RUSH: Don’t you just love the new tone, the new civility that has been brought to Washington via Obama’s teleprompter and the new administration, folks? Yes, AIG employees are now getting death threats from outraged Americans over these retention bonuses. I have to warn you people, we’re going to spend some more time on these bonuses today ’cause there’s some things that you don’t know about all this that you need to know. Sit tight, Rush Limbaugh, the Excellence in Broadcasting Network. Three hours straight ahead. It’s a thrill and a delight to be with you. The telephone number if you want to be on the program today is 800-282-2882, and the e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.
As a tease, ladies and gentlemen, one salient point about the AIG retention bonuses. I want to read a short little blurb here from the San Jose Mercury News: ‘AIG disclosed its retention-payment program,’ bonuses, ‘more than a year ago, and the amount of the bonuses had been widely reported. But as the payments were coming due in recent days, the White House began to express its indignation.’ All of this is phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock ‘n’ roll trumped up. Every bit of this is an act, everybody involved in these bonuses and the outrage knew they were coming. They have been part of the plan at AIG for over a year, so why was Obama’s teleprompter angry yesterday? This appears to be a coordinated distraction, AIG now being targeted and pummeled by Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general in New York with subpoenas. The bonuses were well known. The amounts, the payment schedule, everything was known. And you want to hear something funny? Chris Dodd last night floated the idea of taxing AIG bonus recipients at 90% so the government could recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit. Within hours, Dodd’s 90% tax rate spread to both houses of Congress with lawmakers proposing an AIG bonus tax.
While the Senate constructed the $787 billion stimulus last month — now, listen to this; look at me, folks — during the stimulus bill discussions, Chris Dodd unexpectedly added an executive compensation restriction to the bill. Remember that? That amendment provides — this is too rich — that amendment, Dodd’s amendment that is in the stimulus provides an ‘exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before February 11, 2009.’ Dodd’s own amendment exempts the very AIG bonuses that he and others are seeking to tax. The amendment is in the final version and it is law because the president signed it. This is a comedy of errors. This is the Keystone Cops. Once again, we have the real architects of this disaster sitting around as spectators, innocent bystanders, they had no idea this was coming when they knew everything about it. Dodd even puts an amendment in the bill to exempt bonus payments such as these at AIG, and now he is demanding that all these bonus payments be taxed.
Folks, we are being played for the biggest suckers on earth with all of this. It’s even worse than this. Not only did they know a year ago about the retention bonuses, they knew the amounts, they knew that the date of payout was approaching, and only then did they start acting surprised as though they’d been caught short, they had no clue, the White House, members of Congress are acting like they had no idea AIG had done this. ‘Those snakes! AIG, under the cover of darkness, misusing taxpayer money.’ Everybody that’s expressing outrage about this knew months ago, ladies and gentlemen, that this was happening. We’ll have more on these bailouts — and I must admit I got a couple e-mails from people yesterday, ‘Did you have to spend two hours on it? We get it, we get it.’ No you don’t. Folks, I had to spend two hours on it because this is the only place other than some guy named Sorkin at the New York Times, by the way, who is also trying to tell the truth about all this, and he got beat up on the Today Show today.
We deal in truth here. We attempt to ascertain truth. As you know, I am who I am because of many things. One of those things is I resist the tug of popular sentiment. I’m not part of the conventional wisdom. I’m not even wearing green today on St. Patrick’s Day. I refuse to follow group behavior. I refuse to do it. I celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 15th, not the 14th, as an example. Folks, we’re being played like suckers here. This is 100% total manipulation by the Obama administration, the Democrats in Congress, with the assistance of their accomplices in the Drive-By Media. I, ladies and gentlemen, am the only national figure not going along with the lynch mob mentality here. An entire government is lined up against one company that they bailed out. They own 80% of this company, and they are acting like they have nothing to do with what’s going on. They installed the CEO, Ed Liddy, and they act as always as innocent bystanders with no culpability whatsoever, and I’m not going to sit around and let a lynch mob mentality rule the day, at least in the hearts and minds of those of you in this audience. You deserve the truth and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you will have and what you’ll get when you tune to this program.
RUSH: Rush Limbaugh, the only national figure not going with the lynch mob mentality, and resisting the tug of popular sentiment. The bonuses at AIG are ‘retention bonuses.’ I have a question. How many of you actually know what a retention bonus is?
Do you know what a retention bonus is?
Do you know what a retention bonus is?
Do you know what a retention bonus is?
(interruption) You do? Okay, three of the four on the staff that responded to my challenge claim to know what a rendition bonus is. I will bet you that the vast majority of the people in this audience probably do, too, but most of the people in the lynch mob out there have no clue what a retention bonus is and what kind of bonus we’re talking about here.
RUSH: RUSH: The lynch mob is expanding. The peasants with their pitchforks are surrounding the corporate headquarters of AIG, demanding heads. Death threats are pouring in. All of this is being ginned up by the Obama administration. Remember, ladies and gentlemen: AIG disclosed its retention payment program more than a year ago, and the amount of the bonuses has been widely reported. None of this that you started hearing about over the weekend is in any way new. It caught no one by surprise. What happened was that the payments of these bonuses are coming due very soon, in recent days, and the White House needed another diversion from Obama’s plummeting poll numbers. His approval numbers are plummeting. He needed another diversion from what his real plans are, to grow this government and spend us into oblivion and debt. He needed another diversion, hence this populist assault on the people at AIG receiving these retention bonuses.
Everybody knew. Folks, we’re being played for suckers. You’re being played like Stradivariuses. Everybody involved, including the people who engineered the bailout, knew this was going to happen, and the very people who engineered it — and you know who oversaw this? Timothy Geithner, when he ran the New York Federal Reserve. He was the guy largely responsible for devising individual bailout plans for individual banks. They all knew this was coming! They just timed it for this weekend as a distraction, and then they could sit around and act outraged and surprised and shocked — and then, further, they try to slough this off on Bush. But this isn’t Bush. Obama owns this bailout, folks. He owns the Porkulus bill. He owns it all, and the approval numbers in three different polls show his numbers are beginning to fall. It’s getting so ridiculous, that yesterday on radio station WMT in Cedar Rapids, we had Iowa’s Senator Chuck Grassley.
GRASSLEY: The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them if they’d, uh, followed the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow, and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then either do one of two things: resign or, uh, go commit suicide.
RUSH: Did you hear that? He wants the AIG bonus recipients to go commit suicide. Now, I know, he said later, ‘We’re just talking about honor here.’ Honor? These bonuses were exempted by Chris Dodd in the Porkulus bill! Dodd’s own amendment, just to remind you, ‘provides an exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before February 11th, 2009,’ and these are, meaning exemption from any limits on them. The Porkulus bill has an executive compensation pay limit, as you know. We’re limiting executive pay. Chris Dodd put in his own bill, his own amendment that exempts bonuses from this limitation, and he’s out there saying tax ’em at 90%. These people are the biggest frauds, artists of deceit. They all are acting. Every damned one of them knew that this was coming. They are the architects of this, and so now Grassley goes out there and says these guys ought to commit hari-kari. It reminds me of June 26, 1996. We have audio here from Rush the TV Show, the late congressman Tom Lantos from California conducting hearings in his committee of the White House Office of personnel security, Craig Livingstone.
LANTOS: I must say, Mr. Livingstone, that I am pleased you submitted your resignation. I am pleased that you finally saw that this was the minimum — the minimum! — you should do in accepting a modicum of responsibility. With an infinitely more distinguished public record than yours, Admiral Boorda committed suicide, when he may have committed a minor mistake.
RUSH THE TV SHOW AUDIENCE: (gasps and laughter)
LANTOS: So the fact is it’s a good thing you did it. You should have done this a long time ago.
RUSH: You should have seen Livingstone’s face! Here’s this patsy up there. He was in charge of the 900 FBI files that the Clintons had, and nobody would admit to who hired him. It turned out later that Hillary finally had to admit it but he caused the Democrat Party all this embarrassment, so he finally got a chance at him up on Capitol Hill, and Tom Lantos… Remember, Admiral Boorda was a Navy admiral who had been outed by the late journalist, the most decorated living war hero in America, David Hackworth. That’s right. David Hackworth wrote a piece for Newsweek that basically said that a couple of Admiral Boorda’s big medals were frauds, medals that Boorda had never actually earned. So Admiral Boorda went out, commit suicide, and Lantos is sitting here saying to Livingstone, ‘At least Boorda, with the distinguished record far greater than yours, at least he committed suicide,’ and Livingstone is sitting there! What is it about members of Congress looking at these people saying, ‘You ought to kill yourself’? ‘Just go out and commit hari-kari’?
RUSH: Christopher Dodd last night floated the idea of taxing these retention bonuses paid to AIG executives at the rate of 90%. Here is Christopher Dodd last night talking about this.
DODD: As I gather we own about 79% of the company so we’d be taxing ourselves in a sense, so I don’t know — I’d still like to pursue that avenue, but I don’t know whether or not as a practical matter it will produce the kind of results we’re looking for. We’re all searching for a way to get this money back and one way or another we’re going to figure out how to do it.
RUSH: This is just outrageous. It is outrageous. Chris Dodd again trying to look for a way to get the money back. Notice when he says, I don’t know, we’ll be taxing ourselves, I don’t know if I want to do that. Yeah, tax us, tax everybody else, but don’t tax yourselves, oh, no. Just remember the stimulus package, Dodd unexpectedly added an executive compensation restriction to the bill. That’s his idea, limit executive pay. That amendment provides an exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed to before February 11th. The law of the land is these bonuses are not subject to any limitation on their amounts. That’s the law of the land. Doesn’t matter. Chris Dodd and the boys want to pretend they forgot they put it in there, and now join this popular, you know, the villagers and their pitchforks are circling out there and everybody wants to lead them, which takes me back to Chuck Grassley.
These Republicans, this is really frustrating. Their first goal, when they look at news, ought to be to advance conservatism, if not conservatism, advance the Republican Party, and go after Democrats. Okay, maybe Grassley doesn’t have the guts to defend the bonuses because they’re unpopular and nobody in elected office has the will to try to explain this to all these angry villagers, the peasants with their pitchforks. But why not go after Democrats on this? Chuck, instead of going after these bonuses and so forth, take the occasion to go after the Democrats here. I’d say this is frustrating. It’s actually not frustrating ’cause I don’t have any expectations that these Republicans are going to behave in that way, so why get all depressed when you know something’s not going to happen, why get all bent out of shape?
Todd in Newark, Delaware. You’re up first. Great to have you here, sir. Thank you.
CALLER: Mr. Limbaugh, thank you for taking my call.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: You’re a real role model to me. I’ve been listening to you for 19 years, and you’ve really impacted my life greatly. But that’s not why I called. And I know you hate to hear those kind of comments so I’ll just make my point. I get so aggravated when I’m listening to these congressmen raise a fit about these bonuses, when they had complete control over whether or not they would be given out when they wrote the bill, and when you listen to the administration talk about how the earmarks in this Porkulus bill were such a small percentage of the total spending. But yet you look at the percentage of these million dollars in bonuses, you would think that it’s half the money that they were given.
RUSH: That’s an excellent point and I want to expand on this point because these bonuses are less than one-tenth of 1% of the actual bailout money AIG got. You could look at these bonuses as the equivalent of earmarks. Essentially they’re earmarks, and of course Congress defends their earmarks on the same basis, ‘It’s such a small percentage of the whole budget, the omnibus, such a small percentage, it doesn’t really matter, we gotta pay respects to our constituents,’ blah, blah, blah. These people, what’s good for them is not good for you, not going to have the kind of freedom and leeway they have. Look, folks, the dirty little secret about all of this is not only are you being played for suckers, not only is all of this that supposedly happened and caught everybody’s surprise this past weekend, it’s been known for months, the real down and dirty here, if you want the down-low, the real down-low is that of the 173 billion that has been given to AIG, over half of it AIG has given to other banks. It appears that the real purpose of AIG was to act as a laundry or as a clearinghouse. Goldman Sachs got $13 billion when they said they didn’t want any money. So they technically didn’t get the money from the government, they got it from AIG.
AIG gave a bunch of European banks a bunch of money, including Deutsche Bank and other things, and the Wall Street Journal editorializes about this today, and I must say, they post their editorials late at night, the night before the newspapers are to be published, and I saw it last night, I got a bunch of e-mails from people: ‘Do you think they heard your monologue today and copied what you said?’ because I made the point yesterday, folks, this is the biggest misdirection play that has ever been run. While you’re all upset about these bonuses, the real interesting thing here is $93 billion out of 173 was actually given to other banks through AIG, and nobody’s talking about that, nobody’s worried about that, and it still hasn’t helped. All this money hasn’t helped AIG, it hasn’t helped all these other banks, it hasn’t worked whatsoever. And now Chris Dodd, ‘We gotta figure out a way to get the money back.’ Get the money back? Senator Dodd, I speak for millions of American citizens when I say I would love the money back that you people have wasted on the war on poverty. I would love the money back that you have wasted on this stimulus bill. I would love the money back that you have wasted on the Great Society.
You people in Congress and in the Senate, you are far worse. You have created more boondoggles, created more problems, have been more irresponsible than all of these executives on Wall Street that are in your crosshairs combined. The audacity of these people sitting up there as innocent bystanders, who had no role in this, as though they are the epitome of perfection, that they do their jobs flawlessly, they have the right to singularly sit in judgment of any citizen, when these are some of the biggest flops that this country has ever produced. I am not a peasant, and I’m not with a pitchfork and I’m not an angry villager. I’m not upset about these bonuses ’cause, you know what? Just like I said yesterday, once you make the decision to bail ’em out, then you’re stuck. Once you bail ’em out, you can’t complain that they do what they do. And don’t forget, these bonuses, these bonuses were exempted by Senator Dodd himself from any limitation on their amounts. These bonuses were known a year ago. The amounts were known a year ago. Months ago, the payout date was known.
It’s only when the payout date neared that a false, phony, ‘My gosh, we’re shocked, look what AIG did with the money,’ controversy was created by Obama’s teleprompter and willing accomplices in the Congress, the Democrat Party and the media. You’re falling for it. Well, I don’t know how many of you are, but you’re falling for it hook, line, and sinker. What must it feel like? I’ve often wondered what it feels like to be a mob member, part of the mob, not crime mob, but just a mindless, brainless twit following along with whatever emotion that has been created. I wonder what it’s like to not have any individuality whatsoever. I wonder what life would be like to have no sense of self. It’s shocking to see so many Americans that can get so spun and so caught up in this. It’s actually not their fault. They’ve had the whole White House, which is loved and adored, and the Drive-By Media, the Democrat Party spinning all this. It’s outrageous. It’s indescribably outrageous.