RUSH: President Obama has said that we have turned the corner on the economy numerous times, correctamente? From the New York Times today, Sewell Chan and Louise Story: ‘Recession Arbiters, Wary of Certifying an Upturn — A committee of economists, charged with determining the official turning points in the nation’s business cycles, certifies the beginnings and ends of recessions. But this time, the committee members say, the evidence is not so easy to decipher. The committee plans to announce on Monday that it cannot yet declare an end to the recession that began in December 2007,’ but it did not. It actually began in 2008. Several members of the body had reported to the New York Times on Sunday that we don’t know, we cannot yet declare an end to the recession. As they say in the military, whisky-tango-foxtrot. Did I just read that? This is a headline. They cannot yet declare an end to the recession that began in December 2007.
‘Such an acknowledgment is rare in the history of setting dates to business cycles and could affect the behavior of investors and consumers. Despite a recent uptick in employment and income, the decision of the committee at a meeting on Friday reflects a lingering worry that the economy could turn downward again in a so-called double-dip recession.’ Why? Why are we on the verge of a double-dip recession? ‘Several economists on the committee, which has seven active members, said they considered such a turn to be unlikely. But, they said, the duration and severity of the contraction have made it hard to determine with authority that a recovery has begun.’ Now, Obama said he stemmed the severity of the plunge with the TARP money. It wasn’t his program, by the way. He promised he would stop unemployment at eight percent with the stimulus, which they no longer call the stimulus and subsequent spending programs are not called the stimulus. They’re called jobs bills now. So these guys say — this is an important story — a double-dip recession cannot be dismissed yet and the current recession may not be over?
Now, there are signs, some people say, that the economy is crawling back, but it’s unstable. Why? Well, there’s an article today in the Wall Street Journal. Burton Folsom explains it. He’s a guy from Hillsdale College. He points out that FDR did not stop the Great Depression, that it was tax cuts after World War II that did that. FDR created roadblocks to recovery, just like Obama is, and nobody wants to talk about it. Nine years after the New Deal the unemployment rate in America was still 15 to 20%. Nine years after. What are we being told now after Obama’s Raw Deal? We’re being told to expect 10 to 11% unemployment as the new norm. So we have a replication of FDR going on here in a number of ways, except we’re being led by somebody that’s even more radical than FDR and his crowd.
Rasmussen: ‘66% of Americans say that they are overtaxed.’ Remember Obama was asked a simple question by an American citizen last week. She asked at a town hall meeting if it was wise to seek more tax increases via his health care plan during a recession, that she felt most of Americans were paying enough taxes as it was and that’s when he went into this meandering, wandering 17-minute answer to say that he doesn’t believe America is overtaxed. So Rasmussen conducted a poll published yesterday that says 66% of Americans disagree with him. ‘When thinking about all the services provided by federal, state and local governments, 75% of voters nationwide say the average American should pay no more than 20% of their income in taxes. However, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most voters (55%) believe the average American actually pays 30% or more of their income in taxes. Sixty-six percent (66%) believe that America is overtaxed. Only 25% disagree.’ And get this next. ‘Lower income voters are more likely than others to believe the nation is overtaxed.’
Now, these people are the ones paying no federal income tax. So why do they think so? Why do they think America is overtaxed when they’re not paying any income tax? No. It’s not guilt. They’re still paying lots of other taxes. They’re still paying FICA; they still have all these sales taxes; they have property tax if they own or their rents are going up or whatever. I mean the less money you make, the harder it is to get by, and every expense you have is considered an obstacle to improvement. And they think, whether they’re paying no income tax, they think that their taxes are too high, too, which kind of surprised me. ‘The tax issue provokes a wide gap between the Political Class and Mainstream Americans. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Mainstream American voters believe the nation is overtaxed, while 74% of those in the political class disagree.’
Now, the political class is elected officials, people that work in government and their ancillary related bureaucracies. Which stands to reason, here you have the political class, the elites, you can even include some people in the media in this, totally out of touch with the American people, and in the process continuing to govern against the will of the American people. ‘Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans believe the nation is overtaxed. So do 73% of voters not affiliated with either major party,’ we call them the independents. And that’s why so many independents are part of the tea party and moving to the Republican Party in droves.
RUSH: Back to this New York Times story, ‘Recession Arbiters, Wary of Certifying an Upturn,’ they don’t know when to declare the recession over. I think, on second thought, what that really means is they just don’t know yet what would be the optimum time for the Democrats and for Obama to declare the recession over. My guess is that they will have definitive data to declare the recession over sometime in late September or October. Let’s see if that doesn’t happen. It’s April 12th, let’s make a prediction right now, that that will be the case. We won’t forget this.
RUSH: Why don’t you people trust me? I’ve said don’t doubt me. ‘How do you know the recession didn’t start in 2007, Rush?’ I got the chart. You know, the National Bureau of Economic Research says that we were in a recession in December 2007. Well, in December 2007, the unemployment rate was 5%. It wasn’t until 2008 that the plunge in unemployment began, and that was in the third quarter. In fact, in the second quarter of 2008, employment was up. Employment does not go up in a recession, my friends. Bush’s recession was better than Obama’s recovery, is the way to look at this. I’m not going to get close enough for you to be able to read the numbers, but you’re just going to have trust me on this. In the fourth quarter of 2007, in December, unemployment was 5%. That’s statistically full employment. Now, that was up from 4.7%. They want to tell us that a .3% increase in unemployment is when the recession began, and yet in the second quarter 2008 employment was up. But still it was a little less than 5%. It was not down whatsoever. The real plunge began with the second half of 2008 and in the fourth quarter. And I’ll tell you, if you really want to look at when the real plunge of unemployment began is right after Obama was elected in the fourth quarter of 2008, that’s when everybody started firing people, ’cause they thought they knew what was coming in terms of government economic policy. They were right.
Welcome back, Rush Limbaugh, the EIB Network. 800-282-2882 if you want to be on the program.
From the Seattle Times website. This is actually the Washington Post and I think the Chicago Tribune: ‘Despite the optimism generated by recent job gains, one grim statistic casts a long shadow over the recovering economy — and over the future for more than 6 million American workers. In an astounding departure from past patterns, fully 44 percent of the nation’s 15 million unemployed have been out of work for more than six months. And the evidence suggests many of them may never completely rebuild the working lives they lost. Never since the Great Depression has the US labor market seen anything like it.’ And don’t forget, now, reminding you again, long after the New Deal, nine or ten years after the New Deal had been implemented, unemployment was still at 15 to 20%, after the New Deal. It was tax cuts and World War II that started an economic recovery. It was not the New Deal, and this is the New Deal 4, New Deal, Raw Deal, whatever, and it’s just as bad as FDR’s New Deal was in spurring economic growth. It’s probably just as good FDR’s was in creating loyalty to the Democrat Party among some of the underclass.
‘Never since the Great Depression has the US labor market seen anything like it. The previous high in long-term unemployment was 26 percent in June 1983, just after the deep downturn of the early ’80s.’ And how did we come out of that? We came out of that with Reagan’s tax cuts. ‘The 44 percent rate this year translates into more than 6.5 million people.’ That’s 44% of the nation’s 15 million unemployed have been out of work for more than six months. ‘In fact, nearly two-thirds of these workers actually have been jobless for a year or longer, new Labor Department reports show. ‘I’m particularly concerned about that statistic, because long spells of unemployment erode skills and lower the longer-term income and employment prospects of these workers,’ said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in an April 7 speech.’ Fine and dandy, as far as Obama is concerned. This is how you go about creating a permanent underclass, permanently dependent on the federal government.
‘The hardships of workers are straining the nation’s finances too. In normal times, jobless workers can qualify for up to 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits. But the severe economic crisis in the last two years has prompted Washington to help fund jobless benefits for up to 99 weeks in high-unemployment states, including California and Florida. Federal spending on unemployment benefits could reach $168 billion this year, five times the level in the years just before the recession, according to a report from Pew Charitable Trusts. In addition, tens of billions more are being spent for food assistance to unemployed workers and their families.’ Why? Because you have to make being out of work comfortable. If you’re going to create a permanent underclass and if you’re going to disincentivize people — in other words, get them to quit looking for work — you have to make them somewhat comfortable. And this is one of the reasons that we are going into debt.
‘At the same time, government revenues have fallen as Social Security, payroll and other tax receipts have shriveled with fewer jobs and lower earnings.’ We have here the perfect storm here. ‘That’s contributed to massive fiscal problems in many states. California already owes the federal government about $7 billion for unemployment benefit loans, and is getting deeper in the hole by the week.’ And dare I remind you that they have $550 billion of unfunded pension liabilities in California. I still don’t know how that happened. Do you realize nothing in California has been real for I don’t know how long. None of it was real. None of the expansion, none of the growth, none of any of this was real, not with this kind of indebtedness. ”It’s really killing the deficit,’ said David Card, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, which has made cuts in faculty pay and course selections. The rise in long-term unemployment — coupled with economists’ projections of a slow jobs recovery — mean the toll to individual and government budgets is likely to persist for some time. Labor Department figures suggest there are 5.5 unemployed workers today for each job opening, compared with two job seekers for every opening in 2007.’
As I brilliantly stated, Bush’s recession was a better thing than Obama’s recovery. ‘As in previous downturns, a large share of long-term unemployed are in manufacturing and construction.’ But I thought we were gonna fix that with the stimulus bill, shovel-ready jobs? ‘But most of today’s workers who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more are in sales, office and other service industry jobs, including more than 1 million in management and professional occupations.’ Nevertheless, from the Washington Post today: ‘Congress is poised for another partisan showdown over extending unemployment insurance, as concerns about the growing budget deficit have complicated the path forward for an otherwise popular program. … Democrats will need at least one Republican supporter to get the 60 votes necessary to proceed. The Senate failed to agree on the bill in late March,’ then they skedaddled out of town ‘after Republicans rejected an attempt to expedite the measure’s passage. Because of the impasse, beginning April 5 more than 200,000 unemployed people who had already exhausted their states’ jobless benefits could not apply for additional benefits from the federal program.’
Does that mean they fall off the jobless count? Yes, it does. All these numbers come from estimates by the National Employment Law Project. ‘Democrats point out that they easily moved an extension through the House and were primed to do the same in the Senate before Republicans, led by Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), stood in the way.’ Last time it was Jim Bunning, this time it’s Coburn. ‘Republicans respond that they’re not opposed to extending unemployment benefits but want to offset the $9 billion cost with spending cuts elsewhere.’ So it was $10 billion for the last extension, nine billion for this one. The last one was not paid for. Paygo was abandoned. Bunning eventually caved because they got to him. Many Republicans were privately critical of Bunning. Now they are ‘largely united in their stand’ and the vast majority are expected to vote today against moving forward on the extensions. I’ll give you two reasons why: tea party. You see, this is the central issue of the tea party: spending, indebtedness, no end in sight to it and the damage it is doing to the country today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
And now a companion story. This is from the Government-Run Associated Press: ‘Obama Election-Year Jobs Agenda Stalls in Congress — The election-year jobs agenda promised by President Barack Obama and Democrats has stalled seven months before voters determine control of Congress. Democrats have no money to pay for the program.’ So we got no money to extend unemployment compensation; we got no money for another stimulus bill. That’s what this is. This is the third one, folks, but they’re not calling it stimulus anymore. They are calling it a jobs bill. And the reason they don’t have the money is because ‘both Republicans and the Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee objected to taking money left over from the fund that bailed out banks,’ TARP money. There’s all kinds of TARP money left over. You remember that crisis? If we didn’t bail out these banks and whoever it was, why, the financial crisis of the world was gonna collapse, and that would be the end of the world as we’ve known it, and yet there’s still 200-to-300 billion of the original $700 billion unspent.
Obama wants to go get some of that money for the jobs program, but the law says you can’t do it. Even the Democrat chairman of the Senate Budget Committee objects to taking money left over from the fund, from TARP. ‘Such a move, they insisted, would add tens of billions of dollars to the $12.8 trillion national debt. An $80 billion-plus Senate plan promised an infusion of cash to build roads and schools, help local governments keep teachers on the payroll, and provide rebates for homeowners –‘ what? Eighty billion is going to work all that magic, after one trillion hasn’t, another 400 billion hasn’t, after two trillion dollars in loans from the fed to whoever. All of this Keynesian spending has not worked. My friend Professor Hazlett points it out in a column back on March 26th. The theory of Keynesian economics is you spend and spend and spend from Washington, you create massive deficits, and this somehow is supposed to inspire the private sector to start creating jobs because they’re supposed to be comforted by the fact the federal government’s spending money. Well, it’s working just the opposite as it always does.
Everybody’s alarmed the federal government’s spending money. Everybody’s alarmed the private sector is shrinking as the federal government spends more money and gets bigger. So it’s chilling economic growth. It’s chilling investment in the private sector, not in the stock market, which is another thing altogether. But it is chilling growth in the private sector. Two months after the plan was introduced, this $80 billion jobs bill, most of the main elements remain on the Senate shelf. It hasn’t been spent. Obama also proposed a $250 bonus payment to Social Security recipients because there was no cost-of-living increase. But that’s dead to the year, too, having lost the Senate vote last month. Yet Obama’s still out telling seasoned citizens that they’re going to get the $250 billion, but the whole thing was killed. The Senate doesn’t have the votes, not since Scott Brown.
They can’t get anything done there, and now the election’s coming up and the Democrats are scared to death. The Politico, January 2nd of 2009, a little over a year ago: ‘President Barack Obama acknowledged Monday that the fate of his reelection four years from now likely rests on the success of the proposed $825 billion stimulus package.’ He said this in an interview on the Today Show. Google has scrubbed the video clip. We can’t find it. We might have it in our archives. ‘A year from now, I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress. But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.’ Well, it’s going so badly, as we all know, that they’re not even calling it stimulus anymore. And they’re making a mistake calling it jobs bills ’cause there aren’t any new jobs being created as a result of it.
RUSH: From the Associated Press today: ‘Recovery Likely to Remain Sluggish into Next Year — Unemployment will stay high and housing prices flat. The pillars of Americans’ financial security, jobs and home values, will stay shaky well into 2011 according to an AP survey of leading economists,’ which means they’re going to make us all as miserable as they can right up to the election and then they’ll try to pull something out of their hats in 2012.
RUSH: Look at it this way: Tax cuts versus unemployment. Tax cuts versus unemployment. JFK. JFK was bullish on America. We have to admit this. And JFK preceded Reagan in tax cuts in his speech at the New York Economic Club. We’ve played the sound bites on this program — and those tax cuts, by the way, helped us withstand the early years of LBJ’s Great Society and the War on Poverty. But now look where we are. We’ve got unemployment and it is rising, and who does Obama subsidize? He subsidizes those not working. He is rewarding those who are not working. He doesn’t reward those who are making the mortgage payment, who are trying to pay their taxes or doing everything by the rules. They are the enemy. Why did Obama do the latter with the stimulus and everything else since? Why subsidize those who are not working?
It’s just to keep them comfortable enough so that they stay unemployed. Just look at it that way. Why would anybody prefer to subsidize those not working rather than those who are working? You might say, ‘Well, Rush, it’s compassion. The people working, at least they have jobs. The other people don’t.’ Yeah, but Obama’s not doing anything to create jobs. Quite the contrary. He’s in the process of creating and building a permanent underclass. If you’re going to subsidize something, you know you get more of it. Very simple. If you tax something more, you’re going to get less of it. If you tax something less, you’re going to get more of it. This is not even economics. This is just plain common sense. Here’s that Obama sound bite. Keep this in mind. This is back February 2, 2009, on the Today Show. Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer interviewed Obama. Matt Lauer: ‘At some point will you say, ‘Wait a minute. We’ve spent this amount of money; we’re not seeing the results. We gotta change course dramatically?” This is over a year ago, remember.
OBAMA: Look, I’m at the start of my administration. One nice thing about, uh, uhhh, the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable. Uhh, y-you know, I’ve got four years — and — aaaand —
LAUER: You’re going to know quickly how people feel about what’s happened.
OBAMA: And — and — and — and — That’s exactly right. And, you know, a year from now I think people, uhh, are going to see that, uhh, we’re starting to make some progress, but there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.
RUSH: ‘A year from now I think people are going to see that we have made some progress.’
RUSH: By the way, you know we had the story earlier, the National Bureau of Economic Research, New York Times, big story today, the board there cannot figure out if the recession’s over. They’re really struggling out there. Normally it’s easy to determine when the recession’s over but they’re having all kinds of trouble. Now, originally I thought one of the things might be, ‘Well, let’s just strategically decide when we’re going to declare the recession over, such as September, October, right before the 2012 elections.’
But something else occurs. If the National Bureau of Economic Research decides that we’re no longer in a recession, how in the world can Obama continue to spend money and offer and suggest even more slush funds or jobs bills? If somebody comes out and says the recession’s over, then that means we’re growing. That means we got jobs being created and the private sector’s growing. It would kind of undercut Obama’s efforts to create a permanent underclass by more and more spending, extension of unemployment benefits, and what have you. How can they possibly justify extending unemployment two or three more months if the recession’s over and if the economy is coming back? I’m sorry. I’m a little slow today, folks. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get there, but as you know, I always do.