In recent days, Rush Limbaugh has defended AIG from a “lynch mob ... demanding heads” over the company's controversial employee retention bonuses.
During the March 17 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh -- "a great leader for conservatives" -- defended American International Group (AIG) from criticism of the company's controversial employee retention bonuses. Limbaugh declared, “A lynch mob is expanding: the peasants with their pitchforks surrounding the corporate headquarters of AIG, demanding heads. Death threats are pouring in. All of this being ginned up by the Obama administration.” Limbaugh later claimed, “This $500,000 limit on executive pay -- let me tell you why it won't work. New York City will die. New York City needs a whole bunch of people being paid a whole lot of money, so they can tax their butts off, so that the city can maintain its stupid streets, potholes, and welfare state. Without the super wealthy in New York, it's over. ... This -- it's just a populist ruse. It's just designed to people go, 'Yeah, yeah!' ”
In addition, on March 16, Limbaugh challenged a caller who opposed the bonuses. The caller said, “I do agree with [President] Obama trying to get these bonuses back from the AIG execs because, I mean, that's our money.” Limbaugh replied, “Let me ask you a question. ... You have a company -- let's take AIG out of this 'cause they're so emotionally charged. Let's say that the company being bailed out is the XYZ Widget Company. ... We need them to manufacture widgets and sell widgets and so forth. So why in the world -- or how do you get to the point where you're going to bail out the company, but you don't want the employees to get paid?” Limbaugh later added: "[T]his is not just executives, but executives are employees, too. And in many of these firms, Nathan, their salaries are pretty small. They work on bonuses, via contract based on merit."
From the March 17 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: A lynch mob is expanding: the peasants with their pitchforks surrounding the corporate headquarters of AIG, demanding heads. Death threats are pouring in. All of this being ginned up by the Obama administration.
LIMBAUGH: I want to ask all of you in this audience and those of you who are new to this program a question. Way back last fall, when all this bailout stuff started, I warned you: This isn't going to work. This is not the way to do it. This is the government asserting control. We see now what a total mess all of this has become.
Guess where we are now? We've got the administration led by President Obama and his teleprompter. His teleprompter told him to say yesterday that these AIG executives are greedy and selfish, and now what? We've got death threats being phoned in to the AIG headquarters in New York, and all this time, we've been told that it's talk radio that incites this kind of hatred. It's Limbaugh and the little Limbaughs that create all of this animosity and anger and cause people to behave in ways that are uncivil.
And the president's own teleprompter is telling him to say that these executive are greedy and selfish and this is inciting people to behavior that could lead to violence if their threats are acted out. This whole thing is a boondoggle. It is a mess brought to you by the United States government led by Democrats.
LIMBAUGH: President Obama's teleprompter tells him to say that the tired ways of the past didn't work, that we need a new way. Here we go; we've got the new way. We've got peasants with their pitchforks phoning in death threats at AIG. We have members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives sounding like communist dictators.
LIMBAUGH: This $500,000 limit on executive pay -- let me tell you why it won't work. New York City will die. New York City needs a whole bunch of people being paid a whole lot of money, so they can tax their butts off, so that the city can maintain its stupid streets, potholes, and welfare state. Without the super wealthy in New York, it's over. You might as well go get Kurt Russell in there, put a fence around the whole country, and turn it into a prison, because that's what it would be. Escape from New York, did you see the movie? That's what it would be if you start limiting the pay of people whose taxes pay the freight in that city. That's why it's never gonna happen. This -- it's just a populist ruse. It's just designed to people go, “Yeah, yeah!”
From the March 16 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: To North Alexander, Pennsylvania. Nathan, you're next. Great to have you here on the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, how you doing, Rush?
LIMBAUGH: I'm fine. Thank you.
CALLER: Yeah, I just wanted to say my brother's going to be real jealous. He listens to you, like, all the time, and I don't think he's ever gotten on the show. But, anyway, my comment --
LIMBAUGH: What's your brother's name?
CALLER: My brother's Jason. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
LIMBAUGH: Oh, Jason. He lives in Jacksonville. All right. Hi, Jason. Well, his time is coming.
CALLER: Yeah. There you go, there you go. But I just wanted to say, the one thing about this -- I do agree with Obama trying to get these bonuses back from the AIG execs because, I mean, that's our money. That's the taxpayers' money. I don't think their bonuses should be funded with taxpayers' money.
LIMBAUGH: Let me ask you a question.
CALLER: That's just my thought.
LIMBAUGH: No, no, wait a second. Wait a second.
LIMBAUGH: I'm very serious about this, Nathan.
LIMBAUGH: I'm very serious. You have a company -- let's take AIG out of this 'cause they're so emotionally charged. Let's say that the company being bailed out is the XYZ Widget Company.
LIMBAUGH: We've determined that we need to bail out XYZ Widget. XYZ Widget has people who work there.
LIMBAUGH: We're going to bail XYZ Widget out because we need XYZ Widget to continue operating as an ongoing business.
LIMBAUGH: We need them to manufacture widgets and sell widgets and so forth. So why in the world -- or how do you get to the point where you're going to bail out the company, but you don't want the employees to get paid?
CALLER: No. Have the employees get paid, yeah. But, I mean --
LIMBAUGH: Well, that's who this is. This is -- this is not --
CALLER: -- bonus? A bonus for tanking?
LIMBAUGH: No, this is not just executives, but executives are employees, too. And in --
CALLER: I understand that.
LIMBAUGH: -- many of these firms, Nathan, their salaries are pretty small. They work on bonuses, via contract based on merit. Now, if you're --
CALLER: I'll tell you what. I would love to have their salaries. You -- we'll switch salaries. I guarantee you, they would not be happy with my salary.
LIMBAUGH: Well, now, that's -- can I talk about that with you, too?
CALLER: OK. Go ahead. Go ahead.
LIMBAUGH: What's stopping you?
CALLER: What's stopping me from what?
LIMBAUGH: From having the kind of money that these people make, in your mind. What's stopping you from making it?
CALLER: Basically, I haven't gone back to school for it yet, to tell you the truth. And I haven't really been in that type of business for very long.
LIMBAUGH: Well --
CALLER: The main thing is --
LIMBAUGH: How old are you?
CALLER: How old am I? I'm 31 years old.
LIMBAUGH: Thirty-one. Your whole life's ahead of you. You can go back to school. If you want to earn -- what do you want to -- what would you love to earn per year? Forget the bonuses, forget anybody else. What would you like to earn?
CALLER: Honestly, it really wouldn't matter how much I earned as long as I lived comfortably.
LIMBAUGH: No, it matters, because you're upset that some of these people earn this -- you just said you'd love to have their salaries even though you don't know what they are. So, there's -- don't be embarrassed to give me a number. There's nothing --
CALLER: Oh, I would love to earn about 200, 250,000 a year. That would be perfect.
LIMBAUGH: You want to earn 200,000.
CALLER: Yeah --
LIMBAUGH: Two-fifty a year.
CALLER: -- that's right.
LIMBAUGH: Well, no, you want to earn 249,999 so you don't get the tax increase. So, you -- but, you want to earn 250. All right. Do you know what? And I mean this from the bottom of my heart, Nathan -- the only person stopping you is you. There's 250 -- he hung up. Damn it, he hung up. Right?
Nathan, if you're -- there's $250,000 out there for you, Nathan. If you really want it, you really want to earn that kind of money, it's out there. Now, it's going to -- and don't -- I'm not being insulting -- it's going to take hard work.