RUSH: Luke, in Fort Mill, South Carolina, nice to have you with us on the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Dittos, Rush. Yeah, I’m down here sweltering, 102 degrees. It must be that global warming. But the reason I called was to apologize to you.
RUSH: No, no. That’s called summertime, and you are in South Carolina.
CALLER: That is right. (laughing) People up north don’t understand that. They move down here and they complain.
RUSH: By the way, are the paper mills going today? I imagine the smell is pretty pungent.
CALLER: No, I didn’t smell anything. The air is pretty good down here.
RUSH: Good. That is good.
CALLER: The reason I called is to apologize to you. I have been a union member for like 40 years, and I’ve been listening to you since 1990, and I always would to throw things at the radio when you started bashing the unions, because even though I’m a Reagan conservative, I’m a union member, so I always kinda supported my union. I worked for the airlines for 38 years, retired as a captain about three years ago, and basically my union and company conspired to steal my pension, together, and, all those years of devotion, they threw us out the door.
RUSH: Was this Eastern?
RUSH: When did this happen to you?
CALLER: Well, I retired in 2004 and they terminated the pensions, actually made them retroactive to 2003 so we’d get less money.
RUSH: Wait a second. I thought United off-ed those pensions to the feds — i.e., us?
CALLER: Well, yeah, but they made an 80% reduction. You get about the same thing you get in Social Security. So you can’t live on it. It is about $2,000 a month.
RUSH: Okay, so you were mad at me during all of this time for bashing the union?
CALLER: Yeah. I was throwing stuff at the radio and people would always say, ‘How can you support that Rush guy? He’s always bashing the unions,’ and of course I was a conservative but supported my union. Now I look back and you were right, Rush. (bitter laugh) You can’t trust ’em.
RUSH: What caused the light to go on?
CALLER: Well, this whole thing when they conspired to the company. They didn’t even try to negotiate to save the pensions. They just rolled over and took $50 million in bonds for the guys were flying and told the retirees, ‘See you later, alligator.’
RUSH: So how do you feel now when you see United posting a profit for the first time in a long time?
CALLER: Well, it irritates me, because I knew they were going to be making a profit and all those pensions —
RUSH: Yeah, see, and how did they do it? They had to get rid of these obligations.
CALLER: No. No. It’s not quite that easy, but, yeah, I understand what you are saying. The obligations they had, they were deferred income. We took less pay raises — some years we took no raises — so we could have a pension.
RUSH: Oh, I know what you guys did. You were giving up everything. Salaries —
CALLER: The question I was going to bring up was that basically what you have been saying is right all along. You can’t depend on the union to take care of you in the long run, because they won’t. They’re basically greedy people. They’re the same people that sit in boardrooms, you know? They just wear a different tie, that’s all. I wanted to apologize to you because I have been badmouthing to you to all of my friends — just the part about unions. Everything else, I love about you. But now I love you about everything, so… (Laughing.)
RUSH: (Laughing.) Well, I appreciate it.
CALLER: You were right all along. I was wrong.
RUSH: So what kind of aircraft did you captain?
CALLER: I finished up on the Triple 7, flying to Europe and China. I flew troops to Kuwait.
RUSH: Wow. I’ve never been on a Triple 7.
CALLER: You ought to do it. It is really cool. In fact, I sent you on e-mail to get a job to be your pilot. But I think your screener burned it before he got it after I lost my pension. (Laughing.)
RUSH: (Laughing.) No, no!
CALLER: I was the guy who put you in the Rush Room in the Air. Remember that story?
RUSH: Oh, all right! I do remember that. What are you doing now?
CALLER: Well, right now I’m just basically sucking my 401(k) down trying to stay alive. (laugh) They don’t want to hire me at age 60, you know?
RUSH: What do you want to do? What do you want to do? Do you want to keep flying?
CALLER: Keep flying much. I want to keep flying. That is why I sent you an e-mail saying, ‘I need a job, Rush,’ back about three years ago.
RUSH: Well, uh…
CALLER: Even a co-pilot job. I’d even degrade myself to be your co-pilot. I don’t care.
CALLER: (Laughing.) My wife says, ‘That would be your dream job, wouldn’t it?’ I said, ‘Yeah. I smoke lots of cigars and I like to fly airplanes,’ and I’m a great conservative.
RUSH: We smoke cigars on the airplane in the air, absolutely.
CALLER: I know. They wouldn’t let us on the airlines.
RUSH: What have you been doing in the last three years towards getting a job, other than sending the e-mail? I hear that.
CALLER: I have been trying to apply for jobs overseas, but they don’t — up until the age 65, thing, they wouldn’t take anybody over 60. Now they are saying, ‘Since you haven’t flown in two years we don’t want you unless you are current.’ So basically I’m in a Catch-22.
RUSH: Are you saying you’re 60?
CALLER: I’m 62 right now.
CALLER: But I look like, hopefully… everybody tell mess I look like I’m 50.
RUSH: You love aviation, right?
CALLER: Oh, I love it just like you do. I love the sound. When I was a kid, they wouldn’t let me play ball because I would stop what I was doing and the ball would go over my head while I’d watch the airplane go over.
RUSH: I still do.
CALLER: Do you?
CALLER: I still do that too.
RUSH: Trying to figure out where they come from.
CALLER: Yeah. I just want two things in life. I want to get a job as a pilot, and I want them to open up trade with Cuba so I can have some Cuban cigars.
RUSH: Well, I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon.
CALLER: I don’t think either one is going to happen, actually.
RUSH: Well, now… No, no, no! You can’t give up faith or confidence in the former, but if it’s not there as a pilot what else in aviation would you like to do?
CALLER: Ohhh… Hmm. I guess I could manage an aviation department, like the pilots. I could do that. Because, chief pilot manager-type thing. Or I had 30 years in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff and I could start a private detective agency, but that’s kind of a sleazy, crumby job really and dangerous, too.
RUSH: Well, I don’t know. There is all kinds of job in aviation. You could run an airport.
CALLER: Yeah, yeah. I sent you the e-mail. I said, ‘I would be your pilot/bodyguard since I have 30 years of law enforcement experience.’
CALLER: (Laughing.) I knew karate, but you never got the letter.
RUSH: Well, no, I didn’t. Well, I don’t know that I didn’t but I get —
CALLER: You probably get 10,000 a letter as day.
RUSH: In a 24-hour period, I get 10,000 to 11,000 e-mails, not counting the spam which I try to filter out. It’s just not possible to read them all.
CALLER: I’m going to try to scrape up some money to go to Shanken’s Cigar Aficionado thing and meet you face-to-face.
RUSH: That is a great time.
CALLER: I pray the market goes up so my 401(k) keeps growing so I can afford to do that.
RUSH: That Montecristo Cup is a golf tournament for charity that is played usually in Puerto Rico, but it’s going to be someplace else — I think Freeport — this December.
CALLER: In the Bahamas?
CALLER: Ohhh, that will be nice. It’s windy there, though, you’ve gotta pllay the ball with the wind.
RUSH: Well, it’s windy in Puerto Rico. It is windy here!
CALLER: You wouldn’t want to play golf with me, Rush. I hack grass basically what I do.
CALLER: Chop grass, yeah.
RUSH: Oh, you hit the ball Oprah.
CALLER: Yes. (laughing) I fly a lot better than I play golf, that’s for sure. Well, it’s been a pleasure to talking to you.
RUSH: Thank you. Thank you. Don’t give up the dream of staying in aviation, whatever you do. If you love it that much, it’s worth pursuing. Stay close to it. You’ll never know what will result once you get back into it. Thanks. Thanks much for the call. (interruption) No, no, no, no. They’re asking me, ‘What do you mean ‘hit the ball Oprah’?’ Fat. You hit it behind the ball. You chunk it, is what he was talking about he was doing. Whenever we it hit the ball fat, with he say that: ‘Damn it, I hit it Oprah.’ If you slice it right, you say, ‘Damn it, I got the Pat Buchanans today.’
RUSH: You know our United Airlines pilot, the guy who flew the 777, Luke? He actually made a good point that kind of slithered through there unnoticed. When he said, ‘You know, Rush, you were finally right. There’s no difference between the guys in the boardroom and union guys. They just wear different ties,’ what he meant was… Okay, let’s go back to the guy from the montage that we started the program with at LTV Steel who worked with them a long time and then retired and lost most of his pension and healthcare. Where’s his union? Where’s his union helping him out? How come it’s the evil corporation, and then how come it is us that has to move in and save the day? Where is this all-knowing, all -caring, loving union? Where are they when this kind of thing happens to people, hmm? It’s ‘Bye-bye. See you! We got from you what you wanted. We got your donations. We funded Democrats to be reelected. We sat at their table of power. Good luck getting your healthcare!’ Where is the union? By the way, another way of look at all of this. We had another guy in that montage saying Maytag shut down and moved down to Mexico. In one sense, isn’t it good? Maytag’s a big, big generator-producer of greenhouse gases. Isn’t it good that they shut down here and start polluting Mexico? Same thing in the auto industry. Isn’t this what the perfect environmentalist wacko world would look like: no corporations? Isn’t this what you listen to kook fringe liberals talk about? ‘No corporations! Wouldn’t it be wonderful?’ Why isn’t it a good thing when they all shut down? Shouldn’t we be praising these companies that go out of business and thereby eliminate greenhouse gases and stop polluting the planet and save it? This is a public service, right, when a big corporation goes down, goes bankrupt? Remember, businesses are bad, so when they go under, that’s good, right? ‘We want them to suffer! We want those corporate execs to suffer. No more pollution. No more profiting. No more abusing employees. No more outsourcing. They’re gone.’ It’s good, right? If the liberals were consistent, if the environmental wackos were consistent, that is how they would view every corporation going down.