On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh actually argued that the rich did not benefit from the compromise to extend the Bush tax cuts. Limbaugh claimed that the government never gives the rich anything, and, “the only giveaway is welfare. The only giveaway is our social programs. The rich are not given anything by our government.”
Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:
After playing a clip of Nancy Pelosi discussing how the middle class were held hostage because the Republicans demanded additional tax cuts for the rich, Limbaugh said, “What she’s claiming happened didn’t happen. Nothing was done for the rich. It all depends on the baseline. It all depends on how the table was set. If you lived all year thinking the rich are going to get a tax increase because Obama wanted to raise taxes on the rich. He wanted to let these tax cuts expire. If you’re a liberal Democrat, and you want to soak these people by raising their taxes, and you believe your party’s gonna do that by letting these tax rates expire, and then all of the sudden your own party comes along and says nope, we gotta keep these tax cuts the same so as not to hurt the economy.”
A little later Limbaugh went on to claim that the rich never get anything from that the government, “There’s no giveaway to the rich. There’s no giveaway period. The only giveaway is welfare. The only giveaway is our social program. The rich are not given anything by government. Well, other than the CEOs who have a back scratch deal with Obama, but I mean in the terms you and I are talking about, the rich are not made rich because the government gives them money.”
Limbaugh’s spin is wildly inaccurate. Extending the Bush tax cuts benefits the wealthy more than anyone else. As the MoneyBlog explained, “There’s something for everyone in the Bush tax cut deal. But the benefits are skewed toward the rich. The payroll tax holiday takes two percentage points off the current 6.2 percent taken out of paychecks. Someone making $100,000 would get a tax cut ten times bigger than someone making $10,000. Census data shows the average U.S. family earns about $52,000 a year. A Bush tax cut extension will save these households $1,180 on average in 2011-about 2.3 percent of income. Families earning from $200,000 to $500,000 would save about $7,500. Taxpayers making $1 million and more, about $129,000 — nearly 6.2 percent of income.”
The original Bush tax cuts are based on trickledown economics and were designed to benefit the rich more than anyone else. The tax cut for the rich is three times larger than the one for the middle class. Rush Limbaugh makes $33 million a year in salary. Of course, Limbaugh is going to defend the Bush tax cut. He stands to pocket an additional $4, 257,000 in each of the next two years.
As far as Limbaugh’s claim that the rich never get anything from the government, here are just a few numbers from 2008, before the great economic collapse and the government bailout. In an average year, the wealthy get $100 billion in corporate welfare, $500 billion in Social Security payments that they don’t need, $100 billion in corporate bailouts, and $500 in interest from the Federal Reserve on bonds. The total amount of federal and state spending on welfare programs averaged $400 billion a year, but has grown to $600 billion during the current recession.
To put it in context, the rich get $100 billion more in Social Security payments than the federal and state budgets for welfare programs combined. Even with demand for assistance at its current high, it is only $100 billion more than Social Security payments to the rich. Contrary to what Limbaugh said, the rich actually take more of a handout from the government than the poor, but conservatives and Republicans keep their dirty little secret close to their vests, less the American people find out who is really bleeding them dry.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association