RUSH: The tax rate extension, Obama celebrating it, Chris Matthews getting two tingles up his leg over Obama’s smile at the signing ceremony. I saw a picture of Obama at the signing ceremony. He did not look particularly happy. It was a still shot. He looked rather bored. Joe Bite Me, the vice president, said that not extending the Bush tax rates would have caused a double-dip recession, but he’s morally troubled by having to do it. I don’t know. I think the Christmas parties have started early and they’re still going on. Wait ’til you hear this. It was on Meet the Depressed yesterday. It woulda been a double-dip recession if we hadn’t extended the tax rates; he’s morally troubled by the whole Bush tax cut thing. Larry Summers, the tax deal averted a catastrophe. Obama celebrates the George W. Bush tax rate extension. And I’m still stunned, everybody’s talking about Obama as the comeback kid.
RUSH: Here’s Obama last Friday night in Washington, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, at the signing of the tax rate compromise bill.
OBAMA: Tax rates for every American were poised to automatically increase on January 1st, and if that had come to pass the average middle class family would have had to pay an extra $3,000 in taxes next year. That wouldn’t have just been a blow to them; it would have been a blow to our economy. Just as we’re climbing out of a devastating recession.
RUSH: We are?
OBAMA: I refuse to let that happen —
OBAMA: — and because we acted, it’s not going to.
OBAMA: In fact, not only will middle class Americans avoid a tax increase —
OBAMA: — but tens of millions of Americans will start the new year off right by opening their first paycheck to see that it’s actually larger than the one they get right now.
RUSH: If this is all so wonderful, why didn’t you do this two years ago? It was all so wonderful, if tax cuts — and, look, they’re being called the Obama ‘tax cuts’ here. Let’s stick with the lingo for a second. There aren’t any tax cuts except the payroll thing. It’s just an extension of tax rates. Somehow this is gonna lead to larger paychecks? Yeah, the payroll tax cut of TWO percent will lead to some larger paychecks. I don’t know where he gets this. (interruption) Well, the $3,000, if the rates woulda gone up. The rates everybody wants, the rates everybody said led to a boom in the nineties. ‘Tax rates for every American were poised to automatically increase on January 1st,’ and we were hoping that would happen six weeks ago.
‘If that had come to pass,’ as though the Republicans have this dastardly plan to soak you and make sure that you had less take-home pay, but because Obama and the Democrats have ridden to the rescue here, you are saved. Our economy is saved. Never mind that the Democrats included wanting the middle class to pay that extra $3,000 a year for the last ten years. That’s $30,000! The Democrats have never liked these tax cuts. They have blamed the Bush tax cuts for virtually every economic calamity that we’ve had, and now all of a sudden they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here’s Vice President Bite Me, Meet the Press on Sunday. David Gregory said, ‘Why wait ’til 2012, an election year? You really expect in an election year anybody’s not gonna vote to extend the tax cuts? What’s gonna be different then than now?’
BIDEN: We’re not in a position, David, where we’re gonna have — ay, God willing — the shaky economy where we could not afford to continue uncertainty for a month or two or three in the next year had we not made a deal which actually grew the economy. The obverse was equally as true.
BIDEN: Had we kicked this into the next year, it would have created such uncertainty and there are a number of economists who thought it might in fact induce a double-dip recession. So we not only avoided it getting worse, we made it — the prospects — much better for the economy.
RUSH: So Democrat tax policy, according to ‘economists,’ would have led to a double-dip recession; that is increasing taxes. Double-dip recession, had we stuck with Democrat policies. But, no! We stuck with Reagan philosophy, Bush philosophy. We’re not going to raise taxes — and as such, we not only avoided it getting worse, we made the prospects for the economy much better. How do these guys think this is a win for them? We’re not gonna forget this language in two years. When they start talking about ‘raising taxes on the rich’ again all we gotta do is go back and play these sound bites, talk about how raising taxes… What’s the difference if the economy is going well or not?
Raising taxes — they just admitted it here and so did Durbin last week — will stifle and slow down an economy. And yet it’s a big, big, big victory for Obama. Comeback kid! You know, even the Reverend Sharpton was invited by the White House for the tax deal signing and the buffet. Sharpton! Al Sharpton was invited. How come we never hear about how the million dollars or whatever it is that he owes in back taxes is costing the government money? What is Sharpton doing there? Here now. Here’s Bite Me on the same show talking about the Bush tax cuts being ‘morally troubling.’ Gregory says, ‘The president wrote in Audacity of Hope he found the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy morally troubling. Is that still his belief?’
BIDEN: It’s still his belief!
GREGORY: Your belief as well?
BIDEN: Mine as well!
GREGORY: But you’re willing to compromise on that?
BIDEN: We… To compromise to save people who are drowning! There’s people out there drowning! There are two million people this month that can’t afford to go get a Christmas tree, let alone buy any gifts because their unemployment has run out, that — which means they’ve been unemployed for well over a year to two years. It is unfortunate we were put in the position where the Republicans made it clear they were ready to let everything fall unless they got these tax cuts. They’re for two years. They’re for two years, and we’re coming back and going at it again.
RUSH: All right, so in two years we’re gonna come back and we’re gonna stick the rich in two years. So people two years from now, we don’t care whether they buy a Christmas tree. We’re gonna come back; we’re gonna soak the rich. It’s still Obama’s belief that ‘the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are morally troubling.’ How do you go from, ‘We couldn’t afford to continue uncertainty. We had to make a deal. We had to grow the economy with these tax cuts. We had to grow the economy,’ and yet they are ‘morally troubling’? Well, I know. He’s just trying to maintain some sort of credibility with his left-wing base by saying all this. But the campaign ads, the videos, are being produced even as we speak to tie these guys in a pretzel. I mean, Biden is lying about this anyway. People have run out of benefits got nothing from this deal. He claims that this helps people whose benefits have run out, and it doesn’t. The 99ers don’t get anything out of this. The 98ers do, but the 99ers do not. So they want credit for things that aren’t even happening.
RUSH: I just love hearing these Democrats say all these wonderful things about tax cuts. They sound Reaganesque. They sound like Art Laffer. They sound like they believe in the Laffer curve, supply-side, we have averted disaster by keeping tax rates the same, gonna cause a double-dip recession if we had raised taxes, but still they’re troubled by the moral aspect of tax cuts for the rich and yet doing so saves the economy from a double-dip recession. Look, I know they don’t really believe it. Don’t misunderstand me. I know they don’t believe any of it. They know it’s true. They don’t like having to do any of this and they’re doing everything they can to claim credit for it. But they are saying it. And that is going to prove beneficial down the road. For ten years, folks, these Bush tax cuts have been the number one enemy of the US economy. The Bush tax cuts have been responsible for the war in Iraq, not being able to get Bin Laden, virtually everything that went wrong, the subprime mortgage crisis, the Bush tax cuts. Getting those tax rates back up to the boom Clinton years rates, 39.6 on the rich, up to 15% from 10% for the lower middle class, that’s what we’ve always needed to do, and when the time came to actually let that happen, the truth came out. These people know for a fact that had these rates gone up it would have stopped any kind of economic activity, flat, so they have been forced by the circumstances involving real events to admit and act on the truth.
Now, I live in Literalville, and I’m a loner there. I have to tell you sometimes it is a burden to be one of the few people living in Literalville. I don’t know, I’ve looked at this every which way, I don’t know how this is concocted as a win for Obama. Now, inside the Beltway, the way they calculate political wins and losses in the horse race sense, I guess anything that keeps the economy going heading into the 2012 presidential campaign’s gonna be judged to be a smart, crafty strategic move by the president, but I don’t know how you factor in the fact that he and Bite Me and everybody’s had to renounce one of their core — this is like a Christian throwing away the 23rd Psalm. This is huge what these guys are admitting here. This is not compromise. These guys have totally caved. The problem for me is, given that they’re willing to cave, we coulda gotten tax cuts out of this if we’d have just waited. We could have gotten so much.
We could have taken them to the cleaners if we wanted to roll up our sleeves and wait ’til next year to do this. It would have involved a little bit more hard work, but the only way this can be seen as a win for Obama is if it somehow hurts the economy and discredits capitalism. And there aren’t any tax cuts. Again, we’re all operating here on the baseline. This is so much like the way the federal budget works. We’ve set the table some weeks ago with the panic and fear that tax rates were going up, the Bush tax cuts were going to expire. And because we’ve set that bar so high that by doing nothing in terms of change, by implementing no change whatsoever, somehow the day has been saved. So at the end of that, what the Democrats have been caught here into admitting is that raising taxes would have caused a double-dip recession, or certainly would have slowed down or stopped whatever economic expansion or growth is taking place. I just don’t see it at all. Here’s Larry Summers Friday night on PBS The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown with the question, ‘Is the tax cut deal good economics or just necessary politics? What do you think about it?’
SUMMERS: I think it’s very good economics. It’s very good economics for the catastrophe that it averts. If we had not been able to reach an agreement and the middle-class tax cut had gone away, family income taxes had gone up by $2,000, the risk to the economy would have been very, very great.
RUSH: Here it is again. It would have been a catastrophe. ‘If we had not been able to reach an agreement and the middle-class tax cuts had gone away,’ but, see, that reminds me again that for the last ten years there never were any Bush middle-class tax cuts. They were only tax cuts for the rich, for millionaires and billionaires. Now all of a sudden — (interruption) yeah, the Bush tax cuts put us in the ditch. The Republicans driving the car, the Bush tax cuts, they put us in a ditch. Obama said we’re not giving you guys the keys anymore, and now the keys haven’t even been taken out of the ignition. Republicans are still driving the car. Never was in the ditch in the first place. Here’s Mitch McConnell. This is Sunday morning, CNN’s State of the Union, host Candy Crowley. ‘Given what you said before the election about your political priority given this tax package that you and the administration worked out, are you now best friends forever with the president?’
MCCONNELL: This tax package was 76% Republican policy, 12% Democratic policy and you can argue about the policy, the balance of it. Charles Krauthammer is very smart but on this he’s totally wrong. The Tea Party group FreedomWorks that put hundreds, thousands of people on the Mall, they supported the bill. Ron Paul, the most famous Tea Party type member of Congress, supported the bill, the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, the Weekly Standard, a majority of the Presidential candidates of our party all supported this deal. Why do you think they did that? Well they did it because it was essentially Republican policy.
RUSH: Well, that’s another way of putting it. It was essentially Republican policy, it was essentially Reagan policy, and the Democrats have caved to it in a big win for the comeback kid. And, by the way, notice, too, that everything Obama does averts catastrophe. Isn’t that brilliant marketing? Yeah. We woulda had a catastrophe on our hands here but Obama rides in to the rescue. Everything he does averts catastrophe.
RUSH: John in Carlsbad, California. Has the rain reached you in Carlsbad, John, or is it north of you still?
CALLER: No, no, it’s not raining quite as hard down here but it’s still continuously spritzing.
RUSH: Getting creamed north of you and just mudslides out there on the Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu.
CALLER: Oh, yeah. That whole area is just, you know, everything burns and then it wipes away. It’s part of the natural process like the warming and cooling of the earth.
RUSH: Yes. (laughing) Exactly right.
CALLER: So the reason for my call is I think one of the unintended consequences of what the Democrats — and the ‘progressives’ and the liberals, the statists, all these people are doing now — is that this country at one time was just a fertile ground for investment. Every country wanted to dump their money here because you had a cooperative government, we were making money, consumerism rules the day, and it was all about making profit. So everybody happily put their money here; the dollar was the greatest thing. Well, now, with some of the shenanigans like the way they handled the bonds with the GM takeover where they said, ‘Oh, yeah, sorry. You just don’t get any of your money back,’ that has rendered a situation where people are not really wanting to invest here anymore. We are not the great place. There’s too much uncertainty here, that the government could reach in like Greece or any other place —
RUSH: No, no, no.
CALLER: — and take away your investment.
RUSH: No, no, no, no, no. We averted all that by extending the Bush tax rates.
CALLER: (laughing) Oh, yeah.
RUSH: Well, that’s what they’re saying.
CALLER: Yeah, that doesn’t make it right. You know, they say a lot of things.
RUSH: What prompted you to call about this today?
CALLER: Well, you know, I’ve just been… I’m an independent businessman, and eeeeverybody is sitting on the sidelines. ‘Well, we’ll see.’ I’ve done work for German companies, I’ve done work for Japanese companies, and they’re not just willing to pour money into the investment here because of the uncertainty. I’ve talked to some of these people and they’re saying, ‘Well, you know, we really don’t know how things are gonna shake out here,’ and quite honestly if I put myself in their situation, I don’t know that I’d want to invest here right now.
RUSH: You mean two years of certitude on tax rates is not enough to provide confidence to investors?
CALLER: No, of course not. It’s more of an approach. The government here has slid from being a place to get out of the way and facilitate your business and facilitate a good economy —
RUSH: So this is has really not inspired anybody’s confidence in President Obama as a steward of the great economy of the United States? That’s what you think?
CALLER: No, that’s what I think. And I quite honestly think that they’re all happy ’cause he’s really, like you said, the least qualified to walk into the room, so they feel like, ‘OPkay, now we can have our way with him. He’ll go along with anything we want.’
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: That’s my opinion.
RUSH: He’s the smartest guy in Washington, so… I mean, that’s what all the inside-the-Beltway people are telling us. He just got through running rings around everybody. I mean, this was Michael Vick tearing up the Giants defense yesterday. The Republicans still don’t know what hit ’em. The Republicans have no clue how they’ve been snookered here, so brilliant was the maneuvering by President Obama. We have certainty now. We know for certain that Obama’s gonna jack up taxes as soon as he can. He and Vice President Bite Me and all the Democrats are reassuring us about that every day. We had to do this to avert catastrophe, but we don’t like the morality of this. In two years we’re gonna make it all right, even though we’ve saved the day here. Yeah, these people, we can’t keep up with ’em they’re so smart. We’ll be lucky if there even is a Republican Party in two years, folks. That’s how brilliant, that’s how far ahead of everybody Obama is on all this. Rick in Wichita, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Fine, sir. Thank you.
CALLER: Hey, Merry Christmas to you.
RUSH: Same to you, sir.
CALLER: Hey, I’ll tell you, in Wichita I think they’re trying to kill the private business market. For 35 years I’ve been working in it, and I’ll tell you, we’re at about a 9% unemployment rate in Wichita. That’s the highest I’ve ever seen in a lot of years.
RUSH: Who in Wichita is trying to kill the private business market?
CALLER: Oh, Obama is.
CALLER: Nobody wants to order jets, you know? They are canceling their orders. You know how they go down the line, you pay down the line. And subcontractors like me, we can’t get our work from them, so we have to cut employees.
CALLER: I went from 60 down to 10, and I’m gonna close up and move out because the taxes —
RUSH: Yeah, you just did that to save more money for Christmas presents. Everybody knows that. By the way, I talked to a guy over the weekend in the corrugated box business. Now, the corrugated box business, that’s a great indicator. You make boxes for people to ship things in, to package things in.
Not a breath of an uptick from major, big-time producers and marketers. Just what he told me.
RUSH: The caller from Wichita must be living in a dream, folks. He has so many targets on his back, it isn’t even funny. Private jets? Only the rich buy those. Only CEOs and other capitalists. On top of that look at what they do to the environment. You have the government going after those guys left and right now, and everybody else. He’s from Wichita, and he’s terribly upset about what’s happening in the private jet market. He should be, ’cause he and everybody else associated with whatever the rich in this country do have bull’s-eyes painted, front and back.
RUSH: It’s Juan Williams. This is on Fox News Sunday yesterday during the roundtable. Chris Wallace has Juan Williams on, and… Who else? Well, doesn’t matter. Well, no, wait. Yep, just Juan Williams and Chris Wallace. He says, ‘Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, big leader in this session, negotiated a tax cut deal with the president. Some would say he got the better end of it. He persuaded, as we just mentioned in the last part, his fellow Republicans, even those who had big earmarks, to abandon the omnibus spending bill. Good session for McConnell, Juan?’
WILLIAMS: The economy’s gonna do well next year by all estimates, if this package — essentially, a stimulus package which is what brought the objections from Republicans, including the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin —
WALLACE: So you’re saying that —
WILLIAMS: It’s — it’s gonna improve the economy under Barack Obama’s watch and it’s going to accrue to the benefit of Barack Obama’s presidential hopes, and I think Democrats in general.
RUSH: Yeah, there are people have that genuine fear, that the economy, of its own inertia, is gonna improve. This is not gonna have anything to do with it because nothing’s changing. The only thing that coulda happened was the economy could have been worsened if the Democrats had gotten what they really wanted: Tax increases. But you notice here that Juan Williams confirms that Obama’s calling it a ‘stimulus.’ He wants that word out there. He wants it to be called a ‘stimulus’ even though there’s nothing stimulative in this. Again, it’s all about how the table is set; it’s all about where the baseline is. The baseline for this was: ‘Taxes are going up at the end of the year…unless,’ and so people had it in their minds that the tax increases already happened, and now all of a sudden guess what’s not gonna happen? So we have a tax cut, even though nothing changed, and, ‘We got a stimulus now, ’cause we got a tax cut and it’s gonna benefit Obama going into the election,’ and people on our side say, ‘Ah, it’s over, Rush. Obama’s snookered us. The president is always gonna get credit for a booming economy,’ blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
We’ll see about that.
RUSH: To Lexington, Virginia, this is John. Nice to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call —
RUSH: You bet, sir.
CALLER: — and for what you’re doing for our country.
RUSH: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
CALLER: To get to the point, I get nervous when I hear virtually everybody saying that, you know, unless Obama can stimulate the economy, get the economy rolling and get jobs created, he’s finished. Well, I think that the mechanisms are already in place for him to do — even if it’s only appearing to do that — to do just that.
RUSH: You mean get credit for a rebounding economy?
CALLER: Yes, sir. I think that the carbon commodities markets, the regional greenhouse gas initiative states, the, good grief, what is it, a trillion and a half of unspent TARP, EQ1 and 2 money is just waiting to be handed out to companies like GE, Chevron, the carbon trading markets in these specific states, and there’s a lot of jobs that are gonna be created, pumping out windmills and solar panels and —
RUSH: Why is it gonna work in 2012 when it didn’t work in 2010? And there’s not a trillion and a half in unspent TARP. It’s like $200 billion.
CALLER: Right. But you add QE1 and QE2, and, you know, they’re gonna print whatever money that they want to build windmills and solar to make these greenhouse gas states look like their economies are rebounding. And how are we gonna compete with that, if and when they actually start looking — just like the ethanol —
RUSH: Well —
CALLER: — and, you know, it’s gonna look like rebounding but it really won’t be certainly for a long term.
RUSH: A lot of windmill companies are going out of business.
CALLER: I know. I know. But that’s not gonna stop —
RUSH: I don’t know how many windmills they’re gonna be able to build in the next two years and then bring online to even fake some kind of uptick in economic activity.
CALLER: Well, I certainly hope you’re right, but I just —
RUSH: Well, no, let’s say you’re right.
RUSH: What do we do?
CALLER: Well, whether it’s windmills or solar panels or whatever green industries, you know that they’re waiting to get federal money to start producing these things because they’re tipping their hand, they’re already —
RUSH: No, no, no, no. Look, I’ve got one minute. Let’s say they do all of this, they start hiring people in droves, they got windmills and all sorts of stuff, you drive around and that’s all you see is windmills.
RUSH: And so we’re defeated, right? What do you do?
CALLER: Well, I’m just talking about 2012 now. I don’t know how short-term economic —
RUSH: That’s what I’m saying, you’re saying we’ve got no prayer, it’s over. So what do we do?
CALLER: I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking you.
RUSH: Well, I’m trying to tell you I don’t agree with you, but you sound pretty convinced that we’re already dead. It sounds like New Zealand time for me.
CALLER: I don’t think we’re dead. I just think we might be taking our eye off the ball with a lot of distractions —
RUSH: Like what?
CALLER: Well, like all of the lame duck silliness that’s going on in Congress right now, just —
RUSH: Yeah. I have to tell you, you know, I don’t know what we can do. We are being outsmarted with every breath we take, and I don’t know what we can do.
RUSH: Look, I can tell you here, folks, even the top Obama economists don’t believe the economy is gonna turn huge by 2012, which is why we’re constantly being told about how this is the new normal. I also think that’s to lower expectations. It depends on who you talk to. I was in Boston over the weekend, there are some people there who think the economy is starting to come back and echoed what this guy was just saying: Obama is a smart guy, coming back at the right time and by hook or by crook he’s gonna get credit for it just because he’s president. You talk to other people, naw, naw, naw, if you’re talking about employment, we’re not gonna have any serious uptick in employment. The ingredients aren’t there for people to start hiring on a permanent, recognizable basis, the whole dynamic has changed. If people could predict what the next two years of economic activity was gonna be, do you realize we wouldn’t be in this recession? We woulda known it’s coming and we coulda stopped it. This is bigger than anybody can predict or massage, and so this is one of these things you have to wait and see. But this notion that Obama’s outsmarting us at every turn, I don’t know. I just get worn out with that ’cause if you think that, why even try? You know, why even mess with this? If they’re gonna outsmart us with windmills and green energy and GE getting a trillion and a half dollars, start hiring people, what can we do other than tell people that that’s what’s going on?