RUSH: Let’s go to the audio sound bites, back to the Sunday shows. James Carville on This Week during a discussion on the fiscal cliff.
CARVILLE: We want to raise taxes. We want to raise tax rates. We’re very clear on that. When you say you want to close loopholes, that does not count. You have to tell us which ones. Just to generically say we’re gonna close loopholes, you gonna close charitable? You gonna close home mortgage? You gonna close state and local deduction? You gonna close local finance? What is it that you’re gonna do?
RUSH: Now, say what you want about Carville, but at least he’s honest. They want to raise your taxes. They want to raise your tax rates and they want to eliminate these deductions. But notice that all of these legal deductions are now loopholes, and a loophole, to a low-information voter is… you know what, I’m gonna stop saying low-information voter. I’m just gonna say average American. The average American hearing loophole thinks is a way out of paying what you owe. A loophole is cheating. A loophole is a way to avoid paying. That’s what they think when they hear loophole. That’s why the Democrats use loopholes instead of itemized deductions. And, let’s face it, most average Americans do not have itemized deductions. They have an exemption here or an exemption there on the 1040-EZ form and that’s it.
But the New York Times has this story out today, Jackie Calmes: “Tax Arithmetic Shows Top Rate Is Just a Starter.” The article admits that increasing the tax rate on the rich won’t even begin to address the problem, oh, no. Whoever thought that was crazy. We can’t fix our debt problem just raising rates on the rich. No, we have to close loopholes, too. So we start out with Obama asking for $800 billion in new revenue, consisting largely of closing loopholes, and we hold out and we hold out and we hold out, and finally the pressure gets to be too much and John Boehner agrees to the $800 billion in loopholes. Because the president himself said, in 2011, that you could raise a trillion, maybe $1.2 trillion this way. Now the president is saying that math no longer works, that you can’t raise nearly enough money just closing the loopholes. Now we gotta raise rates.
So after Boehner concedes on the $800 billion, guess what? We’ve looked at it again, Mr. Speaker, and really, sorry, but it just isn’t enough. And here dutifully comes the New York Times, and they’ve run their own numbers, they’ve done their own math, and they have concluded here that increasing the tax rate on the rich, that won’t even begin to address the deficit. So we need to adopt both of Obama’s plans. Increase the tax rate on the rich and Boehner’s offer of doing away with tax deductions and loopholes. So we get the worst of both worlds. And that’s where we are, and that’s what Carville is saying. We want to raise taxes. We want to raise tax rates. We’re very clear on that. But when you say you want to close loopholes, that doesn’t count.
So, you see, Carville on ABC yesterday morning said to Boehner (paraphrasing), “You think you’re gonna get credit from us for offering $800 billion in loophole deductions? That’s nothing. That’s nothing. You’re gonna have to tell us which ones. You can’t just, in a generic way, say you want to close loopholes and get any credit for that. You can’t do that. You gotta specify. You want to take away the home mortgage deduction? You want to end charitable?” They’re throwing it right back at Boehner, saying, you tell us which loopholes that you are willing to get rid of so that none of it ends up with Obama fingerprints.
Why is this happening? It’s happening because Boehner decided to be bipartisan and agree with the concept that Obama announced a year ago limiting deductions and loopholes and closing some of them to raise some revenue. We’ll be nice guys. We’ll be good guys. We will concede that we need to raise some new revenue. So Boehner does it, and right on cue, that doesn’t count, dude, who do you think you are? You think we’re gonna let you get rid of that? No, no, no, no, we need the rates up and you tell us which loopholes. You, Mr. Boehner, you specify, you tell us right now. Are you gonna take the home mortgage deduction away from people? Is that what you want to do? Do you want to close charitable deductions? Do you want to shut down hospitals and churches, is that what you want? That’s where we are. Anybody paying scant attention could have predicted this. So Carville then continued, same show, with further information, further opinion on this.
CARVILLE: We have not grown incomes in this country to any degree since the ’70s. And people have watched this come, and they’ve watched wars come, and they’ve watched tax cuts come, and they’ve watched bailouts come, and their incomes having gone down people are saying, “Why am I paying for all of the mistakes…
DOWD: But James…
CARVILLE: …that these guys made over the last 30 years? I’ve had no growth in my income, and the top 1 percent has had 250 percent.” That’s what the average guy thinks out there.
RUSH: (imitating Carville) “That’s what the average guy thinks out there. Ever since Reagan started cutting taxes out there, my life has fallen apart.” Yeah, 30 years. That’s not an accidental number that he comes up with. Thirty years ago, ever since Reagan started cutting taxes, my income hasn’t gone up and all these guys are getting richer and we’re bailing these people out and the wars came and tax cuts and more tax cuts and so forth, and this plays right into Obama, that the country was founded fraudulent, unfairly, and immorally, and we’ve had 230 plus years of all that mess, and now we’ve gotta fix it and we’re just getting started in rolling all this back. So that’s the official Obama, Democrat position as announced yesterday.
Let’s move over to Fox News Sunday now where Chris Wallace was talking to Republicans. In this case, Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee. And Chris Wallace said, “You know, a growing number of Republicans and conservatives, though not a majority, but a growing number is saying, ‘Look, we’re going to have to cave on raising tax rates, not just the idea of closing loopholes.’ Would you accept returning to the Clinton rate of 39.6%, Senator? Or would you accept something perhaps a midpoint like 37%, or starting with people who make $500,000 rather than 250?”
So, you see, the template is set, the narrative is established, and the leading questions are asked, and we exist in this bubble where we have a problem and there’s only one fix, and do you agree with it, or will you modify it a little bit? So what it all boils down to, it’s all your fault, Republicans, and therefore the solution has got to be all yours, and so just how flexible are you willing to be here, in saving America? And here’s what Senator Corker said.
CORKER: A lot of people are putting forth a theory, and I actually think it has merit, where you go ahead and give the president the 2% increase that he’s talking about, the rate increase on the top 2%, and all of a sudden the shift goes back to entitlements. And all of a sudden, once you give him the tax on the top 2%, it’s actually a much lesser tax increase than what he’s been talking about. The focus then shifts to entitlements, and maybe that puts us in a place where we actually can do something that really saves this nation. So there is a growing body, I actually am beginning to believe that is the best route for us to take to again shift the focus where it needs to be, which on entitlements.
RUSH: Now, I have to admit that I’m not nearly as smart as these guys. So can I ask a question? I’m really serious here. A, it’s obvious now listening to Senator Corker and to Carville and there are others, Tom Coburn, senator from Oklahoma and Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard, it’s become clear now that the rich are to blame. It’s the rich’s fault. So now Boehner has offered $800 billion in loopholes and deductions, closing them. And Senator Corker said, “You know what, let’s go ahead and give the president his rate increase on the top 2%. And that will automatically shift the focus back to entitlements.” This is where I’m not as smart as these guys. ‘Cause I need for somebody to explain to me how it happens. How does giving President Obama his rate increase on the top 2% and eliminating loopholes and deductions all of a sudden shift the discussion to entitlements?
I don’t understand how or even why that would happen. I’m dead serious. Why will Obama automatically feel pressure to start talking about entitlements once we give him everything he wants on the revenue side? Can somebody help me with this? How does that happen? I’m dead serious ’cause I’m assuming that giving him everything he wants puts pressure on him, giving him everything he wants somehow puts pressure on him, and that will force him into talking about entitlement reform?
This is why I’m on the radio and these guys are in the Senate ’cause I don’t understand that. I haven’t seen any evidence that Obama’s willing to talk about entitlements, seriously, I haven’t ever heard him talk about it meaningfully. I know he doesn’t believe it, so strategically, as a matter of negotiation tactic, I’m asking it in that vein, how does that happen? How does giving him everything he wants on the revenue side put pressure on him to now start talking about entitlement reform?
Here’s Senator Coburn. He was asked by George Stephanopoulos, “What is it gonna take for you to sign onto a tax increase?”
COBURN: Well, significant entitlement reform. Will I accept a tax increase as a part of a deal to actually solve our problems? Yes.
RUSH: And here’s Bill Kristol from Chris Wallace. “Let me ask you about henceforth called ‘the Kristol Scenario,’ they end up passing the halfway cave, a limited cave on tax rates. That doesn’t avoid the cliff, though, does it?”
KRISTOL: There will be plenty of other opportunities to debate all these spending, defense, and entitlement issues next year. My view is, get the tax issue off the table. It’s the weakest one for Republicans right now. Let the president own it.
RUSH: Okay. I have to take a break here. I don’t understand any of this, folks.
RUSH: No, folks, I’m just… I’m genuinely confused. Senator Corker said (summarized), “Let’s just give him what he wants. So we’re gonna give Obama more money to spend. We’re gonna give him $800 billion via rate increases on the top 2% and closing loopholes. So we’re gonna give him $1.6 trillion, and he’s going to feel such pressure that he’s going to immediately come to us and want to talk about entitlement reform,” or maybe this is it.
Maybe what’s gonna happen is that after giving Obama all that money to spend, the media is then gonna go to Obama and say, “Okay, the Republicans are being really patriotic and they’re being really good. They’re being really nice guys. Now it’s time for you to step up and do a little giving in yourself. It’s time for you to start talking about entitlements.” Maybe they think that’s gonna happen.
Then Kristol said (summarized), “Look, the Republicans are getting killed on this tax business, just like they’re getting killed on single women under 30 and just like they’re getting killed on immigration. So let’s let Obama have what he wants on taxes and take it off the table ’cause it’s hurting us. And then, next year, that’s when we’ll get the spending cuts and save defense and do the entitlements.”
You know, these people are so much smarter than I am, and they’re in the Beltway, and they’re working in this world each and every day. I’m trying real hard here to understand how giving Obama $1.6 trillion to spend pressures him into then discussing reforming entitlements. There’s got to be something I’m missing, because I’m beginning to really question my IQ here, ’cause I just don’t —
RUSH: See, what I think is going to happen, we give Obama everything that he wants, and I guess this is where I’m not smart enough to understand. I guess the theory is that once we do our part, the media is then gonna turn fire on Obama, yeah. The media is gonna go to Obama, say, “Okay, buddy, it’s time for you to pony up on entitlements now.” See, this is where I don’t get it. See, what I think is going to happen is, if this all happens as it looks like it will, the Republicans let the rates go up on the top 2% and the loopholes get closed, then what will happen next is, the media will go to the Republicans and say, “Why do you want to cut entitlements? Why do you want to take health care away from old people and why do you want to cut Social Security?”
This is where I’m not qualified to be in Washington because I think the Republicans are gonna continue to be the enemy, even after they give Obama everything that he wants. The media’s then gonna then start pressuring Senator Corker and Senator Coburn into dropping any demands on the entitlements. “Why do you want to take money away from people? Have you seen this economy? Why do you want to hurt people. They’ve paid for it. They’re paying more Medicare. They’re paying for Social Security. Why do you want cuts in programs from these people?” That’s what I think will happen.
But, I mean, you can see what happened in Louisiana. Let the Democrats own it. Let it go over the cliff. Oh, you mean like they got blamed for the lack of cleanup and repair at Hurricane Katrina? Mayor Nagin and the governor, Kathleen what’s-her-face, they got the blame, like it did happen then?
RUSH: Michael in Lancaster, Ohio, great to have you on the program. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, Mr. Limbaugh. It’s a great pleasure to speak with the one true captain of the conservative ship.
RUSH: Well, I don’t know about that anymore. I really don’t think I’m smart enough to figure out what all’s happening on the conservative side of things, but I appreciate your comment.
CALLER: Well, my comment’s about the ever-increasing spending and ever-expanding government. There’s only one way to get to the bottom of it. You’ve gotta get to the enablers and that’s the countries that are loaning America money. People need to get on their computers and tweet to these countries, China, Japan, and any of the others that are loaning us money and let them know they’re poor dumb saps aren’t gonna get their money back.
RUSH: Well, that’s not gonna work with the ChiComs. The ChiComs are gonna own the battery franchise for the electric car industry in this country if we’re not careful.
CALLER: Well, that was, in my view, a great mistake on President Nixon’s part. They’ve got a capitalist economy, but a communist government, and it doesn’t look like they’re gonna get rid of the communist government because —
RUSH: No way. No way. You’re exactly right about it. As far as the ChiComs are concerned, our stimulus worked out great for them. They’ve been underwriting our debt, they pick up a battery company, Obama’s happy about it. And even if what you wanted to happen happened, even if they stopped lending it, there’s this thing called printing press and the Federal Reserve. It’s called quantitative easing and they just keep printing money and then artificially keep the interest rates low. There’s no problem. Don’t sweat it. Everything’s fine. There’s nothing to worry about.