We've only gotten about a million of them back so far, and that doesn't even account the new people coming into the labor force. At the rate we're going it could be four or five years before we are back to a more normal unemployment rate, somewhere in the vicinity of say five or six percent.

RUSH: Folks, I hope he's right, but it's gonna be longer than that. The number of jobs that we would have to create a year if no new workers graduated from college, if people stopped growing up, if people stopped entering the job market, it would take -- well, figure it out, how many years at say 200,000 jobs a year, how many years would that take? Well, if you're gonna use eight million, 200,000 ... I'm not good at math in my head. Then you add people coming into the workforce to the people who have lost their job, we're not talking five or six years to get to five or six percent unemployment. We're talking ten to 15. Folks, this next presidential election and these next two years are gonna be crucial. We've got about six to ten years to reverse this before the mathematics becomes geometrically out of our control.

I mean even now the notion of paying down this debt, everybody knows you're not gonna pay down this debt, you're not gonna get rid of it, but you have to start attacking it, you have to start reducing it, you have to start cutting things, you have to. It's time to reprioritize 50-year-old programs that created and formed during entirely different economic times and entirely different purposes than those which they've evolved. I mean this is serious, serious stuff here. The length of time to get back to five or six percent, look, it just took two years to go from 4.7 unemployment to where we are at, two years, and we're looking at much, much longer than that to correct it. We gotta get rid of this guy politically, he's gotta lose and the Democrats have to lose significant power over the next couple of years.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Friday afternoon in Washington on Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats held a press conference to talk about the extension of the Bush tax rates. It's the subject that won't go away. It's dividing the Democrat Party. Here's Claire McCaskill from Missouri. That's my home state. It should be pointed out that Claire McCaskill is worth (I saw this earlier) $19 million or so. She's in the top ten wealthiest people in the Senate, I believe. She ranks up there. Here is a portion of what she had to say.

MCCASKILL: They need to pull back the curtain and realize that you've got a Republican Party that's not worried about the people in the Tea Party. They're worried about people that can't decide which home to go to over the Christmas holidays.

RUSH: All right, now, two things about this. She may be right in one sense (chuckles), and that is certain elements of the Republican Party may not be all that happy with the Tea Party. But, "They're worried about people that can't decide which home to go to over the Christmas holidays"? Have you ever had more than one house? Snerdley, have you ever had more than one home? I mean to live in. Dawn, have been have you ever had more than one home? You ever have more than one home to live in? I mean different locations. You might own two on the same street 'cause you're trying to sell one, but you had two homes in different towns? (interruption) You haven't? Then you don't know how hard it is to decide which one to go to!

It can be a tough decision. There are a whole lot of variables involved here. She doesn't know what she's talking about. The Republicans don't care about that. She's misreading that. But she's got a bunch of homes, I'll guarantee you. I'll bet she spends a lot of time figuring where she's going to be and which one she's going to be in at what time. (interruption) Well, the price of jet fuel is a factor. Look, John Kerry has seven of 'em! John Kerry has got a home outside Pittsburgh, he's got a home in Boston, he's got a home in Washington, he's got a home out there in Sun Valley, Idaho. There are so many variables. Like half the time he probably does not want to be where his wife is gonna be.

I mean, they probably have kitchen table discussions -- dining room table -- saying, "Where we going to spend next weekend?" It can take 'em, I don't know, maybe an hour to figure it out, and they're Democrats. The more choices you have, the more time it takes you to make 'em. Who's she to start making fun of this? Republicans are more concerned about people have to choose which home they're gonna spend the holidays in? She's talking about herself! I'll lay you ten to one it's a big problem in her house. That's why it's even on her mind. I know these people left and right. Face the Nation. Jon Kyl was on with Bob Schieffer talking about tax cuts, Schieffer said, "Senator Kyl, is the Senate gonna get down to business and resolve this?"

KYL: I hope so. We can. We should. I would just make one point: Nobody's talking about tax cuts. We're talking about extending the rates --

SCHIEFFER: It's --

KYL: -- that have been in existence --

SCHIEFFER: Yes.

KYL: -- for the last decade.

SCHIEFFER: Yes.

KYL: So just to be sure.

RUSH: "What about you, Senator Kyl? Is temporary good enough on those upper-income extensions?"

KYL: First of all, we're not talking about tax cuts.

SCHIEFFER: I gotcha.

RUSH: You don't "gotcha."

KYL: We're talking about extending, for another period of time, the rates that have been in existence for the last decade essentially. Those tax rates helped our economy and job production. They did not create the problem that we have today. That was a problem created, as you know, by the crash of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the housing market, the so-called bubble. It had nothing to do with these tax rates.

RUSH: Exactly right, but it doesn't matter. That's not what Schieffer's point was. He's sitting there thinking, "I don't want to talk about that." Anyway, Claire McCaskill: $19.42 million net worth in 2008. Claire McCaskill. And do not illegal aliens have two homes? Illegal aliens have a home here and they have a home wherever they came from, and they aren't exactly rich, and they try to figure out which home (laughing) they're gonna spend Christmas in. Shouldn't we want people to have two homes, what with the housing crisis we've got today?

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