RUSH: Have you heard about Scranton, Pennsylvania? Here we go again. First you had Stockton. (haughty PBS impression) It's "Stockton." Yes, when I was in Sacramento, the PBS station there also covered the Stockton market. And you know how the PBS people talk. They give the call letters of the station at the top of the hour for the ID, and I forget what it was, you know, WBSS, whatever, (haughty PBS impression) "Sacramento, Stockton." You and I would say, "WBSS Sacramento, Stockton." (haughty PBS impression) "No, no, no. WBSS Sacramento, Stockton."
Anyway, Stockton is bankrupt, and now Scranton, Pennsylvania, found itself down to its last $5,000 in the bank last week. "Democratic mayor took a highly unusual step: he unilaterally cut the pay of city workers -- including police officers, firefighters and even himself -- to the minimum wage, just $7.25 an hour. Now the city’s unions are fighting for their promised pay in court. 'The teenagers who work at the ice cream stand not far from my house, they make $8.50 an hour -- that’s a dollar and a quarter more than I now make,' said John J. Judge IV, a 10-year veteran firefighter who is the president of the Scranton local of the firefighters’ union. But Scranton finds itself in a position that is unusual even in this era of widespread budget pain: It has nearly run out of cash and, so far, no one is willing to lend it more.
"As the city has fallen behind on its bills, it has received warning letters from the company that sells it gasoline for its police cars and fire trucks; the landfill where it dumps its garbage; and even its water company, which threatened to cut off service, according to a lawsuit that Mayor Christopher A. Doherty filed against Scranton’s City Council last month. ... A majority on the Council turned Scranton into a financial pariah this spring by refusing to honor a guarantee that the city had placed on the revenue bonds issued by its parking authority."
So the credit rating was hit by not guaranteeing bonds. No lender is willing to step up. The Democrat mayor doesn't have any money, and so he's cut everybody back to the minimum wage, and so everybody is suing. (laughing) No, no. I'm not laughing about it. I'm laughing because Snerdley's in there applauding. "Mr. Doherty, who did not return calls seeking comment, told The Times-Tribune of Scranton last week that the city could not afford to make its payroll. 'What am I going to pay them with?' he asked."
That is exactly right. What am I gonna pay 'em with? They can't run a deficit. Nobody will lend 'em the money. What is a deficit but borrowed money? Nobody will lend them any. There are no IOUs, and they, unlike Obama, cannot print any money. Scranton, Pennsylvania, has been in the control of Democrats since forever. And the mayor there has been pushing for insane tax increases. Where's Obama on this? He doesn't give a rat's rear end. It was Bush's fault.
"San Bernardino on Tuesday became the third California city in less than a month to seek bankruptcy protection, with officials saying the financial situation had become so dire that it could not cover payroll through the summer. The unexpected vote came at the suggestion of the interim city manager, who said the city faces a $46-million deficit and depleted coffers." So Scranton and Stockton are spreading now to San Bernardino. Can't cover salaries through the summer. It's the tip of the iceberg. These cities have been on spending sprees. They have been promising and committing money that they knew they weren't gonna have. Hope and change. Bankruptcy. Folks, this is government. This is what government does when people have the opportunity to spend money that isn't theirs.
RUSH: We've got the mayor of Scranton. We talked about Scranton, Pennsylvania. This is Chris Doherty. He was on America's Newsroom today with Martha MacCallum. They had a talk about the firefighters filing suit against the mayor because he's cut everybody's salaries down there to minimum wage. And Martha MacCallum said, "What are you saying to the firemen?"
DOHERTY: We've known of the troubles that were gonna happen this year because our council passed a budget that was based on borrowing, and now they've been unwilling to fund that borrowing. And, as a result, we have a shortfall. It's unfortunate city council has passed a budget that's based on borrowing and is unwilling to fund it. It's a very difficult situation. But I always have said, this -- I've been elected three times -- you have to be honest with the people and say, "These are what your services cost." You know, we have been burdened with a lot of legacy costs in Scranton. Our health care bill is $15 million. The majority of that bill goes to retirees.
DOHERTY: Those are agreements that were made before I became the mayor. And we need to address and understand those costs. You know, cities like Scranton, where these type of arrangements were made, have been very burdensome.
RUSH: And Bush did it. I don't know when Bush was mayor of Scranton, but it doesn't matter. He doesn't have to be mayor of Scranton. He was president; he caused the problems. The mayor cut his own salary to minimum wage, too. So he's all-in. I mean he's not asking of others what he's not asking of himself. But anyway, you hear they've got $15 million that they have to come up with to pay the health care benefits for retired city workers. The money was never going to be there. And what this guy is saying, he's saying it without saying it, is, "Look, I'm here, it's an accident of typing. I happen to be mayor when all this stuff comes due. All this stuff was done by people before I got here." Which is true, but he ran for office, he wanted the gig. I think he's doing everything. I don't know if he's chopping the retirees' money off, but he's gotta come up with this $15 million for their health care bill.
You know, this is obscene. What health care costs is literally obscene, and there's no reason for it other than the government getting involved in it back when they did in the sixties when all this -- well, it actually predates that, but it intensified in the sixties. It's just absurd that health care should be one of the most expensive things in any culture. Literally absurd.
RUSH: Here's Ned in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, sir! How you doing?
RUSH: I'm okay. How are you?
CALLER: I'm pretty fair. I just wanted to point out that even if Scranton was fiscally sound and well-managed, they're still doomed.
RUSH: Why is that?
CALLER: It's in the coal region!
RUSH: Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho. Okay.
CALLER: Our Dear Leader and his minions have told everybody they're going to destroy them.
RUSH: Exactly right. Obama has said that.
CALLER: Why would anybody invest money there or lend them money?
RUSH: I am glad you called. I am glad you reminded me, because I... No, I'm not. Never mind. I'm not glad you called. Well, I'm glad you called but what you reminded me of I threw away 'cause I didn't trust the source. It was about Obama and energy and that kind of thing. Anyway, I had forgotten that. I had forgotten to place Scranton in coal country. You're exactly right.
CALLER: That covers about a third of Pennsylvania. How can that be a swing state? Are those people stupid?
RUSH: Well, uh --
CALLER: Yeah, I know. (laughing)
RUSH: What are you doing in the Outer Banks? Did you used to live in Pennsylvania?
CALLER: I was born there, and I escaped at a very early age.
CALLER: No, actually I was in the Amish Country.
RUSH: Oh, okay.
CALLER: But I had relatives in the Scranton area, so I was very familiar with it.
RUSH: That is an interesting question. We ask that about things. I'll tell you what: The serious answer to your question is that liberals are liberals. Liberals are liberals first, whatever else they are, and that is unshakable no matter what. Beating us matters more than their own selves staying out of poverty.
RUSH: Now, Scranton, Pennsylvania, do you know that's where Biden is from? Biden likes to brag, ladies and gentlemen, that he is from Scranton, Pennsylvania. And I wonder, since Scranton is in big, big trouble -- you know, one of the things leading up to this, by the way, I should point this out, I should mention this. A source in the Scranton city council spoke on condition of anonymity, said the big problem there was that the mayor and the city council had agreed to borrow to cover the shortfall, but a couple of consultants warned the banks not to lend to the city until a recovery plan was approved. So then the city balked at the whole thing. The city council balked because the recovery plan that was put in place to get loans from the banks included a 78% tax increase on businesses in Scranton.
That's what nobody's telling you. We're hearing that everybody's been cut to the minimum wage, but the recovery plan included a 78% tax hike. That was supposed to encourage the banks to lend money, to cover the shortfall coming up in health care payments for the retired and all that. Well, that led to a bunch of businesses leaving, just like a bunch of wealthy citizens of Maryland are leaving the state of Maryland because of high taxes. I've had that story in the Stack for a couple days and haven't gotten to it, so now I thought I would. Seventy-eight percent increase in taxes on businesses. And some of those businesses have already left.
So Biden likes to brag that he's from Scranton. Now, I wonder if he'll go back. What an opportunity for the regime here. The hometown of the vice president hanging on by a thread. This is the town where the walls in the little house where he grew up were so thin but his parents nevertheless got away with doing it in there, and none of the kids and none of the people in the house knew it. Parents were really good at his. Biden told the La Raza convention this story as a means of relating to them, and they were not offended. They laughed about it.
So I think Biden ought to go back to Scranton, campaign stop, and talk up how Obama has created green jobs and it doesn't matter whether they're rooted in coal or not. Go back in there and tell 'em, yeah, well, we got a bunch of green jobs. I don't know what you're waiting on. And we had stimulus money. Ask 'em why the stimulus money hasn't saved the police force and firefighters. After all, wasn't that what it was for? If I'm the mayor of Scranton, I'm calling the White House, "How come we didn't get any stimulus money?" I mean, after all, the vice president's from here.
In fact, forget Biden. Obama, Obama could travel to Scranton. He could talk about his brand-new plan, which is actually his old plan, which is to raise taxes on anybody left in Scranton who makes over $250,000 a year. That's the ticket. Send Obama in there and have him announce his plan that's gonna save us all. I mean, that's what he's announcing all over the country, raise taxes on people that make 250 grand. That's the ticket. So head into Scranton, hometown of Biden, and tell everybody who makes over 250 grand, "I, Obama, am gonna raise your taxes, especially if you are a small business, and I've got all kinds of new regulations I want to impose. That's how we're gonna bring your economy back. That's how we do it. That's how it works in America. You work hard in this country, everything pays off, and then I raise your taxes."
Let Obama go to Scranton, which is barely hanging on, and have him announce his plan there. 'Cause his plan, his new plan is the same old plan. Destroy the private sector, raise taxes on those who are left to get rid of them, then have a bunch of green energy come in and eventually the government takes over everything because it flops and save Scranton. Yeah, this calls for Obama. Biden can't pull this off. He's gaffe central. It sounds to me like the middle class in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is getting killed by all this compassionate big government. Obama could go in there, could announce his new emission rules and the EPA and all the new regulations, Obamacare, all the great things that are gonna happen there. The new emissions regulations and all the fairness that Obama's got planned to raise taxes on the evil rich who are not doing their fair share to save Scranton.
Yeah, that's it. Have Obama go in and tell the people there that his plan will save their city. That's what he's telling everybody else. When the fact of the matter is, that the middle class in Scranton is being killed by policies that have emanated from the Democrat Party from the get-go. It is the American left, it's liberalism, and it's the Democrat Party killing Scranton and any other city that's being bulldozed or soon to be bulldozed. Just ask yourself who's been running the place, for how long. And I guarantee you you're gonna find a certain number of elements common to all of them: Democrats, union members, liberals, they're all gonna have been there with unchecked power.
Yeah, and then Obama, hire more teachers and more policemen and firefighters, and more public sector union employees. That's the ticket. That's how we recover. That's how we rebuild this economy. That's what the Democrats are saying. That's what jobs are, more teachers and more cops and more firefighters. Go to Scranton, Mr. President, and tell them your plan. Go to Scranton, which is a city barely hanging on, and you tell 'em the details of your plan, and let's just see how they react to it.