RUSH: Listen to Chris Matthews. This is last night on DNCTV and his show, Hardball.
MATTHEWS: I don’t understand why the Democratic Party doesn’t do to the Republicans what the Republicans did to the Democrats back in 1980 when we had a fuel crisis. You got gasoline going to five bucks a gallon. Everybody knows that. It could be at six by November. Why don’t they blame it all on Halliburton, the oil industry, the Republicans in bed with the oil industry?
RUSH: That’s incredible! Where the hell has he been? Chris, what do you think the Democrats have been doing? Halliburton has been blamed for everything since we went to Iraq. The Senate Democrats are trying to pass a windfall profits tax today on the floor of the Senate against the oil companies. The Democrats have been blaming Bush and his oil buddies for all kinds of horrible things for six or seven years — and I have two stories. First off, this from The Politico: ‘The AFL-CIO is going to send members to gas stations in two dozen cities this week to focus attention on soaring prices and to attack President Bush and John McCain for being beholden to Big Oil.’ Now, the thing about this is that the AFL-CIO knows full well that it is the leftists in this country who are hurting supply and capacity. It is the leftists in this country who are doing everything they can to see to it that there’s no more domestic oil production taking place in this country. In fact, our official climatologist, Roy Spencer, sent me this this morning.
There have been protests filed against further oil and gas lease sales on government property. While there is an increasing public realization that we need to be drilling more and drilling now here at home, the environmentalists have begun the fight — the leftists — to stop future oil and gas lease sales by the US Bureau of Land Management. These are leftists! These are people who want to shut down this country’s economy. They know full well that there is a building public mood to start drilling here and drilling now, to increase supply and reduce our dependence on foreign suppliers. And so what are they doing? They’re taking preemptive action to try to intimidate via protest the Bureau of Land Management from selling any further leases or awarding any further leases on government land. It’s not a lawsuit that they have filed yet. It is a protest. And here’s a quote from it.
‘This protest is predicated on the Bureau of Land Management’s failure to address global warming and climate change.’ So while Chris Matthews wonders what the hell the Democrats are doing, why aren’t they blaming the Republicans, his own people — Chris, your own leftists — are taking every step they can to shut down any increase in domestic supplies of energy. Now, this specific protest that I’m talking about here is in reference to recent New Mexico lease sales, but this is just the tip of the iceberg of new efforts to stop or to greatly slow through legal maneuvering future leases. Make no mistake about it, folks: We are in a war. And you’ve seen the polls, the public sentiment on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and up in ANWR and in Montana, the Bakken Formation and expanding that. There is increasing public sentiment to do this and to do it now.
And the leftists, who are doing their best to shut this country down, are fully aware of it, and they’re using their time-honored and true techniques. They’re simply intimidating federal agencies and bureaucracies, and they may not have to intimidate them much because like-minded fellow travelers probably are working in some of these agencies, like US Fish and Wildlife Service, the EPA. This is what the leftists have done. Over the years they have succeeded in having like-minded fellow travelers appointed to bureaucrat positions by people like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and in some cases even George Bush who was trying to forge a new tone with the Democrats to try to end all this partisanship. So they’re there, and they can’t be gotten rid of. I’ve run into a lot of local and state bureaucrats who head up various commissions and counsels. I’ve asked them — when they have made rulings in favor of an animal a species or something against the interests of human beings and the property they own — I’ve said, ‘Why did you rule this way?’
I was told, ‘Well, the environmentalists are the only ones that showed up, and this is what they said they wanted — and they were going to hassle and bother us on reelection.’
‘What do you mean they’re the only ones that showed up?’
‘Yeah, we put out a public notice. Nobody cared. Nobody showed up. None of these property owners you’re talking about showed up to defend themselves.’
I would have, had I known about it. But the point is, while all these Democrats are on television, the Drive-By Media types are worried to death that their party is dropping the ball; the exact thing they want to happen is not only happening, it has been happening for years; in some cases decades. The companion story for this is from The Politico today.
‘More Americans now view energy as a serious concern than at the low point of the 1979 energy crisis, according to a Politico analysis of historical Gallup Polls. And the percentage of voters who consider energy issues ‘very important’ in determining their vote has also risen dramatically since the last election, from 54 percent in October 2004 to 77 percent in a recent poll released by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press… Distress over gas prices could hardly come at a worse time for Republicans,’ it says. ‘Voters usually blame a poor economy on the party that controls the presidency, and there are few more potent reminders of hard economic times than the high cost of fuel at the pump. … Thus far, it’s McCain who has most suffered from that irritation. On an issue that three in four registered voters believe will be ‘very important,” it is the Republicans who are taking the heat. Now, I understand the theory that the party in power, the president, the executive gets the blame for all of these things. And the polling data in this story says that the Republicans are lagging Democrats by 15 points on energy, and McCain is even further behind the GOP than that.
Stop and figure this. If this poll is accurate, what it means is that those of us who want to increase supply are getting blamed. Well, now, if the American people actually knew who wants to increase supply — and by doing so, lower prices — then they would also find out who is standing in opposition of all that. And it’s our old buddy Chris Matthews that doesn’t even know it’s going on, and all of his leftist buddies who are doing everything they can to attack and shut down the US economy and its growth. So the party that’s trying to do something about this — the people trying to do something about it, to increase production — are getting blamed for the problem when the problem exists primarily because of leftists, the last 30 years, who have done their best to shut down the domestic oil industry. Now, the Republicans are not sitting back. From the Cybercast News Service: ‘As expected, gasoline prices keep rising, and Republicans are placing the blame squarely on the Democrat-led Congress. Republicans apparently see ‘pain at the pump’ as a key election issue. …
‘House Republican leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called it ‘insane’ that the Democrat-led Congress is still refusing to allow increased production of American energy. ‘Today marks another dubious day for this Do-Nothing Democratic Congress. On their watch, gas prices have soared to new heights, and by refusing to schedule a vote on a plan to increase American-made energy to help lower gas prices, congressional Democrats are complicit in this unprecedented surge in fuel costs,’ Boehner said on Sunday. … ‘Every American has a right to ask: What will it take for the Democrat-controlled Congress to finally take action and help ease the pain of the Pelosi Premium on behalf of struggling families and small businesses? Speaker Pelosi has the power to schedule a vote on our plan to begin breaking America’s costly dependence on foreign sources of energy. She should not wait another day to do so.”
Republicans are putting this out. Have you seen this anywhere? Have you seen this statement from Boehner? Before I said anything about it, did you know the Republicans were on the warpath on this? No. Because, as they often say, whatever they do will not get covered. Cybercast News Service has this, which is Brent Bozell’s group, Media Research Center and NewsBusters.org. But they’re doing whatever they can. The idea that Republicans are standing in the way when it’s Republicans and others and conservatives who are trying to increase the supply for independence and lower prices, is a message that must get out.
RUSH: ‘US Senate Republicans have blocked a Democratic plan to tax the windfall profits of the largest oil companies. Democrats on Tuesday failed, 51-43, to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican delaying tactic on the energy package, and bring the bill up for consideration. Democrats said the huge profits enjoyed by the largest US oil companies should be reined in with motorists paying more than $4 a gallon (0.64 per liter for gasoline and oil prices soaring well beyond $100 a barrel.) But Republican critics said higher taxes on oil companies would increase — not lower — gasoline prices.’ Look, Jimmy Carter did this, but did you see that McCain stole my line? I’m glad he did, but did you see it? He’s out there talking about Obama represents Carter’s second term. I’ve got the sound bites coming up. I’ll show you here in just a second. Jimmy Carter, windfall profits tax on the big oil companies during that four years of malaise, and you know what happened.
Our biggest oil company, Exxon, is one of the smallest oil companies in the world if you factor in the Saudis and all of the Gulf states and their companies and so forth. Our domestic oil companies are huge within the context of the continental United States — well, including Alaska and Hawaii, but in terms of the world, they’re tiny. They’re among the smallest oil companies out there. Anyway, Jimmy Carter did his windfall profits tax, and the oil companies said, ‘Okay, fine, we’ll stop producing as much in the United States. We’ll lower our production so we’re not paying taxes,’ and that’s exactly what happened. They cut back production domestically. They went back and produced more in their offshore properties and tracts. The Democrats know this. This is not about revenue, it’s not about oil; it’s about punishment. It is about punishing risk takers. It is about class envy. It is about punishing people who then have success after taking a risk. It’s like the minimum wage. They raised the minimum wage, ladies and gentlemen. As you know, the Congress, it’s one of the few achievements that the Queen Bee Nancy Pelosi had. And so we got the most recent unemployment report, 5.5%. And of course, all hell broke loose on Wall Street, and everybody was panicking, oh, no, oh, no, but very few people put together the fact that this new increase in the minimum wage rate combined with a flooded job market of both high school students and college graduates is what led to the 5.5% employment number.
Jerry Bowyer was one of a number of people writing about this. He posted a piece at Townhall.com called: ‘What the Media Didn’t Tell You About Friday’s Unemployment Spike.’ He wrote: ‘It wasn’t Bush, it wasn’t greedy corporations, or free trade, or history’s most over-predicted recession. It was not the oil companies, income inequality, or the excesses of cowboy capitalism. None of these things caused the unemployment rate to jump a half a percentage point in one month. Ask yourself a few questions: Why did unemployment surge at a time when unemployment compensation claims are historically low? More to the point, how could unemployment spike this much without a coinciding spike in corporate layoffs?’ If unemployment went up this high, where in the hell were all the people that lost their jobs, is what he’s saying. There weren’t lost jobs and yet unemployment is up a half a point? He says, ‘The answer to all of these questions is the same: because very few people lost jobs last month.’ Very few. ‘This huge jump in the size of the unemployed comes from new entrants to the economy — hundreds of thousands of them. In short, well over 600,000 people who were not job seekers in April became job seekers in May. And who starts looking for work at the end of spring? That’s right — students. Hundreds of thousands of students are looking for work right now, and they’re not finding it. Congress,’ as always — well, mostly always — ‘is to blame. Last year Congressional Democrats (along with some Stockholm-Syndromed Republicans)’ and we remember who they were, ‘passed the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which started a phased hike of the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25.
‘Free market economists warned,’ among them Professor Hazlett ‘them that this would increase unemployment — that rapid increases in unemployment compensation hit teens and minorities the hardest.’ They do. You know the percentage of people earning the minimum wage in this country on any given day is well over 50% teenagers. It’s not people who are providing for a family of four or a family of two. ‘Rapid increases in unemployment compensation hit teens and minorities the hardest. But the class-warriors are running the people’s house now, and they would hear none of that, so they took to the floor, let loose the dogs of demagoguery, and saddled America’s pizza parlors, municipal swimming pools, house painting businesses and lawn mowing services with a huge cost increase. Now, we see the perfectly logical outcome of wage controls,’ which is exactly what the minimum wage is. It’s a wage control, and it is an arbitrarily established number that has nothing to do with productivity, experience, qualification.
So it’s a wage control. And the logical outcome of such ‘rising unemployment among the most economically vulnerable. The chart above tells the story: Friday’s unemployment spike occurred overwhelmingly among teenagers, and secondarily among African Americans. Just like we said it would,’ including Professor Hazlett. ‘A kid who is at entry level of job skills may be a good deal at 5 bucks an hour, but not at 7. Our anointed leaders gets to glory in their generosity (with other people’s money) and just so long as very few people in the media know that a demand curve slopes downward (a good bet, there), no one calls them on it. This summer the left will make political lemonade out of a tough student job market. Heck, it may provide a small army of angry unemployed youth to man the campaign, hungry for hope and (loose) change, never once realizing that they’re working to entrench the leftie war on business which left them jobless this summer in the first place.’
The key to understanding this is very simple. Hardly anybody lost a job in May when the unemployment rate went up half a point, five to five and a half percent. And those who couldn’t find work were the new job market entrants. What’s all this got to do with price of oil, the windfall profits tax? Because none of this is aimed at actually helping anybody, and it’s typical liberal or leftism, it ends up harming the very people it’s intended to help. Look at Obama and his predicted, at least he says this is what he wants to do, tax increases. He wants to raise taxes to 39% on people who make $200,000 a year or more. To him that’s rich. Current rate’s 35%. He wants to take it back to the glory days of the Clinton administration of 39%. All right, fine and dandy. Well, what’s going to happen here? Well, how many small business owners, the largest employers collectively in the country, they file their sub-S, Subchapter S corporations, but they file their returns on a personal return, or 1040. So their rate’s going to go from 35 to 39, guess what?
The very people that Obama says, look, I’m going to get even with the rich people for you. I’m going to raise their taxes. I’m going to make things fair. And these people are going to go, yeah, yeah, yeah, you stick it to them. And who gets it stuck to ’em? The guy who loses his job who’s not making $200,000 because his employer has to fire him in order to pay the federal government’s new taxes authored by Obama. I was alive, as many of you were during the early seventies, ’72, ’73. I was working in a radio station in Pittsburgh and Richard Nixon, in the midst of 3% inflation, imposed wage and price controls. And, of course, management back then loved it. They got to suspend any increase in wage whatsoever. But I noticed, as I went around town consuming, as I did, I’d go to the grocery store, and I’d go to a number of other stores, the prices are still going up here. And I said, I thought Nixon instituted wage and price controls? Well, I asked my good friend Professor Hazlett about this one day, and he enlightened me.
He said, ‘The way they handle it in butcher shops and in the meat sections of supermarkets was, when the wage and price controls were initiated, everything that existed at that time was ostensibly controlled price-wise. So all they had to do was create a new cut of beef, like the rib-eye B, or the boneless half bone rib-eye, which prior to that didn’t exist. No price control on it, they could charge whatever they wanted,’ and so they were raising the price on that to compensate for other prices that they were having to control. It’s the same way with the minimum wage. The liberals impose these things, and in this case Nixon, thinking that the economy is static and not dynamic, and also believing the American people are just going to bend over and grab the ankles, say, okay, I’ll pay more money. That’s not the way it works. The truly industrious and creative find ways to either work harder to earn more money to make up what they’re going to lose paying taxes, or they try to find clever ways to earn money that’s not reported as earned income so they don’t have to pay Obama’s new tax on it.
By the same token, Congress directs small business, everybody, to raise the minimum wage on a graduated scale up to $7.15. Well, small business owners are not going to sit there and say, oh, well, okay, because they don’t have, just like you probably don’t at home, they don’t have an unlimited supply of cash sitting around that they’re not doing anything with. They might have some cash flow, but it’s allocated or it’s there for insurance or what have you. But if somebody comes along and says, ‘Look, the four guys you’re paying minimum wage you’ve gotta increase them by X,’ one of them is going to lose a job because the business owner is going to do his best not to sit there and lose money, ’cause if he loses money for too long he’s out of business, and then everybody that works there is fired. This is what I was talking about yesterday, about the incremental loss of basic liberties and freedoms.
All of these well-intentioned people who have convinced way too many Americans that their intentions are honorable and they love people and they’re filled with compassion and yet everything or most everything they try as a remedy to some social problem, not only doesn’t work, it exacerbates the problem. Jeffrey Lord has what I think is a great piece today in the American Spectator, and I’m going to go through that, it’s a long piece. Lord writes long pieces. He’s very prolific guy, but I’m just going to highlight some of this to illustrate the point about all of this dynamic economic activity, coupled with the fact that everything or most everything they try to alleviate social problems, be it poverty, racism, all these things, they end up exacerbating the problem and even making it worse.