RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I, your harmless, lovable, little fuzzball host, Rush Limbaugh, am sitting here literally shocked. Well, yeah, in a way shocked, but mostly devastated. Not just about Mississippi. We'll get to that in just a second. The fact that the United States economy shrunk, contracted -- for those of you in Rio Linda, it got smaller -- by 3% in the first quarter, should be the only news anybody is reporting about now. And you can't find it.
Greetings, and welcome. Great to have you. Rush Limbaugh here at 800-282-2882, if you want to be on the program. The e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.
The US economy shrank at a rate of 2.9%. For the sake of simplicity and rounding off, I'm just gonna call it 3% for the rest of the day. Three percent contraction, shrinking. The original report way back when the first quarter number came out was a retraction of one-tenth of 1%, and they said it was because of the cold weather, that people stayed indoors in the comfort of their homes rather than work out, get out and brave the elements to go shopping and engage in commerce.
What is happening, it's exactly as we talked about yesterday, and I want to go through this again. The natural tendency, because of the design -- I'll give you the example of an airplane again. An airplane, properly designed, wants to fly. The airfoil on the wing, if you achieve enough forward speed, it will fly. That is what it wants to do. You have to work to keep it from flying. You have to purposely fight the airplane to keep it from flying.
The US economy is constructed the same way. Free market capitalism is designed to expand. Free market capitalism, the entrepreneurial driver of free market capitalism is designed to grow, it's designed to lift off. If it's a pie, it's designed to get bigger. That's how it works. That's the brilliance, that's part of American exceptionalism. You have to purposely attack the US economy to cause it to contract this way, and that is what is fundamentally crucial for people to understand.
Three percent contraction. The US economy got smaller by 3%. It should make sense to people by virtue of the fact that the federal government is simply taking so much of it. In Obamacare alone the federal government has simply appropriated one-sixth of that economy, just commandeered it and is in the process of taking it. You add in all of the additional regulations that Washington is inflicting and it's making starting a business all the more difficult. And that's the direct result of overregulation.
The entrepreneurial spirit is being tamped down. The US economy's natural tendency is being thwarted. There are policies -- and this is the key -- there are policies in place that are designed to shrink the US economy. They are tax policies, Obamacare, any number of new regulations on businesses large and small. (interruption) Well, but uncertainty is a derivative of all this. The erasing of the Southern border, 95 million Americans not working.
If you have an option, if you come from a place where you've had no inspiration in your life. If you come from a broken family, which there are more and more of those in this country. If you come from a place where there hasn't been a role model in your life to tell you how good you can be. If you haven't been inspired. If you haven't gone through life learning how good you are. If you haven't gone through life being told that you're capable of much more than you think you are. If you've gone through life thinking that it sucks and that you suck and that there's no hope, then not working for $400 a week is gonna be much more attractive than working for $500 a week, and that's exactly where we are.
We've got 95, or depending on where you look, a hundred million people in this country, capable, able people, 100 million not working. There's no way you're gonna have a growing economy when one-third of the population isn't working. But they are all eating. And they're all participating in social media or they're using their smartphones somehow. They're texting, they're calling, they're Skyping, they're watching the World Cup, and many of them are driving around and going back home. And none of them are working.
Welfare is not welfare. Welfare does not equal poverty. It's become a lifestyle. That's not by accident. This is all the result of policy. It is policy that has long been the dream and desire of the Democrat Party. Sadly, many Republicans, rather than fight this, have sat by idly and let it happen, because they're afraid of fighting it. Then you add in the crony capitalism or crony socialism that we were talking about last week. American business no longer has to innovate in order stay ahead of its competition. Some American businesses only need a sugar daddy relationship with the administration, and that relationship alone makes it impossible to compete against them. Their competitors can't keep up with a company that has a sweetheart relationship with the federal government.
For example -- and this is a good one. I don't mean to harp on them, but it's an example that was published in a piece about this I saw. How many of you were shocked like I was when you read early on that Walmart was on board for Obamacare? Instinctively it doesn't make any sense. The instinctive, traditional understanding is that Walmart is an American major corporation, and, as such, doesn't want anything to do with government. This is the natural assumption people would make. You add to it the Walmart history and tradition, Arkansas, thought to be Republican, conservative, free market, free enterprise, leave government, get 'em away from me, don't want any part of 'em.
And then all of a sudden, out of the blue, Walmart -- and they're not the only one, just a great example -- are supporting Obamacare. Well, why? Probably simple. They can afford the pain. They can afford whatever new costs. And because of their relationship with Obama, they've got waivers or exemptions. But their competitors can't afford it, and their competitors don't have the waivers.
So Walmart -- without having to innovate, without having to lower prices, without having to really compete with its competitors -- can win. Costco is another example. Costco all of a sudden one day comes out in favor of the minimum wage. It makes no sense. The minimum wage doesn't do anybody any good. It causes the loss of jobs. It does not raise anybody's standard of living.
But Costco's right there supporting the Regime and the minimum wage. Why? Because they formed a relationship! It's easier to be with somebody like Obama than to have him angry at you and targeting you. Plus you can afford a minimum wage increase, arbitrary though it is. Your competitors can't. Therefore your alliance with the government results in your competitors being harmed, not anything you've done in a competition sense.
Well, you have all this crony socialism, crony capitalism. All of these things combined are the result of various policies, which are literally destroying the United States economy. A 3% contraction! It's unheard of. I think Stuart Varney at Fox Business News said that this is "the worst non-recession shrinkage in 58 years." What do you mean, non-recession? Simply because we haven't had two quarters of it?
Well, I guess, maybe that is a side issue whether it's recession or not. The fact of the matter is, what people need to understand is it's the result of policy. The United States economy is not naturally inclined to this kind of horrible performance. The United States economy, as designed, is designed to grow and expand. I've mentioned many factors. I could throw a lot more in.
There's a social component: The bust-up of the family, family values out the window. A lot of people growing up with no inspiration, no mentoring, nobody telling them how good they can be, nobody telling them that they have an unlimited future, nobody telling them they have unlimited future because they are growing up in America. In fact, it's just the opposite.
Way too many people are growing up in this country telling them they don't have a chance because they're growing up in America and this country's racist and sexist and bigoted and homophobic and unjust and immoral. None of this is accidental. None of this just happens to be occurring. It is the result of policy, six years of it. This is what I meant when I said, "I hope he fails." This is what I hoped would not happen.
And then they add this in their report: "unexpectedly shrank 3% in the first quarter." Take a look at what some of Obama's policies have been to prevent this: Billions of dollars thrown down government rat roles in the form of bailouts. The latest coming bailout (as predicted, by the way) -- I had this in the Stack yesterday and didn't get to it -- is we're gonna bail out the insurance agency, the health insurance business.
Because they're taking it this country right now because things are a little bit slower than Obama intended with Obamacare. That's another disaster. We're not ready for the health insurance industry to go out of business yet. Eventually Obama's dream is for there to be no private sector health insurance, but not now. He needs it to happen slowly and gradually. He still needs them 'cause the government can't provide health insurance. The government can't provide health care.
They can't do anything right right now.
So he still needs the private sector.
But yes, we had the story yesterday of how they're gonna bail 'em out. Everybody's losing money in Obamacare. Everybody is losing money with it one way or the other, in a cumulative sense. There may be individuals doing okay. You might have a hospital here, hospital there. But overall it's a disaster. How many stimuluses or stimuli have we had that were designed to prevent all this? How many summits at the White House on jobs and the economy?
If Barack Obama had been sworn into office after his immaculation in January of 2009 and proceeded to do nothing, we would be better off. And that's the point. If he had done nothing -- if he just sat there and pretended to be king -- we would be better off than we are now. The economy shrank for the first time in 58 years! Many of you, this has never happened in your life. The Drive-By Media, of course, is going to ignore this.
Or, as the AP does here, say, "The setback is expected to be temporary with growth rebounding solidly since spring." Really? Well, every Drive-By news report I've read on the economy for the past six years has had the word "unexpected" or "surprised" in it, meaning everything they've reported has been a shock. They haven't expected it. So it's no big deal. Yeah, it shrank 3%. But that's just expected to be temporary.
"Growth will rebound solidly in the spring." And so, for I don't know what -- the umpteenth or gazillionth time in the last six years -- we are being told that prosperity is just around the corner. How long has AP been spreading this sunshine now? How long have ABC, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Times been spreading this BS that prosperity is just around the corner -- we're poised for growth, waiting to break out -- while the day-to-day reality is it's worsening?
In Detroit this week we found out that half the residents cannot pay their water bills, and so powers that be in Detroit want the UN to come in, the United Nations. They're not even gonna bother calling Obama. They want United Nations to come in and help out with water bills, monthly water bills in Detroit. And I'll tell you what frosts me. The same news media, when the GDP, gross domestic product, grew at 3.5% to 3.4% under George W. Bush?
Every day we were pummeled into submission with the idea that we were entering a recession, and it might end up being a depression. The economy's floor was about to collapse underneath us. We were about to all descend into nothingness and poverty. While the economy was growing at 3.3%, they called that a recession! They called that a near depression. Now we have shrunk 3% in one quarter?
No big deal! It's just temporary. Growth is right around the corner.
"The Commerce Department says the first quarter contraction was even more severe than the 1% annual decline it estimated a month go." Really? That 3% is worse than 1%? Progress! "Two-thirds of the downward revision reflected a decline in health care spending." Are you kidding me? The US economy shrinks 3% because there is less health care spending?
With less health care spending, this economy ought to be growing 3%, because that means disposable income would be available for the pleasures of life, not the necessities. It's worse than I thought. They're chalking this up to health care spending declining? That should result in massive private sector growth. But the point, folks, every bit of this is policy driven. It's the result of policy. It's not accidental, it's not fate, it's not coincidence.