RUSH: Patricia in Fort Payne, Alabama. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. It is such a pleasure to speak with you. I have been listening to you every day during lunch for the past ten years that we moved up here to Alabama.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: I just wanted to call and clarify something. I’m thinking that I heard you wrong. You were speaking about some Senator that was speaking out on all the stupid pet projects that they stuck into the stimulus plan like save the rat or the turtle crossing, but did you say that the parks facilities were included in that?
RUSH: Park facilities are included in a list people think is good.
CALLER: Oh, okay. That’s what I thought. I thought I had misunderstand that because I myself I work at a plant in Fort Payne, Alabama. It’s a small town. We have about 450 employees, and we are having the best year ever. Normally we’re pretty seasonal, so we’re like real busy for like the first quarter, then we slow down. You know, back and forth. And my husband actually works here, too, and we’re just like, ‘Wow,’ ’cause we’re like looking at the news and we’re seeing all these poor people.
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait, wait a second. What’s that got to do with spending on parks?
CALLER: Because that’s one of our things that we sell: park facilities. Park amenities, you know? The basketball goals, the tables that they put in there, the playgrounds and stuff like that.
RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
CALLER: And, you know, we’re just having an awesome year, and we’re like one of like five companies.
RUSH: How many new employees have you hired since the stimulus bill was passed?
CALLER: Oh, well, no. You got me there. Probably zero as far as I know. We haven’t increased our workforce any. Most of the time we’re laying people off.
RUSH: This is how… Patricia I know you’re a big fan, you said so but unfortunately — I hate to do this, but — I’m going to make you hate me for a couple days.
CALLER: Oh, no. School me, sir. School me.
RUSH: I’m not going to scold you. I’m not going to scold you. I’m gonna say, this is how it all works. See, you and your husband work at a plant that makes all this stuff for parks. Not one new job has been created, which was the whole point of the stimulus. But your husband’s plant’s doing well ’cause they’re building new jungle gyms, basketball goals and stuff to put in the parks, there in Alabama. So it’s working. I would argue that it’s the state of Alabama’s responsibility to do that, not taxpayers everywhere else. See, the whole sales pitch on the stimulus was, ‘It’s going to revive the economy,’ and it was gonna fund ‘shovel-ready jobs.’ It was about creating jobs. You haven’t ramped up. I mean, you admitted your husband hasn’t ramped up. But you’re sold on the stimulus because in your universe, it’s working great. When my point philosophically is, ‘This is not the role of government in the first place: to build basketball goals and park benches and jungle gyms.’
The government is not to pay for that, not the federal government. So unless there are people in the park digging holes and filling them back up that weren’t digging holes and filling them back up in the first place, then your business is doing well but it’s revenue neutral in terms of the expressed, avowed purpose. But I know — and I’m sure there are a lot of other examples like this, people around the country, ‘Ooh, our business is thriving because of the stimulus!’ I would say, ‘Okay, fine. Then if your business is thriving because of federal stimulus money, which is taxpayer money from all taxpayers around the country, then live on it forever. You know, go ahead and live on it forever.’ I’m not scolding you. I’m simply trying to illustrate… Well, some parks are national. The state parks are not in the National Park sector. Now, if you’re talking about a national park, well, fine. That is a responsibility of the federal government.
I would just say, though… (sigh) It’s a tough one. I understand it’s a tough one. I’m just remembering what Obama said. We’re celebrating here the manufacture of jungle gyms and basketball goals over people getting jobs. The unemployment rate is up to 9.4%. So basically what you have here is a government benefiting from the stimulus. You have a government benefiting from the stimulus. The private sector — your company, I guess, is private sector — but you’re having a great year and I’m happy for you. At any rate, I understand your point, and I’m not scolding you. Again, I’m just illustrating how tricky all this stuff is. By the way, one other thing, Patricia. You have to be very careful. In a period of time when people are suffering and hurting and the food stamps are running out, unemployment benefits are running out, 9.4% unemployment, people’s mortgages are being foreclosed on, you gotta be very careful here calling here and talking about how great you’re doing.