Rush Limbaugh's economic philosophy has degenerated from a state characterized by his normal incompetence into a psychotic rejection of reality. Despite the statistics portraying the 30-year redistribution of wealth toward the rich, Limbaugh and his talk-show-host copycats have intensified their warnings about egalitarian redistribution of wealth from rich to poor.
Before elaborating on this psychosis charge, I'll expose Limbaugh's failure to comprehend the simplest economic concepts. When the 2009 first quarter GDP decline was reported as 6.1 percent annualized rate, Limbaugh repeatedly proclaimed that GDP had declined 6.1 percent in that quarter. The actual decline was, of course, only 1.6 percent, or 6.1 percent extrapolated on an annual basis. If the actual decline had been 6.1 percent, the annual rate would have been 22.3 percent. Anyone who can't understand that simple concept is unqualified to comment on economics. As proved by his error at the conservative PAC convention, when he confused the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution, and his agreement with Ben Stein, who blames the Holocaust on the teaching of evolution, Limbaugh's colossal ignorance is not limited to economics.
Limbaugh's prognostications further demonstrate his economic ignorance. After Clinton's election in 1992, Limbaugh predicted economic disaster. Instead, Clinton's economy scored postwar record economic growth (3.6 percent), 16 percent reduction in federal debt as percentage of GDP, and creation of 21 million private-sector jobs. In his January 2008 newsletter, when the Bush economic disaster was becoming obvious, the clueless Limbaugh wrote, "U.S. economy to avoid recession in 2008 due to surprising growth."
"Growth" in 2008 was negative 2.7 percent, worst performance in nearly a century.
Limbaugh zealously preaches the Republican mantra: Cutting taxes on the rich always promotes employment.
Here are the facts: Clinton raised the top tax rate by 28 percent (from 31 to 39.6 percent). Private-sector jobs increased by 21 million. Bush cut the top tax rate 12 percent (from 39.6 to 35 percent). Private-sector jobs declined by 700,000. Our best sustained growth rate, 3.2 percent in the 1948-1981 third of the 20th century, occurred in a period of income redistribution from rich to poor, when the top income tax rate was 70 percent or more.
Here's the basic fact demolishing Limbaugh's psychotic, class-warfare economics. Since 1981, incomes of the top .01 percent (average annual $13 million) have increased by nearly 400 percent, 30 times the trivial 12 percent gain in median income. That's a virtual return to the 19th century robber-baron era. Yet Limbaugh claims that socialistic class warfare is redistributing wealth from rich to poor, the exact opposite of what is still happening.
This total detachment from reality is not merely evidence of intellectual dishonesty; it is the essence of psychosis.
Limbaugh nonetheless sells this idiocy to his angry old-men audience. This Vietnam War draft dodger convinces his duped listeners that he's a great patriot. This con man's $60 million-a-year success proves that the dumbing of America has reached its terminal stage.
C.W. (Bill) Griffin is a retired consulting engineer. He has lived in Ahwatukee Foothills for 22 years.