Obama's Promise Not to Scare Seniors Reaches Expiration Date
July 13, 2011
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RUSH: Well, but he didn't take the Social Security thing off the front page. Senator McConnell, announcing his proposal, did not take the Social Security issue that Obama raised off the table. Yesterday during this program, CBS released excerpts of an interview with Obama. Scott Pelley (pompously): "Can you guarantee, Mr. President, Social Security checks will go out?" "Oh, no! I don't know, Scott! Not just Social Security, veterans checks." Boom: President Can't Guarantee Social Security Checks! That hasn't been taken off the table. That's still out there. Now, here's Dingy Harry this morning on the Senate floor talking about the McConnell deal.
REID: (whispering) I believe that the Republican leader's proposal combined with the ideas he and I have been discussing (unintelligible) and deficit reduction proposals could go a long way toward resolving the impasse we now found ourselves [in]. We both agreed a long time: The problem is not the president's; it's our problem.
RUSH: Well, folks, I don't know how many of you would still be here if I came in and endorsed this thing today. With Dingy Harry -- I personally know what a reprobate the guy can be after the "phony soldier" business. Sitting here and saying that he and Senator McConnell agreed a long time this is not Obama's problem? Yeah, folks, here, listen to Dingy Harry. This is what a great deal it is! It has not taken the Social Security thing off the front page. It didn't "divert" anything. All it did was fire up the left. You know, when the media starts saying, "This is a deal everybody can live with," you know that it's a win for Obama.
Now, "Senator McConnell's plan would allow Obama to increase the debt ceiling and overall debt $2.5 trillion," between now and the 2012 campaign. It doesn't propose any structural entitlement reform or real spending reform to stop this train that we're on. It just takes us down the road to further bankruptcy and tries to blame Obama for it. I'm all for that, but who do we actually want blaming Obama? We want voters blaming Obama. We don't care, because we know who the media's gonna support and who they're not going to support. So that basically is my summation of this. I mean, you might disagree. You might like it, and have at me if you wish.
I just don't know how the Republicans are gonna explain to their constituents, especially Tea Party supporters, why they are reneging on their 2010 campaign promise to address this debt crisis in a positive and courageous way. 'Cause this just doesn't do it. Look, nobody would love for Obama to take the blame on this more than me -- nobody -- but I think it's happening. Where it matters most. You know what this boils down to (and I should not forget this)? I learned this a long time ago, and it's one of these things that I should not have to remind myself of, but we do live in two different worlds. My concern is you. I'm in the arena of ideas, the court of public opinion.
I don't think Washington cares about public opinion any more than what the recent polling data says about it. But their day-to-day existence is not with us in mind. It's just like the people that write for TIME don't really care about us; they care about what the people at Newsweek think of what they write, or Politico, or versa vice. I mean it's an incestuous culture there, inside the Beltway -- and that's what I keep forgetting. I need to remind myself that we're actually talking about two different audiences, and I assume, mistakenly so, that elected Republicans look at all this through the same prism that I do -- and that's you, the court of public opinion.
To me it only makes sense. I mean, who votes for 'em? The media doesn't vote for 'em; we do. They still have this notion the media is gonna influence how you vote. So in the court of public opinion right now, Obama is not looking good. But the Republicans don't have any clue. They don't have any idea. The court of public opinion somehow doesn't get to 'em, insulated as they are in Washington. So whatever the prevailing attitudes or opinions are that they hear each and every day -- polling data, television news shows, whatever it is -- is what they think prevailing opinion is. Now, there's a Gallup poll out today: "US Debt Ceiling Increase Remains Unpopular with Americans -- More Americans want their member of Congress to vote against raising the debt ceiling than for it."
It's 42 to 22: No increase in the debt ceiling -- 42-22! Why do you need anything else? If you're a poll watcher, why do you need any more than that? "Independents tilt heavily against raising the debt ceiling" so why come out with an idea that lets Obama do it three times? Well, I can answer that. They might look at this poll and say, "Okay, the public doesn't want the debt ceiling raised. So let's come up with a plan that forces Obama to initiate it, 'cause the public doesn't want it, and that way the public will blame Obama." I understand their frustration, folks. I really do. If I were one of them, I would be as frustrated as I have ever been in my life.
Obama, a man-child, gets to sit up there and not present anything specific and he doesn't take one hit in the media. He does all this spending, he does all this ruination, and after he does that he sits there and acts like he's the only adult in the room and he's the guy that's gonna be the referee and he's the guy that's gonna decide what happened from now forward. I can understand being literally fried over that, and I would be looking for a way to ram it down his throat myself. I'd be looking for a way to make him pay. I can understand the frustration totally. But this, to me (the timing and everything), does not do that because even beyond the substance of the details, it just...
I don't know. It portrays weaknesses. "Independents are against raising the debt ceiling 46 to 18; 36% of 'em have no opinion," and "A follow-up question finds that Americans are more sympathetic to the Republicans' arguments than Obama's. Specifically, when asked to say which is their greater concern, 51% say 'raising the debt ceiling without plans for major future spending cuts' concerns them more." Do you realize to get a 51% result on that question on a budget question...? Do you realize, folks, five years ago or ten years ago you couldn't get 5% of the American people to even understand that question, and those 5% would have 4% that wouldn't care. That's how much progress has been made on educating and informing the public here. We're on a roll, and we can get it back. We gotta go right for Obama.
RUSH: Checking the e-mail as I always do during commercial breaks, a couple of snarky comments, which I understand, by the way, "So what would you do? You sit there and you're saying you have all the answers and you do all this criticizing, and you just get to sit there and nothing ever harms you." Okay, what would I do? In context, what happened? Where are we? The Republicans are holding firm. No tax increase, no tax increase, no tax increase, nothing. The White House calls Scott Pelley, new anchor, CBS. "You want an interview with the president?" Pelley goes (panting) takes his tongue off the floor, says sure, anything you want.
They sit down in the White House, somehow Pelley asked the magic question: "Mr. President, can you guarantee that Social Security checks are gonna go out?" President: "It's not just Social Security checks, Scott," thanks for reading the transcript right. "It's veterans checks, too, out there, Scott. I can't guarantee that this is gonna happen." (gasping) "You personally can't guarantee that Social Security checks..." "No. We need a balanced approach." Fine. You are the Republicans, and you are in the House, and you run the place, so what do you do? You immediately put together a bill that pays veterans in the case of default, pays Social Security, services the debt, whatever other priorities you want to put in the bill, and you pass it and you send it over to Dingy Harry, and he passes it or not, and then you send it up to Obama, and he signs it or not. But you put the pressure on them. Obama says, "I can't guarantee Social Security checks will go out." "Well, we the Republicans will. Here's our bill."
Instead we reacted, "Okay, well, gosh, my God, that's it, Social Security, veterans, we're dead, we better set up some proposal here that tries to get Obama at least the blame for this," rather than pass a bill. You run the House of Representatives. You've got the American people behind you. Where did we leave off in this Gallup poll? Right here. Follow-up question finds Americans more sympathetic to the Republicans' argument than Obama's. Fifty-one percent say raising the debt ceiling without plans for major future spending cuts concerns 'em more. Well, that's profound. You start polling on the budget and the respondents run away from you, they don't even answer it, it's such boring stuff, but now they're in there.
So the Gallup conclusion, the bottom line, "Despite intense lobbying of Congress by President Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and others in the administration about the economic urgency for raising the nation's debt limit, fewer than one in four Americans favor the general idea of raising it." I think Gallup is entering the Scott Pelley sweepstakes and sending a message here to the White House, "Hey, you guys better understand where you are and what's going on here. You have lost the public on the debt ceiling business." Of course, Obama was asked about that, and what did Obama basically say? They're too stupid to understand. So Obama is willing to be arrogant and condescending to the voters. I don't care what the public thinks, they're too stupid, they don't care about any of this. So we have 'em. They are on our side.
Let's go to the audio sound bites. Here's Obama January 29th in 2010. Remember there was a Republican House issues conference in Baltimore, and the Republicans invited Obama to show up at this thing, January 29, 2010, basically his 12th month in orifice. I remember saying it's January and the House is gonna go away for a conference and they go to Baltimore. Anyway, they did, they invited Obama up there, among all the things he said was this.
OBAMA: We're not gonna be able to do anything about any of this entitlements if what we do is characterize whatever proposals are put out there as, well, you know, that's the other party's being irresponsible, the other party's trying to hurt our senior citizens, that the other party is doing X, Y, Z, that's why I say if we're gonna frame these debates in ways that allow us to solve them, then we can't start off by figuring out, A, who's to blame, B, how can we make the American people afraid of the other side?
RUSH: What did he just do yesterday? Just the opposite. Everything he says is a lie or has an expiration date or he doesn't mean it. Everything he says is for public consumption at that moment in time and no further. He just said this January of 2010, he just said we're not gonna come together on this with entitlement reform if we start trying to scare old folks. What did he do yesterday? Scare the old folks and the military and blame the other side, in direct contravention of what he said he thinks is the right way to do it in January of 2010. Monday morning, press conference, White House, Q&A, Chip Reid, CBS News, said, "You said everybody in the room is willing to do what they have to do to get something done by August 2nd, but isn't the problem the people who aren't in the room? In particular, Republican presidential candidates, Republican Tea Partiers on the Hill, the American public. The latest CBS News poll show only 24% of Americans said you should raise the debt limit to avoid an economic catastrophe, almost the same number in the Gallup poll."
OBAMA: This is part of the problem with a political process where folks are rewarded for saying irresponsible things to win elections or obtain short-term political gain.
RUSH: And he went on to say -- we played the further answer to this on Monday -- he went on to say people don't care. Chip, the American people don't care. They're not paying attention to this, exactly what David Plouffe said he was gonna say. They're not watching unemployment, they're selfish, the American people only care about themselves, they don't care about any of this. So just Monday he's out there condemning politicians for saying irresponsible things for the sake of politics, expiration date, 24 hours, is what he said yesterday. Last night, here's the Pelley interview, Pelley, "Can you tell the folks at home, no matter what happens the Social Security checks are gonna go out on August 3rd? They are about $20 billion, the Social Security checks that have to go out the day after the government is supposedly gonna go into default. Can you guarantee the folks out there that no matter what happens, those checks, Mr. President, are gonna go out?"
OBAMA: This is not just a matter of Social Security checks. These are veterans checks, these are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out.
PELLEY: Can you guarantee as president those checks will go out on August the 3rd?
OBAMA: I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.
RUSH: Now, we ought to parse that, too, because he didn't actually say they wouldn't go out. He didn't really say that. "I can't guarantee they go out if we haven't resolved this issue 'cause there may simply not be the money in the coffers." There will be money in the coffers, folks. There is the money coming in to pay these obligations. We've been there, done that, and 'splained it. That's not even the point, the money here, the substance is not the point, and if he doesn't he can just print some. Bernanke is out there talking about a third stimulus, which means more printing of money. And, of course, the stock market, they love it, I mean they're going nuts, it was before the program started. More stimulus, folks, more printing of money. That's all that is. So there will be the money to pay for it.
RUSH: Here's Steven in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Welcome to the EIB Network and with El Rushbo. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Mega dittos from Pennsylvania.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I've been listening for 21 years, and it's been a real treat.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate that. I really do. Thank you.
CALLER: I just want to know if President Obama can't get the Social Security checks out on August the 3rd, maybe it's time that we try and go back to privatizing Social Security --
CALLER: -- and we write those checks ourselves on August 3rd.
RUSH: Let's just go all in. I mean, that's right. Just go all in! "Okay, if you can't get the checks out, we'll handle it."
CALLER: We'll take care of it. Candidate Sharron Angle wanted to have Social Security choice, wanted to go privatize or have the government do it.
CALLER: All these ideas are coming home to roost. We should start taking care of ourselves if the federal government can't do it for us.
RUSH: Well, don't forget the importance of Ramadan in all this, too. Now, Ramadan is August 1st -- and, you know, there's respect for Ramadan. There's not a whole lot of work you can do. What does it last, Snerdley, 15 day days? Ramadan might be a month. Besides raising taxes, what did Tip O'Neill ever do? What's so damn great about Tip O'Neill? What did he ever do? Here another example. Tip O'Neill cared, was compassionate. Do you realize "compassion," the whole concept of compassion, has led us to this point of destruction? Liberal Democrat compassion and what it means. Now, Ramadan's a whole month. (snorts) It's a factor. (interruption) I don't know that you have a party for Ramadan.
I don't know anything about Ramadan other than when it starts and what you don't do. (interruption) No, you're not supposed to offend 'em. I remember when I first heard about this is 1990, the Gulf War, and we had to suspend operations for a month or we had to make sure that we had completed operations by the start of Ramadan. It was almost like an automatic truce. You have a party at the end of Ramadan, I guess for having survived it. I don't know. I shouldn't say that 'cause I don't really know. Now, I've been saying for the past three or four days that all of this notion that the government shuts down with a default is poppycock.
Terry Jeffrey, Cybercast News Service: "President Barack Obama told CBS News [yesterday] that there may not be enough money in the U.S. Treasury to cover Social Security checks after Aug. 3... However, according to the Daily Treasury Statements published by the U.S. Treasury Department, the ongoing flow of federal tax revenue since the Treasury declared that it had hit the debt limit on May 16 has been more than sufficient to cover the combined costs of federal spending on interest payments, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Veterans Affairs department and federal workers wages and insurance benefits (including wages and insurance benefits for military personnel)."
You know, this is an interesting point, and I'm glad he made it. It totally slipped my mind. We are at a debt limit! We are at a debt limit, and the world is still turning. We are at a debt limit, and every payment is being made. The world did not come to an end and country didn't, either. "Specifically, according to the Daily Treasury Statements, as of the close of business on May 16, the federal government had taken in $1.333454 trillion in tax revenues since the beginning of fiscal 2011," which is October 1. "By the close of business on July 7, tax revenues for fiscal 2011 had grown to $1.629630 trillion.
"Therefore, between May 16," when we hit the debt limit, "and July 7 the federal government took in a total of $296.176 billion in new tax revenue," some of it mine. "In that same time period, total interest payments on the national debt equaled $14.632 billion." So the income was $296 billion; the interest payment on the national debt was $14.6 billion. You make the payment with ease with just income and outflow, just tax revenue coming in, which comes in every week. "Also during that same period, the federal government's combined expenditures for interest payments on the national debt, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Veterans Affairs department and federal workers wages and insurance benefits equaled $270.151 billion.
"Thus, since hitting the legal limit on the federal debt on May 16, the federal government could have spent its $296.176 billion in new tax revenues to pay for its combined $270.151 billion in expenses for interest, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans Affairs and federal workers wages and insurance benefits and still had $26.025 billion in additional tax revenue to spend on other government activities. For another $2.198 billion, for example, the government could have covered all Justice Department programs between May 16 and July 7...
"For another $11.233 billion, the government could have covered all its Housing and Urban Development programs between May 16 and July 7 -- thus bringing its surplus revenue for the post-debt-limit period down to $12.594 billion. For another $6.988 billion, the government could have covered all its Federal Highway Administration ... between May 16 and July 7..." All these calculations "are based on numbers reported in the U.S. Treasury Department's Daily Treasury Statements," government figures. The revenue is there. There's no reason not to pay Social Security or Medicare or the interest on the debt or anything else. We can pay our debts even beyond the debt limit.
RUSH: Cleveland, Ohio, Chris, thank you for waiting, sir. Your turn. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Mega dittos.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I just wanted to... I was wondering how much latitude the President really has in choosing his priorities for spending. Under the full faith-and-credit clause, he's gotta service the debt. Well, isn't Social Security a trust fund that the government has borrowed against? So doesn't he have to honor those commitments?
RUSH: Well, in truth, entitlements are not items that must be serviced. They are not debt that must be serviced. Those are contractual obligations. When we talk about servicing the debt we're essentially talking about paying bonds come to mature, roll over, or what have you. That's essentially what we're talking about. If there's money left over, of course, to spend on these other things, it can be done, but he does have some discretion over what can be paid off. To answer your question: Yeah. That's why we're in the driver's seat. It can be up to him. He's the one that has to prioritize. If there's a default, he's the one that has to prioritize what gets paid then. He's the chief executive. He pays the bills.
CALLER: Well, I don't see any default here. Default means not paying any service or anything.
RUSH: Well, you're absolutely right. There isn't gonna be a shutdown. We gonna have money coming in to service the debt. That's been one of the frustrating realities about this all along. That's why what Senator McConnell is saying doesn't compute with me because there we're at the debt limit now, and we're servicing the debt.
CALLER: Well, and the other thing: On Social Security, there was actually borrowing against the Social Security --
CALLER: -- premiums that were paid.
RUSH: And that's a big point, too.
CALLER: I mean, the government owes the trust fund. Isn't that a borrowing?
RUSH: Comes from a trust fund, exactly right. Social Security, by law, has to be paid.
CALLER: You know, it got me to thinking about all of the things that government is required to do -- you know, mentioned in the Constitution. Isn't the military mentioned in the Constitution? How about protecting the borders? In other words, there are things that are required, and there are things that are not. Education department? There's no mention in the Constitution.
RUSH: I know. That's why it would be fun. We had a good caller on this yesterday. He said, "Okay, if Obama chooses not to pay Soc. Security and the veterans, let's publish a list of all the people who are getting their government checks," 'cause some people are gonna be getting their checks if he chooses not to pay Social Security. But by law, recipients must be paid. Good points out there Chris.
RUSH: I don't know how many government shutdowns there have been. They are more frequent than you know. But even in 1995 when that giant government shutdown happened -- and in every government shutdown -- Social Security checks go out. They just do. All of this is patent lies, full-fledged misinformation, a scare tactic, economic terrorism, lies, scaring senior citizens and all that; and it's time to stop reacting to it and call 'em on it.