Rush Limbaugh is an Idiot, and so is Mitt Romney

In a recent broadcast Rush Limbaugh (once again) said something stupid, that demonstrates his overall cluelessness:

They’re combining two things here: A, the never-ending appeal to tax revenue for firemen, cops, and teachers. That is the education of your kids and the safety you and your house and your family. And they’re trying to say that those jobs are being cut and now we’re not safe and your kids aren’t being educated. And that’s because the private sector’s been too selfish and too greedy and so forth. (pause) Look, folks, this is where I have to be very careful. Nobody’s opposed to cops or firefighters or teachers.

But they aren’t private sector jobs. They do not contribute to economic growth. Their purpose is otherwise. They have an entirely different purpose: Public safety, public education, this kind of thing. But there’s no growth in the economy. If you add those jobs — and if there aren’t other types of private sector jobs added while at the same time we’re adding to the fire rolls and the cop rolls and teachers — we are reducing the size of the private sector. This is Marxism 101. It’s also Ignorance and Sophistry 101.

This was his attempted defense of Mitt Romney’s statement:

Romney said of Obama, “he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

Apparently neither one of them bothered to look at some real people, or ask real economic questions.  As Jason Easley points out:

However, Rush’s biggest Econ 101 fail was the idea that police and firefighters don’t contribute to economic growth.  Each public sector job adds value to the economy. Public sector employees take their paycheck and pay the mortgage/rent, buy food, and support their families. All of that money goes back into the economy. When a public sector employee orders a pizza or goes to the mall, or gets their car fixed at the garage, just like a private sector employee,  they are adding to the economy

Even more of a failure was an understanding of what businesses look for, and need.  For example, if you look at what states are considered “the worst for business” (several business magazines do them) the usual list of the bottom contains those who also rank near the bottom when it comes to education.  Did Rush or Mitt ever notice that for all the Right’s screaming about taxes and the evils of “liberal colleges,” that businesses tend to be clustered around those very same colleges?  That they actually move to those places, even considering the tax burden? Businesses today need an educated workforce, and places that don’t provide one aren’t going to be drawing much in the way of businesses – or starting them.

It’s the same when it comes police and fire departments.  Using the “logic” Rush and Mitt seem to be using, businesses should be moving strongly into areas where there’s a “low cost” when it comes to police and fire protection. Heck, any area with only a few policemen and no paid fire departments.  Yes, those places exist, I live in one.  You know what?  They’re not stampeding here, or anywhere where that’s the case. It’s because police protection and fire protection actually help businesses.  It means you don’t have to spend a lot of money on private security, extra costs for fire prevention (or hire people to do it for you), and your insurance rates depend on that.

It’s not “Marxism,” it’s actually real business sense.  Admit it or not, and Republicans won’t, businesses depend on public infrastructure and services.  If they’re not present, businesses don’t succeed.  Elizabeth Warren had a great response to that:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Public workers don’t add to the economy?  Yes, they do.  They provide services that enable businesses to function.    Think they’re not necessary?  Look at a place without them (they exist), and see just how “terrific” the economy is there.   But if you think they’re not, then you’re welcome to move to a place where your wishes will be true.  I guarantee you won’t last long, though.    That’s the problem with “conservatives” (and I mean the quotes).  They don’t want to admit they need the services – or want to pay for them.  Which just makes them idiots.

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22 Comments

Filed under Business, Politics

22 responses to “Rush Limbaugh is an Idiot, and so is Mitt Romney

  1. A failure to properly fund public education and graduate well-educated students is a major problem here in GA. Many businesses have refused to settle here because there are not enough people who are qualified to produce their businesses’ products. Our state legislature is controlled by republicans, and they wrote a bill that allows taxpayers to channel their taxes to private schools and colleges instead of to public ones. Perdue signed the bill into law before leaving office. When the republicans aren’t doing this, they’re creating as many charter schools as they can. Charter schools here get public funds but don’t have to meet all of the requirements that ordinary public schools do, and they oftentimes fall prey to corporate interests. There was an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution last week about one of these charter schools that is run by a corporation. An audit found the school mismanaged thousands of dollars of public funding. Many of the charter schools don’t get the same level of scrutiny that ordinary public schools do, so there’s room for corruption that goes unchallenged and undetected until an audit is done, and by then, the damage is done. The most frustrating thing about this is that many citizens are pizzzed off, but they either don’t vote or they keep voting for republicans. If a democrat runs for the state legislature, they don’t spend much time examining his/her platform. They dismiss them immediately because “GA is a conservative state.” GA isn’t a conservative state. If it were, it wouldn’t be possible for fundamentalists to threaten our science curriculum as they are doing as I type, people wouldn’t vote for those who put enormous stress on the middle and lower classes by giving huge tax breaks to corporations, legislators wouldn’t be diverting money from public education while demonizing public schools and public school teachers, etc. The republican members of the state legislature do as they please. When things don’t get better, the first thing/person blamed for their woes is either the federal government or President Obama. They never blame the people they voted into office because they have an R beside their names.

    • What I’ve been seeing about charter schools is that they’re generally failures, and do nothing to improve the educational results. Their supposed reason to be was to provide “competition” for the local public schools. Mostly they turn out to be no better, and often worse.

  2. Vic78

    Romney’s an idiot if he thinks he’s going to get away with everything he’s said for the past 2 years. “He wants to hire teachers, firemen, and police…” as if that’s a bad thing. Rush Limbaugh’s success makes me wonder about some of my countrymen.

    • Rush doesn’t contribute to economic growth, either. In fact, quite the opposite, since in order to be able to pay him, his employer cut jobs.

      • Vic78

        He contributes to the Dominican Republic’s economy. I understand why he doesn’t like cops.

  3. foxpup

    By the same metrics, educating people, building infrastructure, and regulating (Wall Street) risk are all things that don’t lead to economic growth…in the short term. But anyone who can drive from Seattle to Dallas with only one hotel stay may disagree, as will any company that needs employees with science/technical skills. Long-term public investments can pay off handsomely, even if the concept seems to have fallen out of favor in the modern economy. Having sufficient numbers of adequately trained first responders and educators is only wasteful in the minds of the short-sighted.

    • One of the biggest economic investments this country ever made was right after World War II – the GI Bill. In terms of “return on the investment,” it was one of the most successful programs in history, yet in the short term, it was simply a “government program to help veterans.” I can (and have) also point to the CCC during the Depression, which built many facilities which people still use and enjoy – and provide a major boost to local economies to this day. In the short term, they all seem like “just wasteful government spending,” but in the long term, they’re often what made this country the economic powerhouse it is. What we’re failing to do today is to look ahead.

  4. Alan Scott

    Norbrook,

    Your point is that the CCC and the GI Bill were largely responsible for for the three decade post war prosperity in the US ?

    • Not the CCC in itself, but the “return on investment” was definitely in the plus side. I might also point out the Rural Electrification Administration, as well as the creation of the Interstate highway system. But yes, the GI Bill was responsible for a great deal of the prosperity, as were the infrastructure investments that were made.

  5. Alan Scott

    Norbrook,

    The CCC was good for those it gave some work to . It also had some good for the communities it left facilities in . The GI Bill was also good for the returning GIs . Throw in the REA and they were good for the local communities .

    It is far too big a stretch to believe America would not have economically dominated the World for 3 decades with out them . The US was the only major industrial nation at the end of WW2 to not have been flattened by the war . That is the central reason we boomed in the post war era . When our competitors were fully rebuilt in the 70s, that is when we began to have real trouble .

    • But, Alan, we would not have “boomed” if the infrastructure and the education systems were not in place. I can’t manufacture stuff, invent things, and do those things unless the infrastructure is in place, and the population is able to do it. Most of the south benefited from the REA – in particular the Tennessee Valley Authority. That’s what enabled them to shift from an agricultural economy. If we’d waited for “the free market” to do it, it would probably be still big areas of this country without electric lines.

      How do I know that? I just have to look at something modern – broadband internet. There are still a lot of areas (I live in one) where a good percentage of the people have dial-up, or at best a DSL line. The same holds true of cell service. If there’s not enough demand, “the market” isn’t going to bother.

  6. sidney18511

    Those programs that came out of the new deal, put money into our economy. Yes we were the only nation that wasn’t flattened in the war, but money spend by the government, even war money, is what created the middle class. Can you imagaine if the GOP had worked with Obama and we would of built a new green electric grid and high speed rail throughout our country? Updating our highways and bridges and airports and schools would of put so many people back to work, then we would of seen the money trickle. Tax breaks will not create jobs if you don’t have a healthy middle class with money in their pockets to spend. I am a business owner and I know what business needs to be successful enough to hire people.

  7. It isn’t economic illiteracy. Rush knows he is lying and so does Mittens.

  8. Alan Scott

    Norbrook ,

    I respectfully disagree . Infrastructure follows demand . I do not argue it is unimportant, only that infrastructure is not the magic bullet . If it was as you believe, the USSR with their 5 year plans and Hydroelectric dams would have out competed the US .

    We are arguing the chicken and the egg . Which came first the private sector demand or the public sector infrastructure ? It’s true that infrastructure can stimulate. Motels and gas stations spring up along new highways . However, a highway can also be looked at like a business. You were in the private sector. You know about businesses who expanded too rapidly and went bankrupt because the demand and revenue did not justify the capacity they added .

    sidney18511 ,
    My views on green grids and high speed rails are not to be repeated in polite company. I’ll leave it at that .

    If the private sector does not generate cash flow through taxes because it failed to grow , it will not service the huge debt taken on for the infrastructure . You then get a death spiral of higher taxes and shrinking revenue . I cite the current state of the State of California .

    • That’s funny, seriously, Alan. Infrastructure does not always (or even mostly) “follow demand.” That’s been true of our nation’s history. The Erie Canal was a “boondoggle,” also known as “Clinton’s Ditch.” It was considered a complete waste of public dollars, yet today it’s considered one of the primary reasons that the West was settled, and industry and agriculture in the Midwest became viable. The railroads were built not just with private dollars, but also because of federal incentives – one of the larger land giveaways in this nation’s history. The Interstate highway system was built and entire sectors moved and grew to take advantage of it.

      Without the infrastructure, and the public services (dollars) which built them, this nation would still be a rather agrarian country.

    • Alan, in addition:
      First, because I was in business, I also understand the need for existing infrastructure to build a business. Additional infrastructure may follow because of demand, but without the initial investment in infrastructure, you don’t get started to begin with. I needed roads, I needed electrical grids, I needed police and fire departments, and I needed educational systems around my business to begin with. If they didn’t exist, it wouldn’t have mattered whether I wanted to expand, or even start up to begin with.

      The private sector “fails to grow” because there is a lack of demand, and if you don’t have that, it won’t grow to begin with. 32 years of conservative policies have cut taxes to a fraction of what they were just 50 years ago, while actual household incomes declined. When people have less money to spend, they don’t buy, and what we’re seeing now is the result of those policies. Businesses need customers, Alan, and it doesn’t matter how “cheap” they make it, or what their tax burden is. Let’s get real: If the supply-side crap worked, right now this would be an economic boom time for this country, and would have been for the past three decades.

      I’m also well aware of your opinion of high-speed rail and green energy. You’re a climate change denier – sorry, but every major scientific organization and almost all climate scientists disagree with you – and you still have this pathetic faith that there will always be plenty of oil to fuel vehicles. Again, even the oil companies don’t share that notion, but heck, reality is never a Republican strong suit.

  9. Alan Scott

    Norbrook,

    ” You’re a climate change denier – sorry, but every major scientific organization and almost all climate scientists disagree with you ”

    You got me . If every major scientific organization is jumping off of a cliff, you can happily go with them . I will not . Conventional wisdom, historically is mostly wrong .

    I hope you remember that President Obama ” invested ” $ 500 Million in Solyndra, and well over $ 1 Billion each in SunPower and First Solar . This election voters might want an accounting of their tax money in this green infrastructure .

    ” and you still have this pathetic faith that there will always be plenty of oil to fuel vehicles. Again, even the oil companies don’t share that notion, ”

    Logically if you are right, everything will work out . No oil, no cars, no climate change, no problem .

    You brought up a lot more I wanted to challenge you on, Railroads, the Erie Canal, Police and Fire Departments, and especially the electrical Grid, but I believe I am too long here .

    I

    • sidney18511

      Alan, top scientists from the best minds of every country in the world have come to the same conclusion, take a look at their findings. The thought that there is some conspiracy on such a grand scale doesn’t hold water. What would be their purpose? Science has given us great advances in medicine, technology and space exploration. I can’t for the life of me think of when thousands of scientists from around the globe have lead us astray for monetary gain, or just for the fun of it. The oil companies just like the tobacco companies before them have a financial stake in keeping people in the dark. This climate denying only exists in the USA. The carbon industries are making billions and they don’t want any one to mess with their golden goose while it’s still laying eggs. The repubs are against anything that will slow down the use of their product, even high speed rail. When we will be forced to move to renewables they want a stake in in. Wouldn’t it be in our best interest to not be dependent on middle east oil anyway?
      Solyndra…..china put over 32 billion into development into the same product, you can figure out the rest. 4 trillion dollars was spent on the bush/ Cheney folly in Iraq billions going to republican business associates such as halliburton and blackwater, some under fraudulent billing means.

    • Alan, it’s not “conventional wisdom” it’s scientific data. We have very good measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide stretching back well over a century. We also can look at samples of “ancient air” from samples trapped in ice caps. So scientists can determine the variations over time in terms of carbon dioxide. With that, they can also look at the historical record, as well as climate that was present in the distant past, and say “if this level was present, the climate was like this.” That’s why they know that carbon dioxide has been rising markedly over the past century. Even more, any chemist can do a simple set of experiments which shows that carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas.” You can even see what happens if you add it to water. Helpful hint, you can do it yourself. Just pour some carbonated beverage on limestone. It’s an acid. “Common sense” would tell you that you can’t take carbon out of the ground, burn it, and think that it magically disappears.

      Now, as for Solyndra, did you ever bother to look at which administration was the one which gave them a lot of that money initially? Helpful hint: It wasn’t the Obama administration, it was the Bush administration. I might also point out, and will, that Mitt Romney used taxpayer dollars to fund a now bankrupt solar cell company when he was governor of Massachusetts.

      By the way, you want to challenge me on those things? You’d better do your historical research. Seriously. Because every single one of those things refute your point, but heck, reality hasn’t been a conservative strong suit for quite some time.

    • Alan, here’s another example for you: Back in the early 80’s there was a disease which baffled doctors. It came to be called “AIDS.” After a lot of work, scientists discovered a virus, which now is called HIV. It’s been identified, with a lot of work, as the causitive agent for the disease. But you know what? There’s a number of people, some with impressive sounding credentials, who to this day deny that HIV causes AIDS. It doesn’t matter that the overwhelming evidence doesn’t support them, or that their “alternatives” don’t stand up to scrutiny.

      There are also people who can come up with any number of reasons why smoking isn’t harmful, or doesn’t cause cancer. I remember all those “questioners” for a good part of my life. No matter what the increasing amount of evidence showed, they had … “questions” or “denied” it.

      The same crap is happening with climate change. You can sit around and say it isn’t happening. Heck, you can believe the world the moon landings are fake, or that the earth is flat. It doesn’t change what is, and trying to deny it just puts you in an ever smaller minority.

  10. Alan Scott

    sidney18511,

    ” Alan, top scientists from the best minds of every country in the world have come to the same conclusion, take a look at their findings. The thought that there is some conspiracy on such a grand scale doesn’t hold water. What would be their purpose? ”
    Uhhh, let us see . You ‘ claim ‘ that scientists have no agenda, that all they are looking for is pure truth . So why did the whole East Anglia e-mail scandal happen, where any data that might contradict the man made global warming models was suppressed ? Why is it that any scientist who questions the Conventional Wisdom of Climate Change is threatened with career death ?

    Norbrook ,

    ” Now, as for Solyndra, did you ever bother to look at which administration was the one which gave them a lot of that money initially? Helpful hint: It wasn’t the Obama administration, it was the Bush administration. ”

    That contradicts what I have always read . The Bush Administration looked at Solyndra, but did not approve of the money . It was your guys who came in and fast tracked the money , even though they were warned not to do it . You got proof of what you say, put it on the table.

    As far as Governor Romney wasting Massachusetts money, we always knew he made mistakes. I pray he will not do that again .
    And it would be fun correcting your mistakes on history . The facts are what they are . I challenge your conclusions .

    • Alan, the “East Anglia scandal” was simply a discussion of how best to analyze the data, and take into consideration the fact that living trees have different markers than previous ones. I might also note that there are many independent confirmations of the trend. Would you like to address the Heartland Institute e-mail scandal, where they were paying people to “debunk” it, as well as slanting coverage?

      And yes, you’re wrong about Solyndra as well.

      December 2006: Solyndra Applies for a Loan Guarantee under the 1703 program.

      Late 2007: Loan guarantee program is funded. Solyndra was one of 16 clean-tech companies deemed ready to move forward in the due diligence process. The Bush Administration DOE moves forward to develop a conditional commitment.

      September 2009: Solyndra raises an additional $219 million. Shortly after, the DOE closes a $535 million loan guarantee after six months of due diligence. This is the first loan guarantee issued under the 1703 program. From application to closing, the process took three years – not the 41 days that is sometimes reported. OMB did raise some concerns in August not about the loan itself but how the loan should be “scored.” OMB testified Wednesday that they were comfortable with the final scoring.

      I might note that the entire process for the loan was not only started, but pushed forward rapidly by the Bush Administration. You seem to think it was “a grant,” not “a loan.”

      So do keep trying to prove me wrong, Alan. You just look bad doing it.