The Limbaugh Response to the Defensive WSJ Editorial on the House GOP
December 21, 2011
RUSH: I, El Rushbo, am being blamed for the House Republican so-called intransigence in doing what the establishment Republicans and the establishment Democrats want done with this so-called two month tax cut on the payroll tax. It's not even really a tax cut when you get right down to it.
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today which just excoriates the House Republicans, and it's quite illustrative of the fact that the Journal is -- total defensive position here. The Journal's point is -- and we're gonna get into this in great detail. I'm gonna respond to it as we go 'cause I saw it last night, and it shocked me. And remember I've been saying for the past two weeks that nobody ever won anything defending it. We are in, on this argument with Obama, the Republicans in the Senate and the Republican establishment are in a total defensive posture here.
They are worried that the Republicans in the House are gonna see to it that Obama is gonna end up being seen as a big tax cutter, that the Republicans are being seen as opposed to the middle class having a little bit more money in their pockets. The Republican establishment is angry at the Tea Party freshmen in the House, and they're angry at conservatives in general. So we have that to break down, and that may take a while. It's a long editorial, and I want to go through it graph by graph and have some response to it. I'm gonna do my best in this to make the complex understandable.
RUSH: When we come back, the Wall Street Journal editorial. Real pressure, folks, once again the freshman Republicans and the House leadership, they're very nervous. The entire political establishment is aligned against them, which means the entire political establishment is aligned against congressional conservatives. The Senate Republicans, the Wall Street Journal editorial, the Democrat establishment, the Democrats in the Senate, the Democrats in the House, they are all lined up, and over this one thing: Whether or not we're gonna have this payroll tax cut for two months or for a year.
And the Wall Street Journal is afraid that the Republicans holding out for a full year instead of two months, which is what everybody else wants, is gonna make it look like to voters that the Republicans don't care about tax cuts for the middle class, that thus Obama is going to be able to steal and purloin the issue and going into a campaign year Obama is gonna be the guy that looks like the big tax cutter, stealing the issue from the Republicans and, oh, woe is us, so worried about this.
In the meantime, the substance of this issue is being totally ignored at the expense of playing the political game. So what is apparent to me -- and I shall detail this as the program unfolds -- what's apparent to me is that the view that you and I have about the country and its perilous state right now is not shared. We know by the Democrat establishment. Continuing evidence is that the Republican establishment does not really see the country threatened or imperiled. This is just the latest political cycle. Democrats happened to win last time, it's gonna be our turn soon, it's nothing really out of the ordinary here. Seventeen trillion national debt, ah, no different than five trillion. The president, the White House is waging war on the middle class, "Ah, not that big a deal, Mr. Limbaugh, we'll fix all this when we get our turn back."
In the meantime the substance of this issue, this payroll tax cut, FICA, Social Security, what's actually being done here, what it actually means, and the substantive reason to not let Obama win this, to not let the Democrats win this, to insist on this being for a full year is being lost. In fact, what this is is even being lost. On the one hand, they tell us that Social Security is not really a tax, right? It's a deduction, it's a contribution. This is simply citizens paying into their own retirement, and they'll get the money back, it's not a tax. Now, all of a sudden, it's a tax. Now, all of a sudden, it's a tax cut. No, it's the only mechanism for funding Social Security that there is. The Democrat president -- see, if we had a team that was on offense rather than trying to defend something, if we had a team that was on offense what we'd be doing is making the point that a Democrat president is trying to underfund senior citizens' retirement.
I don't know about you, but as a Republican I'm sick and tired of being told all my life that I want to kick old people out of their houses and that I want them to eat dog food, and that I don't care about their health care or any of that, that I want to cut their Social Security. That lie has been around for as long as I can remember. Well, now look what's happening. The only funding mechanism is being underfunded by $250 to $500 billion a year by the Democrat president, and nobody talks about that. No, we get caught up here in, "Oh, gosh, oh, gosh, Obama, Obama is gonna get away with a tax cut idea, we're gonna have it stolen from us, oh, no, no, no." Meanwhile, Romney was on O'Reilly last night. He refuses to call Obama a socialist. He says he's in over his head. He won't call him a socialist. And that's nothing. Imagine asking Romney to call him a Marxist. So it's coalescing here, what we face and where we are.
RUSH: Now, Wall Street Journal editorial. It's entitled, "The GOP's Payroll Tax Fiasco -- How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?" And they start this way. "GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously said a year ago that his main task in the 112th Congress was to make sure that President Obama would not be re-elected. Given how he and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest."
So the Wall Street Journal is convinced here that the House Republicans are on the verge of reelecting Obama with their opposition to a two-month extension of this payroll tax cut, which, again, is not exactly what this is. Again, we've allowed ourselves to lose the language on this to boot. Back to the editorial. "The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play. Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he's spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible." Maybe it is impossible. Maybe these people are having a panic attack and just need to lie down and take some deep breaths.
They continue. "House Republicans yesterday voted down the Senate's two-month extension of the two-percentage-point payroll tax holiday to 4.2% from 6.2%. They say the short extension makes no economic sense, but then neither does a one-year extension. No employer is going to hire a worker based on such a small and temporary decrease in employment costs, as this year's tax holiday has demonstrated. The entire exercise is political, but Republicans have thoroughly botched the politics."
Okay, so the Journal here is saying that the Republicans have got the optics all wrong. Style. Everybody wants style. Style trumps the substance here. Never mind that the law can't be implemented. Didn't I just see -- yes, I did -- didn't I just tell you about a story by our old buddy Jacob Tapper that said that the two-month raid on the Social Security trust fund, which is what this is, this raid on the Social Security trust fund, which is known as the payroll tax cut, it's not a tax cut, it isn't a tax cut. It's being portrayed as one. It's a raid on the Social Security trust fund. Normally Republicans catch hell for doing what Obama's doing here. But our side doesn't for some reason want to play it that way.
Here we have a Democrat actually doing to the Social Security trust fund what they have accused us of wanting to do all my life. A Democrat president's actually doing it, and we're going along with the language that it's a tax cut, when it's not, it's a raid on the Social Security trust fund. But Jake Tapper said that the implementation here can't be accomplished. Not enough time to reprogram all the computers for the proper withholding and so forth. Two months is not enough time to do this. By the time they get the computers programmed, the two-month extension will be over. The law will foul up the entire payroll system because it's too last minute.
Now, I hate to nitpick here, but I would think that that would mean something to lawmakers who didn't know that when they came up with their harebrained idea, but who do know it now. The Journal in their editorial does not make mention of this logistical nightmare. They're too busy panicking here over the optics. They just say the fatally flawed law must be passed for appearances. They admit it's fatally flawed but we gotta pass it, because it says tax cut. "Oh, gosh, it says tax cut, we have to be behind it. We can't cede tax cut optics to Democrats." Because if we let 'em have that then all of a sudden Obama, despite reality, despite his massive tax increases, all of a sudden Obama will be forever known as the king of tax cuts. That's nonsense to me. The only way that happens is if we lay down and let it happen, which seems to be the preferred course by too many on our side. I actually wonder if Hillary Clinton was over at the Wall Street Journal yesterday with her testicle lockbox.
RUSH: So, anyway, this Wall Street Journal editorial, upset the optics. We're afraid here that the House Republicans are just gonna blow it all. And Obama's gonna end up in a campaign year with the title "king tax cutter." Now, would this be the same Wall Street Journal that attacked conservatives and Tea Party activists who said the debt ceiling deal was a fraud? Now the Wall Street Journal believes that a two month cut in payroll taxes, which is virtually impossible, by the way, for most businesses to institute without a great amount of time and trouble. And, by the way, a two month cut in payroll taxes, which will do absolutely nothing to help the economy, they gotta go right back to it in two more months, but at the same time, will at least theoretically, drain resources from the bankrupt so-called Social Security trust fund.
This is what has to be adopted? The Wall Street Journal, the same Wall Street Journal that attacks conservatives and Tea Party people who said the debt ceiling deal was a fraud, and now this two month cut, which is impossible for most businesses to institute, and won't do anything to help the economy except deplete Social Security, has to be adopted by the House? This is dead wrong, folks, sorry to say, dead wrong on every policy and political level I can think of. If the Republicans want this tax cut extended, then they have to fight to actually extend it for a year. Two months doesn't do anything. But the thinking is, "Oh, yeah, Rush, two months, that means we get to go back at it again. Two months from now, we need to go back at it again." Why? If Obama's king tax cutter, why do you want to give him another chance to be one?
RUSH: Okay, more on the tax cut, the payroll tax cut, the Wall Street Journal editorial, House Republicans: This editorial manages to assume every false premise, every lie the Democrats are putting out in this payroll tax debate. That's really shocking to me. This editorial is a shocker.