President Obama has said that relentless deregulation and tax cuts -- "you're on your own" economics -- don't result in a strong economy and have "never worked." Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly twisted these words and falsely claimed that Obama is attacking "capitalism" and America itself.
Obama: Theory That Deregulation And Tax Cuts Lead To Strong Economy Has "Never Worked"
Obama In December: Trickle-Down Economics "Doesn't Work. It's Never Worked." From President Obama's December 6, 2011, speech on economics in Osawatomie, Kansas:
Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt's time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let's respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. "The market will take care of everything," they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes -- especially for the wealthy -- our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn't trickle down, well, that's the price of liberty.
Now, it's a simple theory. And we have to admit, it's one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That's in America's DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here's the problem: It doesn't work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn't work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It's not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the '50s and '60s. And it didn't work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it's not as if we haven't tried this theory. [WhiteHouse.gov, 12/6/11]
Obama In December: " 'You're On Your Own' Economics ... Doesn't Result In A Strong Economy." From the Osawatomie speech:
Remember in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history. And what did it get us? The slowest job growth in half a century. Massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class -- things like education and infrastructure, science and technology, Medicare and Social Security.
Remember that in those same years, thanks to some of the same folks who are now running Congress, we had weak regulation, we had little oversight, and what did it get us? Insurance companies that jacked up people's premiums with impunity and denied care to patients who were sick, mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn't afford, a financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy.
We simply cannot return to this brand of "you're on your own" economics if we're serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country. (Applause.) We know that it doesn't result in a strong economy. It results in an economy that invests too little in its people and in its future. We know it doesn't result in a prosperity that trickles down. It results in a prosperity that's enjoyed by fewer and fewer of our citizens. [WhiteHouse.gov, 12/6/11]
Obama In February: America Won't Win With "The Same Old, Tired, Worn-Out, 'You're On Your Own' Economics That Hasn't Worked." From Obama's February 23 speech at a campaign event in Coral Gables, Florida:
[W]e've got to make sure that everybody is doing their fair share. Everybody needs a fair shot; everybody has got to play by the same set of rules; everybody has got to do their fair share.
And when it comes to paying for our government and making sure the investments are there so that future generations can succeed, everybody has got to do their part. Which is why I put forward the Buffett Rule: If you make more than a million dollars a year you should not pay a lower tax rate than your secretary. (Applause.) That's common sense. We've said if you make $250,000 a year or less, you don't need your taxes going up right now. But folks like me, we can afford to do a little bit more.
That's not class warfare. That's not envy. It has to do with simple math. If somebody like me gets a tax break that the country can't afford, then one of two things happen: Either the deficit goes up, which is irresponsible -- or we're taking it out of somebody else -- that student who is now suddenly having to pay a higher student loan rate, or that senior who's having to pay more for Medicare, or that veteran who's not getting the help they need after having served our country.
That's not right. That's not who we are. Everybody in this room, we are here, successful, because somebody down the road was not just thinking about themselves, they were taking responsibility for the country as a whole. They we're thinking about their future. The American story has never been about what we just do by ourselves; it's about what we do together. We're not going to win the race for new jobs and new businesses and middle-class security if we're responding to today's challenges with the same old, tired, worn-out, "you're on your own" economics that hasn't worked.
What these other guys are peddling has not worked. It didn't work in the decade before the Great Depression. It did not work in the decade before I became President. It will not work now. (Applause.) [WhiteHouse.gov, 2/23/12]
Limbaugh Morphs Obama's Statements About Economics Into Anti-American Sentiment
Limbaugh: Obama Said "The Country Has Never Worked" And "Capitalism Has Never Worked." From Limbaugh's February 24 show:
LIMBAUGH: Here's the next sound bite.
OBAMA [audio clip]: We're not going to win the race for new jobs and new businesses and middle-class security if we're responding to today's challenges with the same old tired, worn-out "you're on your own" economics that hasn't worked. What these other guys are peddling has not worked. It didn't work in the decade before the Great Depression. It did not work in the decade before I became president. It will not work now.
LIMBAUGH: Do you believe this? The country has never worked? Capitalism has never worked? America was not great until the New Deal. And then America plunged into the abyss again and only is on the path to reclaiming its greatness now that he is replicating the New Deal by a factor of 10. Has he ever heard of the Roaring '20s? Has he ever heard of the boom in the '50s and the '60s and the '70s. Has he ever heard of what happened in the 1980s? It never worked?
This is the second time he's said this such -- in such a prominent way. Last time was when he made his speech -- I guess it was in December, might have been January, the days run together so quickly now -- in Osawatomie, Kansas. Where he said America, as founded, hasn't worked. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/24/12]
Limbaugh: Obama Is "Essentially Saying That America Has Never Worked Since The Days Of Its Founding." From Limbaugh's April 2 show:
LIMBAUGH: It might have been in his Saturday radio address. I'm not sure. He said it before, so it's not new, but he said it again. He said, "We won't win the race for new jobs and new businesses and middle-class security if we cling to this same old worn-out, tired 'you're on your own' economics that the other side is peddling. It was tried in the decades before the Great Depression. It didn't work then. It was tried in the last decade. It didn't work. You know, the idea you would keep on doing the same thing over and over again, even though it's been proven not to work. That's a sign of madness."
This is Barack Obama essentially saying that America has never worked since the days of its founding. That this "you're on your own" economics hasn't worked. I would love to sit down -- I would love to have a conversation with him and say, "We've got $16 trillion in debt. No end in sight because of the deficits you're running up. Every program that you have put in place has failed, and every program that people like you have put in place has failed in its objective. Would you give me one instance where what you believe in has resulted in private-sector economic growth and prosperity? And would you please look back over the history of this country and tell me it didn't work and give me examples. I want to know what was it before the New Deal that didn't work? What was it --"
By the way, the thing that saved this country economically after the New Deal -- because the New Deal was destroying this economy -- was World War II. The New Deal was an abject failure, just like Obamanomics is an abject failure. But it's even -- the characterization of capitalism as "you're on your own" economics is so flawed as to be insulting. This is what I mean about these people being ignorant. Conceited, ignorant. I have no doubt he believes this. He's been taught this. He's theorized about it in the faculty lounge. He believes that capitalism is, "You're on your own." He believes that capitalism is people destroying each other, stealing from each other. That's what he thinks of competition. Competition is immoral. It's unhealthy because all it does is lead to cheaters. And who are the cheaters? The people that win. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/2/12]
Limbaugh: "Obama Said That. Quote Unquote, 'This Country Has Never Worked.' " From Limbaugh's May 21 show:
LIMBAUGH: So, once again, it's an attempt here to take on the majority as some evil -- the ruling class in this country, now, the Obamaites, they believe the country was founded unjustly, that it was founded by the 1 percent for the 1 percent, that it's never worked. Obama said that. Quote unquote, "This country has never worked." And now it's time to transform it. And part of that's payback. Part of it is payback because the majority, this evil white majority, has arranged things so that they get all the spoils, and then whatever they don't want is what gets handed down. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/21/12]