RUSH: From the San Francisco Chronicle today, interesting story. Headline… Let me just say the headline: “Social Security Rehab…” (laughing) Rehab. Rehabilitation. “Social Security Rehab Died First Under Clinton; Lewinsky Scandal, Impeachment Ended His Overhaul Attempt — Who killed Social Security overhaul? A) Harry Reid, B) George W. Bush, C) the AARP or D) Monica Lewinsky? Answer is D, Monica Lewinsky. Seven years ago, the first baby boomer president traveled the country to warn that his generation’s impending retirement, 76 million people [who think the world revolves around them] would bankrupt the generations to follow. ‘It would be unconscionable if we failed to act,’ President Clinton said at a forum in 1998 when he made fixing the nation’s retirement program a top priority in his second term. Clinton’s efforts then, in light of President Bush’s now, induce an extraordinary sense of d?j? vu. Clinton appointed a bipartisan commission which delivered in ’97 three options to save the program. They included a now familiar list of possible benefit cuts from changing indexing formulas to changing the retirement age, and one of the options would have allowed workers to divert five percentage points of their payroll taxes to personal accounts, the first such proposal by a government commission. Clinton started campaigning for changes without saying what he endorsed. ‘I don’t want to dodge any of that,’ he said. ‘but if I advocate a specific plan right now, then all the debate will be about that. First thing we gotta do is get the American people solidly lined up behind change.’
“So he traveled the country in 1998 giving speeches, radio addresses, and holding townhall meetings with young workers and retirees. He warned that it is better to fix the roof when the sun’s shining and rammed through the familiar arithmetic of the declining numbers of workers supporting every retiree. He urged finding ways to allow poorer works to build wealth so they could ‘own a share of our nation’s prosperity.’ He pleaded for bipartisanship promising that all ideas were on the table. But he said, ‘There were really only three options. We can raise payroll taxes again which no one wants to do because the payroll tax is regressive, we can cut benefits, or we can work together to try to find some way to increase the rate of return.’ On December 8th Clinton convened a White House summit to reach historic bipartisan legislation to save Social Security for the 21st Century. Eleven days later the House with Republicans in the majority voted to impeach him.” (Laughing) But they were all for the Social Security reform plan, even back then. “Charles Stenholm a former Democrat congressman from Texas deeply involved in the discussions said, ‘We were close he said in my opinion and we would have gotten it done had it not been for a momentary lapse of judgment on the part of the president.'”
The Republicans did not filibuster this; they did not obstruct this. They went to the bipartisan meetings at the White House, and they were all for fixing Social Security, because it needs to be fixed. “‘We got real opportunity here, and a rare one,’ said Clinton, ‘to act today to provide for our children’s tomorrows,’ but at a press conference that day the questions focused on Ken Starr, the independent counsel whose report on Clinton’s relations with Monica Lewinsky would soon lead to impeachment.” Now, how many of you remember any of this? I’ll bet (interruption). No, no, not Monica. I mean how many of you remember (laughing). H.R. said, “I do.” Starr Report, yeah. Have you read the Starr Report, by the way? Have you read the Starr Report? It’s the most amazing thing, sitting there reading the Starr Report. It is just amazing. But anyway. How many of you remember that we were this close to this bipartisan — well, I don’t remember it being that close. It never really got that close because of impeachment but they were talking, as opposed to what’s happening today. The Republicans did not go out, start running commercials opposed it. The Republicans did not go out and trash Clinton’s saying he was trying to do something filled with chicanery. They recognized that it was a problem that needed to be fixed as well. Only today, when the Democrats are in full obstruction mode, are they actually now opposed to what their favorite president in history next to FDR actually proposed in 1998, and Clinton’s proposal, 5% of your payroll taxes go to your own private account. Bush’s number they’re throwing around is 4%. Bush then had his own commission too and it was headed up by a Democrat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
RUSH: Here’s Sylvia in Richmond, Virginia, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush, for taking my call from lovely Richmond, Virginia.
RUSH: Thank yew.
CALLER: A quick comment, and then a question.
RUSH: Yes, ma’am.
CALLER: I know the Democrats are not going to come to the table as long as privatization is there. I haven’t heard any serious discussion on raising the FICA cap. Why can’t it be raised on 125 or 150? I would pay anything. I’m so thankful to be an American, I do not mind paying my taxes.
CALLER: So why doesn’t Social Security — why can’t we fix the problem with raising it from 90 say to 125 or 150?
RUSH: Uhh, where do I begin?
CALLER: I’ll hang on after the break. You know, I know you gotta go to break soon but I want to hear what you’ve got to say and I may want to have another question but please give it some thought. I want to hear what you have to say.
RUSH: Well, the first thing people have proposed it. The current cap is 90.
RUSH: On income, people have proposed it, and it — you know, it’s something that’s marginally still on the table, somebody have rejected it, but no idea has been totally — well somebody may have said that idea is a nonstarter. Nobody wants to raise taxes right now. This is not the way to do this. The problem is not simply the lack of funds. The problem is the solvency of the program and this never-ending cycle of people who are not collecting the money paying for it. The idea of Social Security reform is to actually create circumstances where people who retire are retiring on their own savings, on their own money, not the taxes collected from younger workers who are being forced to pay an ever-higher and higher burden. The answer to this problem is not raising taxes. That what we’ve done each and every time down the pike. It hadn’t worked.
RUSH: It’s so sad and unfortunate Sylvia from beautiful Richmond, Virginia could not hang on for her second question because her plumber showed up and so the plumber showed up; she had to go. I don’t know what her second question was, but she was a good American she said…and of course I don’t know how old Sylvia was, but it’s interesting. The solution to every problem is raise taxes. The federal government’s bigger than it ever is. I still have a George Will column over the weekend in which he echoed an education idea from some governor, local legislator somewhere, I forget where it was but it’s called the 65% solution, and the education proposal basically is this: You take all the money that’s being spent on education now, you don’t increase it at all.You just reallocate it. You just require that 65% of all money spent on education be spent in the classroom — meaning on teachers, filmstrips, whatever is in the classroom, the students, this sort of thing. Right now there are only three or four states that spend that much. The national average is like 61 or 62-1/2%. So if you increase the 62-1/2% allocation to 65, do you know how much money you’re talking about? Stand back, folks: $14 billion!
To give you an idea how much money we’re spending on education and these liberals run around, they say, “We’re not spending enough. Education is, oh, woe is us.” The only problem with education is the curriculum. The only problem with public education is who’s in charge of it. The fact that we’re not spending enough money is just a crock. But it’s an interesting number, if you just take that 62-1/2% or whatever it is percent and make it 65%, allocate 65% of all education dollars, and that seems — 35% that means will be going to administration, whatever else, but if you just increase it 62-1/2 to 65% you find $14 billion to spend on education without raising taxes, without increasing the budget whatsoever — and so I had that in mind answering her question about Social Security. Everybody thinks that the answer’s always more money, and I think they think of that because of solvency. But the real problem in Social Security is that we’re past the point now where people’s contributions — taxes, what have you — over the course of their lives pay for their retirement. They don’t! People are not paying for their own retirement on Social Security. Other people are.
That’s why people call it a welfare program. That’s what Robert Samuelson, Washington Post wrote. He thinks the nation’s a bunch of welfare addicts, and they don’t want to be thought of that, or they don’t want to think of themselves as that so they come up with different definitions or terms or labels to describe their pet programs, but he says welfare is exactly what Social Security is. Other people are paying for other people’s retirement, and the whole point of reform is to fix it so that in time — and it’s going to take some time. Once you reorient a program, it takes some time for it to build out and encompass all people in the country, but the idea is to at least turn the ship in the right direction and hopefully you end up with everybody’s retirement is self-funded. Because what they are actually being attached is put into accounts that actually grow! Actually increase in wealth! Ownership society, all that stuff, hubba hubba — and, of course, “Well, we can’t do that, Rush! Why, that would enrich Wall Street. We can’t do that.” By the way, we had this story about an hour ago, maybe a little bit over an hour ago from the San Francisco Chronicle. If you missed it we’ll link to it, RushLimbaugh.com [see the bottom of this eStack archive page] later this afternoon when we update the site to reflect the contents of today’s program. It was all about how Bill Clinton did the exact same thing is George Bush is, procedurally, verbally, even the details of the program, even coming up with a commission to study it and then taking their recommendations and going out and trying to sell the idea.
What stymied Clinton was the Lewinsky scandal got in the way, but he had basically the same plan. Clinton’s plan was to take 5% and invest it. The difference was this. Clinton’s 5% that would so-called be invested would not be owned by Social Security donors or the American people. The government would invest 5% of Social Security revenue, and did anybody say, “Oh, Wall Street, you can’t have that (clucking) Wall Street?” Who would benefit from this? People like Robert Rubin, Clinton’s old buddies from Goldman Sachs, Jon Corzine and all these people. They would benefit from that. There was one voice who said you can’t do that, and it was Greenspan. Greenspan said, “Whoa, we got all kinds of problems now if you take that 5% and the government starts investing that? No, no, no, no.” So it was Greenspan that shut that down, but still Clinton was talking about taking 5% out of Social Security and putting it in the private sector in government plans, not individual plans, but the whole point nevertheless is to eventually get to a point where all Social Security retirees are retiring on their own money. (sigh) So you could say, folks, that Monica blew it. Republicans were supporting it. the Republicans were participating in the bipartisan meetings to get this going then Monica the whole thing broke, came along and she blew it. She didn’t even blow it for Clinton, she blew it for the whole baby boom generation, she blew it for Generation X, she blew it for Generation Y, whatever other generations have been named out there, and it’s just one of these modern American tragedies. It just goes to show that when you engage activity with one other person, you think it’s not going to affect others, it always does — and when Monica blew it, untold millions, folks (sigh) were affected, felt it, what have you.