Skip to comments.A Plea to Limbaugh: Rush's economics are getting extremely sloppy
Posted on 02/18/2010 10:27:39 AM PST by GOP_Resurrected
In a way, it feels a little difficult and presumptuous, from my perspective, to criticize Rush Limbaugh on the subject of economics. Had it not been for the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation works he referenced on air when I began listening in the Clinton years, I would have probably never become as well-read and researched on the subject as I am now. Being a financial professional, following economic reports and analysis, is part of my daily routine.
Before I begin, let me clear the air: this is friendly fire! I am every bit as dismayed with policy coming out of Washington right now as Limbaugh. I think the "stimulus" bill was a wasteful monstrosity that bought us a tiny short-term gain, while putting a monumental screwjob to the U.S. taxpayer. I want with a passion to see Obama and his allies in Congress defeated at the ballot box, and lower taxes and free markets to again be on the agenda. And again, it was Limbaugh who planted the intellectual seeds to bring to where I am today.
But I just took in the first hour of his program today. And I can't sit by listening to his demonstrably untrue, sloppy economic commentary anymore and not make at least a small voice heard here on FR. He is not being an articulate, learned observer from the supply-side school of economics anymore, he's being a partisan and ideological hack.
I understand the natural inclination of a partisan to want to play up the negative and minimize the positive. Yes, employment is painfully high, and even the bullish forecasters expect it will remain so for sometime to come because it is a lagging indicator. So, high unemployment is the main metric by which Rush critiques current conditions. He did NOT do this under Bush in the 20 months after the recession of 2001 ended when the economy continued to shed jobs. He then argued - absolutely correctly - that it was always the last indicator to turn positive.
He has spent the past three weeks denigrating the 5.7% GDP growth rate of the 4th quarter, repeatedly asserting that it's "all government spending." This is simply not true. Government was a negative on GDP performance in Q4, and for all of 2009, federal spending accounted for only .3% of GDP growth, which is right in line with historical averages. This of course makes sense, since he can't argue in one breath that only a small portion of Porkulus has been spent (which is true) and thus wouldn't have been ABLE to have a huge impact, and in the next breath chalk all positive news up to a fiscal sugar high from government.
Limbaugh seems to coming from the all-too-common fatalistic perspective here on FR: that we are in a perpetual downward spiral heading towards bread lines as long as Obama sits in office. The bad measures of the economy are trumpeted from the rooftops. The positive ones, which are by far the most numerous these days, are to be pissed on, waved away, or chalked up to political manipulation. Of all people, Rush should have more faith in the U.S. economy than that.
Rush, I don't know if you surf FR regularly anymore, but consider this an open letter. Please, STOP! Stop the gloom, stop the pessimism, stop the sloppiness. I'd like to recommend a book for you: "It's Not as Bad as You Think," by Brian Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust Portfolios. And no, his is NOT a Rubinite Wall Street lefty, he's a supply sider and regular contributor to National Review Online. Inform yourself and stop shooting from the hip on the most important issue of the day.
The anklebiters at Media Matters need to be relegated to the inane hair-splitting and grievance mongering they're known for. But as of late, you are giving them REAL MATERIAL to call you out on. If you're going to be a figurehead for our movement, please know what the hell you're talking about.
Ok? Get back to me when your radio show is on the 20+ years.
“He has spent the past three weeks denigrating the 5.7% GDP growth rate of the 4th quarter,...”
What part of the Kenyan and his minions are manipulating the data don’t you understand? The high jobless rate is fatal to the success of the Kenyan’s communist coup.
Employment is not painfully high, unemployment is.
This ianalysis would be really nice EXCEPT that the latest numbers on unemployment claims ROSE. Fact is we are in a nasty long recession made worse by the idiots in DC
Government spending has hurt us enormously and there is NO END in sight.
Remember that all of these number crunching stats guys are the smart ones who brought us ENRON and AIG. Their track record shows successes only for themselves
You claim to be very devoted to Free Repulic, didn’t you join less than 3 months ago?
On substance, I do NOT believe Rush attributes GDP growth to the “stimulus”. He says the stimulus money went in large part to government union workers who are democrat party supporters to prop up their unions.
He says just the opposite, that the stimulus created no jobs (Bayh agrees).
Maybe I’m IBTZ.
Well that certainly is an interesting perspective. You’ll get no flames from me as I do enjoy other’s thoughts on these serious issues, but I agree that the “flame-proof suit” is a good idea.
Maybe you need to read up on what Art Laffer is saying. I believe Rush has it correct.
I skimmed your letter, my advice to Rush is to avoid it altogether.
Wow -- and to think that you came up with this dissertation of yours, statistics and all, in what??? twenty minutes.
Please take this in the kindest possible way, but why not tell Mr. Limbaugh, not us? We are hardly responsible for his shop prep (although I like to think we have validated some of this opinions and helped him form an opinion as to the mood of his audience.
In other words, go tell someone who is able to affect the outcome. Mr. Limbaugh doesn’t seem like someone who isn’t able to reassess his position if proven wrong. God knows, he’s had enough humbling experiences in life.
Of all of the economics pieces on this melt down that could be recommended, anything by Westbury is a lose-lose proposition. He didn’t see this coming, and he has no clue how bad it is.
I used to follow stocks....
please explain to us why, when there is good economic news the stock market tanks and when there is terrible news the market skyrockets?
I heard most of the growth was due to restocking.
Please, STOP! Stop the gloom, stop the pessimism, stop the sloppiness.
You have got to be listening to somebody I am not familiar with.
You are exactly right... Re-stocking inventories drove 3% of the 5.7% growth. Retail sales another 100+ basis points. But, honestly, this should have been expected as the economy is coming off such a low base. I’ve been posting on here for a year that Q4 and Q1 GDP numbers were going to be strong. The issue, both economically and politically, is what happens in the second half of 2010 and 2011. Art Laffer has stated that he thinks that 2010 will be strong as everyone is anticipating higher taxes next year and will get there spending in now and cut it back next year to pay for the increased tax bill.
There is extreme danger in thinking that the economy won’t recover between now and 2012 and Obamarx is a sure 1 termer. The economy will almost certainly be in the 3rd year of recovery and there will be job growth (barring a catastrophic terrorist attack or massive economic miscues like raising taxes on everyone or China collapsing). The US economy is just too strong and resilient...and it will have NOTHING to do with Obamarx but he will get the credit. The president always does.
As a financial professional (you), I would instead let this thread die and reformat it a different way. From the get go, structure a broad overview of the financial trend as you see it and what indicators mean what. Then project a short and long term estimation of our situation. This way you instruct those that are not financial pros and also allow other financial pros who have a different view to build a positive argument on viewpoints.
As it is I'm afraid you condemned yourself to adversarial bickering with very few Freepers sticking around long enough to learn anything because name calling and heat get tiring.
If you do reformat the post to a more educational and less confrontational format, I would be interested in your view as to what China's dumping of 34 billion of our bonds mean. I'm not really interested in this thread as constructed though, because with the animosity it is designed to generate it probably won't produce much information of value.
Good luck and I hope we see more neutral educational financial threads on FR. I would join that ping list.
And, I would add, that most of the people writing on economics for _National Review_ also have their heads in a hole in the ground. Ben Stein, Larry Kudlow, et al. They all were wrong going into 2008, they’re still wrong now.
The people who keep claiming that tax cuts will cure what is wrong with the economy now are just out to lunch. Tax increases certainly won’t help anything, but tax cuts (other than payroll tax cuts) won’t induce consumers to spend. The Bush tax rebates showed us what people will use “found money” for - paying down debt. Not spending.
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