RUSH: Look at this headline. From David Cho of the Washington Post: ‘White House Starts $21 Million Program to Aid Small Businesses. In March 2009, President Obama vowed to address the drought of bank lending to small companies and announced an initiative to use $15 billion from the federal bailout to unfreeze the markets that finance Small Business Administration loans. More than a year later, the program was finally launched — as a $21 million effort.’ So it’s only launched now. ‘The program is one of several small-business lending initiatives developed by the administration that have struggled to get off the ground. Meanwhile, lending to these companies has fallen. Federal data show that lending to small businesses by community banks declined by about $8 billion, or 2 percent, between September 2008 and September 2009. Administration officials say helping small businesses get credit remains a top priority.’
This is a perfect illusion and a teachable moment. Small business people are saying, ‘We don’t have a problem borrowing money. We don’t want to borrow money. We don’t want to go into further debt. We want an economy that’s growing.’ Twenty-one million dollars to aid small businesses, and it’s tax credits. Twenty-one million dollars when this is the arm of business that employs well over half of the American people who have jobs, 21 million? There are two words, ladies and gentlemen, and the words are: ‘tax cut.’ Tax cuts. It’s real simple. It’s so simple, they’re not going to do it because it would work, and they don’t want this to work. They want government to be in charge of everything and to be responsible for whatever happens so they can go out and lie about what a success the program, whichever program they’re talking about, happened to be.
‘The development of the Treasury’s small-business initiatives may soon be suffering a blow as Gene Sperling, a senior counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and the agency’s assiduous point man on the issue, is expected to leave in coming weeks to take the No. 2 post at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.’ Do you believe this? Here we have small business, which is just caught up in a down economy, rising costs, there’s no growth whatsoever. The administration’s solution is 21 measly million dollars in tax credits, and the Washington Post has the audacity to say that the program is now threatened because one guy is leaving soon, Gene Sperling. Remember when they told us, ‘We gotta look past Geithner and the fact he didn’t pay his taxes. He’s the only guy, one guy in America that understands TARP, one guy who can deal with the intricacies here of the TARP bailout and all these financial matters. So we gotta look past his tax cheat status.’ So Gene Sperling, here we got a measly $21 million program which is going to have no effect whatsoever, zilch, zero, nada, and the Post is wringing its hands over, ‘Ah, I don’t know, it may not work, it’s in trouble before it even starts because Gene Sperling is –‘ the media treats all of these leftist Democrats as almost gods.
Sometimes I think I’m in ancient Egypt. Sometimes I think I’m in ancient Rome or Greece, where everybody was a god, from Caesar on down. Gene Sperling’s a god, Obama’s clearly a god. Geithner’s a god. Biden’s a god. They’re that special. It really infuriates me. Now, speaking of small business, normally, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t waste your time with newspaper columns from the New York Times, particularly Thomas Friedman, but you have to hear this one, at least excerpts of it. Thomas Friedman — now, keep in mind he has gone to the Obama jobs summit, he is a close confidante, he has an unlimited expense account and a very, very wealthy wife, he travels all over the world on the New York Times expense account, he writes about foreign policy, big into global warming, big into green energy. I mean. he’s just a hack, and because he’s published in the New York Times he also is considered a god. The title of his piece that ran yesterday is, ‘Start-Ups, Not Bailouts.’ But before you think he’s seen the light, listen to this.
‘Here’s my fun fact for the day,’ writes Mr. Friedman, ‘– provided courtesy of Robert Litan, who directs research at the Kauffman Foundation, which specializes in promoting innovation in America: ‘Between 1980 and 2005, virtually all net new jobs created in the US were created by firms that were 5 years old or less,’ said Litan. ‘That is about 40 million jobs. That means the established firms created no new net jobs during that period.” What the hell happened between 1980 and 2005? Or better yet, what started in 1980? We were coming out of the Jimmy Carter disaster. We had Ronald Reagan tax cuts, entrepreneurs lit the fire and new businesses sprang up full of energy, full of creativity, and led to an economic recovery that lasted through 2005 with a couple recessions thrown in there basically in 1991, very small ones, plus the 9/11 disaster caused an economic downturn. Does Friedman get that message? Oh, no.
‘Message: If we want to bring down unemployment in a sustainable way, neither rescuing General Motors nor funding more road construction will do it.’ So far so good, but don’t hold your breath. You gotta give him a check mark, he’s right about that, but he supported all the bailouts. He supported the stimulus, all of these shovel-ready projects, construction jobs, none of which have taken place. Apparently he’s gone out and talked to this consultant, this consultant was very impressive or persuasive or what have you. ‘We need to create a big bushel of new companies — fast. We’ve got to get more Americans working again for their own dignity — and to generate the rising incomes and wealth we need to pay for existing entitlements –‘ Notice why we need new jobs from Mr. Friedman. Why do we need new jobs? To pay for entitlements. We need jobs so people can pay taxes to government, to support government. It’s staring him in the face what he’s writing about, and he doesn’t get it.
‘We’ve got to get more Americans working again for their own dignity — and to generate the rising incomes and wealth we need to pay for existing entitlements, as well as all the new investments we’ll need to make.’ It’s all about government. ‘It was just reported that Social Security this year will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes — a red line we were not expected to cross until at least 2016.’ Mr. Friedman, you may not have expected to see it, but people based in reality have known the day was inevitable long before 2016. The reason why we knew it was going to happen before 2016 is because our sources for the year 2016 were government people. Get this next paragraph. Friedman says, ‘But you cannot say this often enough: Good-paying jobs don’t come from bailouts. They come from start-ups.’ Well now you tell us. Who knew? All of a sudden we’ve got this great liberal columnist talking about the free market, although he wants the free market to exist to service government. He says, ‘Where do these startups coming from? They come from smart, creative, inspired risk-takers. How do we get more of those?’ Let me stop here. This is just mind-boggling to me. I read this yesterday, and I couldn’t wait to get here to dissect this.
The very people he says are responsible for start-ups are the enemies of the Obama administration. The people who are responsible for success, who take risks, are the enemies of this administration. They’re the ones that are going to get punished if they succeed; they’re the ones who are going to get punished if they earn too much money; they’re the ones whose work is going to be disincentivized. Their tax rates are going to climb so high. When the Bush tax cuts sunset is one thing, and then the health care tax is added on top, the Medicare taxes, it’s clear that Obama is targeting these people because he wants to redistribute the wealth. Mr. Friedman, have you missed that? How do we get more of those? By the way, about risk-takers, Mr. Friedman, are you aware that the entire financial reform bill from Chris Dodd and Barney Frank is to take risk out of the equation? We don’t want risk-takers because that leads to economic cycles, we don’t want up cycles or down cycles, we want a steady cycle of ho-hum, a steady cycle of mediocrity. We don’t want any risk takers. Here’s Friedman, one of Obama’s closest buddies in the media, talking about the need for risk-takers who end up being punished if they succeed by the regime.
There are only two ways to get these risk-takers, Friedman says. ‘Grow more by improving our schools or import more by recruiting talented immigrants.’ May I, before the break, share that with you again? The learned Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times says that the way we get more smart, creative, inspired risk-takers is by improving our schools — i.e., spend more money on education — and open up immigration. Now, he’s not talking about illegal immigration. He’s talking about opening the numbers of legal immigrants because the theory is that in India and China they are much smarter in engineering and that sort of thing than the people we’re producing here, and you got some Silicon Valley people who do believe that.
So immigration and more schools. Not getting government out of the way, not tax cuts, not incentivizing success. No. His prescription will lead to no new risk-takers and it will lead to no new success and no new entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are specifically defined by people who are not controlled, not directed, and not constrained. They are in fact risk-takers. So we need to do both, he says, and we need to start by breaking the deadlock in Congress over immigration so we can develop a much more strategic approach to attracting more of the world’s creative risk-takers. So there you have it. I’m still on the first page. I gotta take a break. Immigration — have you followed me? — I mean this is so convoluted, it’s laughable. This is what passes for an elitist, somebody smarter than all the rest of us.
RUSH: By the way, I erred mere moments ago, made a mistake. I said the administration had a $21 billion assistance program for small business. It’s $21 million. It’s irrelevant. It’s insignificant. Twenty-one million-dollar program originally proposed as a $15 million program a year ago to help small businesses start borrowing again. Tax cuts. Here we go back to Friedman here. Friedman: we need entrepreneurs, we need risk-takers, we need start-ups, meaning, we need amnesty and we need more investment in education. That’s really what he’s getting at here. Listen to this paragraph. ‘What is worrisome about America –‘ now, keep in context everything he said up to this point. We need private sector entrepreneurs, new startups, risk-takers, the very people Obama is targeting for punishment should they succeed.
‘What is worrisome about America today,’ writes Mr. Friedman, ‘is the combination of cutbacks in higher education, restrictions on immigration and a toxic public space that dissuades talented people from going into government.’ This is incoherent. By the way, Mr. Friedman, have you looked at how rapidly government employment is growing? Government unions are now larger than private sector unions. Government unemployment’s around three-and-a-half percent, the rest of the economy at almost 10%. So for risk-taking entrepreneurs, we need restrictions on immigration, i.e., amnesty, and somehow to change the toxic public square to attract more talented people into government. ‘Together, all of these trends are slowly eating away at our differentiated edge in attracting and enabling the world’s biggest mass of smart, creative risk-takers.’ Mr. Friedman, they don’t go to government. You’re not going to find the smartest risk-takers in government. It’s not for any reason other than they don’t like being managed by bureaucrats. Incoherent is the only way to describe this.
‘It isn’t drastic, but it is a decline — at a time when technology is allowing other countries to leverage and empower more of their own high-IQ risk-takers. If we don’t reverse this trend, over time, ‘we could lose our most important competitive edge — the only edge from which sustainable advantage accrues’ — having the world’s biggest and most diverse pool of high-IQ risk-takers,’ but he wants them going into governmental. Here. Piece de resistance, Mr. Friedman, the New York Times: ‘We need health care, financial reform and education reform. But we also need to be thinking just as seriously and urgently about what are the ingredients that foster entrepreneurship — how new businesses are catalyzed, inspired and enabled and how we enlist more people to do that — so no one ever says about America what that officer says to Tom Cruise in Top Gun: ‘Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.” If I didn’t know better, I would say this is a satire piece because somebody is writing checks his ego can’t cash and that’s the Obama regime, and entrepreneurs do not go into government. It is government that dissuades and stands in the way of entrepreneurs.