RUSH: Gary in Wheaton, Illinois, I’m glad you called, sir. You’re next on the EIB Network.
RUSH: Gary, you there?
CALLER: Oh, hello, Rush.
RUSH: Yeah, hi. How are you?
CALLER: Cigar smoking dittos from Wheaton and from my twin brother in Plymouth, Minnesota.
RUSH: Thank you, sir. Nice to have you with us.
CALLER: Oh, it’s nice to talk to you. Say, I just had one small complaint I wanted to voice. You use a cough button on your microphone, don’t you?
RUSH: Yeah. (hitting button) Yes.
CALLER: Well, your sniffling has been annoying to me —
RUSH: Oh, no.
CALLER: — and I don’t know if it’s from your smoking or whatever.
RUSH: It is. I mean, the smoke gets up there in the nostrils. That’s the cigar smoke. That’s exactly what it is.
CALLER: But it is annoying, and —
RUSH: (sniff) I’m sorry.
CALLER: — it’s the only real complaint I have, Rush.
CALLER: It’s the only real complaint I have, Rush.
RUSH: Well, if that’s it, I’ll deal with that, if that’s the only complaint you have.
CALLER: Well, I’ll live with it.
RUSH: Well, how irritating is it? I guess it’s irritating enough to actually call here and mention it to me. (sniff)
CALLER: Well, the problem was way back 40-some years ago in high school I had a guy across the study hall table that had that same habit and it drove me bananas back then.
RUSH: Well, now, I resent that.
CALLER: Just —
RUSH: This is not a habit. I don’t sniff when we don’t have to.
CALLER: Well, good. I just hope you keep up the good work. I’m behind you on everything except —
RUSH: The sniffing?
CALLER: — the inheritance tax. Other than that, I agree with just about everything you have to say.
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait. Now you’ve thrown a new monkey research into the call. You said you back me on everything. Now all of a sudden at the tail end of the call you say you’re with me on everything but the inheritance tax.
CALLER: Well, I seem to think that the inheritance tax is okay. It’s just that it was always too high of a rate. I don’t think anybody would have complained if it was a 15% rate and they didn’t have of these loopholes.
RUSH: Maybe, but all that money’s already been taxed.
CALLER: So what? When the person is dead, what does it matter?
RUSH: But their families aren’t.
RUSH: There families aren’t. That’s why people work hard to establish a financial security legacy for their families.
CALLER: Yeah, but why should Ted Kennedy get all the benefits from his father in the billions, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger?
RUSH: Ah, don’t give me the class envy. That’s not the question. The question is, ‘Why should anybody’s hard-earned wealth be targeted for redistribution when they’re no longer alive?’
CALLER: Why not?
RUSH: Because, it’s socialist! (sniff)
CALLER: It’s welfare for the rich.
RUSH: It’s socialist, sir. (sniff) It’s… (sniff) Darn it. (sniff) It’s just socialist!
RUSH: Joseph in Boston, I’m glad you called, sir. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: I just wanted to comment on the caller who called talking about the estate tax.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: And you brushed him off saying that it was a socialist policy. But I know Warren Buffett is a big —
CALLER: Well, he is a big proponent of the estate tax, and he opposed Bush’s planned elimination of the estate tax —
CALLER: — and I think you would be hard pressed to call Warren Buffett… I mean, he’s basically the biggest apitalist in the world. He’s the second richest man.
RUSH: He’s a capitalist, but a huge liberal. I mean, this guy can’t wait to get in the voting booth and pull the lever for Hillary Clinton fast enough, and she’s going to take oil company profits if she gets her way. I know Warren Buffett. I’ve heard him speak about the inheritance tax. He used to have a charity golf tournament and I played in it. He’s very passionate about it. He doesn’t think that kids who haven’t earned anything are entitled to what their fathers and mothers have earned and they ought to go out and earn it on their own. But he’s going to leave them a couple billion each.
RUSH: Yeah. If you have a net worth of whatever his is, $80 billion, and you can then stand on principle, ‘I’m opposed to the estate tax,’ and leave your kids two billion each or whatever it is, I think you’re playing both sides against the middle here.
CALLER: Mmm-hmm. Well, I mean, I’m just trying —
RUSH: But conceptually, it is socialist. It is the redistribution of wealth: 55% is the tax bracket after whatever exemption for the first pittance — fifty-five percent! — and its express purpose, and the people that support it and don’t want to do away with it will tell you, is for the express purpose of redistribution of wealth. It’s to get that money into government and out of the private sector’s hands.
CALLER: Mmm-hmm. Well, I mean, Warren Buffett, he’s not a socialist. I don’t see how, by what stretch of the imagination you’d call him a socialist.
RUSH: Maybe not intentionally. You look at people’s results. Look, there’s no difference in socialism and liberalism. There just isn’t. Cut to the chase here.
CALLER: Well, I mean, I… I think there is a difference. Um…
RUSH: Well, you’re arguing with me here by using a personality, a wealthy guy, and you’re assuming that because he’s a very wealthy capitalist he has to be an evil Republican, and even Republicans like Warren Buffett, in your mind are opposed to the estate tax so it must mean the estate tax being eliminated so it must be a good thing. That is tortured logic. Take a look at what actually happens when you literally have the government steal 55% of people’s estates, that they worked all their lives for, and people work to produce and to provide for their families. Now, I think it ought to be left up to the family. If Buffett doesn’t want to have his kids inherit that much money because he thinks it’s going to destroy them, fine. I happen to agree with him, by the way. I think one of the biggest problems that wealthy people have is their kids and the lifestyles that they live, and if they’re not taught to produce on their own, then you’re going to have problems. But let the individual family members decide that.
RUSH: Why do we assume that the best use of the money individuals have worked all their lives for is in the hands of people like the Clintons and Ted Kennedy?
CALLER: Well, I think one of Buffett’s reasons for supporting the estate tax is that, like you said, I mean —
RUSH: You’re not answering my question.
CALLER: Well, I will. Hold on. Okay, if people know either the government’s going to get the money, or they could give it to charity and put it to a potentially better use than giving it to the government which I mean we assume they would waste a lot of it, that they would choose to give it to charity. So it’s sort of like an incentive. Either, okay, we can give it to charity and go to fight cancer or AIDS or poverty in Third World countries, whatever you want, you know, you can preemptively give it away to charity or —
RUSH: Do you know how to interpret that?
CALLER: — you can get it stolen by the government.
RUSH: You know how to interpret that? Warren Buffett is admitting he doesn’t want the money to go to government —
RUSH: — if he’s said that he’s going to overload charities with it, which is, by the way, he’s already started doing. He’s invested a lot of money in Bill and Melinda Gates’ charity out there — and a lot of people, a lot of people wealthy people set up foundations and they do this to keep the government from getting the money. They also keep themselves from getting the money when they do that. The ideal way to go out is with nothing left. That’s the ideal. Figure it out. Have fun with what you’ve earned, because you’re dead. You don’t know. Leave a little bit for your family and so forth, but make sure the government gets zilch. They’ve already taxed you throughout your whole life, at the state, at the federal level, gasoline, you name it. I think the problem here is that to so many people — it’s just happened over the course of so many years now — think the government is grand. The government is superb. The government is wonderful. The government’s benevolent. The government loves us. The government protects us. The government does this and that — and on some things it does, but it gets enough. A three trillion dollar budget is incomprehensible, and we still hear about how there are ‘cuts.’ Ha! I love this. We have to budget every year, and it always goes up and yet there are ‘Draconian cuts.’ The budget’s ‘dead on arrival ‘or what have you.
State governments? Have you seen this story? They’re awash in cash! Folks, governments — state, city, federal — have more money than you can possibly imagine. Can I tell you what happened to us that live here in Palm Beach? I have to tell you this. You know, in the state of Florida there is a huge fight going on over property tax reform. They’ve called the legislature into a special session because Florida does it right. The regular session for the Florida legislature is two months, and whatever they don’t get done in two months, that’s it. But on this thing the governor’s called for a special session because he’s got his own plan or a bunch of competing plans. I don’t know which one is going to win if one does, but local governments down here are in a panic because they think that if property taxes are cut, ‘Why, social services will suffer! Fire and police services will suffer! Why, we have to close the city! Ooh, oh, it’s horrible!’ Every entity in this world — you, I, everybody — we have to get by with less. Government never will. Government’s never forced to. Even when they cut our taxes, they gotta ‘make it up’ somewhere else with a tax increase somewhere else. I opened the mail the other day, and there was a letter from my mayor asking me to get hold of my Florida legislator and demand that there be no property tax cut.
I was stunned! (laughing) Every resident here of my little town got one. It cost them $5,000 to send these letters out. I got three of them, because of the way the parcels are arranged. I’m reading this letter, and it was a plea. ‘Palm Beach will cease to exist as you know it, this and that. We need this. We’ve only got this and that.’ I looked at this. I was tempted to write a letter to the editor. The only problem is I knew it would get published. (sigh) They’re scouting my property every night for violation of the turtle ordinance, so I gotta play it close to the vest. But honest, my theory on taxes is thy got enough. They got enough and they never do without and they ought to try to do without. They have so much waste, so much redundancy, so much fraud. The willingness of some to sit by and see other people literally have their wealth absconded in the form of the inheritance tax is something that’s offensive to me. But that’s why liberalism has succeeded, because it’s all based on envy. ‘Yeah, yeah, those rich people? Well, let ’em find out! Let’s those kids that are rich find out what it’s like to be poor like I am or middle class like I am,’ and they’re going to tax all that money, and you’re never going to see it. It’s not going to change your life whatsoever, and if you want to be made happy by wallowing in the misery of others, then shame on you.