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Wednesday, November 12, 2008
NewsBusters Misleadingly Defends Limbaugh
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 9 NewsBusters post by Rusty Weiss bashing the Los Angeles Times' James Rainey for an article that, in Weiss' words, "attempted to castigate the right wing media as a bitter and resentful group of shameless journalists" -- so Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are "journalists" now? -- misleadingly defends Limbaugh. He writes:

Questioning our under-experienced President-elect isn't being fair?  Is it truly unfair to question the effect that a potential Obama victory had on our markets, and what an actual victory has done to send the stock market into the tank? 

Rainey is referring to Limbaugh's commentary that with the two day post-election stock market plunge, the Obama recession is in full swing.  Rush isn't the first, or only one raising such a point.  Investor's Business Daily ran an editorial on October 10th, regarding the link between a market dive and the election of America's first socialist President.  Our President-elect will make a dramatic shift away from capitalism, and will raise income, capital gains, dividend and payroll taxes, but it is simply unfair to assume any relationship between that knowledge and the biggest two day market loss since 1987?  Rainey wishes only to indulge in mindless Limbaugh bashing.

In fact, even the Fox Business Channel and the Wall Street Journal dispute the idea that Obama's election was the sole and direct cause of the stock market's drop in the two days following the election, citing unfavorable reports on employment and retail sales that came out at the same time.

Weiss then cites Limbaugh's assertion that Democrats are "going to take your 401(k), put it in the Social Security trust fund" and Rainey's correction that "Obama and the Democrats have proposed no such thing. The proposal, in fact, emanated from a single economist, one of many experts testifying to a congressional committee":

Not to mention, the phrase ‘plotting a government takeover' is quite misleading, when Limbaugh actually had stated that Obama's party ‘is talking about a government takeover of 401(k) plans.' 

Talking and plotting are two very different things.  Talking and proposing - also two very different things.  Rush never claimed they were plotting or proposing anything.  He said the Democrats were talking about such things. Rainey skillfully has taken Limbaugh's comments out of context, a staple for an LA Times writer.

But Weiss is taking Limbaugh out of context to minimize his remarks and hide the fact that Limbaugh accused Obama and Democrats of doing a lot more than "talking" about taking over 401(k) plans:

He wants to bankrupt the coal industry.  His party is now talking about a government takeover of 401(k)s.  In addition to you losing your 401(k), can I make a point to you about this?  Imagine every 401(k) and SEP/Keogh Plan in the country, and the government takes 'em over.  They're going to pull 'em out of the stock market.  Your investments are in the markets or wherever else you have them. They're going to take your 401(k). The way they're going to "sweeten" this for you is to take your 401(k) back to its August levels before the market decline. They're going to say to you, "We're going to restore the full value of your 401(k)," and you're supposed to have your tongue on the floor panting going (panting), "Really? Really?  Oh, wow! I love Obama! I love the Democrats."

Right. Then they take your 401(k) away from you after they "restore the value," and they put it in your so-called Social Security fund, which is bankrupt, and they're going to grow it by 3% each year with government bonds, and they're going to adjust that for inflation.  Well, whoopee-doo.  If we enter a deflationary period, which a lot of people think we might now -- which is not good, by the way. Deflation is bad for producers because they can't sell the things they produce for a profit.  It can drive businesses out of business if we go deflationary.  Inflation is bad, too.  But deflationary is a horribly bad cycle.  They're going to take your 401(k), put it in the Social Security trust fund, whatever the hell that is. Trust fund, my rear end.  Whatever they're calling it, going to put it there, guaranteeing you 3% interest a year, and the most that you're going to be able to contribute to it, Rachel, every year is 5%.

[...]

So, in addition to you losing your 401(k) to the government at 3% a year for the rest of your life, adjusted for inflation, all that money comes out of the stock market.  Okay.  So let me start at the top here, connecting the dots.  On Tuesday we elect a new president. The new president promised -- even before the election, by the way, when we had a 4,000-point drop. The president promised to increase corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, the top marginal income tax rate, a massive new energy tax that will bankrupt coal, and his party is talking about a government takeover of 401(k) plans.  So on Wednesday the Dow drops about 486 points.  It's down 346 points today, but of course, according to the Drive-Bys, these two events have nothing to do with each other. It's just a coincidence.

The full context shows that Limbaugh potrayed it as an actual proposal, not something one guy mentioned in a hearing. Despite Weiss' assertion that "Research into the issue seems to contradict the assertion that the idea is relegated solely to one radical economist spouting off ideas," he offers no evidence to support the claim.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 3:46 PM EST

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