Limbaugh's “dumpster dive” suggestion only latest salvo in his war on the poor

Rush Limbaugh has suggested that hungry children who can't afford food this summer go “dumpster div[ing].” This is only the most recent instance in which Limbaugh has mocked or derided the plight of the poor.

Limbaugh suggests that hungry children “dumpster dive” to find food

Limbaugh suggested that “kids losing weight because they're starving to death” is a benefit of school being out for the summer. On the June 16 edition of his radio show, referencing a report that children “face a summer of hunger” because "[w]hile classes were in session, they relied on free or discount cafeteria meals ... [b]ut they will not be reached by the patchwork summer food programs financed by" the federal government, Limbaugh stated that “a summer off from government eating might be just the ticket” to curbing childhood obesity. He later characterized children “starving to death out there because there's no school meal being provided” as “one of the benefits of school being out.”

Limbaugh to children: Can't find food? “There's always the neighborhood dumpster.” Also on his June 16 show, Limbaugh challenged Summer Food Service programs by criticizing children for not knowing how to find food. Limbaugh first suggested that children should “try your house,” and “if that doesn't work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald's.” He concluded, “There's another place if none of these options work to find food; there's always the neighborhood dumpster.” From the show:

LIMBAUGH: I think, you know what we're going to do here, we're going to start a feature on this program: “Where to find food.” For young demographics, where to find food. Now that school is out, where to find food. We can have a daily feature on this. And this will take us all the way through the summer. Where to find food. And, of course, the first will be: “Try your house.” It's a thing called the refrigerator. You probably already know about it. Try looking there. There are also things in what's called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you're going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dip and maybe a can of corn that you don't want, but it will be there. If that doesn't work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald's. You know where McDonald's is. There's the Dollar Menu at McDonald's and if they don't have Chicken McNuggets, dial 911 and ask for Obama.

There's another place if none of these options work to find food; there's always the neighborhood dumpster. Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August. Can you imagine the benefit we would provide people?

Limbaugh posted a transcript of the segment on his website, and launched a “Where to Find Food Program.” The day after Limbaugh suggested “dumpster div[ing]” for food, his website featured what Limbaugh called “EIB's Where to Find Food Program.” Limbaugh is shown in a graphic pointing to a refrigerator next to a grocery bag with the words “WHERE TO FIND FOOD” written on it. The front page of the website teases the story by stating: “It's the 'Summer of Hunger'? El Rushbo wants to help.” From the website:

Limbaugh frequently derides the plight of the poor as well as programs to aid them

Limbaugh: “Would somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge?” Responding to reports that one in 50 American children experiences homelessness, Limbaugh called the statistic “bogus.” He questioned the validity of the statistic by asking his listeners: “Would somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge?” From the March 25, 2009, edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

RUSH: This question -- you know he didn't have any questions last night from the dean of the drive-bys. No Wall Street Journal. No New York Times. No Washington Post. No -- um -- some other big newspapers did not get questions. Los Angeles Times. Instead, some guy from Ebony magazine, which is a pop culture magazine. That's like having somebody from People magazine in there. And this guy asked the strangest question. This bogus statistic that one out of 50 American children are homeless. What do you -- what are you gonna do -- I want to see the facts on that. Just like how we had the “2-3 million people homeless” during the late '80s and early '90s. Mitch Snyder and his bogus homeless numbers. I mean that was obviously huge, a bogus discussion about homeless children, just after Obama got animated about cutting charitable deductions. He got happy. So he's happy, he can't wait to cut the charitable deduction, and he gets a question about one in 50 kids being homeless? If that were true why would somebody want to cut charitable donations? I think a caring person would want to triple the deduction in order to reduce the bogus number of one in 50 children who are homeless and living under bridges. Would somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge? I wanna hear from somebody who's seen it. Because that's the way the question was framed out there.

Limbaugh criticized homeless for having cell phones, blames “giant welfare state.” When Michelle Obama visited a homeless shelter and was photographed with a man taking a picture of her with his cell phone, Limbaugh noted in disbelief that “the homeless and the poor are showing up taking pictures of her with their cell phones.” Limbaugh classified the fact that a homeless man had access to a cell phone as a product of the “giant welfare state that's in the process of being manufactured.” However, advocates have stated that cell phones are a “lifeline” for the homeless and noted the importance of having a stable phone number in trying to find a job. From the March 6, 2009, broadcast:

LIMBAUGH: In fact, there's a great picture out there. Michelle, my belle, Obama, once again sleeveless. Was it Time magazine or Newsweek did a story this week -- maybe The New York Times -- on how you, too, can have highly toned arms like Michelle Obama. After the State of the Union show, a bunch of stories -- “Now, you, too, can have highly toned arms and get rid of the” -- whatever they call these flab things under there. Wings, whatever.

There's a picture of Michelle Obama at a homeless shelter in Washington. She's on the other side of the glass, you know, where the server would be serving McNuggets at McDonald's. And she's serving food to the homeless. And the homeless and the poor are showing up taking pictures of her with their cell phones. Yeah, I just saw the picture. We'll put it at This is the poor and the War on Poverty.


LIMBAUGH: What we have, ladies and gentlemen, is a giant welfare state that's in the process of being manufactured, that the Democrat Party will preside over forever. Because everybody or enough people are going to need the goodwill of Democrats in power in order to get by. Like, you're going to have to see the first lady behind the counter at McDonald's when you go in there as your poverty-stricken day drags on -- take a picture with your cell phone while you go in there and get your McNuggets or whatever's being handed out that day.

Limbaugh called a UNICEF fundraising campaign “one of the biggest scams on the face of the earth.” On the August 29, 2006, edition of his radio show, Limbaugh disparaged the United Nations Children Fund's (UNICEF) “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” campaign by calling it "[o]ne of the biggest scams on the face of the Earth." Limbaugh claimed that UNICEF itself is a scheme “to get everybody thinking the United Nations is feeding poor people.” He went on to say that we have been “beat over the head” with images of “babies with the extended tummies, the walking skeletons, told that kids can't learn unless they're fed.” He further claimed that "[w]e've been guilted into pouring resources on the problem."

Limbaugh said Bush administration “is killing the poor with too much food.” Also on his August 29, 2006, show, Limbaugh stated, “I think you might then say that the obesity crisis could be the fault of government, liberal government. Food stamps, all those-- you know, I'm gonna tell you people a story. I -- just, well, the government, you could say, is killing these people because we know obesity kills, and the government's killing the poor. The Bush administration is killing the poor with too much food.”

Rush asked: “How can you be a resident if you're homeless?” On the October 7, 2009, broadcast of his radio show, Limbaugh criticized a stimulus program aimed at helping homeless and low-income residents of Detroit, calling it “nothing but redistribution.” Limbaugh attacked provisions of the program, including the specification that applicants must be residents of Detroit, asking, “How can you be a resident if you're homeless?” Limbaugh further criticized the program by claiming that the applicants were “going down there thinking they're going to get 3,000 bucks” and because they have to fill out an application “they are dealing with potential riots.”

Limbaugh criticized Democrats for being “armed with compassion to fight homelessness.” Limbaugh railed against Democrats for programs aimed at assisting the homeless. From the November 24, 2009, edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

RUSH: And of course you've got the homeless running around there, picking up every bottle and can they can find to redeem it. That's gotta be paid off. And then you've got to get the homeless shopping carts to put the bags and the bottles and stuff in there, because Democrats call that compassion.

“Oh yeah, see that homeless guy, we love him! You conservatives, you hate the homeless. Look what we do, we give him a shopping cart.”

“Oh yeah, for what?”

“Well it's their home.”

“Oh, that's compassion?”

“Yeah, yeah, and we produced videos on teaching them how to properly dive in dumpsters for refuse food.”

Dumpster diving: given and created by liberals. Armed with compassion to solve homelessness. Yes, I've seen the videos. We've played them on my TV show. Dumpster diving. This is compassion. Teach these people how to go into a dumpster and find the stuff that hasn't fully rotted so they don't get sick eating it. And that's called compassion.

Limbaugh mocked those unable to afford health care

Limbaugh called the story of a woman who wore her dead sister's dentures because she couldn't afford her own the “sob story of the day.” On the February 25 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh called the plight of a woman who couldn't afford dentures a “sob story.” From the broadcast:

RUSH: Now, here's Louise Slaughter. Sob story of the day. She's a congresswoman from New York.

SLAUGHTER [audio clip]: Think about what's absolutely important here. Not nit-pick, but think about all the people out there every single day, the number of people with excess debt because they have no health insurance. I even had one constituent -- you will not believe this, and I know you won't, but it's true. Her sister died. This poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister's teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit. Do you ever believe that in America, that that's where we would be?

RUSH: That pretty much sums up the way the Democrats have been approaching this today. While the Republicans have been asking the Democrats, “What the hell does this mean here in your bill?” “She's having to wear her dead sister's teeth. And of course it's uncomfortable and they don't fit. Do you believe that would happen in America?” Yeah, when Obama's running things, absolutely I believe it. And it's only going to get worse, Congresswoman Slaughter.

Limbaugh: “So if you don't have any teeth, so what? What's applesauce for?” Limbaugh further mocked the story by suggesting that the woman eat applesauce instead of using dentures. He stated that the story is “so stupid” and asked “what's wrong with using a dead person's teeth?” He likened it to recycling, stating, “Aren't the Democrats big into recycling? Save the planet? And so what?”

Limbaugh told a caller who couldn't afford treatment for a broken wrist, “You shouldn't have broken” it. On the August 20, 2009, broadcast of his radio show, Limbaugh took a call from a listener who told him that he couldn't afford the medical care for his broken wrist, which cost $6,000. Rush responded, “Well, you shouldn't have broken your wrist.” He added: “You know why it costs $6,000? Because you, technically, aren't paying for it. An insurance policy's paying for it, backed up by some government insurance policy, or what have you.”

Limbaugh mocked story of transplant patient on Medicare who would have to pay his own bills after three years. On February 26, referring to a story Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) recounted at President Obama's health care summit, Limbaugh stated:

LIMBAUGH: This patient was about to receive a transplanted organ -- Clyburn didn't specify what it was -- and the horror -- he's gonna get a -- he's gonna get a totally paid-for transplant. The horror is that he was going to have to start paying his post-op bills in three years.

If this is the worst we can say about American medicine, are we really in that bad a shape after all?

I have a different observation on this. I mean, look at where we are with this. This guy is -- he about had an emotional breakdown 'cause he was told he's gotta start paying his own medical bills after three years. He gets a free transplant; he gets a free after-care for three years and then he's on his own, and he's mad and thinks he's getting screwed.