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Punkin Limbaugh, Welfare, and the War on Poverty


RUSH: So I ended the program yesterday, the last 30 seconds of the program I mentioned how that morning, yesterday morning, when I got up I couldn't feed Punkin, because she had to go to the vet and they had to do a procedure that required her to be anesthetized. For those of you in Rio Linda, it means knocked out.  She had to fast from midnight the night before, and I knew it was gonna happen, and it did.  I got up, she makes a beeline to her food bowls, which weren't there.  The cat was totally confused and looked at me, she's got the biggest eyes, I mean, the captivating eyes of an owl.  And she looked at me, her head just slightly cocked, with a look of confusion.  I mean, if an animal can be confused, she was. 

She was clearly looking at me to fix what was wrong.  It just broke my heart, 'cause I couldn't, you know, I wanted to feed the cat.  We humanize our pets.  We assume they feel and think the same things we do.  So I assumed she was cursing me out, telling me to go to whatever and demanding food and this kind of thing, but she's not.  She didn't know what was going on.  Probably in the 12 years she's been alive, we've done this three times, it was the three times in her life the food hasn't been there. She's totally conditioned to it.  And my heart's breaking because I want to give her some food.  I can't.  I know I can't.  So I go about the routine, and she finally starts following me around, yipping and nipping at my ankles. 

She doesn't meow much.  She never makes much noise, and sometimes when she does it sounds like a video game, but she started making noise so I just had to get out of there.  Anyway, I told the story yesterday -- she's fine, by the way, went to the vet and fine.  Just mostly a checkup.  But I got an e-mail note and I thought I'd share the e-mail note with you. 

"So, Rush, Punkin was looking at you, you are the source of her existence, the way all people on welfare look at politicians.  Now, your heart was melting.  You were crumbling when your cat was looking at you.  Can you imagine yourself being a liberal Democrat politician, any politician, being any less sympathetic to all of those needy, hungry people?  And just as you didn't want to deny your cat food, can you imagine these politicians not wanting to deny people sustenance?  How can they deny those sad, wide eyes even when we know it's good for them in the long run?"

And I thought, you know, I bet a lot of people had that reaction.  Here's the answer to it.  The difference is Punkin is an animal, and she has been conditioned to not be able to take care of herself.  You know, if she were feral, had she never become a pet, she'd be out there fending for herself one way or the other, and the laws of nature would prevail.  But a human being is different than an animal, and a human being can be taught. 

I appreciate the analogy, and I understand how people get weak, "We gotta take care of them. Oh, my God, look."  In fact, we've got poverty news. We are in worse poverty in America today. It's as bad as it was in the sixties.  Everybody is to assume that it was bad in the sixties, but that's not really the point.  The point is that the poverty reality is as it was in the sixties, and the sixties is when it was so bad that the Democrats created a new entitlement program called the War on Poverty, which we are still fighting and which we're losing. We haven't won it, and we never will.  The percentages of people in poverty today match exactly the percentages that they were in the 1960s.  The numbers change 'cause the population is different.  But between 1960 and now there has been incredible prosperity in this country, overwhelming prosperity. Not so much the last five years. 

But there's been overwhelming prosperity and yet, people as a percentage in poverty: hasn't changed.  In fact, there's this new group of people in poverty that are on disability that now numbers 8.7 million people, the size of New York City, and they are not counted, for example, in the unemployment rolls, but they're on welfare. They're on various SSDI, SSI, food stamp programs or whatever because they're depressed, because they're bipolar, because they limp, or whatever reason.  The numbers of people who have become entirely dependent in this country is skyrocketing, even in the midst of all this prosperity. 

It got me to thinking.  We've been talking about the family a lot lately and the family structure and the future of the family, what the family is, what it's gonna be.  It got me to thinking about something.  In-home taxpayer-paid education that is undermining the country for years to come


RUSH: This is for you adults out there who have learned to game the welfare system.  It's not intended for those who legitimately have hit a snag in their lives and need some short-term help.  I don't want you to misunderstand what I'm talking about here.  One of the things that becomes crystal clear is that there is so much fraud going on in what is called the safety net. There's so much fraud in that, it would make you sick. 

For example, do you realize we're going to do a concert for the sequester?  I kid you not.  White House concert -- well, I'm calling it for the sequester.  It's really not, but I think it sounded funny.  Justin Timberlake -- I hope Obama doesn't diss his latest CD -- Justin Timberlake is gonna perform at the White House in a concert despite the sequester, in the midst of the sequester.  A White House concert with Justin Timberlake. I'm just calling it the concert for the sequester, 'cause we have concerts for the starving in Biafra. We've had We Are the World.  We've had Madonna and the crew do concerts for people with flies buzzing around their heads. So now we got a concert for the sequester, headlined by Justin Timberlake. 

My point is the social safety net, we are being ripped off.  And of course the polite thing to do is to pretend that everything's okay, that it's a minority of people and it's just standard operating procedure. In a country this large, a certain percentage of people are gonna learn to game the system. It's gonna be a fraudulent-based thing, but by no means is it a significant number of people. The angry white man, quote, unquote, has been intimidated into thinking it's not even okay to be angry about that.  You're not supposed to even get mad about the fraud.  You're just supposed to accept it as, "Well, you know, what are people gonna do?  If they can't get a job, they gotta find a way to live somehow."  So if you get angry about this, you're just an angry white man. 

So we're expected to shut up and let the fraud go on uninterrupted.  But you know what's taking place, I'm convinced of this, I think there is a taxpayer-paid education in America that's not talked about, and it's happening in millions of homes and apartments all across the country.  The education I'm talking about is the one that children who are living with a single parent who fraudulently takes welfare or unemployment or food stamps or disability.  The children of those people learning how it's done. A massive education taking place in defrauding the system.  I'm talking about people who are able to work.  I don't want anybody thinking that I am aiming this at the legitimately disabled and the legitimately incompetent, legitimately incapable. 

I'm talking about people for whom work is possible, work is available.  But some people have decided to take money from government agencies rather than from an employer.  And the children of these people, the children of these families are learning at an early age and well into their teenage years how to beat the game of the multifaceted and complex federal welfare system.  Do you know all that's involved in receiving unemployment, food stamps, a free cell phone, welfare? Do you know? I mean, if you had to go out today and access it, could you?  I couldn't.  I don't know what to do.  I don't know what to do to get on the welfare rolls.  If I fired myself today, I wouldn't know where to go to get unemployment. 

If I bought a health insurance policy and then canceled it, I wouldn't know where to go, other than to call an insurance company.  I wouldn't know what to do to get on a government insurance plan.  I wouldn't know how to get an Obamaphone.  Would you?  Any of you on the other side of the glass, would you know any of this?  You don't.  Of course you don't.  Food stamps?  I don't, either.  I have no idea what you have to do to get food stamps.  Have you been through a disability hearing?  This is harder than fourth grade math or the mis-learning of American history.  Numbers of people have no clue, but all kinds of people do know, and the education their kids are getting is important to consider. 

The way to get food stamps, the way to get unemployment, the way to get an Obamaphone, the way to get on the welfare rolls, the way to get through a disability hearing, the way to massage and manage ten different prescriptions at four different pharmacies, there are people being taught how to do this.  They're learning it at home.  Young skulls full of mush are absorbing all of this, and it's being passed down from generation to generation, how to take the easy way out.  And then how to rationalize taking the easy way out, how to rationalize taking what hasn't been earned. 

Do you realize the catcalls I'm gonna get?  "You're being so cold-hearted.  How could you look and talk to these people, especially after the experience with your cat."  Well, that's my point here.  We hear about all the people that are engaging in this fraud, and we just assume that it's snap, crackle, and pop easy to do.  I don't know how to do any of it.  And a child doesn't know how to do any of it, unless the child happens to be taught.  And it's being taught at the expense of other things.  If this kind of thing is being taught, hard work, self-reliance, rugged individualism, all of those things are not being taught, odds are.  This is not passing the torch to the next generation the way it's always been understood, and this education is obviously going on every day. 

Some of it can't be helped, but a lot of it we have to acknowledge is fraud.  We have 50 million Americans on food stamps in what we are told is a recovering economy.  There haven't been a series of earthquakes that have caused that many millions to go on disability, and yet they are.  We have millions of children learning how to navigate this leviathan, the labyrinth of bureaucracy after bureaucracy after bureaucracy in order to survive and sustain themselves, and it's far more difficult than most video games and far more lucrative.  You learn how to answer questions in ways that won't jeopardize free money.  You figure out how much money government benefits bring in, you weigh that against income from a job, and then you learn the value of free time and the wonders of Netflix.  You figure it all out.  The lessons being learned in American homes today are quite interesting if you look at it this way.


RUSH: So I got a note from somebody here during the break. "Yeah, Rush, you're on to something here today. Dependency has to be taught." No, it doesn't. Now, I don't want to get too deep here, folks, but since we're talking about family and its importance -- and I brought my cat into this -- I want to try to make a couple of points here. We're not born independent. Human beings are the only mammals that are entirely, totally helpless. For how many years after our birth are we dependent? But an animal, depending on which one -- talking about mammals here -- is ready to leave its mother in weeks.

A horse, for example, is born able to walk and run. Dogs, cats, lions, tigers, you name it. Six weeks, they're ready to split. They're on their own. A human being? No way. A human being is born entirely into dependence. A human being, you could say, is born entirely into socialism. A human being knows nothing of morality, of right and wrong, knows nothing. All of those things, in humans, have to be taught: A, the importance of the family. Where does morality come from as a human being?

Where does self-reliance come from in a human being? Where does rugged individualism come from? Well, we're all different, and some have instincts. We're not, any of us, the same. But there are similarities, and it's parents and family that teach so much. My family happened to teach big-time self-reliance. My family was big on morality. My family was big on right and wrong. I couldn't escape it. Some kids grow up and never hear a thing about that; don't know anything about it. Some kids grow up and never get out of the dependency cycle that they were born to. 


RUSH: Janet in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Great to have you here. Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I'm calling to let you know that, as a health care advocate, I'm against the way the welfare system is holding people in the box.

RUSH: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold it. Hold it just a second. What is a "health care advocate"?

CALLER: It's done through, like, a charity-type program. If somebody lost their medical coverage and needs care, we help 'em get care either through welfare or charity programs.

RUSH: Okay, and you represent them as they go through it process?


RUSH: Okay.

CALLER: And what I'm calling to say is, people don't realize what you're giving up to even get on there, and you lose your health insurance. You lose so much stuff that you gain in the past just to get coverage. And the minute you get coverage, if you're a dollar over an amount, you're automatically kicked out. And when you get any kind of settlement -- be it car accident or lawsuit -- they take up to half of what you have coming back to pay for what they took.

RUSH: My point is, there are people who know all this and know how to keep all those disqualifiers from happening.

CALLER: Well, what they have to do is hide their income; get gifts through other people.

RUSH: Exactly right. Four different pharmacists over ten different days. There are all kinds of tricks that you could play, and you're out there advocating for them while they do this?

CALLER: Well, I don't advocate for that. I advocate if it's middle and upper class and they lost their insurance and we have to get medicine and treatment.

RUSH: Wait, wait, wait, wait. You advocate for middle- and upper-class Americans?

CALLER: Yeah. That would be somebody in the car accident that went down, lost their insurance, had to lose everything they have in the bank, and they have to get medical coverage to get care.

RUSH: Wait a minute. They lost everything in the bank because of a severe car accident --


RUSH: -- and they lost their insurance?

CALLER: Or an illness, yes.

RUSH: Or an illness?

CALLER: And because they make too much money, they're not qualified for anything, but there are programs they can get on.

RUSH: What is making "too much money"? Can you give me a number?

CALLER: Too much money for a single person of working age is $462 a month. If you're handicapped, one person, it's around $872 a month.

RUSH: Wait a minute. You're calling those the...? I forget the term you used.

CALLER: The qualification. The resource limit.

RUSH: No, but their economic rank. You called them middle class and upper class?

CALLER: No, this is the limits to get on help. Upper class would be I helped somebody that was actually a stock broker making a lot of money, but due to hepatitis and other illnesses they had to lose everything to get help.

RUSH: You mean get coverage, get treatment?

CALLER: Yeah, any kind of medical coverage. So they lost everything else they had.

RUSH: Wait a minute. You mean a Wall Street guy lost everything because of hepatitis?


RUSH: Well, some people would be happy about that.

CALLER: Yeah, especially if they got wrong advice.

RUSH: So you advocate for the well-off as well?

CALLER: Well, only in that situation.

RUSH: Well, don't feel guilty about it. I just didn't know if the --

CALLER: What I'm telling you is, the system is set up to keep people in there.

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: They don't promote any kind of getting off the system.

RUSH: That's exactly right. I hear you. "One dollar over and you're gone, so make sure you don't earn anything."

CALLER: Yeah, and it's unfair. Because I was stressing to all my politicians back here -- Republican, Democrat -- make it where at least keep the medical 'til they get medical on the new job and then put 'em over. But if you kick a family off that has children, that's keeping the family on the system.

RUSH: By design.

CALLER: Yep, by design. Same with the education system.

RUSH: Yep.

CALLER: Classrooms are set up to fail, 'cause they get more money by failing.

RUSH: Because the number of students expands because the students --

CALLER: Rush, they're putting 36 students in a class. A third of them don't speak English. A third are special ed. A third are regular education. There's no teacher that can teach that classroom.

RUSH: Well, you say that you object to welfare? Did you say that?

CALLER: I object to welfare. I object... I said that I have to fight for 'em, but --

RUSH: What are some of your objections? I've got about thirty seconds.

CALLER: My objection is somebody that lost everything through a car accident. They get a settlement and they're just starting to get on their feet. They lost their home and everything. The state has a right, under third-party liability, to take a half of that settlement right up front for the money they paid out. But yet if I didn't get 'em help on welfare, the hospital woulda charged them 100% of the bill.

RUSH: For crying out loud, all people want to do is go to the doctor!



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