RUSH: I want to make clear that North Carolina Congressman Richard Burr is not in favor of exempting members of Congress. Senator Burr is not in favor of exempting members of Congress from Obamacare, just the lower-paid aides. No, no, he didn’t call. I just wanted to make clear here. I quoted him about aides, and I can imagine his office is getting hounded. Senator Burr, North Carolina, is a vocal Obamacare opponent, and he’s flat-out opposed to exempting Congress from it. There is a move on to exempt Congress from Obamacare.
I kid you not. If you’re just hearing this for the first time, you’re a welfare recipient, just getting up. There is an effort underway to exempt all 535 members of the House and the Senate from the horrors and the expense of Obamacare. Some members of Congress want their staffs exempted, too. And that’s tens of thousands of people. How many employees does every member have? Ten? Twenty? Twenty-five? I mean, it’s incredible. Senator Burr said, “I have no problem with Congress being under the same guidelines. I think if this is gonna be a disaster, which I think it’s gonna be, we ought to enjoy it together with our constituents.”
Now, this is becoming a theme. Remember, there is a concerted effort by the Republicans, House and Senate, in Washington to soften their image. The effort to soften their image means they are trying to appear less conservative. They have been told by their consultants, they may have polling data or they may think it themselves, that appearing conservative or being conservative is a very rigid, cold and hard thing. And, as such, they want to soften their appeal, soften their image. And that means that they want to try to convince as many people as possible that they are not conservative.
I can’t tell you how that wounds me to the heart because it’s just the opposite. The cold-heartedness, the rigidity, the inflexibility, the mean-spiritedness, the extremism is all on the left in this country. It’s the Democrats who exemplify all that. But the Republicans have bought into the idea that conservatism is hard, it’s hard-hearted, it’s unfeeling, and so they want to soften their image. The New York Times has a story about this today, and particularly about Eric Cantor, but the story in the Times is about how the Republican effort to soften their image isn’t working. And I just saw it. I didn’t have a chance to digest it. I just caught a glimpse of it at the top-of-the-hour break. So I will delve into it later during future commercial breaks.
But there is a pattern developing here, and the best way to illustrate it is what’s happening with the proposal to invoke sales taxes on the Internet. And there is bipartisan support now for taxing small businesses, and startups, and entrepreneurial endeavors on the Internet. This is a perfect illustration of the ruling class versus the rest of us. It is only fair, you see, that we punish everyone the same. That we make it equally difficult to make a buck. That we make it equally difficult to meet consumer needs, and that we drive up the cost of products and services on the Internet so that they’re equal to what it is in the brick and mortar stores.
See, the theory is the brick and mortar guys, they’re paying taxes, sales taxes, well they have to collect sales tax, which raises the price of anything they sell, and that makes it tougher on those guys. And if there’s a place where people can go and they don’t have to pay as much for a service or item, well, that’s not fair. Instead of lightning the burden on everybody, which is what we believe, the prevailing opinion in Washington is to spread the burden to everybody and call that equality. Now, I used to have a phrase for this: Liberalism is spreading misery equally. And now the ruling class throughout Washington seems to have adopted this. The theory is, “Well, look, we do it to the brick and mortar stores. We make them charge sales tax so we ought to make the Internet guys charge sales tax, too. I mean, it’s only fair that we spread the burden around and make the burden equal.”
Now, there’s something nobody’s talking about here. If you buy something on the Internet, it’s not cash and carry. You may not be paying any sales tax, but you do usually have to pay for shipping and packaging, or that is built in, and that is an added cost that the brick and mortar guys do not have. So it equals out. But because there is a disparity in taxes, that’s not considered to have equaled out.
All that aside, my point here is we don’t hear much anymore about reducing taxes and reducing costs for people who are burdened. We’re hearing that we gotta spread the burden equally so that everybody is burdened. When did we become that? When did we have, as our animating, active belief that the burdens are just, the burdens are legitimate, and we must spread them equally? I thought we used to believe in reducing burdens. I thought what we were about was limiting the obstacles in people’s way, to be successful. Not making sure that we spread the obstacles fairly and equally, and not being party to the idea of increasing the obstacles and the burdens.
So where is the talk about reducing taxes? Where’s the talk about reducing costs for people who are burdened? Instead of spreading the misery that makes it fair, so-called? We get talk from some Republicans about a growth agenda, about not raising taxes during a recession and supporting the private sector and free enterprise. But it appears to be just talk. If the House would simply oppose this sales tax idea on the Internet, we’d kill it. What’s wrong with that? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. The Republicans have bought into the idea that people hate them because they’re opposed to everything.
Now, who made that possible? Who is it that is pursuing an agenda that any reasonable person would oppose? It’s the Democrats. They’re the ones throwing things up against the wall and hoping it sticks. The Democrats are the ones that create things like Obamacare. The Democrats want amnesty. The Democrats are trying to grow government. The Democrats are limiting people’s ability to earn a living. The Democrats are making it harder to get a job. The Democrats are making college more expensive. Why shouldn’t that stuff be opposed? Why isn’t there honor in opposing that?
Instead, the Republicans think opposing that is their problem, ’cause they’re always seen as being against something. Well, I’m gonna tell you every day, I stand proud and happy to be opposed to liberalism, to be against it, to socialism, whatever you want to call it, constantly growing government, shrinking private sector, I’m gonna stand up every day and oppose that. I have a fascinating story here that I didn’t even intend to get to today. It’s from some obscure website that I’ve only recently heard of, and it’s an advice piece along with analysis on why college is a total waste of money and time now, as it relates to actually finding a job, as it relates to finding a career.
And this piece talks about how education should be reformed to actually help people get jobs and learn to do things that they enjoy and love. And I read it, and I thought, you know, this is exactly what I did. This whole thing that she writes today is exactly my attitude when I was 16. I didn’t want to go to college. There was nothing there for me. My attitude at the time was that’s just gonna delay me. The cost was not a factor then, but what in the world is the point and who in the world is benefiting when graduates come out of school with 200 or more thousand dollars of debt? Who in the world is helped by that? The lenders, and that’s about it. How in the world does that facilitate a career, a job, or anything else?
And after you’ve got your $200,000 student loan debt, what do you have to show for it? What are you actually qualified to do? Unless you go to the Ivy League which trains you to become a ruling class government person — well, yeah, you train to whine about the debt, but you’re trained about how unjust and unfair and how much injustice there is. It’s a crying shame.
RUSH: This is Aaron in Minneapolis. Hi. I’m glad you waited, and welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hey, thanks, Rush. Really, really nice to be on with you. I appreciate you taking my call.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Hey, I’ll get right to it. A long story short, I run my own business, I started my own business, online business, and this whole Internet sales taxation thing, there’s so many things wrong with it. I could go on for a long time but I’ll try to keep it relatively concise. First and foremost, this is just another example of a government creating laws that are just duplications of existing laws. There’s already laws on the books that people are supposed to pay, you know, whatever state sales tax, whatever the tax might be when they file their tax return —
RUSH: Yes. You know, see, most people are not gonna pay it on their own. They won’t do it. That’s why you are being charged by the government of collecting it.
CALLER: Exactly. Then what that does is it makes me an unpaid government employee, and also it makes the penalty of not following through on it fall on me rather than the individual. So I could be prosecuted by whatever stupid tax agency, you know, state, local, that feels like they —
RUSH: Well, only if you don’t turn it over.
CALLER: I’m sorry?
RUSH: Only if you don’t turn it over. I mean, you build the sales tax into the — this is theoretical. You have a price for your product on the Internet, you build the sales tax in, you sell it for whatever the price is, you then have to account for what the sales tax is and send it to the state authorities or to whoever’s collecting it.
CALLER: The 9,600 different authorities, yeah, exactly.
CALLER: The administrative burden alone, my business is really small.
RUSH: How old are you, Aaron?
CALLER: How old am I?
CALLER: I’m 34. I started my business full time when I was 25.
CALLER: I’ve been at it awhile.
RUSH: Yeah. Don’t change. I’m begging you not to change is the point. Reversing this stuff is gonna depend on people in your age-group outraged at what they find when they get into business rather than accepting it.
CALLER: Yeah. I’m with you. I mean, the people that I know that are in my age bracket, there’s a lot of people that think the same way I do. But this entire thing, it’s been in the works, as you probably know, for a long time, years, and it’s finally getting to a head here, and it’s amazing how many people are unaware of it. Can I make another point on it?
CALLER: They call this thing the Main Street Fairness Act, and the thing that comes to mind to most people with that is, “Oh, you’ve got the poor guy that has the brick and mortar store. He just can’t compete with the big Internet place.” Rush, I started my business with $250 ten years ago, without a loan. I’m just a guy that decided I wanted to do this, and I’ve been making know making a full-time living at it for eight years. So any guy that has a walk-in brick and mortar store, the Internet is like the wild, wild west. You can go ahead and create a website and you can sell stuff and you can ship stuff domestically. You can ship stuff internationally, I mean —
RUSH: Well, here’s the point. You’re right, but I want to make the overall point again. I understand that you are commenting on this from your perspective, which is the end of the line, how you are personally impacted by it, which is totally understandable. But on one side, we got the brick and mortar guys who are considered mom-and-pop mainstream. They’ve been around forever. They are worthy. On the other side we’ve got the startups. We’ve got the Internet guys. The longhaired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking crowd who are a bunch of interlopers who are coming in here, and they are escaping some of the tax burden that the brick and mortar guys have to pay, and that isn’t fair. So what we’re gonna do is spread the burden to the new Internet guys so that the brick and mortar guys are not faced with unfairness or inequality.
Now, on the one hand, that is such an immediate sell to low-information voters. “That’s right, Mr. Limbaugh, ’cause that means it’s unfair that some people shouldn’t have to pay what other people do have to pay, and if we make everybody pay the same it’s entirely –” What if everybody’s paying so high they can’t stay in business? What if what everybody’s paying is so high they can’t charge a reasonable price at retail, they can’t sell anything? Why don’t we start thinking about reducing the burden for everybody rather than spreading it around equally? That’s my question here.
Now, there used to be a political party that stood for that, is my next point. That used to push back on this idea that tax increases are okay if they’re spread equally. They’re not. They are punitive on whoever they are applied to. They take money out of people’s pocket. This is, to me, economics 101. By the way, I have a business that’s Internet sales. We eat some of the shipping costs, because it’s so expensive. We wouldn’t sell a bottle of tea if we didn’t eat it. Shipping is free at Two If By Tea. We’ve made a calculation. We want to have that kind of relationship with our business. I’ll guarantee you the amount of money we are gifting on shipping more than makes up for whatever sales tax people don’t have to pay at the retail level.
Our objective was to make sure our tea did not cost any more than it does at the store, or we wouldn’t have a chance. Six bottles of tea costs a lot money to ship. If we charged full shipping and full markup on the tea, we wouldn’t say in business. We couldn’t keep up with the brick and mortar guys. The brick and mortar guys don’t have to pay shipping. They don’t have to pay handling. They don’t have a fulfillment company that gets a percentage of everything that goes through the door. So the idea that the brick and mortar guys have some burden here that’s not shared by others isn’t quite true.
But I don’t want to get into a fight with the brick and mortar guys. I love everybody. That’s not my point. My point is I think it is cockamamie for this economy and cockamamie for individuals for the government to have a philosophy that says the burden is good and we’re gonna spread it equally. That’s called fairness, and to hell with the impact on business that it makes. I think that’s a total mistake.
RUSH: Yeah, there was another point that Aaron was trying to make, and I understood it. I want to rephrase it for him because one of the things that really bugged him, our last caller, one of the things that really bugged him was having to be an unpaid tax collector for whatever government agency is demanding the tax. It’s the paperwork that these tiny startups have to engage in, and it can be a time crunching killer. The brick and mortar guys, too. This is an equal burden here. When you’re talking about a startup, what Aaron was talking about, if he makes the slightest mistake doing the calculations, which are complicated, on the sales tax reports, the collecting of the money, the sending it to the state, gotta do that frequently, the fines and the penalties could wipe out a small Internet startup before it gets going.
These Internet startup guys, they get into it, they’ve got a passion for whatever it is they’re selling and they find out, oh, I have to be a tax collector. I’ve gotta be a tax bookkeeper, whatever it is, and they find out there’s all these other things they have to do. They have to hire somebody to do it. It’s not their passion. They gotta stay focused on the creative, so they hire somebody, that’s another expense. And if you make one error, they come down on you with fines and penalties that will wipe you out. That was the point he was making. The concept of the government doing with less never strikes anybody, but I don’t want to get into an argument with Internet versus brick and mortar guys. I’m just saying with this administration everybody is getting stung. Everybody is bearing burdens, everybody is. They even out.
Maggie in Orient, Ohio. Great to have you, EIB Network, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: Hey, Snerdley asked me to get to the point, and I will. I’m listening to all these people calling in, and the one thing I want to point out, it’s a comment and a question. These brick and mortar stores have websites. I feel comfortable in saying, I defy you to find a brick and mortar store that does not have a website. It would open up a lot of questions. These people complaining about taxes, they all have websites, these brick and mortar stores.
RUSH: Yeah, where they are not collecting sales taxes on stuff they sell there, as opposed to the stuff they sell in store they are —
RUSH: — they have different price structures and costs and so forth.
RUSH: Well, look, my great example is Amazon. Amazon, they make goods like crazy, and they are not in a profit situation. They’ve been losing money left and right. And they don’t charge sales tax. Look, all of this is nothing more than a distraction. The simple fact of the matter is that the government has seen some activity isn’t being taxed and it’s not fair and they gotta tax it. It’s that simple. The how it’s paid for, the burden that results, they don’t care. Look, they’re $16 trillion in debt. These people need money. Their only job is to spend money. They need money to spend. And if there’s a new source of it that isn’t being taxed, they’re gonna go for it.
Once they zero in on the amount of cash collectively in pension plans, they may make a move on that and appropriate that. When they see what’s in trust funds. Folks, it’s actually hideous. They assume that every dollar is theirs to begin with. What you and I have is what they graciously permit us to keep. Now, when it comes to the Republican Party — I know I’ve been kind of hard on ’em today. But let me explain in detail the difference here between you and me as conservative Republican citizens and them as professional Republican executives and officeholders. The big difference between you and me and the Republican Party and its leaders and consultants and pollsters is that they need to stay in control of the party. They want the power and whatever else that comes along with controlling the party. And so that is their focus.
Their bread and butter is not ideas. Their bread and butter is not issues, not really, not at the end of the day. Their bread and butter is the power structure of the party and them remaining in it. Now, you and I are not part of that. You and I are not part of the Republican Party power structure or the business of the Republican Party, that system. We are registered Republican voters. We’re motivated by a belief system and principles and ideas. That’s what we think the Republican Party is. But the executives in power in the Republican Party are motivated by retaining that power, either being reelected or maintaining leadership position here at the committee or whatever it is.
It’s not that we’re at cross purposes per se; it is that what we hope happens with the party is much different than what they hope. ‘Cause with them it’s their job, with them it’s their personal existence, it’s their power, it’s their access. To us it’s ideas and principles. So when it comes time for people to vote on whether or not they get to stay in power, then they will say things that they think we who are into ideas and principles want to hear so that we will think they are one of us. They do that.
How many of you have called me and complained about, “Gosh, you know, these guys, they campaign as conservatives, they get to Washington and they don’t govern that way.” Well, this is largely why. And the leadership in any organization, not just the Republican Party, tells new arrivals how they’re gonna behave if they want to stay there, and basically you’ve gotta be devoted to us. You have to follow our requests and demands and stay in our good graces and you can stay here. It’s like any other organization. It’s like your high school clique. It’s like your football team. You have to do what you have to do to stay at the top of it.
We’re fans. We think the team is totally focused on winning. They’re focused on keeping their jobs, what have you. Just as illustration. Now, since they are interested in holding onto their power, my assessment of things as they are today, at this moment, they really don’t have a problem with big government. Where’s the evidence that they do? They say they do, obviously, but when they controlled Congress and the White House, there wasn’t an effort to reduce the size of government. They said so, maybe some tinkering at the margins. So they really don’t have a problem, big government, ’cause big government is the source of power. That’s why they want the power, the power to interact with and be part of this mammoth thing called government, which, by the way, is where $3 trillion rolls in every year. A lot of power in determining how that money gets spent and on whom it gets spent.
But you and I, we’re not vested in that power structure. Not in a personal way. The business of the party doesn’t affect us. We don’t work there, and we’re not elected. And we don’t get paid by campaigns. You and I don’t get paid by candidates who hire us to run their campaigns. You and I don’t get paid by political parties. You and I don’t hire consultants and pollsters. But they all do. And we don’t socialize with reporters. And you and I don’t go on the Sunday talks shows on the networks, and we don’t pal around in that league or that club. Our concerns are the priorities that we think are changing the country. We want to roll back, send them in a different direction. We’re interested in ideas and winning and rolling back liberalism, pushing back, stopping, opposing, defeating, ending all of this that’s happening.
That’s not the primary concern of people whose job is to hold on to their power. By the way, I’m not offering this as a criticism. I’m simply trying to explain things in a way that answers questions when people call, “Why don’t the Republicans do this?” I don’t know. I’m not in that power structure. I’m trying to tell you they don’t think of all this the way you and I do. And this Internet sales tax idea is just the latest way for me to illustrate it to you. I can do it one more time. I hate being redundant, but it’s very simple. You and I favor reducing the tax burden on everybody. We believe in freedom, sovereignty, economic advancement, economic growth, hard work, industry, being motivated to do all that, keeping as much as feasible of what you earn, motivated to do more, taking care of your family, community, rising tide lifts all boats, all that.
So we see a proposal to raise taxes on the Internet, we say, “No way!” The American people are paying enough! American business is paying enough! There is no justification for raising taxes! It isn’t our fault that people spending the money have been so irresponsible. Maybe people on welfare are playing a role because they’re demanding all these benefits, but it isn’t our fault here. We think that when a tax increase is proposed it automatically ought to be opposed. And instead of saying, “Okay, yeah, we agree, the brick and mortar guys have a certain burden. It’s not fair the Internet guys don’t have that burden, so let’s raise taxes on the Internet guys and burden them, too.” We say, “Not only do we not impose new taxes on the Internet guys, let’s cut taxes on the brick and mortar guys. Let’s get rid of some of this business regulation. Let’s get rid of some of this onerous regulatory system that puts the brakes on progress.”
See, the Republicans, as I told you, they’re very, very worried now that they’re seen as nothing but obstinate opponents to everything, always against something, and that’s why they think people don’t like ’em. So the Democrats propose this and the Republicans, “Okay, okay, we think we can do it better. Let’s try our idea. We’ll only raise taxes 10%, 4%.” Nobody ever says, “No, you guys, Democrats, that’s folly, that’s stupid, there’s enough burden on the American people.” That’s my only point in all this.