RUSH: Sarah Palin was not finished. On Fox News Sunday, she said it was ‘idiotic’ to let the Bush tax cuts expire. An interesting piece today in Newsweek magazine. Fareed Zakaria has a piece and E.J. Dionne — no, it’s not E.J. Dionne. Well, it might have been last week, but you know, the subject of whether the Bush tax cuts should sunset — should expire in December or be extended for everybody — is now the topic de jour. And it’s fascinating to read both sides of this. I mean, there is literally no argument, no debate if you’re being intellectually honest that tax cuts stimulate economic growth. They stimulate, period. And there’s no argument that tax increases, particularly in economic circumstances like this, deplete resources in the private sector and thus private sector activity is slowed down — and it’s not just a static thing.
It’s not just if you take money away from people that they have less to spend. If you take money away from the rich they have less to spend. There’s less money to hire and economic activity gets depressed. It reduces. Tax cuts stimulate economic growth. The left cannot afford for that to be accepted as a norm throughout, and so the argument has come up and they’re piling on with as many people as they can to suggest that the Bush tax cuts are the reason why we’re in the problem that we’re in. Nothing can be further from the truth, and we’ve told you over the course of the program here since 2000. We’ve had the stories time and time again how Washington was shocked to see all the additional revenue they hadn’t counted on flowing into the Treasury simply because of a capital gains tax rate reduction down to 15%.
We have a spending problem. There’s no question. How can you suggest that we have anything other than a spending problem, and how can you suggest that economic growth is not the way out of it? You can’t tax increase your way out of an economic slump. It’s simply not possible. Tax increases deplete the private sector, they reduce private sector activity, and they expand the size of government. Now, anybody being intellectually honest would know this. So there’s an all-out effort now on the part of the left (Fareed Zakaria is the latest from Newsweek magazine) to suggest that the Bush tax cuts are the reason we are in the economic morass that we’re in. As you people know because you listen regularly to the program, the Bush tax cuts have nothing to do with it. In fact, the Bush tax cuts… (chuckles). As Obama loves to say, ‘If we hadn’t done the stimulus it would be even worse.’
If those Bush tax cuts had not been in place since 2001 and 2003, we would be in even worse shape than we are in now. But intellectual honesty is in short supply. Intellectual honesty on the left is replaced by agendas and wishes — hopes, dreams and all of this — of a panacea and of a utopia. And I’m struck, as I pay attention to this, by all the people who actually think (when I say ‘all the people,’ I’m talking about Democrats, some Republicans, the ruling class) that Obama will extend the Bush tax cuts. Where is the evidence to suggest that Obama will do anything to grow the economy? Where is the evidence that Obama will do anything to improve the economic circumstances of average American citizens? Where’s the evidence of it? ‘Well, Rush, everybody knows you can’t raise taxes, economy like this.’
Obama doesn’t. He’s already done it! Not only has he raised taxes, he has increased spending. There is less money circulating in the private sector as a result of this. Where’s the evidence Obama does anything to grow the economy? Where’s the evidence that Obama is sensitive at all to the pain and suffering that average Americans are feeling because of an economic decline? Where’s the evidence? There isn’t any. So all this notion that Obama is gonna somehow go along with the extension of Bush tax cuts for everybody but the rich? If he does that — if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to continue for everybody other than the top 5% of wage earners — it isn’t gonna matter. It will help some, but it’s not going to help those who do the hiring.
It’s not gonna help those who are already invested in business and want to grow them, and it’s not going to inspire those who want to start a business. But I haven’t seen any evidence that Obama is interested in private sector economic growth. I haven’t seen any evidence Obama is interested in private sector economic recovery. We just haven’t seen it. Now, Chelsea Clinton got married over the weekend and it was a big deal, three to $5 million was ostensibly the cost. And it’s fascinating to read Tina Brown at The Daily Beast has a piece: We needed this wedding; we in America, we needed this wedding. We needed it psychologically. The American people needed Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
I guess just like we ‘need’ (chuckles) The Bachelorette.
Why do we need Chelsea Clinton’s wedding? Well, we needed it to return to the freewheeling ebullient and optimistic nineties — and then they started praising it. People were criticizing the expense of the wedding, ‘An $11,000 cake? All of the expenses? Why do that? Why spend that kind of money in these economic times?’ and other people said, ‘It’s a great stimulus. People got paid.’ The point is the Clinton wedding was the Clintons admitting that trickle-down economics works, that supply-side economics works. Look at all the people that got paid. Look at all the people that were hired. And it took a bunch of high earners to do it. What’s wrong with a three…? I guarantee you not one of the vendors at the Clinton wedding is upset that anybody spent $11,000 on the cake. I’ll betcha the cake baker loves it.
You can talk about the hypocrisy of the Clintons all day long, that they want to tax people who have that kind of money — and they do. They’ll try to escape the taxes themselves, like Kerry registering his yacht in Rhode Island rather than in Massachusetts trying to save half million dollars a year ’til he gets caught on it. But the point is, everything the Democrats do in their private lives demonstrates that Reaganomics works, trickle-down economics works. Supply-side, whatever you want to call it works. Yet they come around and raise taxes on everybody, in order to do what? ‘Well, we have to fund the government. The government has all these deficits. We can let the populace lose their jobs, we can let the population become poorer, we can let the average American family have less disposable income but we gotta make sure the government is funded.’ The government (chuckles) is broke. There isn’t the money that they have been spending as it is. Here’s Palin, by the way, making the case for this. This was Fox News Sunday yesterday. She was asked about the Bush tax cuts expiring. Here’s what she said.
PALIN: To reduce deficit spending and our enormous debt, you rein in spending. You cut the budget. You don’t take more from the private sector and grow government with it, and that’s exactly what Obama has in mind with this expiration-of-Bush tax cuts proposals of his. So, no. Here again, the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress they’re all wet on this idea. It’s idiotic to think about increasing taxes at a time like this.
RUSH: And a lot of Democrats are saying the same thing. So when the rubber hits the road, the Democrats will always tell you what they really believe when it comes to economics. It is their agenda that is triumphing over everybody’s economic common sense, which means they care about them more than anybody else.
RUSH: John in Mount Clemens, Michigan, you’re first as we go to the phones today. Great to have you here.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. Rush, you started the show today talking a little bit about the impact that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts is going to have on this already miserable economy.
RUSH: Yes, sir, I did.
CALLER: I couldn’t agree more, and it got me to thinking. You know, over the years I’ve heard you and many other conservative what I consider economic experts talk about the fact that one of the reasons that people who pull paychecks either weekly or every two weeks have a little bit taken away each time (or a lot of it taken away) as opposed to getting a bill at the end the year from the federal government or state governments is because if we got that, there would be quite an uprising. But it got me to thinking. It always bothered me because it’s hard to make some people relate to that. It’s kind of a drip, drip, drip, and they get trained to get a certain amount of money and they don’t really get that irate about what the government’s taking away.
Well, this is one time where I think that message is going to backfire on the government, because people are trained to get a certain check every week or every two weeks, and on December 31st they’re going to draw their check, and they’re going to get the usual amount that they always plan on, that they always have allotted to whatever they’re going to spend it on. But you know what? Come January 7th, that number is going to change for the American people. And if that number changes by 15, 20 bucks, 50 bucks, a hundred bucks, 200 bucks, and those people who never really thought about what the government is taking away start calling their HR departments and saying, ‘Hey, where’s my 20 bucks? Where’s my 50 bucks? Where’s my 150 bucks? Where’s my 200 bucks? I gotta pay the bill. I gotta send money to my kids at college.’
RUSH: A lot of these people are also going to say, ‘Wait a minute? Wait a minute! Obama said my taxes would not go up. He said no tax increase for the middle class.’
CALLER: Exactly, and you know what? It’s the same argument you’ve been talking about over the last few weeks with Steinbrenner and the estate tax but their rebut has always been, ‘You’re going to feel sorry for these rich people, these kids who want this money?’ All of a sudden it ain’t the rich people anymore, as they define them. It’s not that. It’s all the people. It’s the people who use their brains, use their hands, use a combination of the two, all of a sudden — and we’re all working men and women out here, by the way, Rush. I can’t stand when Democrats call certain people ‘workingmen and women’ and other people aren’t.
RUSH: Well, I know what you mean, but —
CALLER: We’re all together now.
RUSH: That has bugged me for a long time. ‘Workingmen and women,’ that’s just code word for ‘union.’ ‘Workingmen and women’ is just code word for union, blue-collar people. That’s what the Democrats mean when they utter that phrase: ‘Working families,’ and granted they’re trying to the umbrella to include everybody but they really talk about union people in that mess. Now, the Bush tax cuts. Why do they have to sunset? (interruption) Mmm-hmm. Well, Snerdley is halfway right. He said the Democrats demand that they sunset in order for the tax cuts to pass in the first place. The Bush tax cuts have to sunset because the Congressional Budget Office would not admit that they would save money. The Bush tax cuts, interestingly enough, were passed via reconciliation.
Unless a bill can be shown to save money, they have to sunset. The CBO would not show that tax cuts save money because template, the narrative is that tax cuts cost the government money. Yeah. So this was done via reconciliation. The Bush tax cuts were done via reconciliation. Unless a bill can be shown to save money they have to sunset, and that’s the only reason, because everybody’s lying about tax cuts. So now they have to go back and say, ‘Okay, can we extend them?’ I really find this debate fascinating, because there are Democrats getting in on this debate. Now, the Democrats, for the longest time, have been saying the only reason we’re in an economic downturn is because of the Bush tax cuts, and now there are some defections.
These Democrats — and there are quite a few of them, and some of them are quite powerful in the Senate — are suggesting that we need to extend them. How can this be? The only way this makes any sense is if you accept something that’s very simple: Liberals lie. Democrats lie. Once you understand that, once you accept it, you have basically gotten to second base (maybe even hit a triple) in terms of dealing with Democrats and liberalism. Because all the past eight years: ‘Those Bush tax cuts? Why, they led to a recession, deficits, economic collapse! Why, they’re horrible things,’ and all of a sudden they’re gonna expire and the Democrats say, ‘You know, it’d really be bad if that happened during a recession.’ Why? If the tax cuts caused this economic downturn, why isn’t every Democrat running on the premise of tax increases?
RUSH: South Central Pennsylvania, John, thank you for waiting. It’s great to have you here. Hello.
CALLER: Hello there. I wanted to talk to you about something you mentioned quite a bit earlier in the show.
CALLER: And that was about the trickle-down economics and the expiration of tax cuts from the Bush administration.
RUSH: Right, and the Clinton wedding. And the Clinton wedding.
CALLER: Well, that’s some of what I’m talking about as far as economic stimulus because one of the big points that liberals tend to make is that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. You can’t put tax breaks in place and stimulate the economy. It does not work. Yet the Obama administration has gone ahead and put in place tax credits for buying cars and tax credits for buying homes and immediately people started buying cars and people started buying homes. So clearly it’s proved by Obama’s own policies that offering tax credits works. Therefore if you were to offer tax credits, reduction of taxes to those responsible for driving industry, they’re going to go ahead and jumpstart that industry just like all the other tax credits did.
RUSH: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait just a second. Except none of that happened. The automobile business did not get jumpstarted with Cash for Clunkers, and home sales as an industry did not get jumpstarted with the tax credits. There’s a big difference in tax rate reductions and tax credits. Tax credits… Let’s see if the Volt takes off. Let’s see if a tax credit of $7500 on the Volt causes the auto industry to rebound. The housing industry has not rebounded. All that happened with Cash for Clunkers or the tax credit for home buying is it just shifted auto sales earlier into a quarter than they would normally have taken place. But the auto industry did not take off with tax credits. Tax credits are a much, much different thing than tax rate reductions.
Tax rate reductions do stimulate the economy. They most certainly do. Tax credits, by their very definition, aren’t permanent and they don’t equal any additional disposable income. They just lower the price artificially, and for a temporary period of time. Now, the Obama administration — and I guess some liberals — would love to say that tax rates don’t stimulate but tax credits do. But I don’t see any stimulation of anything. Cash for Clunkers caused some car sales to take place but just earlier than they would have, and the last I looked, housing, there’s nothing to write home about in terms of price values. Home values are still falling, foreclosures are going up, and yet Obama’s offered all kinds of tax credits.
You know, a tax credit is a one-time shot. A tax rate reduction is a policy, a policy change. I don’t think there’s any comparison of the two — and this is a trick that liberal Democrats try to use. ‘Oh, yeah, we’re for tax cuts! Uh, tax credits.’ This is nothing more than an attempt to beguile and to fool people and to make them think that government action moves the economy, that government policy moves activity in the economy. It doesn’t increase it. It might shift it. But tax credits do not stimulate. They simply shift. So it’s not hard to understand. If you understand that liberals lie, if you understand that liberals realize tax rate cuts are the best thing that could happen to an economy and they don’t support them, they want to get in on the notion that they are cutting taxes when they offer tax credits, but they’re not cutting anybody’s taxes. They’re just artificially inserting themselves in the market temporarily and really screwing it up.
RUSH: No, it’s simple. A tax credit doesn’t put any more money in your pocket. A tax credit doesn’t add any more disposable income. A tax credit doesn’t expand your buying power. It’s just crazy. All a tax credit does is artificially interrupt the normal flow of economic activity, like Cash for Clunkers. Okay, three grand to go out and trade your old clunker for a new car, right? So you go do that sooner than you would buy a car. The people that are interested in it do it in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the program ends and nobody goes and buys a car. The car industry is not stimulated, and then you create the notion among other people, ‘Eh, I’ll wait ’til the next tax credit before I go buy one. If the government is going to be passing out tax credits I’ll wait ’til they do it again.’ Now, if the credit were permanent then we’d be talking a different thing, but this is all these people trying to say what Obama’s doing is working. But you can’t fool El Rushbo. Not after 22 years in the Golden EIB Microphone. Not after 22 years running the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. Frankly, I’m somewhat disappointed in the effort to fool me. Well, everybody knows that tax cuts don’t stimulate an economy, but we can see Obama’s tax credits do? Right. Do you people think I’m a fool? Do you think that I see economic activity burgeoning out there? We have economic activity? I would be the only one who does, and I don’t.