RUSH: I have a theory. You know, I have a lot of theories, and my theories evolve just like our culture evolves — and our culture’s been evolving in ways that a lot of people are not happy, in a lot of ways people oppose. Our culture is evolving in a way that has a lot of people angry, really ticked off, and scared, and I think priorities change. Whereas one day some people might think federal spending is the gigantic dragon that needs to be slain, the next month or the next year it could be cultural liberalism or the American left in general that has to be done away with or else nothing else matters.
Things culturally shift. Priorities change based on who wins and loses elections at the same time. So we’ve got this massive new budget agreement between the House and the Senate, massive discretionary spending increases. Well, I say “massive.” They’re fairly significant. We’ve got a big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big bump in military spending, and we got the tax cut. And, of course, that’s half of this. The literal eggheads and the people with their heads in the sand think the tax cut is a net loss of revenue, when it’s not.
It’s gonna be a net gain. So now it’s budget time. Now we have to do another budget even though we just finished a bipartisan budget agreement. What is this? Well, the president has to present a budget. “But wait, Rush! I thought we had a two-year deal.” Well, we do. But the president still submits a budget that spells out spending priorities. It’s just a proposal. Presidential budgets are always declared DOA in Congress: Dead on Arrival. But still, administrations… I heard Michelle Obama say the word again, “administra-shons.”
You know a lot of leftists… This Marie Harf babe, you know, who used to be the spokesperson up there for the Obama…? She’s on that Fox show — well, a bunch of Fox shows — and she says, “administra-shons.” Not “administration,” but “administra-shons.” Michelle O, “We all have our sh-truggles, 42nd Sh-treet.” It’s incredible. It’s a leftist speech pattern, articulated mostly by women. I don’t know… Not a sexist comment. Not intended as sexist comment. Just an observation. So the president and his “administra-shons” will propose their budget.
And Trump is demand tough budgeting cuts for domestic programs, and people are gonna say, “Wait, wait, wait. We just blew through spending caps. We just blew through all kinds of limits on spending. We’ve got a trillion-dollar deficit.” What is this? “President Trump is expected to renew his call for drastic reductions to nondefense programs in rolling out his budget request today, even with hundreds of billions in new cash at hand.” What is that, hundreds of billions of new cash at hand?
Where did that cash come from? We don’t have hundreds of billions of new cash! We don’t have any cash. We’re $20 trillion in debt. Where are we getting this cash? “While Congress busted strict spending caps last week — allowing for an extra $300 billion to be spent over the next two years — the Trump administration is still urging severe austerity for some arms of the federal government. Trump’s budget will lay out ‘an aggressive set of spending reforms’ to reduce the deficit by $3 trillion over a decade, according to a preview released by the White House on Sunday. …
“Officials said the budget would also prioritize border security — proposing to hire roughly 1,000 more patrol agents and immigration officers than its previous budget. The White House will ask Congress for a total of $23 billion in border security programs, reinserting Trump into the center of a fierce immigration debate on Capitol Hill. Roughly $2.7 billion will go directly to the detention capabilities of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.” With that money, the White House said the agency could reach an “average daily detention capacity of 52,000 illegal aliens at ICE, the agency’s highest-ever detention level.”
So Trump wants more money to grab more illegals and hold ’em before sending ’em back. “Trump is also making good on his campaign promises to boost funding to fight opioid addiction and to improve veteran health care. “Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget said Sunday that Trump will request more cuts to the State Department and the EPA this time while urging Republican lawmakers to resist the urge to boost spending on social welfare programs.”
That’s where it’s all gonna come down to, folks.
Bingo! Right there!
I had to read one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 — 11 paragraphs to get to “the screws.” That’s golf lingo for the sweet spot. Now, there has been… Since that congressional budget deal was struck, there has been a lot of anger out there. There’s been a lot of charges of hypocrisy aimed at the Tea Party and others for not being true to conservative fiscal restraint, ideology and theory by not trying to stop this monstrosity of a budget. And some of it’s legitimate. No question about it. But I think that this little paragraph here: Trump is gonna urge lawmakers “to resist the urge to boost spending on social welfare programs.”
That’s entitlements, folks, and there’s one thing…
Can I get some general agreement just with the idea here that all of these years we have continued to hear about the deficit monster, the national debt monster, depriving us of our prosperity — freedom, maybe — and none of those threats have come to pass yet? Now, I’m over 60, and I’ve been hearing this all my adult life, and none of it’s happened. So could I be blamed for maybe ignoring it now and then when it’s… I mean, when this doom and gloom is preached at every budget signing, at every expansion…
Which, by the way, I actually went and looked it up. The last time the federal government’s budget was reduced from one year to the next was during the administration of Calvin Coolidge. Other than that, the budgets get bigger every year. They never, in aggregate, get cut. Individual things may come and go, like we may starve kids one year and get rid of school lunches. (sigh) You know, I should not do satire that. There’s some lamebrains out there that will actually, “Limbaugh actively is all the concept of starving children today on his radio program!”
Individual budget items get cut, pared back, but overall spending constantly goes up. And this dragon that’s out there waiting to breathe fire on us so far is firing blanks. So can people be blamed for having a ho-hum reaction or maybe not even believing it or maybe thinking, “You know what? Isn’t that big a deal.” But would I be hypocritical to point out that in the area of entitlements, the demographics don’t lie.
For example, if Social Security and Medicare are not reformed — because of demographics and how long people live and that kind of thing — they will grow insolvent. But then how many times have we been told that’s happened? How many times in our lifetime have we had an emergency session of Congress where Medicare had to be saved and we were told it was — or Social Security had to be saved and we were told it was — for the next 10 years? Bob Dole was on one of these commissions that got a lot of credit for saving Social Security.
So every time the crisis comes up we somehow find a way to save it. And all of this stuff has a repeat cycle. And we go through it every so often. And we are treated to crisis after crisis after crisis with miraculous, last-minute relief and solutions. And life goes on. And if you want to borrow money to buy a house, all other requirements met, you can get it. You want to borrow money to buy a car? Fine. If you want to brother money to get the latest iPhone, you can do that.
I mean, people’s prosperity is increasing, standard of living is rising and faster now that Obama’s gone. But at some point these entitlements are gonna take a lot of money from elsewhere in the economy, because the day is coming where these entitlements are gonna eat up all of the budget. Right now the entitlements are what, Mr. Snerdley, 60%? Ballpark. What happens when entitlements are 80? That’s the real threat. When discretionary spending is only 20% of the budget? That’s exactly right. It is not sustainable. It simply isn’t sustainable.
No matter how much money you print, that isn’t sustainable. But when does that moment of truth happen? The discretionary type spending, which is what we blew the caps on in this deal with the Republicans and Democrats, that doesn’t bother people as much, because it’s not locked in, by definition, it’s discretionary. You can change it year to year or whatever term the budget agreement is. But entitlement spending is on autopilot, so to speak.
And it’s in the math. It’s not voodoo economic theory. Now, you couple that — have you seen what they’re thinking in California? California defies all the odds too. California ought to be belly up, broke by now, and no hope, but yet they’re not, if you live on the coasts. If you live inland in California, you’re in deep, deep, deep, deep trouble. On the coasts, not so much.
Here’s a story from one of my tech blogs back on February 6th, almost a week ago. Ars Technica is the name of the site. “Could we meet the needs of everyone on the planet without stripping the Earth of all its resources?” If we gave everyone a decent standard of living, if we turned standard of living into a welfare program or entitlement, could we sustain it? And the answer that they’ve come up with is First World quality of life for all is out of reach without an efficiency shakeup.
Meaning, the living standards in the United States are not possible the rest of the world. Well, no, if you’re gonna give it to everyone. That’s the whole point. What do these people miss? How did we get our standard of living? How did American prosperity happen? Where did our quality of life come from? It wasn’t from government giving it to us. But if you listen to Barack Obama or Elizabeth Warren, it is. “You didn’t build that. You didn’t build that business. You didn’t make that happen. Your neighbors did. That’s who we are. That’s our values, but you didn’t make it happen.”
But we did. You see, the problem with the earth, the problem with the world is the unequal distribution of capitalism. But they think it’s the unfairness of capitalism hogging all the resources and denying a quality of life standard of living to most people because we’re a bunch of pigs! They haven’t the slightest idea. Life is a zero-sum game to these people. If we have it, some other people don’t.
They don’t understand the concept of everybody can grow of the pie, the overall worldwide or the nationwide economic pie growing. They’re simply unfamiliar with the concept. It can’t work. Stockton, California, has decided they’re gonna experiment with the basic income. (interruption) Well, I don’t know. They haven’t defined it yet, but they’re working. Stockton, California, is gonna become like a test-market for this concept of guaranteed income. Everybody’s gonna be given a guaranteed income. I don’t know any more details than that.
It’s a sketchy story that I saw. But it couples with this thing. If we gave everybody a decent standard of living, could we sustain it? No way. Try that in your own neighborhood, it can’t happen. You can’t do it in your own household and sustain it. Because at some point the producer’s gonna die. And the producer’s gonna need to be replaced, otherwise you’re gonna end up like all these robber baron families where the gigantic founder and mythical success stories dies and all the heirs destroy the fortune in 20 years. It’s all gone ’cause none of ’em know how to work, none of ’em ever had to.
But just if people are pondering the idea, could we give everybody a decent standard of living? And their conclusion is no, if that standard of living is equal to the United States, which means the United States is the problem! We have too high a standard of living. It’s not fair. It’s not reasonable. Our standard of living isn’t sustainable. And you couple that with what these jerks think about global warming, you can see they’re eager to cut this nation down to size.
Now, what does all this have to do with budget spending? It has everything to do with it. It goes back to the fluidity of events, the fluidity of life. And whereas eight years ago federal spending might have been the biggest scary thing people were faced with given Obama and the White House nationalizing health care, whereas right now it might be immigration coupled with the rising tide of leftist culture destroying the basic moral foundation of the country, maybe that’s more important to people right now.
And maybe they view Donald Trump and his administration as the last great hope to stop all this, and so whatever Trump needs to do to do his job, people trust that he’s gonna do it, whatever he says he needs, he’s gonna get. I don’t think you can discount that aspect of this in any way issue — budget, immigration, what have you. I think people are pleased.
RUSH: One of the things in Trump’s budget, he’s gonna propose eliminating federal funding for PBS and NPR, meaning Trump wants to eliminate budget funding for leftist propaganda. They are gonna scream like stuck pigs. You wait.
Now, here’s David Brooks. As you know, the resident — ahem — conservative columnist at the New York Times on The NewsHour on PBS, formerly with Jim Lehrer. This was Friday. And he’s talking about the budget deal and a change that he’s noticed in the Republican Party.
BROOKS: There’s a shift in tone in the Republican Party that seems interesting to me, which is it used to be a party that talked the language of economics first. Its native language was economics and economic language, and so the budget really did sort of matter, and budget really mattered and tax cuts mattered.
Now economics is a secondary language for the Republican Party. Immigration is the first language. This is an identity party, not an economic party right now. And so they’re willing to compromise on a lot of spending programs if they can win on immigration. And that’s sort of where the party has gone.
RUSH: Now, strangely enough, I think this guy is close, but he misses the sweet spot. Still the party of economics. I’m here to tell you that there is no way anybody would be getting bonuses, raises, benefit expansion, new jobs, none of this would be happening if Hillary Clinton had won. Economics and tax cuts are still a number one identifier of the Republican Party.
RUSH: Now, there’s one more element of Trump’s budget, and that’s the infrastructure plan. One and a half trillion dollars for the infrastructure plan. And it, as we’ve discussed before, is gonna rely on a lot of money not coming from the federal government. And I know people who have been stupefied, who have been bamboozled, who have been confused trying to understand how in the hell that can happen, how can there be enhancements, improvements of federal infrastructure outside the federal government?
State and private sector partnerships. “What do you mean?” Well, you got some rich guy who wants, you know, a new bridge named after him, so he funds the reconstruction of it. The Barack Obama whatever bridge, I’m just giving an example, even without that. That has not been a problem for me. I even think that would be fabulous. But let me tell you something else. This is crucially necessary as well.
You know, when you talk about spending, the American people, and particularly conservative, rigorous spending wizards, people that pay strict attention. This is an ideological concept. There’s different kinds. And some government spending is applauded as necessary and valuable. Some people look at tax cuts as government spending. I’m not one of them, but there’s some idiots that do, because they view all money as Washington’s. And so you keeping more is effectively you being given money by Washington, ergo, it’s government spending.
Well, that is a crock. But money spent to prop up useless, wasteful solutions to problems where there is no solution, just to continue to buy votes, that kind of spending, people have not changed at all, they’re gonna oppose that kind of spending left and right if it’s done to buy votes, if it’s done for any of these nefarious political reasons.
But if there is spending that is actually going to modernize, going to improve, going to increase jobs, people are gonna be all for that. And it all boils down to what your definition of government’s role is. And the Democrat definition of the government’s role is Santa Claus. And the Republican definition of government’s role has not become Santa Claus.
But that’s what the Democrats’ version of government’s role in people’s lives is. That’s how they get power and keep it, by creating as much dependency as they can, importing as many dependent people as they need. We conservatives are about something entirely different. But I really do think that there is something to the fact that Trump’s voters trust him and look at him as the only person standing up to the destructive forces of the left or wherever you want to say they’re from. And if he says he needs specific tools to continue to stop them, people are gonna support him having them. Because things change. People’s priorities change. The things that scare people change. And ideological rigidity sometimes ends up being fluid as well.
To a lot of people, this kind of budget busting spending is an academic exercise. You can never accept this kind of budget spending because it’s destructive, it’s gonna destroy us in this case. If you’re rock solid married to that then of course you’re gonna have a problem with all of this. But this infrastructure plan is to rely mostly on funding outside the federal government’s control? Hallelujah! Outside the federal government’s control! Hallelujah!