RUSH: It seems to me the Tea Party is far from dead. John Boehner gave a huge speech, according to BusinessInsider.com, on the debt sealing. He delivered it last night at the Economic Club of New York. Before letting you hear some sound bites, Boehner said that everything is on the table except taxes. Medicare, for example. The one thing Boehner and therefore the House Republicans will not accept in the upcoming debt ceiling fight is tax increases.
He says he does not think the debt limit is urgent, and it's not. It is not an emergency! It does not have to be solved this week. He does not think default is a real risk. In other words, he's not buying any of the premises put forth by the Democrats and the liberals in the media. He will not support spending cut "triggers." These are seen as a gimmick to kick the can down the road. He said the cuts must happen now. He agreed that defense spending needs a fundamental review. Let's go to the audio sound bites. This is Boehner last night at the Economic Club of New York. They were meeting, actually, in some hotel.
I think one of the things going on here is that Boehner is letting the libs know that the Tea Party is not dead yet. Oh! Where is it? There's a story here somewhere. Oh! Oh! Oh! Folks, you know, we were talking yesterday and last week about how in my inarguable opinion, Obama is eminently beatable. I don't have to remake the arguments I made yesterday. (If you missed yesterday's show it's a shame for you, but you can always review it at RushLimbaugh.com.) My basic point is, "If Obama's unbeatable, let's have him campaign on $6-a-gallon gasoline and let's move the unemployment rate up to 10%! If this is the stuff that gets presidents reelected, then why not more of it?"
It's a bunch of caca doo-doo out there to try to tell us this guy sun beatable with this record. They're trying to dispirit everybody. It's bogus. From TheHill.com: "Gallup Poll Seeing Growing Support for Third Party in GOP, Tea Party -- Fifty-two percent of Republicans, and an even stronger number of Tea Party supporters, support the creation of a major, third political party, underscoring the occasional tensions between grassroots conservatives and the GOP establishment." I don't doubt that those tensions are there. We know they're there. But here's how Obama can win: Third party. This is the one guaranteed way for Obama to win. Why else is Gallup doing this story? Why else are they doing the poll? Look, they're so happy that 52% want a third party! They know what it means.
Here's Boehner. We've got, let's see, three or four of these. We'll just take them in order.
BOEHNER: Let me be as clear as I can be. Without significant spending cuts and changes in the way we spend the American people's money, there will be no increase in the debt limit -- and the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in the debt limit that the president has given. We're not talking about billions, here. We should be talking about cuts in trillions if we're serious about addressing America's fiscal problems.
RUSH: Again, John Boehner, Speaker of the House. Now, he can back this up. They can't do anything without House, and we firmly control the House. If Boehner can hold the line on this, everything he's saying here is true -- and, by the way, as you listen to these bites along with me, you will conclude that he's giving himself no room to walk back here. If he walks back from this, he's finished! You go out and say it this firmly -- you say it with this degree of certainty, and this degree of commitment -- and then in the next couple weeks or months you go out and say, "You know what? Things have changed since I made that speech. We're not really gonna be cutting. Okay, we'll go along with a couple million bucks," if he does that it's heap big trouble. Not just for him, but for all of the Republicans. Here's the next bite.
BOEHNER: These should be actual cuts: Real reforms to these programs, not broad deficit or deficit targets that punt the questions to the future -- and with the exception of tax hikes -- which, in my opinion, will destroy American jobs -- everything is on the table. And I mean everything. That includes honest conversations about how to best preserved Medicare. Because without change Medicare with millions of Baby Boomers about to retire, the status quo is unsustainable.
RUSH: Okay, so a couple sound bites. That's Boehner last night at his speech at the New York Economic Club. (interruption) Well, that also... Snerdley just asked me, "What does this do for the story about them throwing Medicare under the bus?" They obviously weren't. See, again, those two stories yesterday about that were attempt by the media (as was the Chris Cillizza story on Mitch Daniels) designed to throw stink bomb right in the entire Tea Party/Republican Party/conservative movement. Put a couple of stories out about how the Republicans said, "You know what? We don't really mean about Medicare. We don't really care" and get everybody all ticked off.
Boehner was making it clear here that none of that was true -- and again, you know, he always could do it (a politician is a politician), but it's gonna be really tough to walk back from this. This is not "We might require more cuts than the increase the deficit," or, "You know, we might deal with Medicare and we might oppose tax increases." No. This is as definitive as anything we've heard yet. So he went to the Today show today, he talked to the cohost Matt Lauer and Matt Lauer said, "Well, why not use an increase in revenues -- tax hikes -- to help with the debt problem? What's the evidence that you can present that tax cuts of the Bush era have accomplished their goals?"
BOEHNER: What some are suggesting is that we take this money from people who would invest in our economy and create jobs and we give it to the government. The fact is you can't tax the very people that we expect to invest in our economy and create jobs. Washington doesn't have a revenue problem. Washington has a spending problem.
RUSH: So next up, Matt Lauer said, "You talk about creating jobs. When the Bush-era tax cuts were passed in 2001, the unemployment rate was four-and-a-half percent. Today it's 9%, just down from ten. Why are the Bush-era tax cuts creating jobs?"
BOEHNER: They created about eight million jobs over the first ten years that they were in existence. We've lost about five million of those jobs during this recession. But you can't raise taxes. We could take all of the money from the wealthy, and guess what? We'd hardly make a dent in the annual deficit and do nothing about the $14.3 trillion worth of debt.
LAUER: So as you sit here today, raising taxes; that's a nonstarter?
BOEHNER: It is off the table.
LAUER: Off the table.
BOEHNER: Everything else is on the table.
RUSH: Matt, you ought to be thanking him! You'll be able to feed your kids next year. No, we gotta raise taxes. Somebody ought to ask him, "Matt, why do you think we ought to raise taxes?" because the answers he would give are pure formulaic, right from the Democrat playbook. You could knock his answers out of the park with a half swing on this "raise taxes on the rich." I would have remind him, "Hey, Matt, do you know who extended these Bush tax cuts last December? Who was it that said we had to do this to save the economic recovery? Who said that, Matt? It was President Obama. President Obama. Last December during that emergency session, lame duck session he said we had to maintain the Bush tax rates.
"Now he's coming out for repealing and ending the Bush tax rates simply because it's election time and he's gotta get his base to vote for him. Unemployment just crept up. When reelection was not really a primary concern, when maintaining this illusion of an economic recovery was the foremost idea the president had, it was, 'Make sure we don't raise taxes,' Matt." So we move over to this sister network, PMSNBC. The guest there is the author and journalist Carl Bernstein, and they were talking about the economy and Boehner's speech to the New York Economic Club. Carl Bernstein (of Watergate fame) said this...
BERNSTEIN: The press has gotta start reporting on the economy and the debate in a different way. We can't be captive to John Boehner making statements like that without going in on a news report and saying, "What's he talking about? What are the realities of this? What are the taxes? What happens with the debt ceiling? What will happen to our allies if we -- uhhhh, including those who are buying debt if we -- go ahead and do what John Boehner says?" If we go ahead and do what John Boehner says, you're gonna really see the economy tank! You're gonna see a disaster.
RUSH: This is, of course, hilarious. We're in the MIDDLE of a disaster, Mr. Bernstein, because of the things you endorse. We're in the middle. We had 50 months -- a record 50 some-odd months of job creation -- under President Bush. How many months of job creation have there been with economic stimuluses and TARPs and bailouts here and there? How many jobs have been created here? And, of course, then this mythical "jobs saved" business. "The press has gotta start reporting on the economy and the debate in a different way, we can't be captive to Boehner"? What press are you talking about?
Juan Williams, America's Newsroom on Fox today. The fill-in host over there, Heather Nauert spoke with Juan Williams, said, "Chuck Schumer is basically saying Republicans are behaving like children. He said, 'Mr. Boehner needs to have an adult moment right here, right now. The next speech by the Speaker will be a litmus test on whether House Republicans plan to finally approach the debt ceiling as adults.' Will Republicans have to make concessions, Mr. Williams, and will conservatives be looking at tax increases?" Now, this is in response to Boehner last night -- and you just heard Boehner was definitive as he could be. This is what drives them nuts. It drove Carl Bernstein nuts -- and here is Juan Williams, of course, with one foot inside the padded cell in this answer.
WILLIAMS: What you're looking at here is basically casino politics with everybody bluffing in the room and everybody looking for some sign about what the other guy's gonna do. What we're seeing, I think, from Boehner is basically posturing. There's no doubt that what you're seeing from Boehner and Cantor -- Eric Cantor, another member of the Republican leadership -- having meetings today with people on Wall Street is to say to them, "You know what? We have to appease our base here."
RUSH: Okay. So Juan Williams thinks that Boehner doesn't really mean this. He's just appealing to the base. Juan, let me tell you something: If he walks back from this now, he can kiss the base good-bye. That's pretty much a certitude. Would you agree with me on this, Snerdley? I mean, he didn't tiptoe into this. Boehner did not tiptoe. There were no "maybes;" there was no equivocation. There was ontological certitude. You know, and Boehner's actually on thin ice because during continuing resolution debate we were gonna have $100 billion in cuts and then $60 billion, and then we're gonna get $18 billion, and then we're gonna settle for ten or $12 billion. We ended up at $352 million.
So he's already on thin ice. With our base, it's not just what you say to them. It's "You better do it!" That's what's gotten Republicans in trouble every election they've lost. You go talk to Republican voters and they will tell you without exception: "We're sick and tired of these guys campaigning on one thing and getting to Washington and not following through on it." They are held to a different standard by their base than the Democrat base holds their people to. So over on CNN, In the Arena, Client No. 9's show, he spoke with their congressional correspondent Dana Bash last night about Boehner's speech at the New York Economic Club. Client No. 9 said, "I'm not quite sure what his strategy is, being so rigid on this, knowing the Democrats are gonna have to be equally rigid on the other side. It seems like an odd negotiating strategy."
BASH: I've been told that the discussions that have been going on so far inside the Republican Party, especially the House, is urging House leaders NOT to draw a line in the sand for that reason because then they would have to pull back from it eventually 'cause that's the way negotiations are! He made clear to these people on Wall Street -- as he has here in Washington, as he has across the country -- Congress is not gonna let the United States default, but, duhh, there's gotta be some giving room there.
RUSH: Yeah, "there's gotta be some giving room there. "No, there doesn't! There doesn't. There does not have to be a debt-limit deal this week. We are not gonna default. It's not a crisis. The Republicans can stop all this. They own the House; they can stop anything from happening -- and Boehner's made it sound like that's what he intends to do. He's wedded to this now.
RUSH: We'll start in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hi, David, great to have you up first on the program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I love your show.
RUSH: Thank you very much, sir.
CALLER: I read about Boehner's speech last night, and I liked it. I didn't like the part about refusing higher taxes. And then I was thinking about it later, and I was thinking about something that Milton Friedman said. He said that to spend is to tax.
RUSH: It is.
CALLER: So I thought, if we agreed in principle to tax increases and then sought to keep them as low as possible, say, just, for example, we could get a 5% spending decrease for a 1% tax increase, wouldn't that be a bigger effective tax cut than would be like a hundred billion dollars spending decrease and no tax increase?
RUSH: No. Because there's a dynamic involved to raising and lowering taxes. Let me put it to you this way. Of course it all depends, now, you personally, all depends on what purpose you assign to taxes. Let me get that out of the way. What is the purpose of taxation, as far as you're concerned, what should the reason for taxation be?
CALLER: To fund the --
RUSH: Government. All right, would it surprise you, then, to learn that that's not at all the purpose for taxation as employed by Democrats and the left? They couldn't care less. You want some evidence?
RUSH: The Bush tax cuts led to 50 consecutive months of job growth. The Bush tax cuts led to the expansion of the US economy. The Bush tax cuts, including capital gains tax rates, increased revenue to the Treasury tenfold, beyond expectations and predictions. The Reagan tax cuts in the eighties, just give you the quick numbers. In '81 when Reagan assumes office, the total take to the Treasury is $500 billion. Reagan cuts the top marginal rate from 70% to 28%. In 1989 when he leaves office, the take to the Treasury's doubled. It's demonstrably proven that tax cuts increase revenue, which is what you say the purpose is. Now, did the stimulus bill of Obama's create new revenue? Did it create new jobs? Did it cause more money to be created for government?
CALLER: I don't believe so.
RUSH: No. It's just exact opposite. I mean intellectually, now, if you stay that the purpose of taxation is to raise revenue, there's no question what to do. You cut taxes. That's how you increase revenue. The Democrats are not interested in raising revenue. They don't care about that. They love the debt. They love the penalties of debt. They love the loss and liberty and freedom that comes with debt. They love the circumstances they have given us.
CALLER: But until 2012, they will control the Senate and the White House. So if the Republicans were to use possible tax increases as a bargaining tool, couldn't we get a much larger spending decrease --
RUSH: No, no.
CALLER: -- than we could have otherwise?
RUSH: Now, listen to me, now. Listen to me, David, I'm glad you called. Every time we've done that the spending cuts have never happened. Reagan did it. Reagan agreed to a tax increase called TEFRA. And the deal was that for every dollar in new taxes, there would be two dollars in cuts. The cuts never happened. The Democrats simply reneged. They didn't happen. No, no. We don't raise taxes on the Republican side. We just don't. Look what happened to George H.W. Bush: "Read my lips: no new taxes," 1990, uh-oh, raised taxes, bye, George H.W. Bush. Squandered an 89% approval rating with what was, albeit a small, tax increase.
We do this every time. Every time we make this cockamamie deal -- let me ask you a question, David. Isn't $14 trillion enough? Have we not borrowed and generated and raised enough money? This has got to stop. Boehner is right on the money. Raising taxes, especially now, is not gonna do anything but cause the private sector to slow down and stop growth. There's no economic or intellectual reason to take money out of the private sector and give it to government with the objective being that you're gonna have a roaring economy as a result. It never happens. It just doesn't. Don't doubt me. Don't argue with me. Don't doubt me. I'm doing you a favor.