RUSH: Have I got this right? I think I do, 'cause I usually have most things right. Sorry. I know that makes people nervous. Well, being confident in what you believe makes people nervous, particularly women. That's what I've been told. I'm trying to dial that back. I'm trying to sound more unsure of myself as a way of expanding the audience. A little bit less confident so as to be less threatening. Squishy. Well, yeah, funnier, squishier, less threatening, less confident, more indecisive, seems to be the stuff that gets rewarded today.
Anyway, I think I do understand this right. I think John Boehner has proposed, in what's being called Plan B, raising taxes without anything in return. Basically what Boehner has done here is adopt, according to the people at BuzzFeed, and they're pretty accurate here, a plan put forth by Pelosi not too long ago.
Let's go to the audio sound bites. Let's see if in my new indecisive squishiness I've got this right. This is Boehner this morning at a press conference that was breathlessly awaited by the Drive-By Media. He came out and explained Plan B because the president won't talk to him. The president won't move on anything. See, the president wants to go over the fiscal cliff. The Republicans don't want to go over the fiscal cliff. Now, the reason the president wants to go over the fiscal cliff is because it's made to order.
Here's what I think. Of course I can't be sure. No one can. But what I think is going on here, ladies and gentlemen, I think the fiscal cliff is a deal that was reached the last time we all agreed to raise the debt limit. It was fought very hard. There was real political combat on both sides. The deal that was agreed to contained elements that are supposedly unacceptable to both sides when the deal expires, which is December 31st. And because the deal has elements that are just repellent to both sides, the theory was that they'll go in and have meaningful bipartisan negotiations and come up with a new deal to replace this horrible deal by December 31st because it has such horrible stuff in it.
What are the horrible things in it? Well, if we go over the fiscal cliff, the Bush tax rates expire for everybody, and everybody's tax rates go up to what they were during the Clinton years. That is bad. They go up not just for the rich, but for everybody. That's not good for any politician, theoretically. Then there are also massive defense budget cuts, and that's supposedly not good for any politician, either. There are other elements, but those two are the primary movers. Those are the motivating characteristics that are supposed to inspire both parties to come up with a replacement deal for the one that goes into effect on January 1st. And that's what the fiscal cliff is.
Now, I can't be sure. No one can. But I think the president, from a purely strategic standpoint, as a Democrat, and as a socialist (I think he's a socialist), wants this deal to go into effect on January 1st. I think he wants the tax rates to increase on everyone, temporarily. I think he is salivating over these major cuts to defense. I think he would love that. As a Democrat, his country's always wrong. I think that's what they believe. This country's to blame for many of the problems in the world, and the defense budget has led to the largest problems. We have so many nuclear weapons that, you know, they kill people. And we have big bombs, and we have lots of guns in the military. Not just Bushmaster rifles. We have lots of gun. We have pistols. We have guns. We have missiles. We have rockets. We have jet airplanes. We could kill more people with our military than any kid could ever dream of. The Democrats don't like that. So they would be happy for the defense budget to have money taken away from it.
So if we go over the cliff, meaning if January 1st comes and this deal that contains elements that are horrible, reprehensible to both parties, actually goes into effect, what will happen is that everybody's income tax rates will go up significantly, and the defense budget will be cut by something like a trillion dollars over a certain number of years. Now, I believe the president wants this to happen. I can't be sure, but I think the president wants this to happen because as a tactic, if everybody's taxes go up in January, he will wait for everybody to get a couple of paychecks so that they see that their take-home pay is a lot less. You have to realize, the country has a lot of what we call low-information people. In the old days you'd call 'em morons. Today they're the people running the country. They are going to discover that their take-home pay is significantly less in the first two pay periods. It may take two.
The first pay period they might not quite understand it, might be a clerical error. It could be something that they chalk up, but you give two paychecks where their take-home pay is less and they're gonna figure out something's up. At that point, they will be informed that their taxes went up. They're gonna be confused because all they've heard is tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, during the little amount of time they pay any attention to this. Well, they're not gonna want less take-home pay, the low-information voters. And, by the way, this is a declining number of people that we're talking about who still have jobs. We're really not talking about that many people. These are people that work. But for the people who work, their paychecks are gonna get much smaller. And after a couple pay periods in January, they're gonna be mad and they're gonna be demanding something done about it.
And President Obama, seeing an opportunity, will then propose tax cuts for the middle class, after having been the one to allow the taxes to go up. He's the only one that wants tax rates to go up. For some reason the Republicans have a problem in telling people this. There's not a Republican around who wants anybody's taxes to go up. The Democrats do. The Democrats and Obama, they're the only people that want your taxes to go up. And not just the taxes on the rich. They want everybody's taxes to go up and everybody's taxes are gonna go up.
But Obama, if we go over the cliff, will then be able to propose tax cuts. And these low-information voters who used to be called idiots and morons, will then believe that the only guy who cares anything about them is Obama. He'll be saying, "The Republicans let this happen because they were holding out for the rich. They didn't want the rich's taxes to go up." But Obama's gonna be there to save the day. And then the little cherry on top, Obama will then propose putting back some of the defense spending that will be cut.
In the process, the president, who will have engineered all of this, will then be able to steal from the Republicans that which they are known for: a strong defense and low taxes. And in the process, the president and his party will effectively decimate the Republican Party, which will make a lot of people very happy. Hollywood, Warren Buffett, Oprah, David Letterman, you know, all your favorite people, will be very happy at this. And the Republicans will be scratching their heads trying to figure out what just happened.
Meanwhile, by the time we get to February or March, as more and more of Obamacare/health care kicks in, everybody's taxes will continue to go up, and health care will decline as premiums also increase. And for this, the Republicans will also get blamed. (interruption) Well, they just will. There doesn't have to be a reason for it. They're just gonna say that this is the Republicans' fault 'cause they held out in December for no tax increases for the rich, and the media will join that chorus.
So what are the Republicans' options here?
The Republicans could say what I just said to you, but for some reason they don't want to. The Republicans are hell-bent on not going over the cliff. The Republicans do not want to go over this cliff. The Republicans don't want any of the elements of the new deal to go into effect on January 1. So John Boehner, the leader of the Republicans, is proposing various plans to President Obama to avert this, and President Obama rejects every one of them.
John Boehner, in fact, today just proposed a plan authored by Nancy Pelosi this past spring, a Democrat leader in the House. And the White House has rejected it. Well, there's always one thing the Republicans could then rely on, that they could always fall back on (it's always worked for me), and that is just hanging tough on principle. What do the Republicans believe? Well, what do we believe?
We believe that you don't raise taxes in a depressed economy, and we believe in lower taxes, broadening the base, and economic growth. We believe in a growing economy which presents opportunity for even more and more people to gain employment and decide on careers and start on their success track. Now, that's become a route that many Americans, low-information voters, think is not for them. But that's where we are.
The Republicans, I think, could very easily just say, "The only person in this who wants your taxes to go up is the president," and that would be the truth. (interruption) Why are you sneering, Snerdley, when I suggest that the Republicans fall back on principle and the truth? Why are you steering at that? Do you...? (interruption) Oh! Oh. Oh. I thought you were telling me it's a lousy strategy.
You think relying and staying rooted to your principles and truth is a bad strategy? (interruption) Oh, good. Okay. All right. I misheard. (interruption) I know. They are Republicans. So the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is desperate to not go over the cliff. He is desperate for there to be an agreement between himself and the Preezy. So he came out and did a press conference -- well, not a conference, but a press availability -- and this is among the things that he said...
BOEHNER: Every income tax filer in America is gonna pay higher rates come January the 1st unless Congress acts. So I believe it's important, uh, that we protect as many American taxpayers as we can. And, uh, our Plan B, uh, would protect American taxpayers who make a million dollars or less and have all of their current rates extended. Uh, I continue to have hope, uh, that we can reach a broader agreement with the White House, uh, that would reduce, uh, spending as well as have revenues on the table.
RUSH: See, the Republicans... (chuckles) The Republicans are holding out for the president agreeing to spending cuts. This would be akin to asking the president to resign. He is no more going to resign than he is going to agree to spending cuts. The Democrat Party is all about spending. That's why I said last week in previous monologue (I wasn't quite sure but I thought I was pretty close) that there is no common ground here.
There is no middle ground. There really isn't any way that a compromise can be reached here because the things that both sides want have nothing in common. They really don't, folks. I mean, it's no more complicated than that. They really don't have anything in common. Republicans want entitlement cuts, spending reform. Government's getting too big. The big government, bigger entitlements, that's how Democrats stay in power.
It's not complicated; it's just the way it is.
Now, I said Boehner sounds like he's proposing a Pelosi plan.
What did he say here?
"Plan B would protect American taxpayers who make a million-dollar or less." See, he had over the 400 grand to the White House and the White House made it sound like they're moving a little bit on that. So they upped it! They said, "Okay, a million dollars! No tax increase on anybody under a million." The White House rejected it. But let's go back. This is April the 2nd on Charlie Rose on PBS. He interviewed Nancy Pelosi, and he said, "You’re not prepared to say they shouldn’t be continued? ... And the former speaker of the House says...?"
PELOSI: In our caucus there is a school of thought that says, you know, just... Let's get rid of all of the tax cuts. I said, let's begin by getting rid of tax cuts for people making over a million dollars a year. I'm not even saying 250. The president's saying 250. I'm saying a million and above. Who can argue with that?
RUSH: That's what Boehner has adopted. I mean, the Pelosi plan of last April, that's what Boehner's adopted. That's what he sent to the White House, and they've already rejected it. The Pelosi plan! Boehner didn't call it that, we are. But, I mean, it's her idea. No tax increases for anybody up to a million dollars a year, not $250,000 like the president's saying.
RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I think one of the things that Boehner is trying to do here... I should point out, by the way, that Chuck-U Schumer proposed the very same deal that Pelosi proposed. Chuck-U Schumer was all for this plan all the way back in November 2010.
This plan, again, would exempt everybody making up to a million dollars from any new tax increase. And the Obama plan is calling for everybody at $250,000 and up, then it became $400,000. The White House theoretically warmed up to that, but then they backed off. Now Boehner has proposed what Pelosi proposed. I don't think this is an accident. I can't be sure, but I think what Boehner's attempting to do is throw an essentially Democrat-leadership idea at the White House.
And then what Boehner wants to do is you get the Senate over there, that is not really involved in this, a little bit of protection. I think what Boehner is trying to do is put some burden, some pressure on Dingy Harry, the Senate majority leader. He wants him to act, wants him to get involved and take the "revenue" issue off the table. What Boehner's trying to do -- and I don't know that it's going to work.
But I think offering this million-dollar umbrella is essentially taking the "revenue" issue off the table by agreeing to it, and then the effort is to focus the Democrats on spending. Now, Dingy Harry, the wily old coyote here, has refused to be trapped. Dingy Harry has already rejected the Boehner-Pelosi plan. In his statement, he said, "The House bill will not protect middle-class families because it can't pass both houses of Congress."
Meaning, he will not let this be voted on in the Senate.
That's what he's saying.
So the Democrats are holding middle-class tax cuts hostage, is what is happening. Nobody's gonna report it that way. I'm pretty sure, folks. I'm not that sure, but I think so.
RUSH: So let me, in summary, explain what I think has happened today. John Boehner, the Republican leader, is eager to make a deal with the White House so as to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, which, again, is the implementation of a budget arrangement that contains elements supposedly unacceptable to both parties: massive tax increases and massive defense cuts. Remember, I am fairly sure that President Obama wants that to happen, for reasons previously explained. But John Boehner doesn't. John Boehner thus has made a new proposal as of today, called Plan B.
The president wants tax increases on all income over $250,000 a year. Back in April, Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House, said, "No, let's make it a million dollars. No tax increase on income up to $1 million." Therefore only income above a million dollars would get a tax increase. Chuck Schumer in 2010 proposed the same thing. So John Boehner said, "You know what, let's throw a Democrat idea at President Obama," which he did today. And it has promptly been rejected. The White House has rejected it, and Jay Carney said it doesn't ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors. And, of course, he said it can't pass the Senate.
Now, the White House is saying that all income under a million dollars will have no tax increase. The White House is saying that's not asking enough of the very wealthiest. Obama, therefore, is insistent that every American family, small business and otherwise, earning $250,000 a year or more, face a massive tax increase. This is what the White House wants. They're the only people that do. The Democrat Party and the White House want tax increases on certain Americans. Nobody else does. None of the Republicans do.
I'm sure what Boehner was trying to do, and I don't know whether it's a good strategy or not. I'll leave it for you to decide. What Boehner was attempting to do is get the revenue, the tax increase stuff off the table by agreeing to raise rates. The Republicans held out on this for a long time. By agreeing with the president to raise rates on the wealthiest Americans, what the Speaker is attempting to do is, "Okay, we've taken care of that. I agree with you. Now let's focus on the spending side." And the Democrats are rejecting that. There will be no spending cuts that anybody on the Democrat side agrees to. There just will not be. No way, no how.
That's why I said there's no common ground here. There is no way for there to be a compromise. The only thing that can happen here is for one side to lose dramatically. That's all. There's not gonna be a compromise. I'm sure part and parcel of what Boehner's trying to do with this Plan B is put pressure on Harry Reid, because, "Okay, look, we're agreeing to raise rates. This is what you guys have said you wanted. We're agreeing to it. That's done. Now let's talk about the spending."
"Sorry, this can't pass the Senate." And of course they're throwing in this middle class mumbo jumbo as a distraction. There's nothing about the middle class in this. In fact, this deal expands the middle class and exempts them from a tax increase. This Boehner proposal, the Pelosi proposal essentially expands the middle class to include people up to a million bucks. No tax increase. And yet the Democrats reject it. The White House rejects it. So the one thing for you to take away in all of this is that it's the Democrat Party, the president, the White House that are adamant that your taxes go up.
The Republicans have agreed in principle. But they also are demanding some spending cuts, and that's where the deal is falling apart. There will not be any spending cuts, pure and simple. There are some people, however, even in the media, who believe that if the Republicans agree to raise rates on the rich, that that will then force the Democrats to be nice and play ball and make a compromise, that is on the spending cuts side.
Let's go to Bob Beckel. He was on Fox this morning with Bill Hemmer. Bob Beckel, cohost of The Five at Five on Fox. Hemmer said, "They're talking about a deal now that will save $2 trillion over ten years. We're already in a $16 trillion national debt. We're gonna be in a $20 trillion national debt in four years. Then we're gonna save two trillion over the next ten? Come on, Bob, that's nothing. I mean, we're gonna be left with a huge bag in our hands at the end of this deal, aren't we, Bob?"
BECKEL: What you don't include in that are the entitlement cuts which there will be. And here's the answer for the Democratic caucus. If the Republicans go along with tax rate increases on the rich, then the Democrats, if they don't do something on entitlements, will take the political heat for it.
RUSH: From who, Bob? Somebody tell me who is gonna give the Democrats heat for not doing something on entitlements. This is nothing more than an enticement. I'm pretty sure what's happening here is a trick, 'cause it sounds to me like what the Democrats are doing is tempting the Republicans into believing that there will be pressure brought to bear on the Democrats to cut spending if they agree with the tax rate increases, 'cause the media will then say, "Okay, Democrats, the Republicans have compromised, now it's your turn." And here Beckel is basically joining in that chorus line, saying, "Well, if Republicans go along with tax increases on the rich, the Democrats, if they don't do something on entitlements, will take the political heat for it."
Ladies and gentlemen, the Democrats will not take any political heat from people they worry about if they don't cut entitlements. Who is going to give them heat? Is it going to be the media? State-Run Media is going to criticize Obama and the Democrats for not compromising with the Republicans? I don't think that's going to happen, folks. I just don't see it. I have yet to see the media put any pressure on the Democrats. I've yet to see the Democrats be criticized at all by the media for anything. I mean, four Americans are dead in Benghazi, and the media doesn't care to find out what happened there. That's because they can't blame that on Republicans.
So I think this is a giant trap that's being set. People are telling the Republicans, "If you just agree to raise taxes on the rich, if Democrats don't play ball on entitlement cuts, they're gonna take the heat for it." But they won't take any heat. The Democrats don't take any heat for anything now. Not from people they care about.
I mean, they take heat from me, they get heat from people on Fox, but they don't get heat from people they care about. Oprah's not gonna give 'em heat. Letterman isn't gonna give 'em heat. Jon Stewart's not gonna criticize 'em. Stephen Colbert isn't gonna criticize them. That's not going to happen. They don't care. The people that matter to the Democrats and the president are not gonna criticize them. So I don't think that follows.
So then the question becomes: What should the Republicans do? And that's why I say fall back on principle. Always fall back on what you really believe in, which is a small, punishment, performing government that gets out of people's way and lets people keep more of what they earn, the fruits of their labors; lets them decide to do with it what they want. This is how people start businesses and hire other people for jobs, where people go to work. (interruption) No, "job."
It's where you get up and you leave home and you go someplace and you perform and somebody pays you for it. (interruption) Yeah, yeah. It used to happen a lot. And we want more people doing that, because more people doing that means that we have more people paying taxes, and that means there's more money to run precious government operations. So Republicans could say, "You know, we don't believe in tax increases on anybody, and we're not gonna have them."
Except that cat's out of the bag now, or the genie is out of the bottle. Could Boehner put that back into the bottle? Could Boehner withdraw his offer to raise taxes on the rich? Could he withdraw it? I think he could. I'm not sure. But I think Boehner could say, "Okay, I've tried everything, and it is clear the White House isn't interested in striking a deal. It is clear that the White House wants taxes on Americans to go up."
Just say it!
Call another press availability and say, "I have gone more than the extra mile. I've given the White House everything they've asked for and they're not interested. So I'm withdrawing my offer to raise rates on the rich, and we stand for no tax increases. We stand for spending reform," and then go over the cliff and let the president own what happens. He will own it.
Now, he will blame the Republicans for it, and the media will join in the chorus, but the Republicans will have done the right thing. Now, I don't know that any of this is going to happen. I'm just a small-minded, small talk show guy, basically a pawn in the game of life. So these are just my ideas. I don't know whether they're going to hatch or not.
RUSH: Here is Reginald in Tampa, Florida. Great to have you, sir. You're up first today.
CALLER: Good morning, Rush. I think the dialogue's way off. We're way over the cliff. We were roaring down the highway with the gas stuck, spinning like crazy, and now we're over the cliff. We're just arguing about how hard we're gonna hit the ground because we can't stop spending, and it's not about taxes. It's about spending. They just don't want to talk about that word.
RUSH: No, that's exactly right. We are over the cliff. I think we've been over the cliff, like you say, for a long time. By the way, do you think we ever repay $16 trillion in debt?
CALLER: No. Of course not. We just manipulate it around, raise the currency levels, add more money because we can print it, and hope for the best.
RUSH: Well, but you have to make some effort to. Clearly this is a spending-side problem. Now, which party is it not interested in spending reductions at all?
CALLER: (chuckles) Neither one of them are interested. Have you heard anybody talk about spending reduction other than, "We're gonna cut the amount we're gonna increase"? I mean, that's basically what the Republicans are talking about. "Let's don't increase quite so much. Let's keep spending."
RUSH: Well, you know, you're on to something. The practical result is exactly what you say. The Republicans are talking spending cuts, but there never really are any, are there?
RUSH: Every year the budget gets bigger, doesn't it? No matter what anybody says about spending cuts and all these "Draconian cuts" that happen all the time, government still gets bigger, doesn't it?
RUSH: Over the cliff already. Hmm. I like it.
RUSH: Earlier in the program we announced that John Boehner's Plan B was essentially a Nancy Pelosi plan announced in April. And the Nancy Pelosi plan announced in April was to exempt the first million dollars that people earn from any tax increase. Not the first $250,000, but anybody earning a million dollars or less will not get a tax increase. That was her idea. Boehner proposed it today, didn't mention her name, but he proposed that very thing today, what he called Plan B. So everybody said, "Boehner just proposed the Pelosi plan." Well, Pelosi has reacted now.
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argued Tuesday that Speaker John Boehner’s 'Plan B' proposal for a fiscal cliff deal is a 'tactic' and 'not a serious proposal' -- the plan, however, is one Pelosi herself has advocated for repeatedly in 2012. 'It’s really hard to imagine why they even came up with it,' Pelosi said of Boehner’s plan in an interview with Andrea Mitchell, 'unless they just wanted to prove to their members that unless 218 of them were ready to raise rates, it’s not going to pass. The Democrats are not going to give them that success. It’s a tactic, but it’s not a serious proposal."
She's describing her own proposal now as a tactic. She's describing her own proposal as something that's not a serious proposal, because Boehner has used it now. She meant every word of it when she proposed it in April. I don't think she was trying to lure anybody in, not in April. Nobody was serious about the fiscal cliff. She was serious about it. Now that Boehner's proposed it, oh, no. Folks, the point of this is they do not want an agreement. There is no common ground. The moment any common ground is apparently reached, the Democrats yank the rug out.
There isn't any common ground. They will not permit it. Look, I know that many of you think the Republicans are an order of fries short of a Happy Meal, and you may be right. But the fact of the matter is that the Democrats do not and will not permit a deal where the Republicans win anything, literally, strategically, PR-wise, it isn't going to happen. The Republicans ought to know this. That's the frustrating thing, even for the new squishy me.
Quickly, Anthony, Fresno, California. Hello, sir. Great to have you.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: I'm fine. Thank you.
CALLER: Yeah. Merry Christmas from the Central Valley of California known as Fresno, California. Merry Christmas, Rush.
RUSH: Same to you. Thank you very much.
CALLER: Yeah. My question to you, first, I really, really want to thank you, and this is personal to me, because I have been a die-hard Democrat.
RUSH: Oh, no.
CALLER: I did vote for Obama, regrettably so.
RUSH: Oh, no.
CALLER: But, you know what?
CALLER: One day I was driving in my car, and for some reason I tuned in to 580 AM on my car radio, and I started listening to you. And I have never been so politically enlightened, politically educated, and politically resurrected like when I spoke with you, Rush.
CALLER: So I just want to thank you so very much for the good work you've been doing.
RUSH: Well, I can't thank you enough. You've really made my day here, Anthony. I wish I'd-a gotten to you earlier 'cause I'm already out of time.
Back after this, folks. Don't go away.
RUSH: Pelosi sent Boehner a letter in May, the last sentence reads: "Democrats believe tax cuts for those earning over a million dollars a year should expire and that we should use the resulting revenues to pay down the deficit." This was not a PR stunt. She really meant that back in May.
We'll see you tomorrow, folks. Thanks for being with us.