RUSH: You know what this is? So here we are starting the program, and I just now got our television service back ’cause we’re getting drenched down here at the EIB Southern Command. I’ve been looking at black TV screens because the weather has been blocking the satellite signal and literally seconds ago the clouds I guess parted in such a way as to allow signals to be resumed. There’s Obama, and he’s at the American Legion, and he’s getting into a prelude here of 9/11 and what that means to him and what we ought to be doing as a nation on 9/11, and it’s all about unity and so forth. Anyway, we’ll get to that, and then interestingly I have a couple things on that in the Stack of Stuff today, and there, just by quirk of fate, is Obama. So it’s somewhat timely.
Great to have you here, folks, to kick off another day of broadcast excellence hosted by me, one and only, ahead of my time all-knowing, all-caring, all-sensing, all-feeling, all-
everything Maha Rushie. Our telephone number if you want to be on the program, 800-282-2882. The e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.
By the way, folks, I should warn you. I had one hour of sleep last night, if that. It was the weirdest thing. I mean it was one nightmare after another. Don’t worry, Dawn, I’m not gonna give details, but I mean it was just one nightmare after another. And finally I gave up trying to go to sleep. It was painful, so I just got up. I got up at about five o’clock and I went to bed at three. So somewhere in there I slept enough to have nightmares. And when I don’t get a whole lot of sleep things sometimes can get giddy, so I just wanted to warn you. We got Vice President Cheney at one o’clock, the second hour of the program today to talk about his memoir, his new book. I’m really looking forward to that.
AP: “Obama Faces Tight Restraints in Crafting Jobs Plan.” AP is very concerned here, folks. They’re making excuses for Obama, even before he delivers the big jobs speech that’s coming up sometime next week. And remember how they used to do that for Bush? Make excuses? Yeah, guess not. In any case, what this AP story boils down to is that the first round of stimulus is drying up, and according to AP, that’s why the GDP, economic growth, is down to 1%. Isn’t that cool? Economic growth is down, not because of unemployment, not because Obama has targeted the private sector, not because he has shrunk the private sector while growing the government. No, no, no, no. Our economic slowdown is due to the fact that the first stimulus is now drying up.
So consequently Obama is now desperate for another round of stimulus in order to keep the GDP in positive territory and out of an official recession in an election year. The trouble is that Obama can’t spend much without raising the debt ceiling yet again, as AP points out. Hey, it’s real problem. We just went through a debt ceiling fight, raising it another two point whatever trillion dollars and we can’t go back to it too soon. People didn’t want the debt ceiling raised this time. So the AP is wringing its hands and they’re all concerned over the restraints poor Obama faces in announcing his jobs program.
The other problem is that the White House has to find some way to spend enough government money to boost the GDP to over 4% to lower the unemployment rate. I mean they actually say this. We’ve gotta find enough government spending to produce economic growth at 4%. It is a stunning piece of work here. It’s by Jim Kuhnhenn, I think is how he pronounces his name. “Hamstrung by budget cuts and a tight debt ceiling, President Barack Obama is preparing a September jobs package with limited tools at his disposal to prime the economy and crank up employment. At a minimum, the president’s plan will call on Congress to extend current payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits, spend money for new construction projects and offer incentives to businesses to hire more workers.”
So I know that we’re gonna get a request for more stimulus and my number is $1.6 trillion. That’s what I put out there as a wild guess but it’s gonna have to be more than the first stimulus ’cause the first stimulus wasn’t enough, didn’t work. Extension of unemployment benefits, we all know how that stimulates the economy. Oh, yeah. Money for new construction projects, infrastructure, shovel-ready jobs which Obama now laughs about. I guess there weren’t that many. And incentives to businesses to hire more people. We know what that is, too, a $2500 tax deduction or credit for every new hire. But if you do the math on that, only the stupidest businessmen and woman would think that’s an attractive thing to do. What’s it take to hire somebody, just pick a round number, $50,000, benefits, health care, what have you. And you get a $2500 tax credit for doing that? The math doesn’t work out.
So the AP is just beside itself, they’re wringing their hands, what can poor old Obama do, because, my gosh, it’s limited what he can he can do, he can’t go back and raise the
debt ceiling so soon, we haven’t even gotten to the blue ribbon congressional commission here and their decision, and we’ve got unemployment benefits that have to be extended and so forth. It’s just a mess, and what they really boil it down to here is that the AP says he’s gonna have to up spending if he’s gonna have any hope of being reelected.
You know, it’s fascinating to me. It ought not be fascinating, but here we are three years into demonstrable failure, three years, everything that has been tried by this regime has failed to stimulate private sector economic growth. Now, you and I both know that this regime had no intention of stimulating private sector economic growth. But they want people to think that’s what they wanted to do. And so here comes a bunch of lapdogs at the Associated Press suggesting here that the only way to get this economy growing is more government spending. In the middle of three years of failure, you have a major news organization that’s making the case for Obama in advance for more of the same, which is going to get us more of the same: smaller private sector, fewer jobs, no salary or wage increases. Utter failure. And yet they are promoting it. They are making the case for it. Well, both. Making the case for it and for him.
But the point is they’re saying Obama must up spending to get reelected. How many more votes can he buy? How many more votes can he buy? If this was the way to reelection, he ought to be at 70, 80% in the polls. So I look at this and I chuckle, I laugh, and then I sorta scratch my head because this is a major problem. This story is gonna run in newspapers and on websites all across the country, and a bunch of people gonna read it and think that it’s the way it is. I mean it’s the height of ignorance, of being uninformed, and journalistic malpractice at the same time.
In the meantime, Reuters is reporting: “Consumer confidence crumbled in August to its lowest level in more than two years as the fallout from political wrangling over a budget deal took its toll.” Oh, that’s why consumer confidence is down? So here comes another myth. Consumer confidence is down because there wasn’t enough bipartisanship. Get it? Consumers have no confidence because Congress didn’t get along with itself. Not because they don’t have jobs; not because there’s no prospect for jobs; it’s because the Congress didn’t get along. That’s why consumer confidence is down, that’s right. It says right here: “Consumer confidence crumbled in August to its lowest level in more than two years as the fallout from political wrangling over a budget deal took its toll.”
So the first two stories, AP and Reuters, are embarrassments, literal embarrassments. This is bordering on economic and political illiteracy, not to mention illegitimacy in the way all this is being reported. “The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes sank to 44.5 from a downwardly revised 59.2 the month before.”
Now, normally when consumer confidence is robust, the Conference Board number is around 100, maybe 101 or 102. “Consumers’ outlook also deteriorated sharply as the expectations index plunged to 51.9 from 74.9. The assessment of consumers’ present situation fared better with the index slipping to 33.3 from 35.7.” I have been following the Conference Board for as long as I’ve been doing this program, and I have never heard of “the expectation index.” But whatever it is, it’s bad. Now, people’s expectations are way down, but we know why. Your expectations are way down because Congress didn’t get along with itself during the debt ceiling deal.
Heritage Foundation, Morning Bell: “The Unemployment Empty Promise.” This is their blog at the Heritage Foundation. It basically is the scholarly evidence that the extension of
unemployment benefits does not stimulate the economy. “[A] report by Heritage’s James Sherk and Karen A. Campbell, unemployment insurance actually leads to longer periods of unemployment and does not provide the promised stimulative effect.” Now, I’m happy to have the scholarly report on this, but I didn’t need it. Common sense tells us all that the longer you pay people to not do anything, the longer they’ll not do anything. As I say, I’m very happy to have the scholarly report and evidence to back it up, but instincts suffice here.
If you pay people not the work, and you extend the payment not to work, and guess what they’re not gonna do? They’re not gonna work. Now, you add to this the fact that this regime, from Pelosi to any number of people, try to make the claim that unemployment benefits stimulate the economy. Jay Carney even said, “Oh, yeah! It really works out there. You’re putting money in people’s pockets that they’re gonna go spend. They’re not gonna save it. So, yeah, it’ll stimulate the economy.” Where does the money come from? You have to take it away from somebody before you give it to somebody else. It’s a wash. There is no stimulative effect of unemployment benefits. None whatsoever.
Whether you borrow the money or print it or get it via taxes, you still have to take it from someplace in the private sector to give it to somebody else in the private sector. It zeros out and probably is a net negative because it also has the added benefits of promoting laziness, slothfulness. The longer you pay people not to do anything, the longer they’re not do anything. Now, interestingly enough, the Heritage Morning Bell piece mentions this. “President Obama’s new top economist agrees” with all of this. “Yesterday, the President announced that Princeton University economist Alan Krueger will replace Austan Goolsbee as the White House’s chief economic adviser. And though Krueger will play a prominent role in crafting the White House’s economic strategy, Heritage’s Lachlan Markay reports that Krueger’s past research doesn’t mesh with the White House’s stance on the supposed stimulative benefits of extending unemployment insurance:
“Krueger,” who again is the new head honcho, economic advisor in the White House, “co-authored a paper for the Handbook of Public Economics in 2002 that seems to undercut the economic argument for extending unemployment benefits. ‘The paper found that those benefits tend to increase the length of unemployment by discouraging the search for a new job…'” So Obama’s own guy, nine years ago, concluded that unemployment benefits do not stimulate the economy, and what they do is promote continued unemployment. Now, obviously Mr. Krueger is gonna have to change his mind. Obviously outside of me and the Heritage Foundation, you will never hear that Alan Krueger held this point of view. But I wanted to get it out there so you know.
RUSH: Brit in Thomasville, North Carolina, I’m glad you waited. I appreciate your patience. You’re next. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Very well. Ah, it’s a female. I’m sorry.
CALLER: That’s all right. Listen, Rush, in the first hour you were talking about the dollar in unemployment benefits, it takes a dollar out of the private sector, and I just want to disagree with that. It takes far more than that to administer unemployment benefits. There are government employees who get benefits, who process these claims, and administer these benefits. They all have offices, their offices cost money, their offices have to be maintained by other employees of the government who also get benefits. They have to pay for communication, paper, all this processing requires far more than one dollar out of the private sector to manage and to administer.
RUSH: Well, I must admit that you’re right.
CALLER: Yes. So we really need to be thinking about how much it costs to administer all these things, every government program. You know, it’s not just a dollar it takes from the sector and given to, you know, whatever person needs it. It’s way more than that in order to process the claims.
RUSH: You know, the best description I heard to explain what you mean was sometime back in the mid-nineties. It’s an actual government statistic. The administrative cost on every dollar, do you remember this, Snerdley? This was in the mid-nineties. The administrative cost of every dollar of welfare was 72 cents. In other words, every dollar of welfare that was apportioned, 28 cents got to a recipient, 72 cents stayed within the government bureaucracy to administer it. So you’re absolutely right.
CALLER: Yeah. Somebody needs to tell Pelosi about these statistics.
RUSH: Well, these people are just lying through their teeth. They’re trying to make it sound like the federal government’s spending money stimulates the economy. The point is the federal government doesn’t have any money until it takes it from somebody first.
CALLER: Exactly. The only thing it’s stimulating is more government.
RUSH: Exactly. You’re exactly right. Well, I’m glad you called. I’m happy to admit that I wasn’t quite right in that because I didn’t quite go far enough. Well done.