Rush Limbaugh & “The Army Of One”

J. Brett Whitesell

On Tuesday May 25th, NPR ran an interview with Zev Chavets, author of the new book on Rush Limbaugh, “Army of One.” In this interview Chavets compares Limbaugh to Muhammad Ali more than once, describes him as an intellectual and says he is “stone deaf.” More importantly though, is that Limbaugh declares himself a “Reaganite.”
A Reaganite, by definition, is as former President Ronald Reagan was believed to be:
– For SMALLER Government
– For LESS government spending
– For FEWER taxes, spurring more production, which then should lower prices of goods, and create more jobs – “Reaganomics.”

For Rush to believe and promote those policies before and during the Reagan years in office would make sense. However, now we have history to go back to and that raises the question about Limbaugh’s intelligence.

When elected Ronald Reagan promised to cut taxes, eliminate government agencies, specifically in education and energy. He did indeed cut taxes soon after taking office, but eventually reality set in. Reagan not only didn’t eliminate Dept. of Education and the Dept. of Energy, he added the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, at that time the largest government agency ever created.

Instead of shrinking the government he added 61,000 federal employees. In contrast Bill Clinton, in order to get government spending back under control and reduce the national debt, eliminated 373,000 federal jobs including many of those Reagan had created.

Not long after his tax cuts, Reagan closed some corporate loopholes and raised taxes $100 billion for three years in order to slow down skyrocketing deficit caused by tax cuts. At the time this was the largest tax increase since World War II.

Reagan then expanded Social Security with $165 billion bailout, added tax on benefits in the most liberal way – he taxed highest recipients the most.

In 1983, due to continued deficit, Reagan instituted the first Gasoline Tax, something Jimmy Carter was lambasted for even suggesting.

In 1984, again Reagan had to increase taxes this time $50 billion over 3 years.

Between 1985-1986, Reagan closed more corporate loopholes amounting to a $300 billion increase to some of the largest companies in the U.S. This just after proclaiming, “There is no justification in taxing corporations.

While closing corporate loopholes and raising corporate taxes, Reagan increased family and personal deductions to a place where no one under the poverty level would have to pay taxes. He even expanded the “Earned Income Tax Credit,” considered one of the most effective anti-poverty programs to date. These policies were hardly conservative. In fact, Reagn’s Chief Economic adviser replied, “Walter Mondale would have been proud.”

In all Reagan raised taxes 6 times and expanded government spending more than any modern president with the exception of George W. Bush. How did he get away with it so long? Democrats didn’t bring it up because he was accomplishing many of their goals. Layman Republicans didn’t know any better because he called all the taxes increases “revenue enhancements.”

To follow with a bigger economic picture, from the beginning of 1970 to the end of 2008 the United States amassed $11 trillion in debt, $9 trillion of that can be attributed to 2 presidents, only 2, Ronald Reagan ($3.5 trillion) and George W. Bush ($5.5 trillion). This after Clinton handed Bush a sizeable surplus.

That is the problem with history, it really did happen that way. So is Rush Limbaugh not the intellectual, totally delusional, or simply lying? It becomes ironic then that Limbaugh’s loss of hearing comes while working on the airwaves. He has no idea how ridiculous the words are leaving his mouth.