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Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: The subject of wealth came up Saturday night in the Rick Warren forum. Both candidates were asked to define ‘rich.’ Here is Obama.

OBAMA: If you are making $150,000 a year or less as a family, uh, then you’re middle class.

WARREN: Middle class?

OBAMA: Or you may be poor. I — (mumbling) But 150 down, y-y-you’re — you’re basically middle class. Obviously it depends on region where you’re living. I would argue that if you’re making more than 250,000, then you’re in the top three, four percent of this country. You’re doing well.

RUSH: So there you have it: $250,000 a year or more, and you’re rich. You are doing well. Yeah, you’re poor at 150. Well, you might be poor if you have less than a 150 grand. Here’s McCain answering the same question.

MCCAIN: I don’t want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich. (applause) I don’t believe in class warfare or redistribution of wealth. But I can tell you, for example, there are small businessmen and women who are working 16 hours a day, seven days a week that some people would classify as quote ‘rich.’ My friends, who want to raise their taxes and raise their payroll taxes. Let’s keep taxes low. So I think if you’re just talking about income, how about five million? (laughter) But seriously, I don’t think you can — I don’t think seriously that — the point is that I’m trying to make here seriously, and I’m sure that comment will be distorted. (laughter) But the point is, the point is, the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues.

RUSH: All right, this is the Reagan tax formula, the Bush tax formula, he originally opposed it but has now come out in support of and voted for it at a later date, and again the contrast here between McCain and Obama on this is profound in the sense that, you know, Obama is asked, ‘Okay, what’s rich?’ ‘Well, 150,000 is not, $250,000 is.’ McCain with a substantive answer on how the question doesn’t matter, who’s rich and who isn’t rich is not what matters. We want everybody to have more. We want everybody to get rich. We want everybody to do well! That is the essence of conservatism. It’s out there, and a lot of people have done it. If some can, many more can, if they’re inspired to or if they happen to be self-starters. The idea is that we’re a growing economy with prosperity for one and all, and it’s out there, accessible if you want it — and we don’t want to punish it. Obama clearly wants to punish wealth. He wants to punish success — and, by the way, as to this-five-million-dollar-figure?

It depends on who you ask what rich is. How many times over the course of these years have you heard me tell how fascinating it is to me to go to a group of people and just ask them when we’re at the table at dinner, ‘What is big money to you?’ You’d be fascinated as to what people say, and it’s all relative to what they have at the moment. In my case, back in the eighties, when I was making $12,000 a year, if somebody had offered me $35,000 I would have thought I was rich ’cause it was over, you know, a hundred percent increase. I would have thought it was rich. After I got a little more, I thought 75,000 would be rich. It depends on where you are and what your dream of the future is. Merrill Lynch, in the old days, when they interviewed prospective employees they’d ask, ‘How much do you hope to make here?’ and if the applicant specified a number; he didn’t know it, but he was disqualified.

Because what Merrill Lynch found out was that that number was their comfort level. Once they got there, they sort of eased back and they stopped, and so the perfect answer was, ‘The sky’s the limit.’ Well, I’m not going to tell you what big money is. I’ll just tell you what’s big money to me. Back in the early nineties when I started meeting wealthy people, I ran into a Texas oilman who said, ‘Hey, until you start at 250, 300 million, you’re not a player. Nobody’s interested.’ It depends on where your starting point is. I’ll guarantee you somebody with 250 million net worth, is going to look at somebody who’s got 500 or 700 million and think that would be cool, too. You think people who get to 250 are satisfied? How come people don’t stop at 250? How come some people have billions? You know, it just all depends, folks, on what your comfort level is, and it depends on where you are at the time.

But you should try it. Next time you’re at a dinner party, just ask people — without claiming to have the answer, I mean you’re just curious — ‘What’s big money to you?’ and you’ll be stunned. I remember once when I was in Pittsburgh. This is before I was making anything. I was making $20,000 a year before I was making 12, and I went to some party on Saturday night and there was this guy in the throes of depression. He was just miserable. He was not happy. He was telling people he didn’t understand why, ’cause he was making this tremendous amount of money. This would have been 1973 or ’74, but whatever it was, he wasn’t happy, and finally said, ‘Well, how much are you making?’ He said 78,000 a year. Now, back then, 1974 that was a lot of money. It’s a lot of money today, but it was even bigger in terms of inflation back then. But there were people in the room who were making 30, who secretly thought that their answer would be bigger than his once he divulged it, and they were stunned.

So this question of how do you define rich is relevant from the standpoint of tax policy and who you think needs to be punished and who you think needs to be encouraged, and we need to encourage wealth creators, because they are job creators. This is precisely what McCain said. That is a great answer. This whole thing for him was fabulous on Saturday night. It was just he was personable. He was quick. He was funny. He had core values on full display. It just would be a shame — it would just be a sad thing — if he chooses a pro-choice vice president or even a Democrat, ’cause he could just obliterate all the success and all the progress that he experienced on Saturday night with the wrong choice. Abortion. I’m going to save this, these two bites for after the break. Let me grab a quick phone call. Holden Beach, North Carolina, this is Jim. It’s great to have you here, sir. We got about a minute and a half.

CALLER: Sure. Nice to talking to you, Rush. You had mentioned quite a few times that this upcoming election is a referendum against Obama. I have been a part of that referendum, ready to vote against Obama. But after Saturday — and after hearing McCain and after watching him, and you’ve spoken eloquently about his good answers and all that — I’m ready not to vote ‘against’ Obama, but I’m actually ready to vote ‘for’ McCain, and I think that’s what you’re going to see possibly happen over these next few weeks.

RUSH: You might have a point, if he keeps this up.

CALLER: Sure.

RUSH: You may have a point. I did. I get some e-mails from people over the weekend, ‘My gosh, I might even vote McCrazy after this!’ one of them said.

CALLER: Yeah, and you’re right. If he picks a pro-choice VP, it’s going to ruin what he did Saturday.

RUSH: I will guarantee you something. I will guarantee you the Democrats thought they were through with that issue. The last thing they want is for abortion to become a presidential issue because they’re making inroads with the evangelical community on gay marriage, they think, but not on abortion — and if this survives (which it will, because Obama believes in infanticide) they’re going to be miserable.

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