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New York Times Employees Fit to Be Tied Over Little Pinch's Pension Changes

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  The New York Times is in the news twice today.  There is the most hilarious six-minute video.  We're not gonna play the whole thing for you, but a bunch of employees of the New York Times are just fit to be tied that that Little Pinch wants to change their pension plan on 'em.  The New York Times right now has a "defined benefit plan" which basically is what General Motors used to have and what a lot of big companies used to have until they found out they couldn't afford it.  What happened was that in negotiating union contracts, they allowed early retirement in some of these places 'cause the jobs were so mundane and boring.

But you could retire early and then after you retired, you got health benefits as part of your pension for the rest of your days. Even though you weren't producing anything more for the company. For a while it sounded good, looked good, until the moment came when all of these people began to retire at once and it pretty much became obvious that the companies could not afford this. They couldn't afford lifetime health benefits and pensions for people that weren't working.  Well, that's what the New York Times has.  So Little Pinch and the management want to change from a defined benefit plan to a benefit plan where the workers contribute to their own retirement that is matched somewhat by the company. 

The company will match 3%, basically a 401(k) plan. 

And the employees at the Times are livid! And they've put together a six minute video.  They've been in practically bare-knuckle union negotiations over this for a year.  And the reason it's funny is because it's happening all over the world. All over the world -- governments, states, cities, federal, companies, whatever -- can't sustain themselves with these deals.  They're all having to revise backwards and change it in order to stay solvent and sustainable.  Wisconsin's a good example.  But the employees of the New York Times, despite reporters covering this seeing the reality that it cannot work and cannot be sustained -- and despite the New York Times being in the news business, and therefore seeing what is happening to that business -- are still saying, "To heck with it! We want the money!" The sense of entitlement and greed is on display in this video.  We have that plus they're promising a hard look at President Obama, editorial.  A hard look at the president coming up soon the New York Times. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, want to go back to this New York Times employee video.  Folks, this is very telling.  Let's go around the country.  In Wisconsin and many other places, governments and businesses are no longer able to fulfill agreements. They're no longer able to meet agreements they made years ago.  The greatest illustration is GM and the United Auto Workers.  By the way, Michael Barone has a great piece about this I want to get to today too.  But the bottom line is that United Auto Workers members were, by contract, allowed to retire long before age 65. And at retirement they were allowed to keep, as a benefit, lifetime pension and primarily health care benefits. 

And that is what is sinking every state government, every city government, every town government and many companies.  It's what's sinking many foreign governments, this idea that you can continue to pay people either a full salary or 80% (plus health benefits) for 30 years when they're not working, in addition to having to pay that for current employees.  Just isn't the money there for it.  So states are revising these plans, as has happened in Wisconsin.  And the unions are so ticked off, that's why the recall of the governor, the attempt of the recall of Scott Walker.  In Greece, in Spain, wherever you go: The fact of the matter is that lifetime health care benefits and pensions, when you no longer work for the company, cannot be sustained.

The money isn't there.

And what happens is, if they're forced to make the payments, they'll go bankrupt and out of business.  So accommodations have to be made.  The New York Times is having the same thing happen to it, the same exact thing.  They cannot maintain their current defined benefit plan.  Now, these are reporters! These are newspeople!  They see this happening all over the world.  They see it happening all over the country.  Many of them are reporting on it. Now when it happens to them, they are demanding an exemption.  And it's funny because the New York Times runs around and rips Scott Walker. The New York Times management and editorial rip Scott Walker and rip any company that tries to renegotiate these deals to stay in business and stay solvent.  They rip 'em to shreds. Yet here comes that Little Pinch doing the same thing his paper is ripping everybody else for.  So there's hypocrisy, there's entitlement. It is delightful to behold this, in a... Well, it's not delightful, but it's as instructive as it can be.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: So the New York Times is having pension problems.  The company cannot afford the defined benefit plan anymore.  Cannot afford it.  Wisconsin couldn't afford it.  General Motors couldn't afford it.  Nobody can afford any more to pay lifetime salaries and health benefits for people that don't work for them, especially for 20 to 30 years.  The Times covers this.  The New York Times rips Scott Walker for making these changes while the New York Times institutes its very same changes.  So the Times reporters, editors have put together a six-minute video whining and complaining.  They think they're going to get our sympathy! It is the most illustrious example of being out of touch that I've ever heard.  It's 53 seconds.  We've edited six minutes to 53 seconds.  Listen to this...

WOMAN:  I'm horrified.  I'm sickened by what's going on at the Times.

MAN:  They would take $350,000 between 65 and 85.  $350,000 is a lot of money!  $350,000 is worth fighting over.

WOMAN:  This does mean a threat to what I thought my retirement era was gonna look like.

WOMAN:  Even if it's like a couple of thousand of a month or whatnot, at least it's there for me in my old age (snickers), if I... Hopefully I won't find myself, you know, scruffling [sic] around looking for a cardboard box to work in, for God's sake.

WOMAN:  If the pension was not frozen and I worked here 30 years, I would collect $58,000 a year until the end of my life.  If the pension is frozen, I will collect $15,000 a year.  I would be one of those elders covered in the Times who's living on food stamps!

MAN:  What am I gonna do?  Am I gonna eat cat food and am I gonna move in with my kids?  Am I gonna commit suicide?  It's a very ugly choice to stick people with.

RUSH:  Welcome to the real world, New York Times reporters. 

This is happening all over the world, and you know why?  For those of you at the New York Times: It's happening because of policies you've supported and people you've endorsed! You have brought this about with your own reporting.  You've brought around your own future with your own reporting choices and your own votes and support of candidates and liberals who have broke the bank!  It's almost safe to say you deserve this.  This is what you have advocated your entire journalistic lives. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Want to do this New York Times video one more time.  I asked Snerdley... We've got new people here and I'm hell-bent on being persuasive and understood. And I understand that sometimes things have to be done more than once.  I hate to be repetitive.  When I am repetitive it's strategic. It's not because I'm out of other stuff, because I'm by no means out of other stuff.  But to me this is so instructive.  Another teachable moment.  Around the world and in this country, union benefit packages are unsustainable -- particularly those offered to people who retire and are no longer working. You can't pay 'em for their health care for the rest of their lives. You can't pay 'em 80% of full salary the rest of their lives.

When they can retire at age 45, when they can retire at age 50, you just can't do it with the actuarial tables.  It's what brought down General Motors.  It's going to bring down every city government and state if they don't do something about it, which is what Scott Walker brilliantly fixed in Wisconsin.  And the unions there are livid, and that's why the recall election.  But it's happening in Greece, it's happening in Spain, it's gonna happen in the UK.  It's happening everywhere.  It's happening in our little town here in Palm Beach.  They've had to make all kinds of changes in the contracts with the police and firemen, 'cause it's just not sustainable. 

Especially in this economy.  There just isn't the revenue to pay people who aren't working anymore!  "But, Rush! But, Rush! The deals were made!" Yeah, they were, but what good's the deal when there's no money?  What good's the deal when the business is bankrupt and out of the business.  What good's the deal when the city defaults?  There has to be, that favorite word of people: compromise.  The unions don't want to compromise.  Now, the New York Times is in the same situation now.  They have a defined benefit plan which allows people to retire and pay them health care and salary 'til they die. 

Now, what's fascinating about it is the New York Times editorial position is to rip these companies that make these changes in order to stay in business.  The New York Times editorial position is to crucify Scott Walker.  The New York Times editorial position is to rip to shreds anybody -- any business, any government, any state government, city government -- which needs to renegotiate these union contracts because they don't have the money to pay all these people who aren't working. They just don't have it or they'll go out of business.  The second thing about this that's funny is that these reporters...

They made a six-minute video.  It's a very slick-looking video.  We will link to the whole video at RushLimbaugh.com.  We might tweet this thing out, too, just to have it go viral. It's byline reporters, it's editors and art directors and so forth. And they're whining and moaning about how mean the Times is and how they're gonna end up eating dog food, maybe cat food, sleeping in cardboard boxes.  What's funny about it is they're covering this stuff, they're reporting on it, and yet their sense of entitlement is such that they expect to be immune from it.  The second thing that's a teachable moment: Who are they?  They're newspaper people!

What is happening to the newspaper business? 

Have you seen what's happening to circulation and ad revenue?

At the New York Times both are plummeting.  In fact, in 2002, a share of stock at the New York Times was 48 bucks.  It's now $6.34.  That's one-tenth, almost one-tenth of what they were worth just ten years ago.  And it's this liberal bias. It's the way these reporters have reported. It's the way they've voted. It's the way they've urged everybody else to vote -- this never-ending support of bankrupting liberalism -- that got them where they are. But now they want immunity.  They want the Times to keep paying them no matter what.  They're threatening to go on strike.  Now, there's a part of me... I must be honest. There's a part of me, a part of me that's on the side of the union here. (interruption)

No, no, no.  Follow me, Snerdley.  There's part... (interruption) Yes, yes! Let the union hold tight; have the Times go out of business.  That might be one of the best things that ever happened to country.  Stop and think about that.  The US would be a better place without the New York Times.  If these writers and all these people you hear in this video, if they get their way, if they don't buck, they don't buckle and force the New York Times into bankruptcy? Well, I asked the other day: Can you imagine what a different country we would be if we had a media that actually was as the Founding Fathers envisioned it? 

Guardians of democracy.

Suspicious of power. 

We now have a media that protects power, that wants to be part of the power structure.  We have a media that's not doing its constitutional duty as envisioned by the founders.  So if the union wins, no New York Times.  I know it's not gonna happen, but we can sit here and dream.  So now I've set it up. We'll take a break, we'll come back, and I'll play this video again, or the audio from it.  It's six minutes. When you know the context and you know the history and you listen to these people, they have the most amazing sense of entitlement. 

They want immunity from the real world conditions everyone else is subject to.  I'm telling you, it is a wonderful teaching moment.  They got themselves in their own situation by advocating -- by writing the way they wrote, by voting the way they voted -- for all of these bankrupted liberal policies for all of these years. You could say that they are responsible for their own plight, given their liberalism.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Okay.  New York Times reporters, six minute, five-minute video, whatever it is, complaining and whining about proposed cuts to their pension plan. Which is what people all over the country and all over the world are dealing with right now.  And maybe if they hadn't worked so hard getting Obama elected, maybe the economy would have grown. Maybe there would be some prosperity going on. And maybe the Times' stock price wouldn't be falling. And maybe they wouldn't have to be renegotiating the deal.  But here it is one more time. 

WOMAN:  I'm horrified.  I'm sickened by what's going on at the Times.

MAN:  They would take $350,000 between 65 and 85.  $350,000 is a lot of money!  $350,000 is worth fighting over.

WOMAN:  This does mean a threat to what I thought my retirement era was gonna look like.

WOMAN:  Even if it's like a couple of thousand of a month or whatnot, at least it's there for me in my old age (snickers), if I... Hopefully I won't find myself, you know, scruffling [sic] around looking for a cardboard box to work in, for God's sake.

WOMAN:  If the pension was not frozen and I worked here 30 years, I would collect $58,000 a year until the end of my life.  If the pension is frozen, I will collect $15,000 a year.  I would be one of those elders covered in the Times who's living on food stamps!

MAN:  What am I gonna do?  Am I gonna eat cat food and am I gonna move in with my kids?  Am I gonna commit suicide?  It's a very ugly choice to stick people with.

RUSH: Well, what do you think is happening all over the country? 

And, by the way, the New York Times editorial position is to rip companies and cities and states that are doing just exactly what the New York Times is.  I just find this delectable.  Michael Barone has an interesting piece somewhat related:  "Liberal Nostalgiacs Don’t Understand Jobs of the Future."  Michael Barone.  "I don’t know how many times I’ve seen liberal commentators look back with nostalgia to the days when a young man fresh out of high school or military service could get a well-paying job on an assembly line at a unionized auto factory that could carry him through to a comfortable retirement.

"As it happens, I grew up in Detroit and for a time lived next door to factory workers. And I know something that has eluded the liberal nostalgiacs. Which is that people hated those jobs."  Boy, this is such a good piece, because he's so right.  The nostalgia is for these labor union and assembly line jobs outta high school, all the way to retirement, and supposedly people loved 'em. And that's what Obama's all about. That's what he envisions this green job business to be.  "The assembly-line work was boring and repetitive. That’s because management imbibed Frederick W. Taylor’s theories that workers were stupid and could not be trusted with any initiative.

"It was also because the thousands of pages of work rules in United Auto Workers contracts, which forbade assembly-line speedups, also barred any initiative or flexible response. That’s why the UAW in 1970 staged a long strike against General Motors to give workers the option of early retirement, 30-and-out. All those guys who had gotten assembly-line jobs at 18 or 21 could quit at 48 or 51. The only problem was that when they retired they lost their health insurance. So the UAW got the Detroit Three auto companies to pay for generous retiree health benefits that covered elective medical and dental procedures with little or no co-payments" for the rest of their lives.

"It was those retiree health benefits more than anything else that eventually drove General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy and into ownership by the government and the UAW. The liberal nostalgiacs would [LOVE] to see an economy that gives low-skill high-school graduates similar opportunities. That’s what Barack Obama seems to be envisioning when he talks about hundreds of thousands of 'green jobs.'" Folks, this is so good.  This is exactly the way to understand when Obama talks about "workers."

When the Democrats talk about "workers," and "green jobs," they're talking about this. They look at everybody as woefully inept and incompetent.  You come out of high school, you're not good for anything, but get an assembly-line job with a union and then you'll get a job and you get the rest of your life and you get health benefits. And that's prosperity to them! That's as much as most people should hope for.  That's one of the things that so offends me about liberalism is how limiting it is.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I want to finish with the Barone piece, because this is really, really good.  "Liberal Nostalgiacs Don’t Understand Jobs of the Future," and, by the way: Nothing wrong with this.  But to them this is the epitome. This is the peak.  You come outta high school and you're not trained to do anything.  You're just a dork.  And then you get on the assembly line and you work there, and you retire at age 48 or 50, and you get your lifetime benefits.  And that's cool, and that's what Obama wants to create with green jobs, and that's what the libs are looking at.  To them, that's...

See, when you and I, as conservatives, look back at nostalgia, we look at entrepreneurism.  We see a massively growing United States economy with people able to participate in it however they wish.  The only limits on people are those that they impose on themselves.  And I've often said: Philosophically, most of the limits that people face in life are self-imposed.  The greatest example is somebody who grows up in a small or medium-size town and wants to do something in life that doesn't exist in that town. That business isn't there, and they say, "Well, but I really don't want to leave. My family's here. It's secure."  Okay, fine.  Cool.  But, it's not anybody else fault but yours. 

You coulda moved. You could have followed your dream.  You chose not to.  You chose to do something else.  It wasn't the country that held you back.  It wasn't anybody else that held you back.  And I don't mean this as a criticism.  It's tough love.  Most of the limitations that people face are self-imposed.  Not by The Man. Not by the system.  The system's not keeping you down.  There are all kinds of people who work their way around it. Many do.  And that's what we advocate.  We advocate the pursuit of excellence.  We advocate being the best you can be, whatever that is. Using whatever ambition you want, getting whatever education you think you need. 

But look, Barone is right: Liberal nostalgics look at jobs in an entirely different way, particularly mass production jobs on the assembly line. Join the union, get your benefits and your pension, and that's it.  And if that's what you want, that's fine, by the way, don't misunderstand.  I'm just saying that's how the people you are voting for look at you.  It's important to understand this, if you're a liberal Democrat.  So, "The liberal nostalgiacs would like to see an economy that gives low-skill high-school graduates similar opportunities." And that's what they think of most people: Low skill, incompetent, need the government to guide you and help you. 

"That’s what Barack Obama seems to be envisioning when he talks about hundreds of thousands of 'green jobs.' But those 'green jobs' have not come into existence despite massive government subsidies and crony capitalism." Jeff Immelt! With all that crony capitalism, GE still doesn't have a whole lot of these green jobs.  They're all shutting down. They're all going out of business.  There isn't any business. There is no wind business; there is no solar business.  It's not there.  There is no energy alternative to oil that's producing all kinds of wonderful jobs.  "It’s become apparent that the old Detroit model was unsustainable and cannot be revived even by the most gifted community organizer and adjunct law professor," and, boy, does that not nail what Obama's trying to do!

Look what he's trying to revive: The 1930s in every way you can imagine.  Obama is retro. The liberals are retro, anti-progress, back to the days before all this progress took place.  "For one thing, in a rapidly changing and technologically advanced economy, the lifetime job seems to be a thing of the past. Particularly 'lifetime' jobs where you work only 30 years and then get supported for the next 30 or so years of your life."  Sorry, can't do that anymore. The money isn't there. The template isn't there. It's just not possible anymore.  You don't go to work someplace for 30 years, retire, and make the same amount until you die that you were making when you worked. 

"Today’s young people can’t expect to join large organizations and in effect ride escalators for the rest of their careers. The new companies emerging as winners in high tech -- think Apple or Google -- just don’t employ that many people, at least in the United States. Similarly, today’s manufacturing firms produce about as large a share of the gross national product as they used to, but with a much smaller percentage of the labor force. Moreover, there’s evidence that recent growth in some of the professions -- law, higher education -- has been a bubble, and is about to burst." I've got stories in the Stack: One out of two graduates have nothing to do, no jobs.  (Hang on; that's coming up.)

"As Walter Russell Mead writes in his brilliant blog, Via Meadia, referring to young people, 'The career paths they've been trained for are narrowing and they are going to have to launch out in directions they and their teachers didn't expect. They were bred and groomed to live as house pets; they are going to have to learn to thrive in the wild.' But, as Mead continues, 'The future is filled with enterprises not yet born, jobs that don't yet exist, wealth that hasn't been created, wonderful products and life-altering service not yet given form.'" But it isn't gonna come from the government.  All that magic never has come from the government, and it won't. 

Now, you can have ten stimulus programs. You could have all these new regulations from one of these agencies.  That's not where the magic has happened in this country, and it's not gonna happen there ever.  "What we can be sure of is that creating your own career will produce a stronger sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Young people who do so won't hate their work the way those autoworkers hated those assembly-line jobs." That's a key point.  The nostalgia the left has for those union jobs... You know nostalgia, in a psychological sense, I've always believed nostalgia... For the most part when people get nostalgic, they're thinking good things. 

It reminds them of the wonderful things in the past.  And when the left gets nostalgic for jobs, look at the kind of jobs they're thinking about. They're jobs that nobody wants anymore, jobs that don't have the same structure as they used to have.  They're dinosaurs.  The left is a bunch of Jurassic Park people.  They are not progressives in any sense of the word.  What they do is retard people. They retard growth. They retard the creation of opportunity.  It's just a shame.  This is one of Barone's best columns ever.  He may not even know that, but it is.

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