RUSH: You know what I heard today about the economic stimulus? If the president signs the bill next week, you will get your stimulus check in August. (laughter) Well, whoever among you who are getting stimulus checks, you will get them in August. Now, that’s speedy. We gotta head off this recession that’s not a recession, right? Look, but it’s not even finally agreed to, that’s if the thing was agreed to and signed into law by President Bush. In fact, it’s in the Washington Post today: ‘Speedy Deal on Stimulus Plan May Not Yield Short-Term Help.’ The stimulus plan will not stimulate, is the bottom line. The checks are mailed in May, and some will arrive in August. The first of the 117 million checks won’t be in the mail until late May, some won’t arrive until early August. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com, a consulting firm, said, ‘This doesn’t solve the fundamental problem plaguing the economy.’ It’s not meant to. No, they can’t go to the check cashing store to get the deal now because the deal isn’t signed into law and there’s no receipt. You’re not going to be able to go to the payday checker store. Look, what do I know? The payday check cash store may do it, how would I know. But I would think you would have to have some proof that you’re going to get the money, like a pay stub or something.
Anyway, we were talking about that issue, the ‘unbanked,’ we had a Clinton and Schwarzenegger joint op-ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on the unbanked and how we need to get the unbanked banked. Ernest Istook happened to be listening to this program yesterday. Ernest Istook is a recovering congressman from Oklahoma, and he’s now at the Heritage Foundation. It just so happened that he was writing a column for WorldNetDaily yesterday, so he threw in my reference to the Clinton and Schwarzenegger piece. It turns out that six years ago, Bill Clinton promoted a program called First Accounts run by the US Treasury. It gave grants to banks and credit unions and other groups to reach out to the unbanked and induce them to open a bank account, and it cost the American people anywhere from $285 to $897 per bank account that was started. In Denver, the Mile High United Way won a grant of over a million dollars to persuade 2,300 people to open a bank account at $533 apiece. In Chicago, the Center for Law and Human Services was selected for a $686,000 grant to help a thousand people open an account. That was $686 each. In Flint, Michigan, the Mission of Peace Housing Counseling Agency was picked for a $592,000 grant so that 660 people could open a bank account. That was $887 each. There’s more as described in the Treasury Department’s website. It was $8,000,357,000 in wasted tax money used to incentivize 35,445 people to open a bank account at an average cost of $236 per account.
Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation says, ‘Tax rebates fail.’ This is going to the stimulus, just a little addition — ‘Tax rebates fail because they don’t encourage productivity or wealth creation. To receive a rebate, nobody has to work, nobody has to be save, nobody has to invest or create any new wealth. Supporters of rebates argue that they inject new money into the economy, increasing demand and therefore production, but every dollar that the government rebates inject into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy.’ So it’s just recycled. Nobody is producing anything new here. It’s just a scam. They don’t stimulate, they aren’t meant to stimulate. Every dollar that government rebates inject into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending powers created. It’s merely redistributed from one group of people to another. That’s why, Mr. Snerdley, you are not getting a rebate check. That’s why you are not participating in the stimulus. (interruption) What’s the question? Well, I don’t know how they reach out.
Anyway, as Istook begins his piece here, ‘Washington lawmakers are excited because they found a formula that works. Not a formula to fix the economy, but a formula how to spend excessively without making people mad. Economic stimulus is a label that succeeds almost as well as ‘it’s for the kids’ as an all-purpose excuse to justify any and all spending. It makes people act in haste as well as in waste. At the debate, Edwards and Obama complained that many Americans don’t have a bank account so we need to teach them financial literacy by helping them to open one. Now former President Clinton and Schwarzenegger are trying to promote this very thing, saying we should help the unbanked to open checking and savings accounts. We’ve seen this bad idea before. Six years ago Clinton promoted a program called First Accounts run by the treasury–‘ I’ve just repeated all of this. The point is this has already done. And yet here Clinton and Schwarzenegger are out doing it again. There are reasons for this, and Istook’s point here is that it’s all under the umbrella of economic stimulus, but the idea this is something new? Yesterday I was stunned, the unbanked. Here I have an op-ed, we need to get the unbanked banked, and who benefits from that? Well, bankers primarily. You know what it costs to maintain a checking account, service fees. Once you open a bank account, you go to the ATM. You know what the ATM fees are. People complain about those more than they complain about the price of gas.
All right, Don in Laurel, Maryland, we’re going to start with you on the phones today on Open Line Friday. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, thanks for taking my call. I’m a longtime listener and I finally got through.
RUSH: Well, good.
CALLER: I’m glad you’re talking about this stupid stimulus package. I’d like to put a little positive spin on it for you. Nancy Pelosi has been up singing the praises of the stimulus package, saying it will stimulate the economy. Isn’t that tantamount to an admission that less money in the hands of government is good for the economy?
RUSH: It is, but they’re not going to be held on it. I had this call yesterday. Let me explain this all over again. The call yesterday was making the point, ‘Hey, aren’t the Democrats admitting here that these are tax cuts, which is how they are portraying this? You can look at this as you’re getting a rebate, just like a refund, get a tax refund, except this is not a rebate because you haven’t paid into this, theoretically.’ We all have. So the Democrats are admitting that money in the hands of private citizens spurs the economy. So why can’t they be held to account on it? Well, the way they get around that is, ‘We’ve always been for tax cuts for the middle class. It’s tax cuts for the rich we oppose.’ They get around it with the class envy aspect of it. But the bottom line is, this is what Ernest Istook was trying to say, and the guy at the Heritage Foundation, Brian Riedl. This is not like a tax cut. This is simply redistribution. The money that is going to be rebated to certain people is going to be taken from others. Well, not all of you, I would venture to say most in this audience are not going to get a rebate. A lot of you won’t. I know I’m not going to get a rebate. Snerdley’s not going to get a rebate. Dawn’s not going to get a rebate. Brian’s not going to get a rebate, but yet a lot of people are. Guess who’s going to be paying for those rebates? It’s us. So there’s no new money being added to the economy here is the point. It’s an election year, what do you call it, three-card Monte game, it’s a scam. It’s an election year scam because giving away money can always get bipartisanship on that in an election year.