Today the Murdoch Street Journal is running an opinion column by Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh is a college dropout who has admitted to not taking an economics class. He wouldn't be able to give the formula for calculating gross domestic product if you spotted him the "C" and the "I". Shame on Murdoch for featuring this simpleton, and shame on business people who read such claptrap. With complete and utter bullshit like Limbaugh passing for information, it's no wonder investors have led the U.S. and the world into economic ruin.
A Limbaughtomy is a figurative straw that transmits over the public airwaves. Those who tune into Limbaugh's "Excrement in Broadcasting" allow this straw to pierce there skulls, remove large portions of the brain's grey and white matter, and replace it with sawdust. This procedure has been observed to lead people to say "ditto Rush," think that a multi-millionaire spouting a message chiefly benefiting billionaires is a populist, and--in it's most extreme cases--vote for Bush twice. Spotting Limbaugh's lies in print is as easy as spotting a crazed kook at a Republican rally, all you need to do is open your eyes.
Limbaugh begins by downplaying the Great Bush Recession, "The average recession will last five to 11 months." The NBER has indicated that the current recession began in December 2007. Thus, Limbaugh misleads his readers from the start by not acknowledging the Great Bush Recession is way above average, and implying that inaction is an option.
Then it gets galling. Limbaugh lumps President John F. Kennedy together with Reagan and Bush and dares to make the now thoroughly discredited claim, "We know that when tax rates are cut in a recession, it brings an economy back." Kennedy was instrumental in cutting the top marginal rate from 91 to 70 per cent. But that is a far different from Reagan and Bush cutting it down to its current 35%. Not to mention the fact that Kennedy was a not a supply sider, and he raised government revenue by cutting loopholes the super-wealthy were using to avoid paying the top rate. If we learned nothing else from the failed Bush policies we learned this: tax cuts do not stimulate the economy. Bush cut taxes on the wealthy three times and the economy is busted. How dare Limbaugh, or any other Republican for that matter, continue to pedal this tried-and-failed non-remedy?
Next Limbaugh quotes a flawed Rasmussen poll stating that 59% Fear Too Much Government Spending Is Coming and "Only 17% have the opposite concern and are more worried that Congress and the president will cut taxes too much." No, the opposite of too much government spending would be too little government spending. Consumer spending and Investment are declining. The U.S. net-exports are in the negative. The only way left to grow the economy under these circumstances is to increase government spending (GNP = C + I + G + NX, economics 101). So the solution must be spending. The real economic question should be is the government spending enough or too little?
Limbaugh finishes by being ridiculous. Though he previously admitted that he wants Obama to fail, he feigns bipartisanship and asks to put away the acrimony. The acrimony is clearly Limbaugh's fault, not President Barack Obama's.
Limbaugh is wrong. Now is not the time to try supply-side and Keynesian economics side-by-side. Eight-years of unmitigated supply-side was tried and demonstrated to fail during the George W. Bush administration. Now is the time to do what works. Keynesian economics brought the U.S. out of the first Republican Great Depression, it's the best tool in the toolbox to bring us out of the second Republican Recession/Depression too.