Cutting the Crap! Limbaugh and the Economy

Okay, I don't know about you, but I'm sick of seeing that idiot Rush Limbaugh in the news. And why the HELL is he writing editorials for The Wall Street Journal, telling us how to end the recession? Oh yeah, it's because Rupert Murdoch owns the paper now; I forgot. Anyway, here's a link to the editorial, and as is my tendency, I will now take excerpts and cut the crap,as is my wont to do. Why does this one feel like I'm washing a dirty diaper? Jeffchristie

Seriously, this could be a primer on just why the right wing once again finds itself on the fringes. They have NO CLUE what the hell people are going through out there, and they have no clue that it is their policies that have put us here. Check out some of this cluelessness, starting with the first paragraph;

There's a serious debate in this country as to how best to end the
recession. The average recession will last five to 11 months; the
average recovery will last six years. Recessions will end on their own
if they're left alone. What can make the recession worse is the wrong
kind of government intervention.

Wow. That's his opening; what he hopes to "wow" us with. And it's clueless.

First off, left to their own devices, the market would pretty much always be in recession, with a few depressions thrown in. What has created an economy wherein the "average" recession will "only" last five to 11 months is — are you ready? — the New Deal. Yes, that's right, folks; it's government intervention that reduces the size of recessions. Recessions will NOT end if they're left alone. In fact, the last time a Republican left a goddamn recession alone, we found ourselves in the worst Depression in the history of the modern economy. Hey Rush, perhaps you heard of that one. When Herbert Hoover left that one alone, it lasted for more than a decade, and was only ended by World War II.

I also love the term "wrong kind of government intervention," as well, but we'll get to that later.

This is what happens when you allow a college dropout ex-disk jockey whose only area of expertise is his ability to attract a sizable audience of rubes to a radio to listen to him pontificate on his ignorance, to write an editorial about the economy. He starts with ignorance.

Let me clue you in, Limbaugh. What caused this recession was a distinct LACK of "government intervention." That is not the only "wrong kind of government intervention," of course, but it is absolutely the worst kind. See, human nature is such that, if you define wealth as how much money you have, and you credit people with success for having it, then a large pool of them will never have enough, and will do anything to acquire more, regardless of the consequences to anyone else. That is why government regulation is MANDATED by the Constitution. Even those unsophisticated 18th century hicks who founded this country knew that, left to its own devices, "the market" would screw us every which way it could. That's what "the market" does, naturally.

Let's continue deconstructing the Limbaughian screed, shall we?

Keynesian economists believe government spending on "shovel-ready"
infrastructure projects — schools, roads, bridges — is the best way
to stimulate our staggering economy. Supply-side economists make an
equally persuasive case that tax cuts are the surest and quickest way
to create permanent jobs and cause an economy to rebound. That happened
under JFK, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. We know that when tax
rates are cut in a recession, it brings an economy back.

Where do I begin with the above stupidity? Seriously; doesn't this remind you of that blowhard uncle we all have, who waxes eloquent about some issue or another in a loud voice so that the neighbors can here? Well, this is just as embarrassing. This is published in one of our leading business newspapers.

Limbaugh, let's get this straight. Supply-side economics is a bust. It's a failure. It does not work. Supply side economics is what got us into this mess, and it literally cannot get us out. Supply-side believes that, if you funnel a few extra dollars to rich people, they'll invest in business, and the economy will magically come back.

I mean, how stupid and clueless do you have to be to realize that such a scheme can never work?

Think a little. Am I going to invest in a business selling widgets if there is no market for widgets? If no one has a job, and no one has income, what incentive does a rich guy have to invest in anything, except possibly an instrument designed simply so that he and some crooks can make more money? If I save a few hundred bucks on taxes, am I gonna go out and buy a few hundred shares of GM? What for? If no one has the money to buy a car, why the hell would I invest in a car company?

The key to economy lies in the consumer. Reagan didn't end the 1981-1982 recession by reducing taxes. He ended it by doubling the defense budget. Suddenly, people had defense jobs. They were also given huge amounts of credit, at lower interest rates than they'd seen for a while. They had CASH. THAT is what ends a recession. By the way, Dubya caused a recession (he never ended one) and JFK didn't have to deal with a recession while he was in office, so Limbaugh's talking out of his ample ass when he invokes their names in "ending recession."

Supply-side economics creates phony economic bubbles — bubbles that have no meaning and are unsustainable, and which are actually instrumental in causing recession. When you feed the investment side of the equation, and then refuse to regulate the market, as the Republicans do, then you get markets and Republican lawmakers creating "instruments" that draw investors in, but which have little or no value to the economy.

Look at history. The biggest boom in our history happened in the roughly 30 years following the end of World War II. And it happened because of government spending on infrastructure, both here and in Europe. This country needs roads, it needs bridges, it needs schools; it needs a lot of things. And when you spend money on those, you create jobs. And when you create jobs, you create consumers who need to spend their money on things. THAT is what causes private companies to boom. Creating goods and services is good for the economy at large; catering to investors without actually dealing with consumers does nothing but create incentives for people to create investment instruments. Have you wondered why everything you buy is made in China? It's because most of our wealth has been created with phony investment instruments, designed to attract the investment dollar and nothing more. That is the legacy the Republicans have created for us, and that is why we have so few good jobs in this country.

I'll get into this more in another post. Let's get back to the stupidity of the corpulent one:

I say, cut the U.S. corporate tax rate — at 35%, among the highest of
all industrialized nations — in half. Suspend the capital gains tax
for a year to incentivize new investment, after which it would be
reimposed at 10%. Then get out of the way! Once Wall Street starts
ticking up 500 points a day, the rest of the private sector will
follow. There's no reason to tell the American people their future is
bleak. There's no reason, as the administration is doing, to depress
their hopes. There's no reason to insist that recovery can't happen
quickly, because it can.

Limbaugh is truly an idiot.

The reason the car companies are going under is because no one has any money to spend on cars.
The reason Circuit City is going out of business is because people aren't buying consumer electronics at the rate they were before.

There is merit to cutting corporate taxes in an up economy. Our corporate tax rate is too high, as is our capital gains tax rate. They both hurt small businesses and entrepreneurs. But you know what? If a corporation is making no profit, it's not paying 35%, anyway. If a business is losing equity at the rate of 20% a year, the capital gains rate isn't going to be a factor. If people can't buy what GM is selling, GM can't stay in business. Concentrating on the investment side of this equation is pure stupidity, and it demonstrates the abject cluelessness that got us here in the first place.

See, here's an idea to spur investment; create an environment in which more people have disposable income! Seriously, have we forgotten how we became the premier economic power in the world? We made things that people wanted to buy. We created wealth on the bottom end of the economy, and that spurred the top end to boom. The problem with our economy is simple. Instead of making goods and providing services people want and need, the market is creating phony financial instruments to attract investment dollars. The problem is, the only way to make money with financial instruments is to make someone else lose money. 

Trickle down/supply-side economics can't work to get us out of this recession, because the problem isn't at the supply side. Giving the wealthy more money to invest will do nothing, if no one has any money to buy. This recession is actually the end result of having supply-side economics rammed down our throats. Every time the consumer is ignored in favor of the investor, crooks take over the system, and we end up in a deep recession or a depression.

Ironically (and right wingers like Limbaugh apparently lack the gene that detects irony), it has been supply-side economics that has led us to this precipice, and Limbaugh's solution is to repeat the same behavior. Isn't that the very definition of insanity?

Speaking of irony, check out how Limbaugh closes his little missive. I know it will make you chuckle.

In this new era of responsibility, let's use both Keynesians and
supply-siders to responsibly determine which theory best stimulates our
economy — and if elements of both work, so much the better. The
American people are made up of Republicans, Democrats, independents and
moderates, but our economy doesn't know the difference. This is about
jobs now.

The economic crisis is an opportunity to unify people, if we set
aside the politics. The leader of the Democrats and the leader of the
Republicans (me, according to Mr. Obama) can get it done. This will
have the overwhelming support of the American people. Let's stop the
acrimony. Let's start solving our problems, together. Why wait one more

Wow. Limbaugh has made — and still makes — an entire 20 year career out of polarizing people, and labeling people he disagrees with as stupid and uninformed, and now, he's talking about unifying people, in the same column in which he excoriates Democrats for not doing things his way? And Obama doesn't think Limbaugh should be a Republican leader, but they sure do kiss his ass, and to their own detriment. Limbaugh's really not that big of a deal. Depending on how you count his listeners, no more than 5% of the population would even recognize his voice if he spoke. During the PEAK of his popularity, his chosen presidential candidate, Bush the Elder, got a whopping 38% of the vote. Obama's point was that GOP lawmakers could either waste their time kissing his ass, or doing the business of the people.

But I digress. I'll have plenty of time to talk about Limbaugh's ass-sized ego later. This is about the economy.

Here's a clue, Limbaugh; the current stimulus package has elements of everything you claim is important above. It also has Keynesian elements. So, why are you railing against it here and on your show? It's because you can't be a right winger and not be a hypocrite, of course. See? Answered my own question.

Cut the crap, Limbaugh. We can look at history, and see what works. We can either go back to the post-World War II Keynesian model, in which there was massive job creation and everyone did well, or we can continue with the supply-side model, which has led us to deep recessions, and retirement savings accounts that look like roller coaster rides.

In other words, we can follow our history, and do what works, or we can listen to a drug-addled hypocrite who's obviously just out for himself, and doesn't give a shit about the rest of the country…

I know which I'll choose. Are you with me?

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2009 The PCTC Blog