An unknown number of leftie bloggers and now Gene Lyons of Salon have been chuckling mightily that Rush Limbaugh supposedly got caught by a leftie caller named Mike Stark not knowing that his hero, Ronald Reagan, had raised Social Security taxes.
See and hear the full transcript and audio here, but here’s a short snip from Mike Stark’s call to the Limbaugh show (source: Stark’s website):
STARK: Hi, Rush. I, um… I’m calling because… Well, first of all, I’m a liberal, and I seriously don’t understand this, uh, Reagan idolatry on behalf of conservatives. I’ll get… I’ll give you my reasons. Instead of privatizing Social Security, he raised taxes. We’re all paying higher taxes today out of our paychecks every single week because he decided to save Social Security. He –
RUSH: Wait, wait. Hold it. I need to go…
RUSH: Wait. Jeez.
STARK: The Greenspan Commission. He signed it into law, and it raised taxes on Social Security.
RUSH: What…? Wait, you’re talking about Reagan or Clinton?
STARK: I’m talking about Reagan. Reagan did that. He raised taxes on Social Security. He negotiated with terrorists, sending — over and over again — arms to Iran in exchange for hostages perform by contrast Jimmy Carter didn’t give an inch to the Iranians.
RUSH: What in the world…?
Limbaugh deserves a pass on this, and honest lefties, if any, would admit it. Leftie Mike Stark didn’t accuse Reagan of raising Social Security taxes (aka, the payroll taxes that support the payout of current and, in good years, near-future Social Security benefits), he said Reagan had raised taxes on Social Security (that is, taxes on the benefits recipients receive after, presumably, paying into the program for years, resulting in double-taxation). When Rush heard Mike Stark, he understandably believed Stark was referring to Bill Clinton, because, after all, it was President Clinton who imposed taxes on Social Security benefits.
Had leftie Mike Stark gotten his facts right, it is more than likely Rush Limbaugh would have known what the heck he was talking about. But even if Mike Stark doesn’t know the difference between taxes to fund Social Security (paid by workers) and taxes on Social Security benefits (paid for by recipients), Gene Lyons and Salon should have.
And as far as Reagan v. Carter on Iran, well, we know who helped the mullahs take over Iran (Carter) and on who’s watch the U.S. hostages were returned (Reagan’s).
Or maybe they do know, but this is the closest they’ve ever gotten to catching Rush Limbaugh in an error.