RUSH: All right, Alan Simpson Babe and Irksome Bowles are soon to be chairing the official press conference announcing the actual aspects of their proposal. There’s also big news today about the Obama meeting with the Republicans on tax cuts. I just want to ask you a question. When was the last time that Obama called for a meeting with Republicans, ‘We gotta talk this out amongst ourselves, we gotta come to some common ground,’ do you remember when it was? That would be the health care summit in which Eric Cantor and a number of other Republicans were up there with Obama, the Democrats, and he listened and rejected all of it. And every time Eric Cantor or Mike Pence or anybody made a brilliant point about something, Paul Ryan, Obama stared at them, angrier than he’s ever gotten at Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks sissy who released all the data. So there’s nothing that’s gonna come of this. We all know what Obama wants. Obama does not want any extension of these tax cuts.
By the way, rich has been dropped. It’s now millionaires and billionaires. That’s the terminology. During the health care summit I was alone. I told the Republicans, ‘Don’t even go. Don’t even waste your time showing up. All you’re going to do is add weight to Obama and allow him to say at the end of this whole thing that he is all for bipartisanship, that the people got together and so forth.’ The health care summit ended with Obama saying that’s what elections are for, I won; you lost. I’m gonna listen to what you say here, but I’m not gonna really hear it. It’s gonna be the same thing here on taxes. These clowns know they lost the election, but they’re trying to turn it around and have the opposite impression created. Thomas Sowell has a column on that today, which I’ll get to here in short order.
RUSH: Thomas Sowell: ‘Can Republicans Talk?’ He’s worried that we might lose this tax extension debate because there aren’t any Republicans who can articulate properly here to persuade people what this is all about. It’s the argument about tax cuts raising revenue. And what Sowell wants is some Republican to say, ‘Look, tax cuts for the rich, tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires raises money,’ which it does. Tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and the rich raises money and will create jobs. He wants a Republican in Washington, in this debate, to say that. Now, admittedly, there are gonna be some Republicans gun-shy about defending the rich and defending the super rich. I, of course, do not have that problem. But then, the question is, does what happen on this show, will it influence the outcome of what happens in this debate in Congress and Washington? It might, but that’s something we can’t count on.
So ten words or less, how to articulate what really is going on. And we’ve done this for 23 years. For example, we’ve made the point this is not even about tax cuts. Nobody’s taxes are gonna be cut here if the current tax rates are extended. There are no tax cuts being discussed. The Democrats in the media want you to think that what’s on the table is tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Nobody’s taxes will be cut, regardless what happens here. Nobody’s even suggesting tax cuts. Sowell is worried that Republicans don’t even have the ability to articulate that. Here, let me give you a couple of excerpts from his piece, at the end of it.
He goes through and lists the facts as I have just done here. And he says: ‘Most important of all, these tax-rate reductions spurred economic activity, which we definitely need today. These are the facts. But facts do not ‘speak for themselves.’ In terms of facts, the Republicans have the stronger case. But that doesn’t matter, unless they make the case, which they show little sign of doing. Democrats already understand the need for articulation. Robert Reich is only one of many articulate Democratic spokesmen. But where are the articulate Republicans? Do they even understand how crucial articulation is? The outcome of this lame-duck session of Congress may answer that question.’
Now, so far, not one Republican is off the reservation on this. The Democrats wanted tax increases during all this, and no Republican’s gone along with that. I would also add that if a Republican does come along and properly articulate this, will we ever hear about it? There is that component here. Will the Drive-Bys ever report it? The Drive-Bys are totally interested in disinformation and presenting the conventional wisdom or the cliche on this, that this is all about tax cuts, additional tax cuts for the rich, which during an economy like ours is only gonna benefit the rich, instead of saying millionaires and billionaires are also known as the people who save and create jobs. It’s not hard to say, but there is some fear. Look, decades of pounding by the media, we know this is what happens to Washington Republicans, we know this is what happens. They get pounded and pounded and pounded, lied about, misrepresented, false associations are made, and they become queasy about speaking up. And Sowell’s frustration is, for God’s sake, who just won the election, who just won a huge landslide? Why are they afraid to show up and speak up? And I understand, everybody has that frustration. I have it less than others because I have the ability to speak up. You know, I have this — the Golden EIB Microphone — and I get to satisfy my frustrations.
But people who don’t have a microphone are looking for others who do to speak for them, and in elected politics, that’s elected officeholders like Republicans, and if they don’t speak up on this, and people want whatever will bring this economy around. People want whatever will create jobs. People are not interested here in what’s gonna best benefit Democrats or best benefit Republicans. They want an economy rebounding. Republicans have the people who understand this. Paul Ryan understands it. Eric Cantor understands it. In fact, we’ve got some sound bites. Matt Lauer grilled Eric Cantor on this on the Today Show today.
RUSH: All right, Today Show today, Matt Lauer talking to Eric Cantor during all the discussion about extending the Bush tax cuts. Lauer said, ‘So no compromise there at all? I mean, could you not see possibly raising taxes just a little bit on the people who make $250,000 a year? I mean, what is all this about?’
CANTOR: I think that what we heard on November 2nd from the people of this country is, number one, they want to see Washington start producing results. And so I’m hoping this meeting at the White House is going to be in that direction and different from those in the past, that we can actually set aside some of the ideological extremes and come together where most Americans are. We want to make sure that we’re doing everything to get people back to work right now, and that means we’ve gotta ensure that taxes don’t go up on anybody, especially on the small businesses that we’re expecting to create jobs so we can finally bring the unemployment down.
RUSH: All right, so they’re putting in a lot of hope here, they’re invested in the meeting with Obama, hoping that it will be different from all previous meetings. And it won’t be. We know who Obama is. This meeting is being called so Obama can try to get a good result for himself politically. This meeting is not about saving the economy, it’s not about creating jobs, and it certainly is not — Obama doesn’t want to extend these tax rates. He doesn’t want to do that. He’s not gonna give the Republicans a chance to persuade him. This is all for show. This is all to make it look like he heard and noticed the election results, but he’s not gonna change on any of this. At the end of the day if the Republicans don’t understand this, it’s just a total waste of time, it’s gonna have no impact on how this ends up.
RUSH: Matt Lauer berating, tempting, trying to screw up Eric Cantor here and of course the notion is compromise. Yes, since the Republicans won big somehow that logically translates into the fact that they, the big winners, need to somehow compromise with the vanquished. So Lauer’s question, ‘What you’re telling me, Congressman Cantor, is no compromise whatsoever on the Bush-era tax cuts?’
CANTOR: Listen, Matt, one of two things is gonna happen in January: Either taxes go up or they stay the same. Nobody’s getting a tax cut here, so there’s no compromise or not on that particular issue. We’re just saying that we don’t think tax rates should go up —
CANTOR: — when we’re suffering in such an economy.
RUSH: All right, so Lauer’s in there going, right, right, right. We put together a montage of Lauer’s questions to Eric Cantor. Here they are.
LAUER: Are you walking into that room today in the mood for compromise or confrontation? So no compromise there at all? I mean could you not see possibly raising taxes just a little bit on the people who make $250,000 a year or perhaps raise taxes a little bit on people who make over a million dollars a year? So what you’re telling me is no compromise whatsoever on the Bush-era tax cuts? Let me try this again with you, Congressman. Are you willing to perhaps raise the Social Security retirement age? Are you willing to make cuts in Medicare? Are you willing to make cuts in defense spending? Are any of those issues on the table?
RUSH: Matt, we’re gonna cut everything 10% across the board, everything, a genuine 10% cut across the board. Hey, Matt, you know, Michelle (My Belle) the first lady is trying to get everybody to stop eating. She wants people to stop eating much more than 10% of what they eat. If you’re gonna lose weight, what do you do, Matt? You gotta stop eating. Some people have to eat far less than 10%, have to cut more than 10% out of their daily diet and they live and they survive and they get healthier, don’t they, Matt? What is this notion where are we gonna cut? We can cut everywhere. That’s the bottom line. You know, this tax meeting today with Obama, it’s all for show just like this federal pay freeze is all for show. Obama’s pay freeze does not stop the in-grade seniority pay increases. We told you yesterday there are, what, 18 pay levels in the federal government, GS-1, GS-18. I think it might be 15. I don’t care what it is. But within every level there are steps. You can have somebody at GS-9 step nine making much more than somebody GS-18 step one. So the freeze is nobody’s gonna go from GS-5 to GS-6 or GS-5 GS-7, but there’s no stopping them from going GS-5 step one to step seven. And you can still hire more people here.
There’s no pay freeze. What’s been done here is permanent hires at exorbitant federal salaries have now been locked in under the guise, under the trick of a pay freeze. There is no pay freeze. There are no tax cuts being debated here with Obama. Obama’s not gonna change his mind on anything here. There’s no, what is it, insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Now, on this pay freeze business, Congress would have to pass such a freeze before January 1st, which means the current Democrat-controlled Congress, which means it will never be passed anyway, which means this is all for show, this is just an announcement. And even if it does happen, we’re talking $28 billion saved over 25 or 30 years. I mean it’s ridiculous. It’s an insult to anybody with anything larger than a pencil eraser for a brain, and it’s the same thing with this tax cut business.
I understand Tom Sowell’s frustration. This meeting ought not even be happening. The Republicans won big. It was a giant shellacking. The Democrats ought to be quaking in fear. And rather than sit here and talk about, oh, well, we’re gonna compromise, not compromise, you know, stick to the essential facts of this. And Sowell says we own the facts, but nobody’s gonna know ’em unless we say ’em and the facts are that reducing — look, we had the cigarette tax story yesterday. Look what’s happened there, which is totally predictable. They have raised taxes on cigarettes in New York to the point there’s now a black market. They’ve raised taxes, and the whole point of the New York Post story was to chronicle how much revenue the state’s not collecting. They have raised taxes beyond that point where people are willing to pay, they’re willing to create crimes now, i.e., buy black market cigarettes. They’re willing to run a risk in order to not pay these exorbitant prices, which are now totally owing to these tax increases. If they wanted to really raise revenue off of cigarettes and tobacco they’d cut taxes, and they would collect more revenue, by the way. They’d sell more cigarettes, they’d cut more revenue.
But, of course, that won’t work because we gotta create this notion here that we think tobacco’s a killer, we want people to stop smoking, but the last thing that any government wants is for people to stop smoking. The last thing they want. And they know people just can’t. They know we’re dealing here with an addiction, and nicotine is the most addictive drug on earth. It’s not a criminal addiction. But it’s still the most addictive substance on earth. Nobody has a pleasant first experience with it, and yet they can’t stop using it. The first time somebody takes a marijuana toke, hit, I guess they like it, some people get sick to their stomach but they’re still back at it, but most people get some sort of mellow high, whatever it is. Cocaine, heroin, all that stuff, a big, big high, but nicotine, the first time you use that you get a coughing spasm, you think you’re gonna die, some people throw up, and they can’t wait to light the next cigarette. That’s how addictive the stuff is.
So these people know nobody’s gonna quit smoking, and the objective here is not to get ’em to quit smoking. That’s the public pronouncement because these phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock ‘n’ roller government people want to make you think they care about your health and they care about your welfare. They don’t give a rat’s rear end about any of that. This is all about power for themselves, because if they really cared about raising revenue they’d lower taxes, the same thing here on the Bush era tax rates. If raising revenue here to reduce the deficit were really what this were all about they would be advocating cutting taxes particularly on the people that create jobs, the rich. But it’s not even about raising revenue; it’s not even about closing the deficit or lowering it or any of that. It’s not about that at all. It’s about class envy. It’s about class warfare politics, about getting votes, about pitting one group of Americans against another which is what liberalism does. So it’s a waste of time to go talk to Obama about this, as it was a waste of time to go talk to Obama about health care.
You could beat him upside the head with nothing but pure logic and total sense, it still isn’t gonna matter. It’s not gonna penetrate, total waste of time. And people are frustrated with this. Just use the power you’ve got, right now the Democrats still run the show here. This is a lame duck and it’s their majority. But they lost. There is an opportunity there. And people, Sowell, for one, are frustrated that that opportunity is not being used to people’s advantage.
Hillsborough, New Hampshire. Jeff, you’re first. It’s great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Rush, dittos. Dittos from New Hampshire.
RUSH: Thank you very much, sir. Live free or die.
CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. What an honor. You’ve already eloquently made this point, of course, but the people making $250,000, 500,000, a million dollars a year, are spending that money here in this country, and people naturally want the best that they can have and spend their money on those things. They’re not shipping their money offshore, if you get my point.
RUSH: Well, the point is you’re saying people always spend more than they earn?
CALLER: Yes, and —
RUSH: And therefore your point is that at $250,000, people do not have a stack of money they’re not using that they could painlessly pay increased taxes with?
CALLER: They’ve got two kids in college, they bought the most expensive house that they can afford, and, yes, and I’m one of those people, I will from time to time spend — of course there’s a lot of us out there that spend more than we make.
RUSH: Well, of course, people who are young and on the climb always buy a car more expensive than they can afford ’cause they know they’re gonna be able to down the road.
RUSH: Everybody does this. It’s called debt.
RUSH: Your point is right, no matter — 250 grand, people are not sitting around with a pile of money they’re not using, ‘Oh, you want it for tax, fine, take it.’ It doesn’t exist. You’re basically saying that human nature is people live beyond their means?
CALLER: Absolutely. I’m one of them.
RUSH: You’re right, you’re right. Most people do.
CALLER: Wow. Yep. So thank you.
RUSH: You bet. I’m glad you called out there. Thanks much.
RUSH: All right, here’s a shock. Obama is saying he didn’t reach any agreements in the White House meeting today on tax rate cuts. Who could believe that? They didn’t reach any agreement whatsoever. I am literally stunned beyond belief.
RUSH: Jim in Lodi, California. Nice to have you, sir, on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: It’s an honor to speak with you. Hey, yesterday you mentioned a question, you asked and put people on the spot just with the question, and I think a question that the Democrats ought to be asked by the Republicans is if they think that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, DC, can better utilize wealth than the people who earned it.
RUSH: Well, the Democrats think yes. Clinton has said so. Bill Clinton said so in Buffalo. No, the Democrats do think that and they would have no problem saying so.
CALLER: Well, you know, in Thomas Sowell’s book Basic Economics —
CALLER: — he mentioned that politicians, when they have other people’s money they make political decisions with it.
CALLER: People with their own money make economic decisions. So it stands to reason that you’re gonna better utilize wealth far better by letting individuals use it. I kind of look at it this way. When they had the stimulus package, $800 billion, and how many auditors did they have on that, 10,000, 20,000 auditors? If you just had a tax cut — I mean a moratorium on income taxes for six months or however long it would take to make $800 billion, you’d have 120 million people with, you know, say an average of $5,000 more for that period of time.
RUSH: Yeah, but see —
CALLER: That’s 120 million auditors on that money.
RUSH: Yeah, but —
CALLER: And there’s four things you can do with money: spend it, save it, invest it, or give it away. And I say people can do that far superior. Make the Democrats say, ‘Yeah, we know how to handle this money better than you do.’
RUSH: They do.
CALLER: Make ’em say that.
RUSH: They will. The president of the United States said it, Bill Clinton. Obama has said it. They would have no qualm. You’re not gonna be putting them on the spot with that question. They would love the question. They’d love to be able to answer it and they’ll give you examples. They’ll say, ‘Look at the roads we built. Do you think you’d have built your own highway system? Look at this that we built. You think you woulda built that? No, you woulda squandered it on a big screen TV. ‘ No, they’d be waiting for that question. They’d love it. That’s how they answer this stuff. They’re demagogues. As to the stimulus, I understand the point that you’re making, the stimulus was not to reduce poverty. It was not to create jobs. It was not to reduce debt. It was a slush fund. There was no economic purpose to the stimulus money. It was pure politics, as you have read Dr. Sowell say in his book.
There was not one economic purpose for the stimulus money. Now, they won’t admit that. ‘No, Mr. Limbaugh is dead wrong about this. Of course we were trying to create and save jobs,’ and you’re gonna hear the numbers we did save. We saved or created three million jobs. If we hadn’t done this, it would be even worse than it is. But liberals are liberals, Democrats are Democrats, and they lie. And once you learn that, once you can accept that, once you can on every occasion listen to a Democrat politician speak and say, ‘That’s a lie,’ then you are way over the hump in terms of understanding what’s going on and then how to deal with it.