RUSH: There’s a story in the Stack today, I think it’s Business Week. It’s entitled: ‘Why Banks Still Won’t Lend.’ And they’re not lending because they still don’t have the reserves necessary to back up the loans, doing it the right way. Gone are the days of 30-to-one leverage where you lent 30 dollars for every dollar you had. Can’t do that anymore, not going to do that anymore, isn’t going to happen, and so they’re hoarding what they’ve got from the $350 billion they got from the first TARP bailout. Now Bush and Obama have gotten together, want to release the second $350 billion. Chris Dodd is out there saying that Bush tricked Congress on this TARP business. Wait until you hear those audio sound bites — oh, it’s hilarious. Bush tricked us. Bush didn’t tell us the truth about things. This is an attempt to pass everything off on Bush in terms of the economy. But these banks are saying, ‘We don’t have the money to start making major loans right now, and we’re so underfunded it may take TARP 2 and TARP 3,’ meaning bailout 2 and bailout 3 before we start lending the money.
What’s laughable — I mean, nothing about this is funny — but what’s laughable about this, ladies and gentlemen, is that this is exactly what I, on this very program, predicted when the banks got their first down payment of $350 billion. It wasn’t hard to predict because the same thing happened in the European Union. Banks there had been loaned a lot of money or bailed out a lot of money and they hoarded it in reserves for future use or purchasing assets in other things to try to increase the value of their holdings. But the last thing they did was put the money into circulation. But my question is, ‘Why did the banks need to loan anybody any money? The government is the only outfit that can bail us out, right?’ Obama said that last week in a speech. The government is the only entity that can solve the economic crisis. Even President Bush is saying he had to throw his free-market principles away to save capitalism. That chokes me up, to throw out free-market principles to save capitalism. And amazingly, that mantra has been picked up by a number of others around the world. We’re going to have to have a new definition for the word ‘everybody.’ Obama, in his appearance yesterday with George Stephanopoulos, said everybody’s going to have to give. He called for a grand bargain on the economy. Stephanopoulos says, ‘Eventually sacrifice from everyone?’ And Obama said, ‘Everybody’s going to have to give. Everybody’s going to have some skin in the game.’ Really? Who is ‘everybody’?
Does this mean that the people that are going to be getting-tax-free tax cuts from Obama are going to have to have some skin in the game? If everybody has to have some skin in the game, another way of saying that is everybody’s going to have to pay some income taxes, and there are a lot of people right now who aren’t. Is that what he means by ‘everybody’? I have a unique idea. Ladies and gentlemen, I really want to offer this seriously. The Morning Update today, in case you missed it, I’ll go through it again here briefly. You may remember back — I think it was 1990, I forget the year, but it was the earlier years of the EIB Network, we on the first day of April of that year did a Morning Update and a very lengthy monologue on how it was time to raise taxes on the poor, that the poor were not paying their fair share, that they had been made victims, they were getting away totally scot-free. In fact, it was when Clinton was talking about the worst economy in the last 50 years, and we had to jump-start the economy. And I said that the only group of people that’s taking and taking and taking and never giving anything back — and, of course, we kept hearing about the phrase ‘gotta give something back,’ that’s what makes you a great person. Well, the poor, I suggested, need to be paying more taxes so they had some skin in the game.
Now, Obama has said the same thing here with Stephanopoulos yesterday, without using the word ‘poor.’ But let’s look at some recent economic data. Last Friday, new economic data was released on unemployment. It jumped, as you know, all the way up to 7.2%. At the same time, retailers reported the worst Christmas sales figures in four decades. Also on Friday at yet another press conference, the president-elect told reporters he would do what it takes to kick-start the economy. He said that ideology will not matter. He said that pride of authorship won’t matter. Another way of saying, as Reagan did, ‘I don’t care who gets the credit, as long as we do the right thing.’ However, I don’t believe this, ladies and gentlemen, for one simple reason. At the end of the day what Obama wants is for the government to get credit for whatever, if anything, works because that’s what he said, government’s the only entity that can do this. And at the end of the day, this pride of authorship thing I think is BS. Of course he wants the government to get the credit, meaning that he will. He says the old Washington ways will be abandoned. Political posturing, he said, a thing of the past. All you have to do, he said, is show him good ideas, show him they work, and he will adopt them.
Well, now, to me, taking people at their word, that was an invitation. Show him good ideas, show him they work, and he’ll adopt them. So, ladies and gentlemen, for the sake of argument, let’s take the president-select at his word. In addition to the retail figures over Christmas being lousy, we also had new retail figures showing that high-end retailers got clobbered this season. Saks Fifth Avenue, a 20% drop in same-store sales. It’s so bad at Saks Fifth Avenue they’re thinking of relocating either to Lexington Avenue or maybe all the way over to York Avenue, Saks York Avenue is what they might have to do. Williams-Sonoma, a 24% drop in sales because the rich, the high end, are not going in there and buying things. According to press reports, the affluent have been spooked by the financial meltdown. And then there’s this, and this is because my memory is unparalleled, I recall this. Right before Christmas, the AP ran a story bemoaning the plight of the wealthy who were out bargain hunting. We told you about this at the time. They were out bargain hunting, they were looking for discounts, and the AP said this has crippled the economy.
Now, remember, Obama said, show me what works, and we’ll do it. Well, the AP, Obama’s own news service, AP-Obama, when the rich stop spending, all hell breaks loose. When the rich start looking for bargains, Saks Fifth Avenue has to move over to Lexington Avenue. When Macy’s is shutting down all over the place, when Bergdorf Goodman has to put things on sale, you’re in big trouble. Tiffany, all the jewelry places, if those things have to start discounting and people who normally spend their money there start looking for discounts, we’re in trouble. The AP said this, bemoaning the plight of retailers. Beyond even that, ladies and gentlemen, AP ran a story last week bemoaning the fact, retailers are bemoaning the fact that nobody might be willing to pay full price for items again. Let’s say that you went in someplace and an item you wanted cost $200 but because of the downturn they’re offering it now for $35 or $50, just to move it out, retailers are worried that once the economy comes back and that item goes back to $200 bucks, that the average customer say, ‘Why should I pay $200 bucks when you sold it to me for $35?’ So they’re worried, folks, retailers are worried nobody is buying anything except the rich, and the rich are looking for discounts. And this is hurting high-end retailers.
And the Madoff scandal, Madoff, you wouldn’t believe how many household staff people around the country have been laid off. It’s serious. You don’t know how many waiters and waitresses at country clubs have been laid off. He had four boats; they all had staff. They’re histoire. This is serious stuff out there. So, clearly, something needs to happen in order restore confidence here, to create economic growth, which will filter through to all levels of the economy. And it seems to me, folks, that the simplest, the fastest, and the most direct way to do this is to bail out the rich. AP went on and on about how that’s the top of the ladder here, it’s not trickling down and it’s causing a problem everywhere. When the rich start seeking discounts and they’re not shopping as much, when high-end items are not being sold at full price, that’s a problem. So if we are going to save our economy, the bailout of the wealthy cannot wait. The rich need a bailout. The rich need further tax cuts. This is what is necessary. I would be willing to personally present this plan to President-elect Obama, because it has worked. I am confident. What we’re seeing here is a great little setup. We’re having a setup of FDR vs. Reagan in our lifetimes. I might be open to direct handouts to the rich. I think tax cuts might be the fastest way to do this, but they might hoard the money anyway to make up for what they’ve lost. You know, many of the rich people have made it an art spending somebody else’s money to get what they want, i.e., look at Madoff.
However, ladies and gentlemen, I would be willing to present this plan personally to the president-elect ’cause it works, and I’ve got Ronaldus Magnus taking over for Jimmy Carter, which is where Obama might end up in four years, with all this massive unemployment, high interest rates, thermostats turned down to 67 degrees in the wintertime, 78 degrees in the summertime, Reagan came in, cut taxes across the board for everybody, spurred economic growth, unemployment went down, interest rates went down, the experts said it couldn’t happen, but it did. We can compare that to what he’s doing, which is FDRnomics. FDRnomics prolonged the Great Depression for seven years. Herbert Hoover, was in charge of it for one, got all the blame. But we could do it. We could have a side-by-side comparison here of how really to jump-start the economy. We know that Obama’s way hasn’t worked before; we know that Reagan’s way has. I’m just offering a personal trip; nobody even has to know about this. I would fly anywhere under the cover of darkness. I would slink in in an old rented car that nobody would think was carrying anybody special. We could do it in Blagojevich’s office. We could do it in Roland Burris’ office, wherever — (interruption) no, I’m not going to make an airdrop. I’d do it on the phone. He’s open to good ideas, bail out the rich, cut their taxes, get the economy going.
RUSH: We’ll have the audio sound bites of Obama with George Stephanopoulis in mere moments. Charles Krauthammer believes that Barack Obama will own the bad economy within six months, at which point he will not be able deflect blame to George W. Bush. By midyear it becomes his. Everything is blamed on the predecessor at the beginning as it should be, and this always happens. By summer, it will be his recession, and of course by his own estimates it will be getting worse. Popular opinion is not going to react to the programs he passes; they’re going to react to economic numbers and reality. They’re going to get worse. So inevitably he will be the president, and in about six months or so it will be his economy — and with unemployment high, it will be his responsibility. Now, we spoke about this. Mr. Snerdley and I spoke about this last week. There’s an ingredient here that’s being left out, and that’s the role of the Drive-By Media in this. Snerdley got sucked in.
Snerdley believes that the American people will react as Krauthammer writes that they will, that they’re going to react to economic numbers and reality. They’re not going to react to the programs he passes or to the speeches he makes. But then, as I just said, Herbert Hoover was in charge, in power during the Great Depression for one year; FDR for seven or eight years; and who gets the credit for fixing it all this time since and who gets the blame? Herbert Hoover was there for one year. It was Roosevelt whose policies and plans sustained and prolonged the Great Depression. You’re going to have a Drive-By Media here that will look at Obama and say, ‘He’s too big to fail,’ and they’re going to be propping him up. It will be exactly the opposite of what they did in the last six years when there was no recession, trying to convince everybody that there was — and after a while, they were able to reach enough people to depress a lot of people in the country, the national mood. They’re going to try just the opposite with Obama. They’re gonna focus on what he’s proposing and what he does whether it has any impact or not, because he’s too big to fail. It’s going to be fascinating to watch, if people will ignore their real-life circumstances.
You just heard my proposal for Obama: Bail out the rich. Cut taxes. I might even be persuaded for a direct cash infusion to the rich, but it would take a lot of money. You’d have to give them 750 grand or a million dollars each to get ’em back into action out there, folks. But either way will work, there’s no question about it, which is what Obama says he wants. Now, The Politico has a story today: ‘Stimulus Not Just for ‘Burly Men.” Now, what’s interesting about this… Well, it speaks for itself. ‘Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers [for Obama], says in a new video that investments in education and health care, along with direct state aid and tax cuts, will help spread the benefits of the stimulus beyond merely road and bridge projects.’
Now, what’s happening out there is some of the Looney Tune left is starting to get nervous about these proposals, and they are apparently harassing the Obama office with all kinds of criticism and questions, such as, ‘What do you mean tax cuts? You didn’t talk about tax cuts! You talked about tax cuts for the middle class. Now you talk about tax cuts for businesses? What do you mean, tax cuts?’ He’s got some people that are very mad out there. Now, listen to what Christina Romer said. ”Sometimes it’s not so clear — ‘why do you have tax cut in here, is that really going to create any jobs?” Romer says in the video. ‘Absolutely, we think when you cut people’s taxes, they spend more, and when people spend more, that means people have to produce the goods that they’re (buying), so those kinds of things do have jobs effects as well.” How did this get out? This is Economics 101!
This is not a mystery. It’s not even arguable, and yet Christina Romer has to include this in a video to Obama supporters who are waffling here on his economic plan and talk to them as though they’re not even first graders yet. Even to her when she says it, it sounds like it’s news, that tax cuts spur growth. I’ll tell you, the divide and the disconnect is just profound. Obama’s whole team: ‘We’re gonna rebound this economy with roads and bridges. We’re going to rebound this economy with government spending,’ and here his own economic advisor admits (begrudgingly and somewhat shocked herself), ‘Yeah, tax cuts do put more money in people’s pockets, and they go out and spend things, and these people have to produce things, and, yeah, that can lead to new jobs.’ Shazam!