RUSH: Let’s take this statement of Obama’s, this little excerpt that we had from his radio address on Saturday: ‘We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges.’ There’s a little bit of a problem with that. Guess what’s happening? We’ve had stories of this throughout the past couple of years. The gasoline price is now less than half what it was this summer, and you know what that means. People are driving less even despite the fact that the price has come down. Gasoline usage is down 5%. That’s not insignificant. The tax revenue, therefore, is down. The price is down. So people are driving less even with cheaper prices, which means that all of the gasoline tax revenue, federal and state, is less than projected. So guess what’s now being discussed? Raising the federal gasoline tax, as we mentioned last week. It’s actually kind of disheartening in one way. In another way, of course, it’s reach around and pat myself on the back. But it is so easy.
I know liberals like I know every square inch of my glorious naked body and I know what they’re going to do. They’re going to grow government — and if they have any revenue shortfalls, they’re going to find a way to tax those shortfalls back to where they think they ought to be. So even though gasoline is cheaper and even though people are using it less — because, by the way, the government has advised them to do this. The state governments, the federal government told everybody to go out, get rid of the SUV, and buy the clunker. Go out and buy the tiny little lawn mower with a couple of seats on it. ‘Save gas! Save the planet! Don’t pollute as much,’ and then when people go out and do that and tax revenue to the states and the feds fall, then they have to talk about, ‘Well, what are we going to do to get this revenue back,’ because they can’t do with a dime less. You and I will be asked to do with a lot less. The government will do with not a dime less. So we’re going to put people back to work on ‘our crumbling roads and bridges.’
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I travel around the country a lot, and about the only place I see crumbling roads and bridges is in cities totally run by liberal Democrats, cities that have been run by liberal Democrats for most of the last 50 years. I mean, there’s some bridges in New York that I don’t know how they’re still standing. You talk about road conditions and so forth? And liberals, I don’t care who the mayor has been, liberals have run that town for I don’t know how long; and it was the same thing in New Orleans with the levees or Minnesota and that bridge. But in truth, how many of our roads are crumbling? How many of our bridges are falling down? Do we hear about this every day? We had one bridge, one calamitous collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis, and all of a sudden every bridge in America is in disrepair and is in danger of falling down, and so we need a $700 billion stimulus package and a bunch of make work jobs to go out and rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges. Where are they crumbling? Take a look where they’re crumbling and find out who’s running the show, and you might have a good idea as to why they are crumbling.
Another thing here: wind farms and solar panels. There’s a story in the Stack today from the former head of Aramco, which is a Saudi company that runs the exploration of their oil fields and their production. He says (paraphrased), ‘We have more oil than anybody in the world could possibly understand. We have trillions and trillions of barrels of oil. We are in no danger of running out of oil, not just that that we have discovered, but that that we haven’t discovered. There’s a lot we have discovered we haven’t produced that we could produce. We’ve not peaked. We’re nowhere near peaking on oil,’ and yet everybody is in a panic now because of the oil price going up and now the instability of it coming back down and all this constant, never-ending talk about global warming. By the way, did you see some whales are stuck in ice already up near the Arctic Circle? This has never happened this early in the season. We need to send some SUVs up there right now and warm it up! People need to get some SUVs up to the Arctic Circle and start driving around and warm things up.
You know, I have a little anecdotal story here — and that’s what it is, anecdotal. I moved to Florida in February 1997. So I’ve been here 11 years. We have been able to make book here on one meteorological certainty, and that is, sometime in the middle of December toward Christmas we’re going to get our first cold snap. It always happens. There’s been one year where it was 80 degrees — out of this past 11 I’ve been here — one year where it was 80 degrees on Christmas Day. The rest of the time it dips down, cold here when the humidity goes away, fifties and sixties at night. That’s when people bundle up and turn on the fireplaces. We are currently in the midst of our fourth or fifth cold snap since the 1st of November. I have never seen this. When I say cold snap, I mean the humidity is gone, low temperatures in the fifties, and highs sometimes not even breaking 70. This week we’re going to have a week much like what that Christmas week I just described to you is. The lows are going to be anywhere from 49 to 55, and the highs are barely going to get into 70s on a couple days. Today is gonna be nice and then another cold front comes in. I’ve never seen this. I’ve never seen this since I’ve lived here. Now, granted, it’s just anecdotal.
As you know, I think the whole global warming thing is a hoax; it’s a myth; it’s just part of the master plan that we see being unveiled today. It is a reason to tax; it is a reason to limit people’s freedom; it is a reason to put government in charge of fixing a crisis, a crisis that will destroy the planet, destroy animals. We’ve been through this time and time again. There’s no evidence that manmade global warming exists and it can be proven. Yet we’re plowing ahead here. So he talks about wind farms and solar panels and fuel efficient cars, alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil. That’s not how you do it. You free yourself from dependence on foreign oil by producing your own. But given his statement here, there’s something I want you to think about, something I want you to ponder. Everybody is agreeing that the Big Three auto execs are overpaid. But I wonder, maybe they’re underpaid. Maybe the Big Three auto execs are underpaid.
Look at it this way. You’re the CEO. You’re the boss. You’re the Mister Big, and a few little congresspeople with huge egos assign you a term paper that you have to complete during the Thanksgiving vacation. And here is what the liberals in Congress want answered in 20 pages more or less with your new proposal to get your bailout money. Congress said, ‘Show us a plan that will honor all of the overpriced union agreements, and wait ’til you hear the details on how much that actually costs.’ (I’ll get to that in the next segment.) Congress wants to see a plan from the Big Three to turn out cars that environmental extremists are demanding, like Obama. They want Big Three automakers to stop producing cars that customers want. They want the Big Three to start manufacturing cars that liberals say you should want or should have. Every time liberals in Congress change their minds, you have to change your production lines. At the same time you’re doing all this to satisfy these people who have no idea how to run your business, you have to make a profit. These guys aren’t overpaid. There isn’t enough money in the world to pay anybody to play the game the auto executives are having to play with a bunch of neophytes who have no idea how to run the auto business. They’re just trying to turn it into the latest branch of the environmentalist wacko movement.
RUSH: I don’t know what to make of this. When Barack Obama started his news conference announcing his economic team — by the way, there were no specifics in the economic plan he announced — he was asked by reporters, ‘Could you give us a number, how big is your stimulus package going to be?’ (doing Obama impression) ‘Well, I, uh, I, uh, gonna wait, uh, for my, uh, the, uh, uh, recommendation from my, uh, team before I get into any of that. I’ve spoken to Bernanke and I’ve spoken to President Bush, uh.’ The auto companies, he said they gotta get back to him. They gotta get back to him on how they’re going to retool and how they’re going to structure themselves for long-term sustainability. We’re not just going to kick the can down the road with the bailout. Man, can I read that right? That means these guys are going to have bend over, grab the ankles, and say, ‘Okay, you want us to go total green? We’ll go total green. You want us to make cars people don’t want? Fine. That’s what we’ll do.’
That’s the pressure that’s being put on the automobile companies today.
RUSH: Folks, stop and think about what the auto industry has to do here, and let me find that little story here about how much it costs the auto industry to pay people who are not working. Well, I have too many stacks here today. I will find it in just a second. But the fact of the matter is, when you look at what the auto industry is being asked to do here, show us a plan that will honor all these overpriced union agreements. Show Congress this plan, and turn out cars the environmental extremists demand. Stop producing cars customers want, manufacture cars liberals say people should be driving, and that every time the liberals in Congress change their mind you have to change your production lines and retool. And while doing all of this, you have to make a profit. I would not want to be a CEO of a Big Auto maker these days, what with is headed their way, given their needs. They’re going to have to bend over a whole bunch of times, grab the ankles for whatever sustenance they get from the government.
Let’s start on the phones. Are you ready in there to transcribe things as we go? Yes. Bill in Illinois, nice to have you on the program, sir. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: How you doing, Rush?
RUSH: Just fine, sir. Thanks.
CALLER: Hey, I got an answer to why the roads are falling apart and crumbling.
RUSH: Tell me.
CALLER: Roads are designed to be maintained after so many years, to be resurfaced. And throughout the years in different states and places, they’ve deferred the maintenance to save the money or spend the money on other places. So because maintenance hasn’t been done throughout the years like they should have been, the roads and bridges are crumbling.
RUSH: Well, but are they crumbling? See, that’s my question. Are the roads and bridges really crumbling? Minneapolis bridge, that was an engineering problem. That was not from neglect. It wasn’t that nobody maintained that bridge. They finally did an investigation, they studied it, and they found that it was an engineering error from the get-go; it was a design error.
CALLER: Years before in Connecticut they had a bridge collapse because it wasn’t maintained. There’s a lot of issues with maintenance of these structures that haven’t been done that we’ve gotta catch up on, otherwise you will see it. It’s money that should have been spent at first that wasn’t spent where it should have been.
RUSH: There is merit to what you’re saying here in the sense that give liberals a pile of money and they’ll spend it buying votes — a lot of politicians will frankly, spend it buying votes — before they spend it on its intended purpose. Bill, thanks for the call. Appreciate it.
This is Steve in Louisville. Steve, great to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Well, thank you, Rush. It’s good to be talking to you, too.
RUSH: Appreciate it.
CALLER: Rush, I’d like to explain to your audience a little bit more specifics. My wife and I, we are freelance proposal writers for construction companies. A lot of companies have to hire folks like us because of the mounds of paperwork, the requirements before they dig anything into the ground. The government requires feasibility studies and tax studies, diversity hiring, all kinds of things. Now, these things didn’t exist back in the 1930s. If they wanted to build a new road they simply hired contractors and they built the road. Today, over the past 50 years, all of this stuff has to go through tons of approvals before they can do anything.
RUSH: Right, and this is one of the reasons we don’t build as much anymore. You look at the 1930s and the Great Depression, look what went up: the Hoover Dam, the Empire State Building, and two bridges out in the Bay Area.
CALLER: And we have here in my hometown, Louisville does, there’s been an effort to build a bridge across the river for 20 years. Now, under Anne Northup, who was a Republican, after about 20 years they were finally starting to actually build a few things, but then after a Democrat took Northup’s place, it stopped. Now, that’s what’s going on. And, in fact, Rush the bulk of my work that my wife and I do is not even here in the United States. Most of it’s in the Middle East, in Dubai. I just got back from the Middle East in Bahrain. There is tons of work going on over there. We could do it, but we’ve got all these rules and regulations here in the United States and it is next to impossible to even dig one hole in the ground.
RUSH: Well, it’s interesting, then, if we’re going to rebuild bridges and crumbling roads and so forth, how will the federal government react to its own regulations when it starts out doing this? My guess is just overlook ’em or broom them for a while because Obama’s gotta show action here. If we’re going to rebuild roads and bridges, then we better damn well see a lot of people out there on the roads and bridges and not drinking coffee every ten minutes. If we’re going to rebuild the roads and bridges don’t you think we better see a lot of them being rebuilt? There better be a lot of video footage of a lot of chain gangs and whoever else is going to be out there building these roads or filling potholes or what have you, and the same thing with maintaining bridges and our precious infrastructure. We’ll see. It’s a campaign promise and I know he’s going to continue governing in campaign mode.
Now, I think Obama’s timing is perfect here because he’s acting today like Santa Claus. He has all kinds of goodies that he’s going to give every one of you. Of course you’re going to pay for these presents, but he makes you feel good, you’re happy to see him show up, always asking you what you want, but in the end, we know the truth, don’t we? Whatever we say we want, we are going to pay for. One of the hundreds of billions in taxes we pay on gasoline that was supposed to go into a highway trust fund for maintaining and building federal roads, what happened to all of that? We already have these systems in place for maintenance of our precious infrastructure. What happened to the money? What happened to all that tax revenue? Well, clearly it’s been spent, like every other dime has been spent, plus dimes and dollars in the billions and soon to be trillions that they never had in the first place.
John in Libertyville, Illinois. Nice to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, thank you for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: There’s something really interesting that I think kind of really shows why the conservative mind-set has failed and continues to fail. You said that Barack Obama and the Democrats are gonna force the auto industry in the United States to make cars that nobody wants, and the reality is, that given the fact that we now know that gas prices can be manipulated so shoot up to almost five dollars a gallon, that the reality in Detroit is that they’re already making cars that nobody wants. You can’t sell an SUV in this country to save your life.
CALLER: And making fuel efficient cars makes commercial sense. It’s not an ideological thing. But you turn on the Rush Limbaugh show and what you hear is, no, they just need to keep on making gas guzzling sport utility vehicles and everything will be fine, and it’s crazy.
RUSH: No, that’s not what you hear. That’s what you think you hear. What you’re missing that is implicit in my statements on this is that I believe in freedom, and I think if somebody wants to go buy an SUV, they ought to be able to buy one. I just bought one last week, so you think nobody’s buying SUVs. People are buying SUVs.
CALLER: Millionaires can buy SUVs, sure.
RUSH: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Now, come on, now, I’m trying to have an intelligent discussion with you about the concept of freedom. That’s what this is about. I don’t want to have to drive one of these little pea brain cars that Obama thinks everybody ought to be in. I don’t want to drive a hybrid unless it’s an SUV hybrid. I do not want to drive one of these newfangled electric things, I just don’t and I don’t want to be forced to have to buy one, one day, not in the land of the free, home of the brave, and all that where we have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Of course they’re going to mandate. The federal government is going to bail this business out, theoretically. Look at how they run the school lunch program; look at how they run the curricula at schools. Once their money is involved, they can tell the auto companies what to do, and there’s no question that the greening of the auto industry is one of the objectives here. Now, I’ve talked to people at General Motors, and you know why they’re making these cars that you described?
CALLER: I didn’t describe any kind of car. You’re the one describing cars. I’m saying why wouldn’t it make sense, why wouldn’t it make commercial sense to make a sport utility vehicle that gets better gas mileage? Why is that a problem for you?
RUSH: It’s not. I don’t have a problem with that.
CALLER: Then how come you have this imaginary idea that Barack Obama is going to force Detroit to make cars nobody wants? It seems to me everybody would want that, wouldn’t they?
RUSH: Well, I don’t see them making mad dashes out to buy ’em is the point, and they are available, as you said. I don’t see ’em taking over the market. We don’t have an oil shortage. You see, the premise for all these new kinds of cars is fraud and a lie. We’re not destroying the planet, there is no manmade global warming. All these automobiles, SUVs, are not changing the climate, and this has been what has forced General Motors to retool because enough Americans have bought into this silly notion that they’re saving the planet by driving some of these little cars. They have to give the customers what they want. But this is not what they want to make.
CALLER: Well, Americans have bought into the notion also, and I think quite rightly, that gas prices can shoot up at a moment’s notice for artificial reasons, and that’s going to make ’em say to themselves, why should I buy a car that gets eight miles to the gallon? There’s no logic in that. I mean, it just sounded crazy for you to say, he’s going to make ’em make cars nobody wants. I’m telling you, they’re making cars nobody wants right now.
RUSH: They have been trying to get them to build cars that nobody wants for years starting with Algore’s electric car and these other things. If you misunderstand —
CALLER: Wait, wait, wait. What did the Bush administration do to try to get Detroit to make more fuel efficient cars?
RUSH: I know, it’s all silly. Look, this is ideological in the sense that people who want the government to be the answer to everything, you want to exercise government power, in Bush’s case he’s just pandering. He was just pandering to people amidst all the pressure that was mounting on him. None of this fits under the rubric of liberty. You got the president of the United States, the president-elect, for crying out loud, John, wake up. The president of the United States and members of Congress are going to tell the auto industry how to run their damn business in order to get some bailout money, and if they didn’t have to pay people that weren’t working for them, wait ’til you hear the numbers, it wouldn’t be as bad a problem as it is. Union regulations, I mean I don’t understand why you aren’t frightened of this. If the federal government can tell the auto industry how in the world it must operate — Obama just said this: We’re not going to give them the money until they give us a long-term plan of sustainability, and it’s going to be on his terms. That’s not in the Constitution, my buddy. The president of the United States does not have, or shouldn’t have, that kind of power. And we are surrendering it left and right, both corporately and privately, and independently, and it scares the hell out of me.
RUSH: Let me just quote from Obama’s own radio address on Saturday. ‘We will put people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, building wind farms and solar panels.’ Who is this ‘we’ business? These are all the things, except for the schools and so forth, wind farms and solar panels, that’s a private sector business. We’re going to mandate they have solar panels and wind farms? ‘We will put people back to work making fuel efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from dependence on foreign oil.’ How’s he gonna do that if he doesn’t order the auto companies to do it? This is a freedom issue, folks. The way this works is not complicated whatsoever. If you let supply and demand work, ladies and gentlemen, then whatever consumers want, Detroit will build. That’s how they make money. The only reason for the government to get involved is to force Detroit to make cars people do not want, by definition. You leave it alone, people will buy what they like, and that’s how cars get made. But then you put government regulations, CAFE standards, mileage, emissions, and all of a sudden you change the game.
The government’s telling the automobile business how to run the business. And then you give them 15 different gasoline formulations they have to make engines for and all this rotgut. Now, here’s Obama saying, we’re going to produce fuel efficient cars, and he doesn’t know the first thing about doing it himself. By the way, Chicago Tribune today: ”SUV Sales Stir as Gas Prices Sink’ — Consumers tastes are changing, yes, but people are starting to buy SUVs again,’ despite our previous caller. If you think that this is a recipe for making all this work, the Big Three automakers used to be able to play poker with the government all they wanted. They held the cards. As GM goes, so goes America. ‘After being skewered by Congress and lampooned on Saturday Night Live, the CEOs of Detroit’s three automakers may end up making their return trip to Washington by car as they seek a federal bailout and they’re going to carpool.’ They are going to carpool. The auto industry is planning carpool to Washington to ask for bailout. If you think this is not done out of abject fear of the federal government by a private industry, then you don’t understand what’s going on.