On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh claimed that it is the Obama stimulus not the Bush tax cuts that wrecked the US economy. Limbaugh said, “George W. Bush is still stimulating the economy that Obama is trying to ruin, which means if not for Bush, we would really be in the tank.”
Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:
While discussing Ben Bernanke’s recent comments about the Bush tax cuts, Limbaugh said, “Be very, very careful on doubting me here. We have the President of the United States for two and a half years, blame these tax cuts for putting us where we are economically. The President of the United States has said we need stimulus equaling government spending. If we hadn’t done his stimulus, his government spending, why that’s created or saved three and a half million jobs. Why we’d be a third world country if Obama hadn’t done that. We can’t go back. We can’t go back to the policies, and here’s Bernanke saying we gotta continue those policies, tax cuts, George W. Bush is still stimulating the economy that Obama is trying to ruin, which means if not for Bush, we would really be in the tank.”
As usual Limbaugh only told his listeners half of Bernanke’s comment. According to Bloomberg, Bernanke said, “In the short term I would believe that we ought to maintain a reasonable degree of fiscal support, stimulus for the economy. There are many ways to do that. This is one way. In the longer term, I think we need to be taking steps to reassure the American people and the markets that our fiscal situation is going to be well controlled. That means that if you extend the tax cuts, you need to find other ways to offset them.”
Limbaugh also neglected to mention that Obama and the Democrats want to keep the Bush tax cuts for families earning up to $250,000 a year. The Republicans are irate because the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy are the ones that won’t be renewed. Republicans continue to demonstrate that they are the same old GOP. They want their tax cuts, but they don’t want to be bothered with paying for them, which goes against the Republicans’ current repackaging of themselves as deficit conscious and fiscally conservative.
The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy turned a surplus into a deficit, and helped drive the economy into the ground. If the Bush tax cuts were so stimulative, then why didn’t they prevent this recession from occurring? The answer is the same old flaw in trickle down economics that Republicans have never been able to explain. People making over $1 million a year saw their income rise 7.5% from the Bush tax cuts, while the middle class saw a 2.3% gain, and lower class gained less than one percent, but this didn’t stimulate the economy because the wealthy did not put their money back into the economy. They kept it.
Most damning to Limbaugh’s claim of Bush tax cut economic stimulation. According to the Brookings Institute, “Growth rates of GDP, investment, and other key economic indicators during the 2001-2007 expansion were below the average for other post-World War II economic expansions. Growth in wages and salaries and non-residential investment was particularly slow relative to previous expansions, and, while the Administration boasts of its record on jobs, employment growth was weaker in the 2001-2007 periods than in any previous post-World War II expansion. “
The Bush tax cuts did not and are still not stimulating the economy. The tax cuts that Obama and the Democrats want to keep are the ones that are most likely to result in money being placed directly back into the economy. Trying to give Bush credit for this recovery is a lot like complimenting the Titanic on their lifeboats. Limbaugh wants us to ignore that Republicans steered us into an iceberg, and only focus on the fact that at least we now have lots of ice.