RUSH: Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Unions on the Ropes -- Public employees are fighting back, but they seem almost sure to lose." Do you have that opinion? You don't, Snerdley? Yeah, I think a lot of people want that to be the case, "but they seem almost sure to lose"? It's just like the smart money in the NFL work stoppage. The players are gonna lose at the end of the day. It could be big. You know, that NFL situation, the way the lawyers are running that on the players side -- just as a brief aside here -- if you're not following it 'cause it bores you, you ought to know that the union's lawyers, the player's lawyers are actually advocating to blow up the whole system, no more draft, every college player is a free agent, high school player, free agent, the league can recruit players from wherever they want and for whatever, there would be no salary cap, no minimum, no nothing. If the league tells a punter you're gonna make ten grand a year, that's what you make, or US minimum wage, that's what you make.
Some of the players I'm convinced don't even really know what their own lawyers are actually pushing for. But the smart money there in the NFL strike is, at the end of the day, the owners are gonna win. They've got the money to hold out and go to the mat for what they want much easier and longer than the players can. And the smart money is also saying the same thing about public unions. And again it's predicated on what's real. The money to sustain them as they've always existed just isn't there. States cannot print money. You know, this is the one thing that we sit here and we look at the Democrat Party union alignment as this all powerful monolith that nothing can be done to stop. But what is it that props it up? What is it that gives it power? It's money, and there isn't any. And states can't just borrow. They can't print like the federal government.
RUSH: Jack Kelly has this story, "Public employees are fighting back but they seem almost sure to lose." They are losing! They are losing. Now, they happen to be making a lot of noise and scaring people and causing a lot of public unrest.
Some of the highlight's of Mr. Kelly's piece: "To see how grim is the outlook for public employee unions, let's go to Detroit, where Mayor Dave Bing proposed Tuesday a budget which would cut contributions to public employee health plans by 20 percent and would skip a payment to city pension funds," and this is labor union capital USA. Dave Bing said, "If we do nothing, by 2015 fringe benefits are on pace to consume half of our entire general fund revenue." Fringe benefits. Benefits. Man, that's a word that's starting to really grate on me, too. Benefits. For what? What are you doing to deserve your benefits? I also realize this. There's gonna be hell to pay when this spigot stops. We're seeing it now. We're seeing it now in Europe, seeing it in Greece, seeing it in Spain, Portugal up next. These are all products of liberal socialist utopian promises, and now their money is running out. And they don't know how to work. They don't know how to go get a job. Their version of work is not work. Their version of work is a job, working for the government, and their primary interest is vacation and sick days and benefits. The work they do is for the most part the last part of the equation that they're interested in.
But when there's no money it's gonna affect a lot of people. There are a lot of people. I'm not talking about the welfare rolls here. I'm talking about union people, state, city, township, whatever governments that are gonna have to start cutting back, laying off, reducing retirement packages, there's gonna be hell to pay when the money's not there. (interruption) Well, reacting to diminished services is another part of the equation. But that's gonna happen later on down the line. Here's the better question. This is gonna be the real test. Let's say that all this stuff actually happens. Let's say every state goes the route of Wisconsin. Let's say California does it. Let's say that Michigan does it, and let's say that the public sector unions all-in have to get by on 40 to 50% less than they're used to now. Who, or better yet, can the private sector make that up? Well, no, it can't right away. (interruption) No, Snerdley, where can they go to get work that will pay them enough to make up for what they're going to lose? Will there be private sector jobs for these people to go get since Obama's destroying that, too?
Will there be enough private sector jobs for public sector workers to go get as second or third jobs to make up for what they're going to lose when the state and cities can't pay 'em what they're being paid? And if the private sector doesn't have the jobs, that's when the hell's gonna start. That's when it's gonna get dicey, if you ask me. The welfare state's gonna collapse along with everything else. There's no money, folks. The only solution to this is going to be self-reliance. The only solution to this is going to be entrepreneurism and rugged individualism, and you know what this crowd thinks of that. We are here because rugged individualism and self-reliance are two naughty terms. Social Darwinism and all of that. So it's gonna be an interesting decade ahead of us, if all this stuff happens, if people like Jack Kelly, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, are accurate.
Let me read some more from his piece here: "It isn't the modest cuts in contributions to health and pension plans in Gov. Walker's bill labor leaders object to most. It isn't even the restriction of collective bargaining to wages only. It's the provision which makes payment of union dues voluntary." Now, we've mentioned that in Wisconsin. That really is, at this point, because that's the number one issue for leadership. Right now the union dues are an automatic deduction, just like your FICA or your tax -- there nothing you can do -- it gets automatically deducted. Walker's bill, oh, no, it's not anymore. The union employee is going to have to write that check. Then it becomes voluntary. And that's when the union gets threatened because that busts up the money laundering train. That's what bugs the leadership. Now, the rank-and-file is going to be concerned about what happens to wages. The rank-and-file will be concerned about their contributions to health and pension plans. That's their back pocket. The union leadership, the heck with that. They are worried about the provision which makes payment of union dues voluntary.
And that, writes Mr. Kelly, he's very astute here, "This is a body blow to Democrats, too. They depend heavily on unions to fill their campaign coffers." That's an understatement. It's a money laundering scheme. They don't depend on it. They are one and the same. Democrat campaign coffers are the state public employee unions. They collect campaign donations in the form of union dues, which are paid for by the taxes of the average, ordinary John and Jane Doe, who have no clue what they're doing. Their taxes are deducted. You tell the average John and Jane Doe that, what is it, three, four percent of their taxes end up in the Democrat Party automatically? Okay, so you've got two factors here on the union side. You got the rank-and-file, and they will be concerned about what happens to their health and pension plans and their wages. Leadership don't care about that. They care about the dues.
Now, you've got another potential nuclear blast waiting to go up there between the rank and file and the leadership over divergent, different interests or causes in all of this. Then you add this, in Wisconsin the union bosses, what did they spend, $3 million, and they lost that election? They spent $3 million on the Supreme Court election and they lost, and up next they're gonna try to recall a bunch of state senators and they're gonna spend even more trying to do that. Now, imagine if 20% of their members decided not to pay dues. Well, they'd be in heap big trouble.
RUSH: Okay, here's Jack... Jack... Jack Kelly. Right. (I'd-a remembered it if it was St. Patrick's Day.) Jack Kelly is wrapping up his piece here: "So, some public employee unions may try to win public support by attacking the public. Though thuggery is unappealing to most Americans, union bosses will win some fights. But they'll be rear guard actions like those fought by the Nazis during their retreats to the Rhine and the Elbe. We're flat broke. This dooms them." We don't have any money. "It may also doom the Democratic Party, which is a coalition of special interest groups with little more in common than their desire to feed from the public trough."
Boy, that is so true. That's it: The Democrat Party "is a loose-knit bunch of coalitions" that have a couple or three things in common. One of them, the major one, is big government. That's essentially it, and it requires a never-ending cycle of taxpayer money laundered through the federal and state governments back to the Democrats. That's what it requires. But there's no money. We are flat broke.
RUSH: Back to unions. This is, of all places, in the Los Angeles Times: 70% of Californians... Now, this is hard to believe: 70% of Californians are for caps on union benefits. Californians! "A cap on pensions and a later retirement age -- even for current public employees -- are supported by the poll's respondents. California voters want government employees to give up some retirement benefits to help ease the state's financial problems, favoring a cap on pensions and a later age for collecting them, according to a new poll. ... Voters appear ready to embrace changes not just for future hires but also for current employees who have been promised the benefits under contract.
"Seventy percent of respondents said they supported a cap on pensions for current and future public employees. Nearly as many, 68%, approved of raising the amount of money government workers should be required to contribute to their retirement. Increasing the age at which government employees may collect pensions was favored by 52%." Seventy percent favor this in California. The pollster is Stanley Greenberg, Clinton's pollster. This is Greenberg-Carville. It's pretty... (interruption) Oh, Carville wasn't part of this? Greenberg was, yeah, but a Republican was part of the poll as well. It was a joint poll. All right.
"'It's pretty clear that there's broad support for making changes in the area of pensions,' said Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who co-directed the bipartisan poll for The [LA] Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences." That Stanley Greenberg, Snerdley. Rosa DeLauro's husband, right. He's the Clintons' long-time pollster and Carville's longtime business partner. That Stanley Greenberg. Seventy percent of Californians are for caps on union benefits. Greenberg himself was involved in the Democrat side of the poll.
Even he admits it shows something has to be done to curb runaway union pensions. In the story, though, this ends up getting blame on "envy" by a union boss. The union boss is saying that the reason for the 70% is private sector employees have envy. The union leader says (paraphrased), "Well, this poll, we don't count this because it's clear that the people in the poll just are jealous of the great benefit package we have." No, Mr. Union Thug. It's because they know they're paying for it, and they're paying you and your union membership more than they are earning.
It just ain't fair!
RUSH: Here's Richard in Jupiter, Florida. Great to have you, sir, on the program from right up the road. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, it's an honor. It's funny, I suspect there will be a federal agency coming up with a plan any day now to ban gasoline advertising from all interstates and it will be fast tracked to the president, but anyway I actually called about --
RUSH: You know what that, no more price signs on the -- (laughing)
CALLER: Absolutely. Anyway, the GM thing just gets me infuriated because every bankruptcy in history of that scale, I mean there was something wrong with the company or the product or whatever, which was not the case here. The only problem was the union and their unfunded pensions, obscene salaries, paying for workers that don't go to work. So for the first time ever a bankruptcy that large, not only do the shareholders get wiped out which is typical, but the bondholders got wiped out and they don't even talk about it. They did not fund any of the bondholders or the holders of the preferred stock, and yet they don't talk at all about how the pensions fared in that, which is to say they all came out whole.
RUSH: You know, I've had a lot of people ask me when this subject comes up, the same thing happened with Chrysler, "What do you mean the bondholders, Rush? Could you explain the bondholders?" Yeah, when you understand it, it's even worse when you understand it. You can buy stock in a company or you can buy bonds in a company, just like you can buy treasuries or municipal bonds, you can buy Chrysler, General Motor bonds, or you could. As a bondholder you are a more preferred customer, you're higher on the ladder than a stockholder is. And in the case of Chrysler specifically, I think General Motors to an extent, when it came to the bankruptcy finalization, it was Obama's administration that told the bondholders, "Screw you," and they got nothing, and when they wanted value for their investment they were told they were greedy.
So the value of the company was transferred to the AFL-CIO. So basically what the General Motors bailout was, was nothing more than "finally putting the right people in ownership," and that is the union leaders. "They should have owned the company all along. It's not fair that the workers didn't own it." The second thing was the actual money was used to shore up the pension and health care benefits, which were also gonna flitter away to practically nothing. And don't forget General Motors has been forgiven all of its taxes for years to come, and they're still reporting losses. But, yeah, the bondholders, who would be the first on any list of reimbursement in bankruptcy got zilch. They were told to go pound sand and then when they opposed and wanted to be part of the negotiation to have some value, they were called greedy by Obama.
RUSH: General Motors said that the government was preventing them from offering bondholders more than 10% of the restructured company because in Obama's view the bondholders are just simple speculators, they're just investment speculators, and they don't deserve to be rewarded for screwing around with the system.
RUSH: Alturas, California. Hi, Jerry, it's great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks very much for taking my call, and I hope my mom's listening. She turned me on to back in the early nineties and I've been listening ever since.
RUSH: God bless your mother. Get her 100 blooms of love.
CALLER: You know, I will. We just came from her house and did a bunch of work for her and are doing what we can. I'll get right to my point. I've been a firefighter for 36 years like my father before me, and for the last 27 years I've been represented by a union, and I have most certainly benefited by that union representation. However, I do agree with you 100% on your assessment about what public employee unions are doing to our country, and I think that it -- it... It does not need to be "stopped," but some things, some aspects of collective bargaining need to be curtailed, in particular the deduction of dues from paychecks like you mentioned earlier.
RUSH: Yeah. It's a money laundering operation. I want to take the occasion of your call to try to clarify something. Nobody here, certainly not me, is opposed to anybody earning a living. The beef here is that the salaries -- the benefits, the health care, all of that -- for public union employees are being paid by taxpayers. These people are losing their homes, they're out of work, and they are being taxed at levels necessary to pay public sector employees twice what they are earning -- and that automatic union deduction simply goes straight to the Democrat Party. It's a money laundering operation. What's missing on here is a sense of equilibrium, a sense of proportion -- and there isn't the money to pay for it anymore. It just isn't there in more and more states. They're bankrupt, or soon will be. The money just isn't there -- and the states, unlike the federal government, can't print it. They have to borrow it, and that only exacerbates the problems. Anyway, I appreciate the call.