The Rush Limbaugh theory of governing

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

It was the statement heard around the world:

If I wanted Obama to succeed, I’d be happy the Republicans have laid down.  And I would be encouraging Republicans to lay down and support him.  Look, what he’s talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care.  I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don’t want this to work.  So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at?  See, here’s the point.  Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say.  Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.”  Why not?  Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails?  Liberalism is our problem.  Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here.  Why do I want more of it?  I don’t care what the Drive-By story is.  I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.”  Somebody’s gotta say it.

This statement was made by Rush Limbaugh on January 16, 2009.

The Republican’s in Congress heard Rush Limbaugh’s call and voted “NO”, unanimously, to the 2009 Economic Package.  The bill passed the House 244-188 and heads to the Senate.  Why did Republican’s allegedly vote against the bill?

But the size and substance of the stimulus package remain in dispute, as House Republicans argued that it tilted heavily toward new spending instead of tax cuts.

In January 2009, Robert Giles wrote an outstanding article in which, using data obtained from the Federal Reserve, he documents the history of deficits in the United States since 1966.  He writes:

The results are astonishing, Republican Administrations have accrued, more than 3 fold, the debt that Democrats have. This demonstrates that the self-applied rubric of “fiscal conservative” is not true for Republican Administration’s unless we invert the accepted meaning of these words.

Since 1966, there have been three Democratic administrations; Johnson, Carter, and Clinton.  Since 1966, there have been five Republican administrations; Nixon, Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.  Since 1966, Republican administration’s have been responsible for 78.18% of the debt accrued by the United States.  Still, there are those, such as this letter to the editor writer, who states:

Sound financial principals should not be abandoned for political acceptance. Democrats are quick to blame the state of our economy on Republicans, though it is quite clear that housing and credit policies of the Democratic Party have finally caught up to us. We cannot continue to provide credit to those who cannot afford to satisfy their debts. If I ran my household as the Democratic majority proposes for the nation’s stimulus strategy, I would be homeless.

Blaming Republican ideology appears to be pre-emptive staging for the next round of blame when the current administration’s policies push our nation beyond repair. Ms. Fowler fallaciously refers to President Bush’s policy as tax giveaways without crediting President Obama’s approach as welfare through his own tax-giveaway initiatives.

The reason that Republicans are blamed for the state of our economy is, simply, because they are responsible for it.  As George W. Bush leaves office, the unemployment rate in South Carolina hit 9.5%.  When George W. Bush took office in 2001, the unemployment rate in South Carolina was 5.2%.  Republican policies over those eight years caused an increase of 4.3%.  As for being homeless, that rate also increased under George W. Bush as housing foreclosures have reached new heights.

In the first quarter of 2001, the MBAA states that the rate of foreclosures started were .39 seasonally adjusted.  The latest data shows the rate of foreclosures started as of the second quarter of 2008 were 1.19 seasonally adjusted.  2009 foreclosure predictions are even more dire:

Rising unemployment, expiring foreclosure moratoriums and state efforts that “run out of steam” will push monthly filings toward the record of more than 303,000 set in August, Sharga said. The number of homes that revert to lenders, the last stage of foreclosure and known as “real estate owned” or REO properties, will increase to 1 million from as many as 880,000 this year, he said.

Job Losses

“The forces leading to foreclosure are hard to offset in most cases and impossible in many,” Robert Hall, a Stanford University professor and chairman of the National Bureau of Economic Research committee that calls the beginnings and ends of recessions, wrote in an e-mail. “Job loss is a major source of defaults at all times, and job losses are running at extreme levels now.”

While conservatives wish to blame Bill Clinton for the economy today, the facts are that the legislation that deregulated the markets, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, was legislation introduced by Republicans in Congress at a time (Dec. 14 2000) when Bill Clinton’s administration was already transitioning over to George W. Bush’s.

The “Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000” (H.R. 5660) was introduced in the House on Dec. 14, 2000 by Rep. Thomas W. Ewing (R-IL) and cosponsored by Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R-VA) Rep. Larry Combest (R-TX) Rep. John J. LaFalce (D-NY) Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA) and never debated in the House.[2]

The companion bill (S.3283) was introduced in the Senate on Dec. 15th, 2000 (The last day before Christmas holiday) by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and cosponsored by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) Sen. Thomas Harkin (D-IA) Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and never debated in the Senate.

That this legislation was never even debated in committee is verified here and that the bill was included into the omnibus bill is verified here.  CBS did an extensive story on this in 2008.

Dinallo says credit default swaps were totally unregulated and that the big banks and investment houses that sold them didn’t have to set aside any money to cover their potential losses and pay off their bets.

“As the market began to seize up and as the market for the underlying obligations began to perform poorly, everybody wanted to get paid, had a right to get paid on those credit default swaps. And there was no ‘there’ there. There was no money behind the commitments. And people came up short. And so that’s to a large extent what happened to Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, and the holding company of AIG,” he explains.

In other words, three of the nation’s largest financial institutions had made more bad bets than they could afford to pay off. Bear Stearns was sold to J.P. Morgan for pennies on the dollar, Lehman Brothers was allowed to go belly up, and AIG, considered too big to let fail, is on life support to thanks to a $123 billion investment by U.S. taxpayers.

“It’s legalized gambling. It was illegal gambling. And we made it legal gambling…with absolutely no regulatory controls. Zero, as far as I can tell,” Dinallo says.

What legalized this “gambling” was the exact legislation I just referenced; the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 that was hidden within this bill to ensure its passage.  So, yes, the Republicans got exactly what they wanted, an unregulated market, and the banks ran with it for eight years under George W. Bush.  We have now seen what the unregulated free market that Republicans wanted inevitably brings; total economic collapse.  

While the average person in America is either out of a job, or worried they soon will be, the richest of American’s saw their wealth double under George W. Bush.

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a quarter to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million, new IRS data show.

The average person’s salary, however, has been stagnate.

Between 2000 and 2005, consumption grew among high-income households, remained stagnant among middle-income households, and declined among low-income households.  Households in all income categories saw their average before-tax incomes decline between 2000 (the peak of the last business cycle) and 2005 in inflation-adjusted terms.  Still, high-income families were able to increase their consumption spending by using their generous tax cuts, prior savings (or reductions in new savings), and borrowing.  Low-income families, in contrast, were forced to cut back on expenditures, since they received only tiny tax cuts, had few savings, and had little recourse to borrowing.

Even today, Republicans such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) are calling for even more tax cuts.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Sunday said lawmakers should pass a package of tax cuts to stimulate the economy, objecting to Democratic spending proposals and repeating a position of House Republicans.

How did the tax cuts under George W. Bush work out?  Not so good for the average person.

Tax cuts have boosted consumption for high earners but have done virtually nothing for low-income households.  While tax cuts can enable households to increase their consumption even if their pre-tax incomes did not increase, the tax cuts enacted since 2001 have given the largest benefits to high-income families.  The top fifth of families received an average tax cut of $4,845 in 2005, according to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, enough to help them improve their standard of living despite the lack of improvement in their average pre-tax income.[1]  The bottom fifth of households, in contrast, received an average tax cut of just $18 in 2005, not enough to have a meaningful effect on their consumption.

The voters in America removed the GOP from power in Congress in the 2006 midterms for a reason.  That the Republicans continued to play obstructionist as the economy fell into freefall is why the voters in the 2008 elections spoke in a clear voice to the GOP; if all you wish to do is play obstructionist, you force us to give the Democratic Party an even larger majority.  Having not learned the lesson of the past two elections, the Republicans in Congress heeded Rush Limbaugh’s call and are opposing President Obama’s stimulus plan.  The Republicans are now, in effect, simply hoping that President Obama, and thus America, fails.

That is Rush Limbaugh’s theory of GOP governing; America must fail for the good of the GOP.


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  1. And yes… I’m putting this out to quite a few people in my email list.  

    Feel free to do the same.

    • Edger on February 3, 2009 at 17:24

    over the past eight years, why do you want more of it, Rush?

    Jesus Christ. Take a pill, man.

  2. comparisons between a personal budget and the federal budget because the analogy breaks down quite quickly.

    But whenever Repugs say things like this:

    If I ran my household as the Democratic majority proposes for the nation’s stimulus strategy, I would be homeless.

    I want to ask them if they paid cash for their house or car. I’m not a proponent of credit – but there is such a thing as a long-term investment that makes credit worthwhile.  

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