If the Government is Gonna Be Shutdown, Own It, Republicans!
April 5, 2011
RUSH: Well, let's see, John Boehner has left the morning meeting with Obama over the budget negotiations, ladies and gentlemen. Said there's no deal. So apparently the internal polls are just not there yet for Obama. No deal. Now, we have tweet here from Boehner, latest tweet: "It's become sadly evident to me the White House and Senate Democrats are just not serious yet about enacting real spending cuts." That has to be a tweet just to set things up for the future. That can't possibly be true, that they've actually thought maybe Obama and the Democrats are interested in spending cuts.
Greetings, folks. How are you? El Rushbo back, ready to go, raring in action, and I didn't get a whole lot of more sleep last night. I intended to, but it just didn't happen. The old body clock kicked in, and when I was supposed to get tired I didn't, so here we are. Phone number if you want to be on the program, 800-282-2882. And the e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com
I got to thinking about something. You know, Paul Ryan announced his budget today, and the Democrat opposition is exactly what you would expect. It's cliched, 30 years in the playbook, dead on arrival, extreme, and I started to think, what standing do these guys have to object to the budget? They didn't even offer one last year. Not even pass one, they didn't even offer a budget, they didn't even do one. And the reason they didn't do a budget is that last year, of course an election year, they didn't want anybody to see what their plans were because it would have harmed their reelection chances. It would have been much worse than it already was, so guys that punted, guys that voted "present" on the budget, people that said, "We're not even gonna do one. We're just gonna do continuing resolutions," now come along and say, "Well, this Ryan budget, it's too extreme."
By the way, another question. Where's the No Labels crowd here? You know these wonderful, sensitive, understanding people that don't like labels in politics. They don't like conservative. They don't like liberal. They're all actually displaced liberals who have been losing and know that liberalism is one of the reasons they've been losing, so they, again, try to camouflage the fact that they're liberals or slight liberals by saying that they're really nothing, No Labels. Okay, here comes the all-out assault, predictable on Paul Ryan and the Republicans as they announce their budget today. Six trillion dollars over ten years in budget cuts. And it's predictable. The reaction to it's totally understandable. You could not have a greater, more visible line of demarcation on where we are and what the future of this country is gonna be all about. And yet here come the catcalls. "Ryan is extreme. The budget cuts are extreme." Where's the No Labels crowd on this? The No Labels crowd is urging us to get away from these kinds of characterizations that are poisoning our politics.
Fox News is reporting the "White House Rejects Republican Spending Bill." Well, no surprise there. What's the surprise? Like I say, this tweet from the speaker of the House, Boehner, saying that there's no deal yet and he's figured out that the Democrats really aren't serious about budget cuts. Snerdley, you don't think they really go to these meetings thinking that Obama and the Democrats are serious about budget cuts, do you? Sadly, you think that they go to these meetings thinking that the Democrats and Obama, particularly in an election year, are serious about cutting spending? There's no Democrat on earth right now that is interested in cutting spending. Is the theory maybe that they will see the election results, too, they understand what the American people want? For crying out loud, the Democrats have been governing against the will of the American people for as long as they've been Democrats, particularly the last 30 or 40 years.
Let me find something here in the stack. I got all kinds of stuff on the shutdown here today, but there's an interesting story. It's the way this is all characterized by a reporter, and it is in the Washington Post, by Philip Rucker and David Fahrenthold. "House Republicans plan to propose Tuesday historic changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other popular programs that pour federal money into Americans' lives --" If that doesn't spell out the way the Democrats look at this and the media, too, and to expect them to be serious about reducing some of this? "House Republicans plan to propose today --" they already did it "-- historic changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other popular programs that pour federal money into Americans' lives." Historic changes to programs. And then they have a professor quoted here who says, "I don't think that the public responds just to the facts." This John Sides, a professor at George Washington University. He said Ryan's approach is not likely to change the nation’s mind. "I don’t think that the public responds just to the facts." He may have a point because we've had the facts on our side for I don't know how long but the Democrats own the narrative. The Democrats and the media own the narrative. We've got the facts on our side. So we'll see where this all heads.
I promised I would fix something that came up yesterday in the program about the coach, UCONN coach, they ended up winning, by the way, the NCAA Final Four championship game last night. But grab audio sound bite 24. Now, wait a second. Wait just a second. No. My fault. The sound bite here says it's from 2009. And I guess this is the first time it happened? But somebody heard, I guess the coach was asked the same question, we had the caller yesterday, same question a couple days ago. This is the caller who said, "I hope you can hear the audio." Let's listen to this anyway. This is February 21st, 2009, in Hartford after a UCONN game against south Florida. The coach is Jim Calhoun, held a presser, and a freelance writer and activist had this exchange with the coach.
KRAYESKE: Coach, considering that you're the highest paid state employee and there's a $2 billion budget deficit --
KRAYESKE: -- do you think that --
CALHOUN: Not a dime back.
KRAYESKE: Not a dime back.
CALHOUN: Not a dime back. I'd like to be able to retire someday.
KRAYESKE: You don't think $1.6 million is enough?
CALHOUN: I'm sorry?
KRAYESKE: One point five million?
CALHOUN: I make a lot more than that. Quite frankly, we bring in $12 million to the university, nothing to do with state funds. We make $12 million a year for this university. Get some facts and come back and see me. Get some facts and come back and see me. Don't throw out salaries or other things. Get some facts and come back and see me. We turn over over $12 million to the University of Connecticut, which is state-run. Next question.
RUSH: That's the coach Jim Calhoun. Now, this is two years ago. The caller said she heard this exchange two days ago. Sounds like it happened again. But that's the coach's response to it, and she was all happy about it. The caller was extremely happy that somebody finally stood up for what they earn. They were not cowed by a bunch of people in the press. And I can understand that, so many people do get cowed, so many do get defensive and so forth, and frankly right now with the looming government shutdown on Friday, people have the same attitude toward Republican leaders. Why are you so afraid of the shutdown? Why are you so afraid of it? Even if you do get blamed, what are we talking about here? We're talking about an out-of-control federal government. We're talking about you guys ran for reelection in November, you won big on it. If you believe in the idea to hell with the ancillaries here. If the government's gonna be shut down, if that's the result here, then own it, and go out and explain it. You know, defensiveness, scaredy cat tactics, it's off-putting to people, especially in our culture today where everybody is just so worried about offending somebody. This coach actually had the guts to stand up for what he earns and then said probably I should be earning a lot more, I'm worth a lot more given how much we're generating for the whole program here.
Anyway, the shutdown is looming, it's slated to be Friday, Democrats seem eager for it because they think that the circumstances are exactly what they were in 1995, meaning the Republicans take it on the chin and the Democrats win the big PR battle over this. Republicans, a lot of them in the leadership have the same fear and have vowed not to shut down the government or not take part in any action that would result in the government being shut down. But if you have these beliefs, if you believe that this government is spending the nation into bankruptcy, if it is as serious a problem as you have stated, then what in the world is wrong with backing it up and then going out and trying to convince people? If you have the facts on your side then try to gain control of the narrative. But it seems to be in a lot of people's minds and the leadership, anyway, an insurmountable obstacle, or task. They just don't want to take it on.
But we have two stories here. One's from Reuters: "Boehner Tells Republicans to Gird for Shutdown -- John Boehner on Monday told fellow Republicans to prepare for a government shutdown, undercutting optimism that progress is being made on a deal that would keep the government running." See, I've shared this with you before. I don't care if the government shuts down. My life is not affected. I don't sit here -- and I don't know how many other people do, frankly, either -- live in mortal fear of their precious government shutting down for a day or two. There might be some but the way this is all cast in the media is almost the same as if a meteorite would hit the earth. "Oh, my gosh, what do we do after this? The government shut down, we can't handle all that!" A lot of us, our lives don't revolve around government. Many of us, our lives are spent trying to avoid as much contact with government as possible. Just leave us alone. And so when it shuts down, that's great news. Shuts down, they stop hassling us. We have this picture presented that's the opposite. It's almost like they're being deprived of air and water and food if the government shuts down. In some people's cases it may be.
Over at TheHill.com: "Ahead of White House Talks Boehner Rejects $33 Billion in Cuts -- Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Monday that Vice President Biden's offer of $33 billion in spending cuts is 'not enough,' suggesting the chances of a government shutdown are increasing. … 'Despite attempts by Democrats to lock in a number among themselves, I've made clear that their $33 billion is not enough and many of the cuts that the White House and Senate Democrats are talking about are full of smoke and mirrors. That's unacceptable,' Boehner said in a statement." So we'll see where it all shakes out. You get competing stories. Boehner, "The last thing I'm gonna do is preside over a shutdown, there will not be a shutdown," and now he's telling people to get ready for it. It could well be that he's saying this because the Democrats are engineering it. The Democrats want it to happen. They are looking forward to it.
But again, folks, when it comes to budgeting, back to the Ryan budget, the Democrats as far as I'm concerned have no standing to oppose it because when it was their turn, when it was their responsibility to present a budget last year, they punted. They didn't present one. They took the coward's way out. They might think that it was smart politics. They might think that it was deft in that they were hiding from the public elements of their campaign that would harm them if people found out what their budget plans were. Okay, so they punted. So they're spectators. They're sitting on the sideline. We have nation in big trouble. We are a great nation at risk in a dangerous world. There are some people coming along rolling up their sleeves who are ready to do the heavy lifting and these spectators, these cowards, the sideline sitters now respond in their typical 30-year-old way. "It's extreme. It's dead on arrival. You're cutting old people. You're cutting young people. You're cutting minorities," and so forth. Where the bottom line remains, it has to happen. We don't want to think about the alternative. We don't want to think about what happens to this country if this doesn't happen. There simply isn't the money to support the current spending plans of the Democrats. We're not even close to having the money.
RUSH: Boehner now reportedly saying that there is no vote scheduled for a continuing resolution stopgap bill, no vote scheduled. If there's no vote scheduled, it's, "Hello, shutdown." That's from the National Journal. "Boehner: No Budget Deal -- No CR Scheduled for Vote." Via statement Boehner said, "'The House will not be put in a box and forced to choose between two options that are bad for the country.' Those options, Boehner said, are a government shutdown and inadequate spending cuts. He also said that no new continuing resolution had been scheduled for floor action to keep the government funded past Friday." So everything's being made to look like we're headed to Friday in a steamroller sense with the shutdown as unavoidable, no more continuing resolution votes, no more votes, what have you.
And they're not happy out on the left. There's a reporter/columnist blogger, Washington Post guy named Ezra Klein. He's a young phenom as far as the left is concerned, 24, 25 years old, and they think that the world begins and ends with this guy. He's got a piece in the Washington Post today: "What Happened to the 'Fierce Urgency of Now'?" Mr. Klein starts off expressing disappointment with Obama's reelection announcement, saying that it "introduced us to Ed from North Carolina and Gladys from Nevada and Katherine from Colorado and Mike from New York and Alice from Michigan -- but no Obama. Not even a picture. The battle over funding the government for the rest of 2011 has gone on for months, but the most involvement we've seen from Obama was a few phone calls placed to negotiators over the weekend. It's the 'Can you hear me now?' strategy. This wouldn't matter so much if they were being heard. Unfortunately, the White House let House Speaker John Boehner and the Tea Party good-cop-bad-cop them into agreeing to the $30 billion-plus in cuts that the GOP leadership wanted from Day One. With negotiations breaking down, Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House to hammer out a deal -- but at this point, the question is simply how bad the final agreement will be."
So Mr. Klein here, who is a wunderkind, if you will, on the left, thinks that Boehner and the Republicans are gonna roll Obama, and they're talking, in fact, about $33 billion in cuts. That's... Eh, we'll take it, but that's not rolling anybody -- not considering what spending is. But then Klein says, "[P]erhaps more disappointing are the times the president has shown up. Last week, Obama laid out his first major energy plan since the campaign. For anyone who remembers President-elect Obama warning that 'few challenges facing America -- and the world -- are more urgent than combating climate change,' this plan, which focused on the vastly less urgent, but far higher-polling, question of 'energy independence,' was a terrible disappointment."
So they're not happy with Obama on a lot of levels. Something has gone wrong in the Obama regime, and the candidate we need to step forward and point it out isn't whichever Republican manages to limp shame-facedly out of the primaries after agreeing to call Obama a Kenyan.
RUSH: Do you remember a couple of months ago Obama and the Democrats were trying to do away with -- I guess during the lame duck session, more than a couple months ago Obama and the Democrats were trying to do away with the Bush tax cut extension. And, remember, Obama and Hillary, even Gates, told us the deficit was a matter of national security. Where's all that talk now? How come we're not hearing about that anymore? Why are we not hearing that the deficit, the national debt, what have you, is a matter of national security? You got Paul Ryan's program out there. You got his proposals and it does contain significant cuts, across the board, a spending freeze. Well, actually a return to spending levels of 2008.
And, by the way, might I just observe that in 2008 elderly people were not dying, people were not being kicked out of their houses because of budget cuts. It mighta happened because of economic disaster brought about by the Democrats, but all of the usual forecasts, all the usual scare tactics, predictions the Democrats gave us in 2008, if we go back to spending levels of 2008 which is essentially what Ryan wants to do, none of the catastrophes that the Democrats talk about were happening then. In fact, if you go back to 2008, a lot of people were saying that level of spending was absurd and way too high. Ezra Klein, cut to the chase here in this piece at the Washington Post: "The conventional wisdom is that Obama is being given a great gift this week by Ryan, whose budget proposes to privatize Medicare and slash Medicaid. But the conventional wisdom might be wrong: Ryan is beginning the debate far to the right. He won’t get everything he wants, but if he gets 50 percent of what he wants, or even 35 percent, it’ll be the most dramatic victory that conservatives have scored against the social safety net in a generation -- larger, at least in dollar terms, than anything done to welfare in 1996."
Now, it is true, skilled negotiators always go in asking for much more than they expect to get, throw in items that are called throwaways, things that you will give up, grudgingly, but you will give them up. You leave yourself some room. Klein is suggesting that Ryan knows this. He's starting way, way out there on the right. By the time he ends up here, if he gets 50, 35%, it is still a huge and major victory. So at least in the Obama media here they are frightened. They're thinking Obama might get rolled because they think Obama's checked out. He's out playing golf. Where is he? He doesn't even show up at his own reelection announcement. He puts other people in the video. And he doesn't even do it live. He does it with social media and so forth.
Audio sound bites. Here's Pelosi, and this is yesterday talking about Medicaid and Ryan's budget proposal.
PELOSI: Putting Medicaid into block grants is one way to tie it, put it in a box, tie it with a ribbon and throw it in the deep blue sea. This is the beginning of the end for Medicaid once you block grant it.
RUSH: Yeah, all right. And here's Bernie Sanders. He was last night on MSNBC Live with Cenk Uygur, and the question, "Senator Sanders, they've trying this for decades." Republicans, of course "But as I just said, I think they're on the doorstep. I think they're real close to knocking out Medicare and Medicaid. My top question, the most important question today, how are you going to stop them?"
SANDERS: Cenk, this year some 45,000 Americans are going to die because they don't get to a doctor on time. If you block grant Medicaid, if you voucherize Medicare, that number is going to soar. So what you are talking about is a life-and-death issue for millions of the American people. Last week we announced that there were ten corporations, ten of the largest corporations in this country who not only paid nothing in taxes, they got substantial rebates. The idea of cutting programs for the weakest and most vulnerable to give tax breaks to the richest and largest corporations is totally grotesque.
RUSH: Now, here we go. The same old cliches for 30 years: we're cutting the poor, we're cutting the sick, and the rich and corporations are getting tax cuts. It's the same old same old for 30 years. The problem is the sick and the elderly are not being kicked out of their houses, and they are not dying for lack of attention from the government. But don't forget this. I pointed it out yesterday, crony capitalism. Here's Bernie Sanders doing the same thing that Chris Van Hollen did, you come out, you've got your Democrat Party playbook, you've got your cliches. "Tax breaks for the rich while the poor and the sick die and go hungry." Fine. Well, who was it, Mr. Sanders, who arranged for the United Auto Workers to get $202 million in taxpayer money for their early retiree pension plan and health care? Who was it that saw to it that AT&T, another one of your hated, vile corporations, who was it Mr. Sanders, that saw to it that AT&T gets a $140 million in taxpayer money to pay health care benefits for early retirees? Who was it, Mr. Sanders, that saw to it that, I believe it was Verizon, gets $97 million? It was your president, Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm, in order to save his precious Obamacare bill.
Now, who is it that's giving tax breaks to rich corporations? Who is it that is in bed with corporations that could afford their own health care benefits? It's not John Boehner, it isn't Paul Ryan, it isn't Lindsey Graham, it isn't any of the people that you want point fingers at. It's your party. It's your party in bed with the unions, your party in bed with all these corporations, and it's not just the telecom, not just AT&T and Verizon. There's a number of others throughout the whole health care industry, in fact, the insurance industry, you tried to co-opt that. I mean the crony capitalism going on here at the White House on down, whatever is in this budget deal pales in comparison if you're talking about short-changing the sick or the poor, what have you.
If block grants are so bad, Ms. Pelosi, block grants here to Medicaid, why issue any block grants to the states? The states are living off of block grants. What's so wrong about Medicare living off of them? "Because we don't want to privatize any of it." Of course you don't want to privatize any of it because you don't want it to become efficient. You don't want the private sector to be the source of the solution to any of these problems. You want government to constantly be involved. I've been through all this. You know, this 30-year cliche of attack the poor, attack the elderly, attack the sick, tax cuts for the rich, who was it that gave 90% of their campaign money to the Democrats? It was Wall Street banks. I mean you can't get more rich than that, from Goldman Sachs to AIG to, hell, go down the list. American Express, it doesn't matter. The vast majority of their campaign contributions went to Obama and other Democrats. Some of them give to both sides just to protect themselves in the payoff racket, but for crying out loud, here, the same old same old.
Congress was completely controlled by Democrats in 2008. They wrote the 2008 budget. Ryan wants to return to 2008 spending levels, and here 45,000 Americans are gonna die because they don't get to a doctor on time, that's what Bernie Sanders said. Who's running the show? Who's in the White House? You got your health care bill. How come that problem's not fixed? I don't believe the problem exists anyway, 45,000 Americans die 'cause they don't get to the hospital on time or the doctor on time. That's BS. They throw these numbers out there and they never back 'em up. State Controlled Media never says, "Wait a minute. Could you cite your source for me on this? Give me a list of names. I want to go talk to the families of these 45,000 that died because they didn't get to the doctor on time. Or maybe some of them are illegals and you don't know how to reach 'em? What are you talking about, Mr. Sanders?" They constantly portray and paint this country as something that it's not. We're the most compassionate, especially where health care and programs for the needy are concerned. There's nobody that does it better than we do.
Every time the Republicans present a budget, all of a sudden those people are gonna die. Well, Mr. Sanders, we're going back to 2008 spending levels. You wrote the budget. You signed off on it. None of these problems that you are predicting were happening then. Why are they going to start happening now? And lest we forget, it was Obama who increased spending, federal spending by $4 trillion in just two years. That's a record. How is it so dramatic, so extreme that somebody is suggesting cutting six trillion in ten years? You raise spending four trillion in two years, money that we don't have, and now we gotta cut six trillion in ten years and that somehow is extreme?
Somebody at National Review on the website says, "Well, there is an alternative to Ryan's plan." And he's got a good point. Simply here as a rhetorical exercise. There is an alternative to all these budget cuts: tax increases. Well, let me give you the number. And, by the way, folks, this number that I'm gonna give you, a tax rate increase has been in every budget since I have been hosting this program. Every budget contains forecasts of what will be necessary to generate revenue to cover escalating costs. I first became aware of this in the early years of this program. My education continued to skyrocket. I continued to learn about how the budget process takes place and what's contained, what the CBO does. And they don't just do one-year budgets. They do ten-year budgets, projections. Each budget that's signed is only the law for one year, but they still do projections.
And Snerdley, you'll remember this, we found in the early nineties that in order to support the coming spending -- this is 20 years ago, now -- we're looking at an overall tax rate of 78%. You'll remember us talking about this if you'd been here for all this time because while talking about that we concluded nobody's gonna work, nobody will bother going to work if 78% of their income is taken. Well, the 78% has now become 88%. Eighty-eight percent tax rate or Paul Ryan's budget cuts. Those are the alternatives. Remember the discussion of imputed income on the value of your house for the purposes of income tax. It's all still in these budgets. It's all still there. And so everybody agrees we don't have the money that we're spending. Everybody agrees, sensible people, that we've gotta do something about this if there is to be a future for your children or grandkids and those not yet born. If there's to be a future, if there is to be a United States as we've known it we've gotta get this under control. And the two alternatives are you cut the level of spending, or you raise taxes to 88%. Those are the two alternatives. Take your pick.
RUSH: Paul Ryan, this was on CNBC this morning. Prior to his announcement he's talking about the budget proposal. The cohost, Becky Quick, said, "There's something to be said for trying to get this argument out there, but the president's own deficit commission weighed in on these issues, and the conversation very quickly turned away from it to tax cuts. What makes you think that this is actually gonna be something that now gets everybody's attention?"
PAUL RYAN: We took dozens of recommendations from the deficit commission from the general accountability office and put it in this budget, so we're basically trying to take what they did and build on it and go forward. And, look, shame on the Democrats, shame on the president. If he, knowing that we're going toward a debt crisis, demagogues this issue, plays politics with this issue and does nothing about it, we don't need politicians around here these days. We need leaders to tackle these challenges before they get out of control, Becky. I mean you just can't keep kicking this can down the road, and what we now know is we can preempt the debt crisis. This budget shows you it's not too late to get this under control, no changes to anybody in and near retirement, and we can get this economy growing again.
RUSH: Paul Ryan is serious, and in the standard operating procedure of life in America, that would count, that would matter. I hope it still does. But he's serious. He's not playing this as a politician. He's playing this as a leader to fix it. He's right. You can't keep kicking the can down the road. I talked to him yesterday. There will be no cuts to current seasoned citizens, retired or not. There will not be any cuts. If there are cuts, they're gonna oppose it, nothing else will happen. There are some hard, cold realities that even Ryan understands that have to be dealt with here. One hundred percent purity is not gonna get anything done on any issue, particularly this. So this is a tacit acknowledgement here that current retirees, seasoned citizens operating under the belief that they have a deal, they made the deal long ago, they paid into it, they expect their payout now. He doesn't want to touch it, doesn't even want to go there. The Democrats are gonna demagogue it. Ryan wants them to.
This is the difference. Ryan wants them taking shots. Ryan wants them to try to blow holes through all of this. He's such a strong believer in the merits of what he has presented that an honest answer to every objection will win the day. Facts matter. This is what he believes. So you have that premise, facts matter, up against the Democrats and the media owning the narrative. And we'll see where that falls out this time.
RUSH: Once again John Boehner saying no agreement reached in the White House meeting on the continuing resolution on the budget, which is what the White House wants. The White House wants a shutdown, despite the fact Politico is reporting here today that "House Republicans Prepare Shutdown Plan." They quote the Democrats as saying Republicans are the only ones talking shutdown. Not really. The White House is talking about one as well. So here we are at Tuesday, the day is Friday for the supposed government shutdown. Eric Cantor, Republican leadership, says "the White House is increasing the odds of a shutdown."END TRANSCRIPT