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A Passionate Discussion of Unions

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Yesterday on the program when we ran out of time, we were talking to a caller from Virginia named Joe. He's Joe from Pulaski, Virginia. He's a very nice guy who wanted to take me to task for my stance on unions, and we just ran out of time, and it's a good call. We asked Joe if we could call him back. He said yes, so here he is. Joe, welcome back to the program.

CALLER: Hey. Thank you, Rush. How are you doing?

RUSH: Just fine, sir. Let's start at the beginning. You called, and your original point to me was what?

CALLER: The original point was that not all of us were born, or not everyone was born with a multimillion-dollar talent or a multimillion-dollar entrepreneurial spirit. But there were a multitude of us who were born with the ambition and the drive and the desire to go out and to work and to make the best living that we possibly can. And the truth of the matter is: corporate greed does exist. And I know your view of the union representatives is entirely different from mine; and I think, you know, by using a couple examples I can, you know, show you what my perspective is.

RUSH: Okay, before you go there, would you define...? I like to define terms.

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: Because -- and you have just used a debate technique that is found frequently in the Ivy League. "I'm sure you'll agree with me, Rush," before I've had a chance to agree or not, "that there is corporate greed."

CALLER: (laughing) Well...

RUSH: So I think greed is one of these things like selfishness that has to be defined. What is corporate greed?

CALLER: Okay. Corporate greed, in my opinion --

RUSH: All right.

CALLER: -- is where a corporation will work their workers and use them to their advantage, and when it comes to time for that particular employee to gain a particular benefit from their labor, the corporation will do something to that employee to dismiss them and have them to lose their benefits. And I have a perfect example of that. My father-in-law worked for a company locally here, and with 20 years of service, he would have gained a pension with that particular company. When he was four months short of that 20-year anniversary date, he was laid off and did not get his pension plan. They never called him back to work. Things like that do exist. But getting back to the union aspect of it, you know, there are a lot of conservative-minded union people out here who see the need for corporate profits, because we understand that if the corporation does not profit, neither do we. And I know that your opinion of the corporate -- or the union heads is very like your opinion of these Somali pirates.

RUSH: Ah! Ah!

CALLER: Their main objective is to, you know, capture the company, take it over, and hold it hostage until all of their erroneous demands are met. You know, but my opinion of the unions --

RUSH: Now, wait a minute. Again you've put thoughts in my head. You have just said that my opinion of union --

CALLER: No, of the union leaders.

RUSH: Union leaders is to --

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: -- equate them with the merchant marine organizers off the coast of Somalia?

CALLER: Right. Right, because their main objective... You know, I believe, you know, from listening to you, in your opinion, their main objective is to hold the company hostage until they meet their demands. But in my opinion, you know, union representatives are there just like a pro-football player's agent is there for him.

RUSH: Ah.

CALLER: They are there to negotiate.

RUSH: See, now, that's... Look, I understand the point you're trying to make, but that analogy breaks down on one of the fundamental problems I have with unions. I want to go back to the top. You said not all of us are born with, what you say-million-dollar talent --

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: -- or entrepreneurial spirit.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: Well, you know, I don't know that anybody is born with a talent.

CALLER: It is God-given talent, Rush, and you are the perfect example of that.

RUSH: No, it is loaned by God, but you have to develop it.

CALLER: God has given it to you.

RUSH: Okay, you're using me. Every effort was made in my young life to get me to conform to certain behavioral standards, to certain preparatory standards for being an adult, and I rebelled against most of them.

CALLER: Just as I did.

RUSH: Pardon?

CALLER: Just as I did. My entire family is liberals and I'm the only conservative in the bunch.

RUSH: Okay. But I use my own example. Nobody at any time when I was growing up thought I had any talent. Nobody! In fact, I was the one my family was worried about because I quit everything they made me do from Boy Scouts to Cub Scouts. I quit.

CALLER: (chuckles)

RUSH: They didn't think I had the ability to do anything. I didn't even get good grades, and I didn't like school.

CALLER: But you knew you did.

RUSH: Well, I knew what I loved.

CALLER: Exactly. That's my point.

RUSH: I knew what my passion was.

CALLER: You know, all of us --

RUSH: I also knew -- now, I didn't come from a background of family members who were members of unions, but I knew that -- it was the product of the way I was raised and just something instinctive inside me. I knew that I was going to have to do it myself. I wanted to do it myself. I did not want to be pushed up the ladder by anybody. I didn't want anybody running interference for me because nobody was.

CALLER: And you and I share that same sentiment.

RUSH: All right, now, here's my conclusion from this. You say that not everybody is born with whatever these-million-dollar talents and abilities, and I'll agree not everybody is destined to become a millionaire.

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: Not everybody is destined to become some world-renowned entrepreneur, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or whoever, but I do think that the vast majority of people are much more capable than even they know. They have much more potential than even they know. It's just that our society beats it out of them. Our society -- and, by the way, I also believe that most limitations that people have are self-imposed. "Well, I can't really do that because somebody won't like me doing it," or, "I'll have to move. I don't want to." But there are fewer obstacles placed by other people standing in your way than you know. They're just convenient when somebody puts an obstacle in your way to hide behind them, but most of the limitations we have are self-imposed.

Now, I've always said this: if you want to join a union, if anybody does, that's fine and dandy. I just hope that you understand what you're doing because your union organizer is not your agent. He's not Scott Boras going out and getting $270 million for you based on what you're producing and what you're earning. Your union organizer doesn't even see you as anything but a name, a number. He doesn't see your work. He just sees you as part of the giant group and he's going to go out and get a contract for the group, and so the opportunity to maximize potential as a union American is abrogated to the whole group.

CALLER: But there's one thing, Rush, that I feel like that you're overlooking.

RUSH: What?

CALLER: And that is the fact that we don't have representatives that represent us on an individual basis like an NFL player would have with his agent.

RUSH: Neither do I!

CALLER: Neither do we obtain the same talents that those NFL players have, either. But yet we as a group, we are not pulled down to the bottom producer. The bottom producers are lifted up to the highest producer's standards, which increases their standard of living.

RUSH: Yes, but see, that's not done because of their productivity.

CALLER: But yet --

RUSH: It's done because of coercion. It's not done because they have merited.

CALLER: But you have to --

RUSH: So what you're telling me is that the bottom feeders deserve to earn more --

CALLER: No, no, no.

RUSH: -- simply because they're on the bottom.

CALLER: That's not necessarily what I mean.

RUSH: Well, it's --

CALLER: What I'm saying is you cannot blame the GM predicament on the union and the union leaders. The blame must be put on the company executives who sat down and deliberated that union contract. They should have had better foresight than that, to have been able to look at the unions and say, "We are not going..."

RUSH: Well, wait a second, now. It's not just that clean and cut. When you --

CALLER: But they should have foresight.

RUSH: When you have Gettelfinger or whoever, running the UAW, whoever has been in the past, putting a gun to these executive heads and threatening a strike -- while over at Toyota and Lexus no such walkout is threatened -- there is a competitive pressure there that's been brought to bear. See, I think it is... It offends my sensibilities.

CALLER: Well, Rush --

RUSH: Wait. Let me finish the sentence. It offends my sensibilities to ask anybody to pay me when I'm not working anymore. It offends me. I would never ask someone to do it for me.

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: But that's what unions do! They demand to be paid more when they're not working than when they are.

CALLER: They shouldn't have.

RUSH: They demand to be paid when they're fired. They demand to be paid lifetime pensions.

CALLER: The GM executives --

RUSH: I have made the decision to provide that for myself.

CALLER: But the GM executives should not have signed such a contract. That's my entire point. They should have said, "No, we cannot do this," and let 'em strike, let 'em go on strike.

RUSH: They didn't. They went ahead and signed it.

CALLER: But they should have.

RUSH: And I have said this, but now exactly what anybody with economic common sense knows, that has killed the golden goose, and now, where are we?

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: We are at the mother ship that provides employment for the UAW members --

CALLER: Well, Rush --

RUSH: -- is barely hanging on, and we hear that there are very few concessions that Gettelfinger is willing to make, and Obama sides with the unions, and so what's happening here is that politics has taken over. There's no economics going on here. If there were economics actually ruling this, none of what's happened in the last six months with the auto industry would be happening. Let me get even more esoteric with this: unions are collectivist in nature. They are deeply politically partisan. The union leaders exist today to elect Democrats, and they will take your dues and everybody else's dues and spend them primarily for that purpose. As such, union leadership -- by definition, by structure -- is working against the interests of the companies they owe their existence to. You have a company who is trying to exist here in a capitalist free market, which has got as its number one employee group a leadership that is collectivist and socialist. How is it possible for a union to be anti-free market capitalism and at the same time be of help to pro-free market capitalist companies? It just doesn't work.

CALLER: May I explain that? All right. Now, can we go back in history just for a moment?

RUSH: Let me take a break.

CALLER: All right.

RUSH: We gotta take a profit center time-out here --

CALLER: (chuckles) Okay.

RUSH: -- and we'll continue after this. Don't go away.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: And we're back with Joe from Pulaski, Virginia, who is arguing with me about his interpretation of my view of union workers, which I'm going to explain in a political sense here in greater detail in just a second.

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: But you go ahead, what point did you want to make here?

CALLER: Can we go back in history just for a moment?

RUSH: You can go back anywhere you want.

CALLER: All right. In the late fifties and early sixties the NFL players were busting themselves wide open every Sunday for probably 12 to 1,800 bucks a week.

RUSH: That's right.

CALLER: Now, given the popularity of the NFL was not that great at that particular point in time in history --

RUSH: That's right.

CALLER: -- but as the popularity grew and the profits for the owners began to grow, the players started to see this, and they said, "Wait a minute, something is askew here. These owners are making these massive profits at our expense. So, therefore, let's form a union, and let's start negotiating for a share of those profits." That's how the players' union began. Now, it was great and it was wonderful, and I think if every corporation used the NFL's model as a bargaining and negotiating example, things would be great because --

RUSH: Because you know that the players get 60% of the gross.

CALLER: All right. But now, look what happened. The owners, seeing these salaries start to escalate, and they said, "Wait a minute, we've got to put in a salary cap." Therefore, they knew at that moment --

RUSH: Players went along with -- the salary cap saved the damn league.

CALLER: Exactly. That's my point. And there is common ground between corporations and unions to save the entire situation.

RUSH: Okay, I want to take you back here because you defined corporate greed, when I asked you to define corporate greed, you used a personal story, somebody in your family got laid off four months before pension time. I think you had a single experience happen, you may have heard of a couple or three more of those. I could sit here and tell you as a self-employed entrepreneur, I could tell you all the times I've been canned, how unfair it's been. You say I was born with talent. I spent a lifetime developing it. I've never thought that my strength was going to be organizing myself into a group. I am the epitome of the individual. I am the smallest minority on earth. I am an individual, as everybody else is. I hate to see people squander their potential. I just do. It bothers me greatly. I think this is a common occurrence that people see something happen in a corporation and make a generalization, bad experience, hurt feelings and so forth, and that can lead you to think that that's how all corporations do business all the time.

If anybody had a single, bad, rotten experience with a woman, would they conclude that all women are the same? Would they want a union to guarantee their relationships, in other words, after they had been shafted? Same thing with a woman and a man, turn it around the other way. You know, I look at your union leadership, and they just look at you as a source of confiscated money. Your dues equal confiscated money for the Democrat Party. So from a human personal standpoint, I just think so many Americans are underperforming their own potential. You mentioned hard work. Well, that's key to it, hard work and knowing what you love and want to do. But let's get to the strictly political and philosophical about this because this, I think, is important. Like I asked you, how is it possible for a union to be anti-free market capitalism and at the same time help a pro-free market business or company? It's a conflict of interest to me. Unions that do not share the core values of a business owner shouldn't have anything to do with that business.

If the union's core value is punishing the business, shutting it down, if necessary, constantly getting people to hate the business; if the union's purpose is to create negative PR about the business, then how in the hell is that helping the business? Unions that contribute to a political party, that conduct War on Prosperity; unions that donate money to a political party that is anti-capitalist and anti-free market shouldn't be allowed to have anything to do with the private sector because those unions are working against the private sector, with their buddies in arms at the Democrat Party. It makes no sense. Unions that contribute to political parties that favor card check are a problem, not a solution. Jobs here are at stake. But I just don't understand what is magical about an employee base, or a union leadership that opposes philosophically and structurally the very business that it claims to represent the employees of. And we see the fallout here. It's happening all across American business, these two things are a conflict of interest, and they are untenable.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Our nice caller used the NFL as an example. Don't forget, would you rather get a raise because you're good, or because everyone gets one every six months? Remember, running backs make more than centers, quarterbacks make more than defensive backs, and there's going to be a lockout in 2011.

END TRANSCRIPT

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