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Larry Elder / March 5, 2009

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid – It’s Limbaugh

“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” the newly installed President Obama told Capitol Hill Republicans.

Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, just days ago, called the popular conservative radio talk show host “the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party.” Then Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on a CNN show hosted by comedian-turned-pundit D.L. Hughley. When Hughley called Limbaugh “the de facto leader of the Republican Party,” Steele stepped right on top of the trap. “No,” said Steele, “I’m the de facto leader of the Republican Party,” and called Limbaugh an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary” and “ugly.” Steele later apologized to Limbaugh. Game, set and match.

As the tax-and-spend policies of the Obama administration extend and deepen the recession, the new administration’s strategy to deal with the fallout becomes clearer and clearer.

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

The Democrats, according to Politico.com, took a poll and discovered that Limbaugh polled higher “negatives” than those of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and radical “reform educator” William Ayers. Given the departure of their reliable pinatas – former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney – Democrats believe they’ve found a new Darth Vader.

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

In the waning, pre-TARP days of the Bush administration, the national deficit stood at about $500 billion. A panicked Bush and Congress then voted for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to “bail out” the banks. Obama signed a $789 billion economic “stimulus” package, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced a $2.5 trillion “rescue plan” for the financial system. Even CNBC’s Jim Cramer, a former Obama supporter, called the administration’s approach the “greatest wealth destruction I’ve seen by a president.”

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

Obama, as part of his $3.6 trillion budget, intends to spend – strike that – “invest” on things such as creating “green jobs,” combating the effects of “climate change,” health care and enabling “homeowners” to remain in their unaffordable homes. How does the President intend to pay for all these things? He wants to tax “the rich” – those earning $250,000 or more. He also promises to close “tax loopholes” taken advantage of by the wealthy. What to do when this European-style redistribution of wealth fails to achieve its desired objectives?

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

The U.S. government already controls nearly 50 percent of health care spending. The Obama administration, through regulation and mandates, intends for government to control the rest. What happens when – as in Canada, France and elsewhere – this fails to achieve its stated goal of accessibility, affordability and accountability?

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

The 20 banks that received the most of the original TARP money actually reduced, not increased, their lending. And some used the money to buy other institutions. So how does the administration explain the failure of the “bailout” money to “unfreeze” lending?

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

The government now holds equity positions in several institutions, including, but not limited to, the giant insurer AIG. Since taking these positions, the government’s market value has dropped, placing the taxpayers deeper and deeper in the hole. General Motors, one of the Small Three, received – so far – some $13.4 billion in federal loans. But its losses continue, and GM now says it needs an additional $16.6 billion.

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

The president promised to eliminate pork, earmarks and/or special projects designed to please constituents. The $789 billion spending spree plan he recently signed is larded with pork-barrel projects. How does he square this legislation with his promise to end pork spending?

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

Republicans deserve harsh criticism for failing to rein in non-defense, non-homeland security spending when they controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress. Republicans helped gut the Freedom to Farm Act (designed to wean farmers from subsidies); OK’d pork-riddled energy and highway bills; expanded the federal government’s role in education through, among other things, the No Child Left Behind Act; passed – with the prescription benefits bill for seniors – the largest expansion of Medicare in decades; and increased government regulation as much as or more than under Democratic administrations.

But the Obama administration now puts spending on steroids, and all but three Republicans voted against the latest legislation. How does the Obama administration explain its failure to achieve its vaunted “bipartisanship”?

Blame Rush Limbaugh.

RNC Chairman Steele needs to focus on the merits of the Republican approach – lower taxes, less government domestic spending, and fewer regulations. Punishing high achievers by taxing them destroys incentive and thus destroys jobs. Transferring money from one pocket to another destroys the initiative of the giver and the given. Private capital knows best whether, how and when to “invest.” The private sector “creates or saves” jobs, not government. When Obama’s “new New Deal” fails to achieve the desired objectives, we already know what happens next.

Blame Rush Limbaugh, who, by the way, is not just laughing all the way to the bank. At today’s bargain-basement prices, he probably owns several.

CREATORS SYNDICATE COPYRIGHT 2009 LAURENCE A. ELDER 

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