RUSH: You know, this is fascinating too. I’m gonna get to Obamacare here in a minute and the Obamacare repeal. Talk about something confusing. Can I share with you an email I got last night? Folks, the swords are drawn on this baby. Listen to this email I got.
“It’s incumbent upon you to let Trump know and feel the backlash from siding with the establishment on this Obamacare repeal. It’s like they’ve convinced Trump that the stove isn’t hot, that he can go ahead and touch it. So he needs to realize that he can get burned big time by this, which means we need a massive backlash against both the Obamacare-lite plan but also Trump’s support for it. All of his usual avenues of grassroots support need to hit him so hard he is surprised by it.”
There is some genuine opposition percolating out there to this. And then you come here to the Washington Post, you read one thing, “Yeah, yeah, that makes sense, I like that.” Then you read something else and it makes you change your mind to what you just read. Then you listen to Paul Ryan and you don’t know what to think, and you change your mind again. Then you listen to Jim Jordan, “Right on, Dude.” Then you listen to Louie Gohmert, “Yes, that’s it.” And then you see something else, “I don’t know.”
Then you hear Trump say, “This is great. This is just the first phase. We got two more phases coming where we’re gonna get rid of the state the lines. You need to get with me on this. We’re gonna make this happen. The American people have demanded it and so forth.” I mean, it really is a back-and-forth.
And try this. Washington Post, a piece by Timothy Stoltzfus Jost. Timothy Stoltzfus Jost is an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Would you like to listen to the first paragraph of Timothy Stoltzfus Jost’s piece?
“The American health care act introduced in the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committee late Monday was advertised as a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.” You know, if we keep calling Obamacare the Affordable Care Act — I mean, that’s what it is, but it isn’t that at all. I mean, the roots of confusion on this are planted so deeply that they begin with the way this stupid newfangled thing was named. Anyway, “It was advertised as a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the real focus of the legislation is not on health care reform,” says Mr. Timothy Stoltzfus Jost.
No, the real focus is not even on repealing Obamacare. “What the Obamacare repeal act would do –” wait for it — dadelut dadelut dadelut dadelut “– massively redistribute wealth from the poorest Americans to the wealthiest. Here we go again. The rich got rich by stealing everything they’ve got from the poor. How does that happen? I’ve never understood the mathematics on this. The rich somehow were as poor as the poor one day, but then they figured out ways to steal what the poor have. (audio drop) So much wealth among the poor for the Republicans to have written a bill that allows the rich to go steal even more money from the poor.
And it’s called the repeal Obamacare act, or whatever it is. How does this work? So when you see something like this from Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, you realize the opposition to this is purely ideologically partisan, and this is right out of the Democrat playbook. You oppose everything the Republicans do. It doesn’t matter. Whatever the legislation is, whatever the campaign proposal is, whatever the tax cut proposal is, whatever the infrastructure, you oppose it because the involves the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer and the added bonus is the rich get richer by stealing money from the poor.
I did not know the poor were that wealthy. I knew they’re better off in this country than they are in many other countries, but I didn’t know that there was enough wealth that the rich have stolen. And there’s still some left, apparently. The poor may not even know how much money they’ve got, but there’s apparently a pool of it out there big enough for the Republicans to write another piece of legislation that allows all of Trump’s cabinet and Trump himself and any other multimillionaire or billionaire to go raid the bank accounts of the poor or their mattresses or wherever they keep the money and take it again. How does this happen? Well, it doesn’t. Obviously I am being facetious.
So you see something like this, and that’s the best they’ve got to oppose what’s going on here? And it’s the Washington Post. And it’s an op-ed. It ran in the published newspaper, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Anyway, we’ll dig deep into this and figure out as best we can what this is about and where it’s going. I’ll tell you what my tendency is — I spent a lot of time on this yesterday — I don’t like it compared to what it could be.
You know, six different times the Republicans sent a total repeal bill up to Obama. They knew he wasn’t gonna sign it. Six! Why not send that back again? “Well, because it’s more than just repeal now, Mr. Limbaugh. We must replace! The onus is on us since we’re the winners. We must have a plan whereby the poor who can’t afford health care must now find access.” Wait, the poor apparently have enough money for the rich to steal it and get even richer. What do you mean, the poor can’t afford health care?
Why don’t you pass a law saying, “The poor must now pay for their own health care so that the rich can’t steal it”? I mean, that would be my answer to Timothy Stoltzfus Jost: “If the poor have enough money for the rich to steal and get richer, then pass a law that says the poor’s wealth has to be spent on health care, preempting any grab that the rich might have on the poor’s money. Simple!” Now, I spent a lot of time yesterday talking about the virtues of markets, free markets. I had a couple of analogies, and I’ve always believed that that’s what’s missing from anything that we’re doing in health care is any accommodation and trust of the market.
You know, I look at these various ideas: “We match this… Spend $90,000 here, up to $90,000 there… You match… Under $45,000, there’s no…” What is this? It’s just a continuation of the complications that mean average people can’t figure this out. Health care is becoming like a tax return, and I don’t understand it compared to what I know they’ve done in the past. They’ve had six repeal bills. I know. I know. They knew Obama would never sign it, and it got universal votes — a hundred percent, unanimous votes. (Not universal. Unanimous.) Even from the Senate. I know. I know.
They knew Obama would never sign it, and they were making a political statement. But there doesn’t seem to be any desire to scrap this thing and then gradually let the market sort things out. There just isn’t trust there, and so who are they refusing to trust? Is it consumers? It’s the insurance industry? Is it the actual health care industries that are not trusted here? But obviously there isn’t any, or not very much. That would be my preference. Now, it appears we’re not gonna get that. So when you realize you can’t get exactly or all of what you want, then what do you do next?
And then all kinds of doors open, not necessarily all of them opportunities. All kinds of options. Then the politics of it gets rolled in and factored in — and, believe me, that’s a biggie. You can hear these guys all talking about the 2008 midterms as they put together the Obamacare Repeal Act. So what’s it really all about or what does it appear to be? Be reelected! “What’s the easiest path to the least amount of controversy or blowback to me as a member of Congress or the Senate, if I vote this way or that way?”
And I think if you listen to the proponents and the opponents, listen to all of them, we’re still listening to Washington-speak. We’re still listening to the terminology, the sentence structure, the thinking, the logic that goes into everything happening in Washington. Which, many Trump voters thought that swamp was going to be drained and a modicum of common sense, if not more, was going to infuse the system. Now Trump, for his part, is out there demanding people sign onto this thing. He’s out there saying, “This is it. It’s only Phase 1. We’re gonna get rid of the lines in Phase 2 or Phase 3, the state lines.”
Meaning competition among insurance companies would be allowed to take place all across the country, not just within singular states. But it’s clear that Trump is on board with this thing and wants a win out of this. Hence this email I got last night apparently saying (stammering), “You — you — you — you gotta get to him! You — you gotta stop him! You gotta tell him that he’s flirting with political disaster. You gotta!” I don’t think I’m the only recipient of this thing, by the way. But nevertheless.
RUSH: That’s why there is so much revulsion at this Obamacare repeal proposal. We’ve got one shot. Here’s the thing that’s always bothered me about repeal and replace, since I’ve brought up the subject. Remember when repeal and replace was first mentioned as a strategy, there were two phases, and they were unclear, unsure how to proceed.
One possibility was to repeal and do nothing. Another was to repeal it to fulfill a campaign promise but then don’t propose any replacement for two years. The third option, repeal it, do away with it, but don’t propose a replacement for three years. Well, now, each of those last two options include the 2018 midterms. And if you look at things as they are now, the Democrats are gonna take another bath in November of 2018.
The Democrats are not doing anything here on their own to engender support. All they’ve got is to talk people out of Trump. But there’s nothing they can do. The Democrats have tried everything they know. They’re losing seats. They’re losing elections left and right. And they can’t point to anything they’ve done that works better. They can’t point to what they believe elsewhere in the world and show how well it works. They’re lost. So all they’ve got is to bring down Trump. All they’ve got is to destroy Trump or whatever he’s gonna do.
In the 2018 midterms, the Democrats have something like 10 or more Senate seats up in states that went for Trump in double digits. So if nothing changes — and of course it will because it’s politics — if nothing changes and those midterm elections were today, the Democrats would lose all of those seats and the Republicans would end up with 60 seats in the Senate. Then there would really be no excuses.
So you throw repeal and replace into this. And when you realize that what the most important thing to anybody that’s been elected to office is being reelected, then you realize here that the impact of the 2018 midterms is a huge influencer on what they do with Obamacare repeal and replace.
So if they just repeal it but don’t replace it with anything, they’re scared to death that the market will not come through, that somehow the insurance companies will start doing whatever to anger people and that when the 2018 midterms come around, that the Republicans will be blamed and people will just vote against them on principle ’cause they’re so mad.
So they say, “Yeah, we gotta have a replacement. But if we wait two years for the replacement or three, that’s after the midterms. We can’t do that. We gotta do it before the midterms.” Some people want to wait ’til after the midterms. Obviously what’s happened here is that heads on the Republican side have gotten together and they have concluded that there better be repeal and replace in one piece of legislation, and now they want it done in April!
They want to get it done and off the board in enough advance of the 2018 midterms that something else will come along and replace it as a potential key issue in the campaign. This is why I say we’ve got one chance here to get this right. We got one chance to fix a lot of things. Trump’s election represents that one chance. We don’t know how much support on the Republican side there really is for fixing all of this stuff because many of the Republicans are proud members of the establishment. Many of the Republicans are proud recipients of huge donations from big donors, and that determines what elected officials support and don’t support.
So it’s, as it always is in this, it’s complicated with all kinds of different scenarios and potentialities that outweigh the substance of whatever’s being discussed, in this case getting rid of Obamacare. There’s nobody that thinks Obama — well, other than Democrats, the people we’re talking about, there’s nobody that thinks it should just be allowed to stay as it is. It’s got to go. What do you do then, is where we are, you know, what replaces it. And you know me: free market all the way as much as is possible.
RUSH: To the audio sound bites on health care. This is a montage we’ve put together. We have Jim Jordan, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Mark Sanford, and Louie Gohmert. This is a montage of conservatives not at all happy with the Obamacare repeal and replace bill that Paul Ryan rolled out yesterday.
JORDAN: The first thing Republicans are bringing forward is a piece of legislation that says we repeal it, but keeps Medicaid expansion and actually expands it, that keeps some of the tax increases. That is not what we promised the American people we were gonna do.
LEE: This is instead a step in the wrong direction. And as much as anything, it’s a missed opportunity.
PAUL: We are united on repeal, but we are divided on replacement.
SANFORD: Do we need to lower the bar in what we believe as conservatives simply because a Republican is now in the White House?
GOHMERT: I think amidst the horse excrement we can find a pony around here somewhere, and that’s what we’re gonna be looking to have. I think we’ll have a racehorse as long as we get good amendments when we’re done.
Representative Louie Gohmert
RUSH: Louie Gohmert there from Texas. (laughing) “I think amidst the horse excrement,” the horse manure that is the Ryan bill, “we can find a pony around here somewhere, and that’s what we’re gonna be looking to have. I think we’ll have a racehorse as long as we get good amendments when we’re done.” So when this thing was first presented it was, “Take it or leave it,” right? Trump and the gang said, “Take it or leave it. This is it,” and there was so much opposition to it that the Trump team and Tom Price, they were forced to say, “It’s a work in progress.”
I saw Karl Rove on Fox today say (paraphrased), “Nah, everybody needs to back off and relax. The legislative process has gotta play out. The House is gonna have their version, the Senate’s gonna have their version, and they’ll have a conference committee. They probably won’t agree the first time whatever they come up with. Then it’s gonna go back to the House, go back to the Senate.” He said, “Don’t worry about it. That’s the legislative process.” Well, that’s true. But that’s what they wanted to avoid.
Mitch McConnell’s out there saying, “No horse trading on this thing. You pass it in the House and get it to me and it is up to the president in two hours,” or that day, or the next day. I mean, immediately. They want this out of the way. They want this done and over with, and they want it in such a way that they think they’ve put it behind ’em, and I think there are people that are telling the president, “This is not the bill to get behind. This is not what you told people was gonna happen.
“This is not repealing Obamacare — and along with immigration, this is almost as important as why people voted for you.” So now there’s talk of Phase 2 and Phase 3. But again, I’m leery of this Phase 2 and Phase 3 stuff. The only reason is, do you realize once we get to this time next year, the only thing that’s gonna have any effect on anything is the reelection campaign one year from November. Senators have to raise money every day, practically. House members have to spend a lot of time fundraising.
Once you get into the midst of the reelection cycle, legislative action oftentimes falls by the wayside, ’cause people are afraid that the wrong move will harm the incumbent. Incumbents are the safest when nothing happens. Incumbents are at greatest risk when something changes. Now, if it changes for the better, then they’re good and everything’s fine. But there’s Phase 2, Phase 3 up against the 2018 midterms. That’s what worries me about this. If you’re gonna eliminate this limitation on not being able to sell insurance across state lines in Phase 2 or Phase 3, why don’t you put it in Phase 1?
RUSH: This is Keith in Detroit. Keith, I’m glad you waited. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Yeah, first-time caller, Rush. It’s great to finally get through to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Yeah. I think I might have a solution to that health care impasse. You know, it took a number of years for them to roll out Obamacare. What if in this same bill they have now they take a period of time to roll back the entitlements?
RUSH: Well, that’s essentially what Trump says they’re gonna do. That’s what Phase 2 and Phase 3 is.
CALLER: Oh, okay. Well, they are talking about the tax credits like those were gonna be a permanent deal. I think they’re afraid with the work participation rate so low — you know, like 90 million people not working — that it would look really bad if you just all of a sudden cut ’em off, you know, with just the repeal and not have something to take its place. But if you did it over a period of, you know, say seven years, you’d rolled back the tax credits —
RUSH: All right. Okay. Look, I hear all that. I just have to… When we’re gonna start writing legislation that’s structured around 94 million Americans not working, then it’s over. You know, we’re not taking this seriously anyway. We’re writing a welfare bill, if that’s what we’re talking about here.
CALLER: Well, the thing is when the Trump economy rolls back, rolls out, gets everything rolling again, I don’t think we’ll have a problem.
RUSH: Well, I hope that you would be right about that. But if… (sigh) Look, I know I’m probably in the small room on this one.
CALLER: ‘Cause if he does those —
RUSH: No, I understand. Look, the realities of the situation are that there are people that cannot afford this without some kind of subsidy or some kind of tax credit or some kind of, you know, gift from Santa Claus. But doesn’t that tell you that something’s wrong with this? What else in life do those 94 million want? What else are they unable to pay for?
CALLER: Krauthammer said it last night. “You just can’t take it away.” Well, no, not immediately, but if you roll it back over a period of time and when the economy kicks back in where —
CALLER: — people are actually back working —
CALLER: — I don’t think there will be any problems with it.
RUSH: Well, how many of those 94 million do you expect to end up back at work?
CALLER: Well, I would say over half, if they actually get the economy rolling back the way they —
RUSH: Do you realize there’s a political party that will oppose that as long as it’s breathing?
CALLER: Oh, I know. That’s… But, you know what? After these midterms, I think we won’t have that problem.
RUSH: I hope you’re right about.
CALLER: After these midterms, we won’t have that problem.
RUSH: I know, I know. You can’t take it away and survive politically. I know you can’t do that.
RUSH: Just three more sound bites here. First off, Paul Ryan, he had the press conference on Capitol Hill today to talk about Obamacare, and he was supremely confident. I had a lot of people that saw it tell me that they were conflicted about it, they didn’t know what to think about it, and they saw Ryan, and they said, “Man, it sounds great, this sounds great.” And other people who heard Ryan are just livid and fit to be tied and think Trump’s being sold a bill of goods here.
Anyway, here’s what Ryan said at the end. They keep peppering him about the legislative processes, when’s this gonna happen, what’s gonna happen. It’s just three seconds here, so listen fastest.
RYAN: We’ll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor, I can guarantee you that.
RUSH: “We’ll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor, I can guarantee you that,” which means he’s got no doubt that the House Republicans are gonna make this happen. Now, I don’t know if he means in its current form or after they have, you know, added amendments. They didn’t want to do that. I know they didn’t want to do that. That’s a bit much a bit to expect. But, nevertheless, he’s supremely confident. This is Trump on board with the House Republican plan late yesterday afternoon at the White House.
THE PRESIDENT: I’m proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives and encouraged by members of both parties. We’re going to have something that’s going to be much more understood and much more popular than people can even imagine. It follows the guidelines I laid out in my congressional address, a plan that will lower costs, expand choices, increase competition, and ensure health care access for all Americans. This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor. This will be a plan where you can choose your plan. And you know what the plan is. This is the plan. I think we’re gonna have a tremendous success. It’s a complicated process, but actually it’s very simple. It’s called good health care.
RUSH: Right. It’s gonna be the best health care plan that we’ve ever had. It’s the most magnificent, the greatest health care plan anybody’s ever dreamed of, and Trump’s gonna deliver it. And it’s gonna let you choose your plan, it’s gonna let you choose your doctor. It’s gonna be a tremendous success. So he sounds all-in on this. And he wasn’t through. I mean, he continued to praise this thing.
THE PRESIDENT: And as you know, after that we work on the tax cut. We’re gonna be planning a major tax cut. I know exactly what we’re looking at. Most of us know exactly the plan. It’s going to put our country in great shape, and we’re gonna reduce taxes for companies and for people — and I can use the word again — “massively.” It’s gonna be a big tax cut, the biggest since Reagan, maybe bigger than Reagan.
RUSH: It’s gonna be the biggest tax cut we’ve ever had, bigger and better than anybody’s tax cut has ever been, and he’s assuring it’s gonna happen. Do you know something, folks? Do you know that the last three years’ tax collections in this country have set a record? Do you know that even while that was happening, the national debt was exploding, as it always did under Obama? Do you know that even while tax collections, actual revenue that was being collected was at record numbers, the deficit was continuing to grow? It was so out of balance.
At some point I found myself asking, why do they even bother to collect taxes? Because what they’re spending isn’t based on any income or revenue at all. The whole budgetary process has just been bastardized these last eight years. Just spend whatever you want, stimulus here, stimulus there, doesn’t matter, Obamacare over here, Obamacare over there, just spend it.
Now, you would think that responsible budgeting, the two would be as close to balanced as you can get, that there would be some relationship to income versus what you spend. And the federal government, when liberals get control of it, it doesn’t matter. They might as well cancel the income tax, as far as I’m concerned, because the amount of money they spend is not even related to how much they’ve collected. And it is a mountainous amount of money.
By that, I mean, we are so overtaxed, it is hard to express how. It doesn’t look like it because we have this deficit and because we have this massive national debt, so they can convince you you’re not paying enough taxes, because look at how much we’re short in what we have to spend every year, and that’s where it breaks down. They’re spending money they don’t have to spend. They’re spending money they want to spend to buy votes, to secure their power, and even with record tax revenues, which means the American people are overtaxed, and American corporations are overtaxed, the budget still blew out sky-high the deficit and the national debt. It is astounding how little correlation there is between the two.
You would think with record tax revenue the deficit would start to come down. You would think with record tax revenue the national debt maybe would slow down its rate of growth. But neither of the two happened. There hasn’t been any fiscal responsibility whatsoever. And because of that, what I just told you is gonna be turned around and used to argue against Trump tax cuts. You’re gonna have people on the Democrat side say, “We can’t tax people less. We’re collecting tax revenue now and it’s still not enough. Look at the deficit, and look at the national debt.” They’ll never admit that it’s the spending side that’s causing the problem.
But we’re so overtaxed is out of the blue. And I remember Trump said that we can’t move on tax reform until we get Obamacare done, because until we know what we’re doing there, until we know what the tax, the revenue requirements and so forth are, then we can’t put together our tax plan. And that, my friends, might be one of the reasons that they’re moving so fast here on Obamacare. Could be.