RUSH: “The City Council brushed aside warnings from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to approve an ordinance that makes Chicago the biggest city in the nation to require big-box retailers to pay a ‘living wage.’ The ordinance, which passed 35-14 Wednesday after three hours of impassioned debate, requires mega-retailers to pay wages of at least $10 an hour plus $3 in fringe benefits,” $3 in fringe benefits? “by mid-2010. It would only apply to companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales and stores of at least 90,000 square feet. ‘It’s trying to get the largest companies in America to pay decent wages,’ Ald[erman] Toni Preckwinkle said.”
No, it’s not.
“The minimum wage in Illinois is $6.50 an hour and the federal minimum is $5.15. Mayor Richard M. Daley and others warned the living wage proposal would drive jobs and desperately needed development from some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and lead giants like Wal-Mart to abandon the city.” It’s exactly right. Wal-Mart will ring the city. Wal-Mart will surround the city, but they will not go there. (Laughing.) This has nothing to do with a “livable wage.” This has nothing to do with making big companies pay a livable wage. This is all about unions. This is all about the Democrats being loyal to unions. I think the ACORN group was behind this, a huge liberal group.
The minimum wage… It looks like the Republicans are going to propose one of their own increases, so this is all moot. But you know, I’m going to keep talking about it because it’s ridiculous. The minimum wage is an arbitrarily set wage, has nothing to do with market conditions. It actually reduces jobs. It results in the loss of jobs. People don’t believe that, but it is statically true. Now, let me ask you people in Chicago at the city council. Ten bucks an hour in 2010? Why not tomorrow? This is desperately needed, isn’t it? Why you going to wait almost three years or four? Why wait four years? What’s the point here?
By the time we get to 2010, $10 an hour is not going to be that much different than the $6.50 that is the required minimum wage in Chicago now. Why wait? By the way, why stop at ten? If ten dollars is a good livable wage, wouldn’t $15 an hour be even better? If that’s true, then why stop at 15? Why? Why didn’t make the livable wage $20? If big corporations — who was it that said this? Toni Preckwinkle. She said they’re “trying to get the largest companies in America to pay decent wages.” Well, I don’t think $10 an hour is a decent wage, Ms. Preckwinkle. I wouldn’t work for it. Who do you think will?
Big companies need to pay their fair share! Fifteen is better. Why stop there? Why didn’t you do $20 an hour? And what is this $3 of fringe benefits. Three dollars won’t even buy you a gallon of gas in Chicago, and you call it a fringe benefit? It’s absurd. It’s insulting. Make the fringe benefit… In fact, Ms. Preckwinkle, I have a better idea. Forget this hourly wage business in the first place. If we’re talking about really making these companies come clean and be honest with the people who are making them successful, then let’s just say that there is a required minimum salary of $75,000 a year for everybody that works at Wal-Mart. Everybody gets health care, dental, no copay, no deductible, and $20,000 fringe benefits every year.
“Well, we can’t do that.”
Why not? If you can go from $6.50 to ten, why can’t you go from ten to $15 — and if you can go to $15, why can’t you go to $20? I mean go talk to your union buddies or doing whatever jobs they’re doing and ask them if they would go back to ten dollars an hour on the basis it’s a livable wage. Do you think Louie down there in the stone mason or the bricklayers or whatever is going to tell you that he’ll accept ten dollars an hour, on the basis of livable wage? Don’t you think that Wal-Mart ought to at least have to pay the lowest union contract equivalent in Chicago? Where do you come up with these arbitrary numbers? Ten bucks? Chump change!
Fifteen? Chump change! Why, the average illegal immigrant wouldn’t work for that. You’re going to have to do better than that in Chicago if you’re going to really talk about a living wage. But I don’t know how you stop at ten and I don’t know how you stop at 20 and I don’t know why you don’t just go and make it official. Make it a hundred grand, Ms. Preckwinkle. Make it 100 grand. Talk about a livable wage, somebody right really be able to buy care and not have to take Chicago public transit at a hundred grand. Have to teach ’em English. No! Don’t even have to do that, and make Wal-Mart pay for that if they want to learn English.
Go all the way with this, Chicago City Council. You are just tiptoeing around here; you’re dancing around the real truth. You don’t care about these workers. You just want a double-digit minimum wage because you know what this does? Can I tell you what the big secret of the minimum wage is, folks? (Now the so-called livable wage.) In addition to whatever political ploy it is to try to teach the downtrodden, the forgotten, the hungry and the thirsty that the Democrats care about them, what really is a way to goose union wages up, because good old union negotiators in Chicago are now going to say, “Whoa! People that don’t know how to count beyond ten and have only been in the country for a couple years are going to make ten bucks an hour at a box store at the checkout line or somewhere stocking things on shelves?
“Well, good for them! We want to raise our union contract the next time it comes up.” The higher the minimum wage goes, the higher the baseline for union contracts are. This is such a scam — and, of course, since the City of Chicago and its union deals that it makes with the city with other people, is actually paid by Chicago taxpayers, people like Toni Preckwinkle don’t really have to think of the money coming out of her purse or pocketbook or back pocket, whichever she prefers. Al in Chicago. Welcome, sir, nice to have you on the program.
CALLER: Rush, nice to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I’m here in Chicago. I’m at Moscow on Michigan. This is nothing more than a political act. It’s also an act that will impact greatly on the poorest of the people in Chicago. If you know Chicago, there’s a ring of poverty around that very successful core downtown. Those folks rely on public transportation. This won’t be able to benefit from the Targets and the Wal-Marts and the discounts that are available. You know, Ben Stein, the economist, has many times said that Wal-Mart is the greatest anti-poverty program going. But this is also a political act. They’ll cancel this out if they begin to see stores growing and being built right across the line in suburban communities, and that will what will happen because it happened with gas stations. Gas stations rim the city.
RUSH: It’s already started. Wal-Mart’s already said they’re going to build a store in one of these economical depressed places and the people that live there love it. That’s an excellent point. If these stores get built outside the — and you said it, not I — the “ring of poverty” in Chicago, then the primary beneficiaries of the Wal-Mart store won’t be able to get there or they’ll go broke getting there and won’t be able to spend any money once they do get there.
CALLER: Absolutely. Can I tell you, Kmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, they’re building right now in Evergreen Park, and these are communities that are one block — you know, they share a border with the city of Chicago.
CALLER: They do it because also sales tax in Chicago. If you cross the street and go into Indiana, you go from eight, 8-1/2% down to six. Chicago is hurting itself, but Chicago has always done this.
RUSH: That’s not unique.
CALLER: They have what I call a “captive constituency.”
RUSH: Captive constituency. (Laughing.) That’s true in the sales tax. In New Jersey, they bumped up the sales tax on some luxury cars and boats once, and people just went to Pennsylvania, and they ended up having to rescind the tax because liberals think raising taxes raises revenue. They do not understand the dynamic aspects of raising or cutting or lowering taxes. I’ll tell you something here. I want to ask you about the mayor, because you obviously, in Chicago you’re closer to him than I am. The other day this wacko bunch of city council people actually passed a trans-fat ordinance.
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: Or they’re working on it, and Mayor Daley said (paraphrased), “What the hell are we doing? We’ve got serious problems with kids in this country. We’ve got a drug problem. We’ve got a crime problem. What the hell are we regulating people’s menus for?” and he opposes this living wage thing. Now, what’s with that?
CALLER: The City Council of Chicago has nothing better to do.
RUSH: No, I mean what’s — no, no, no. What’s with Daley opposing this. Daley is a Democrat, too. Daley is sounding like a Republican, almost a conservative Republican on this.
CALLER: Yeah, but Daley’s not running for anything at the moment. Well, he will be soon.
CALLER: He’s doing a straddle. You know, he’s doing what Clinton always does. He wants to be on the right side of the issue. It’s not a matter of principle, it’s a matter of positioning, and that’s how Daley always operates.
RUSH: Wait a second. Living wage, minimum wage, that’s a fundamental defining issue of the Democratic Party and he’s ripping people like Toni Preckwinkle. By the way, how long has Toni Preckwinkle been a member of the City Council in Chicago?
CALLER: I think forever.
RUSH: Is she married?
CALLER: You know, I don’t know. I can’t say for her.
RUSH: Just wondering if it’s her maiden name.
CALLER: I’m sorry?
RUSH: I’m just saying wondering if it’s her maiden name. I could Google it. You don’t have to worry about it. I’ll handle it. Anyway, thanks, Al. I appreciate the input. This is just fascinating stuff. But big cities, big Democrat cities, are locked back in an old era. The Drive-By Media locked in an old era. There are major transformational changes happening in front of all of them in the Middle East, in this country, and they’re so locked in that old lens and that prism through which they look at news that they’re missing all of it.
RUSH: You know, here’s something else for the Chicago City Council and for everybody else here that’s toying around with this lunacy, and it is sheer lunacy, of raising the minimum wage, and I can demonstrate it to anybody who thinks they want to call and argue with me about it, because I know how you’re going to argue. You’re going to say, “But, Rush, who can live on $5.15 an hour? Who can live on that?” Well, a lot of people are not living on it, is the point. It’s an entry-level wage. Many of them are the equivalent of baby-sitters. There are entry-level jobs in America, the newest one being the illegal immigrant job — and then there are other jobs that are just your first job in the marketplace. There is a myth out there that heads of households supporting the family sedan and the 2.8 kids and the white picket fence in suburbia on five dollars an hour, 5.15, 6.50, whatever the hell it is. It’s a myth.
Heads of households are not earning minimum wage. I mean, there may be some, but you react to this totally emotionally. “But, Rush, it’s not enough.” I know. Well, how many of you think what you’re earning right now is enough? I bet you’re all saying, “No, I need more.” Even I say that. Even I say it. Now, what are we doing about it? Are we running around, “We need a government program to raise my wage”? You know something else that’s not talked about with the minimum wage? The tax burden. Why isn’t the tax burden, which cuts the net minimum wage, ever discussed? If the minimum wage is so crucial, shouldn’t it be free of any taxation?
Like Ms. Preckwinkle in Chicago, a $10 living wage. Make it tax-free. I know that they’re not going to be paying income tax out of that, but they are going to pay state. They’re going to pay through the nose on state income tax. They’re going to have Social Security Medicare taxes withheld and a whole bunch of other things: unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation. Now, how is that fair? You people in government talk about how “unfair it is that the minimum wage is so low,” and then whatever the minimum wage is gets eaten up by your taxes. So if you really believe all this, those of you at the Chicago City Council or any other of you pro-minimum wage geeks, if you actually believe this, then make the next time you propose it all the way through.
Every minimum wage recipient is exempted from taxes.
“It’s too important. People need to live, Mr. Limbaugh. They need to be able to eat and feed their families.”
I understand that, and I wouldn’t want to do it on five dollars an hour, wouldn’t want to do it on ten, although I’ve done it on the equivalent. We all have, is the point. Well, other than you trust funders and you Wall Street people whose first job out of Harvard, your hedge fund, is a couple hundred grand a year, but most people have earned the equivalent of the minimum wage. I did when I was 13. I got it out of the way when I was 16, 17, and 18. That’s when I earned the equivalent. It was a buck and a quarter an hour. I didn’t even care. It was so little, I didn’t care.
I just loved the experience. I gave the money to my dad because he had fronted me the money to go to broadcast school. Well, it wasn’t broadcast school, it was electronics school, went down to Dallas when I was 16. I had to have a radio license — it’s irrelevant now, but I had to have one then — in order work at this radio station in my hometown, and he required me — and it cost 600 bucks to fly me down there, live in some old woman’s house for the six weeks. Well, they had a whole row of houses down there next to the school and the owners of the houses rented out rooms for a very cheap fee. It was a school. It was a factory is. All kinds of guys were going through there, women, too.
I was 16 when I did it, and when I got back and started working, gave my dad the money, pay him back. Unbeknownst to me he set up a bank account, and all that money after about three years, it was like $3,000. So I made a thousand dollars a year and I was working full time. Now, I was a teenager, but that’s what the minimum wage is! That’s exactly what it is. It is misrepresented as something that a majority of Democrats want you to believe a majority of Americans are just one paycheck away from homelessness and destitution — and it’s all Bush’s fault, the Republicans’ fault because they won’t raise the minimum wage and so forth.
I’m just saying: If you’re going to go out there and raise the minimum wage as a city council member, member of Congress, whoever, whatever governmental body you’re part of, be fair, go all the way, exempt all taxes! I mean, okay, $10 livable wage, three-dollar fringe benefit, that’s really cute. Three dollar fringe benefit, that’s just so thoughtful and compassionate. I wouldn’t have thought of that myself. That shows how much smarter the liberals are than I am. But after the taxes, the state taxes, the Medicare, if there is federal income tax, $10 an hour probably not going to pay any. Most taxes are paid by the rich in this country. But Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, one-armed amputees in Greenwich Village Fund, whatever is taken out of there, ten bucks is going to add up to about five or six an hour.
Now, is that really compassionate? I don’t think so.
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