RUSH: A story related to the upcoming tax increases in New York state and New York City: ‘Sweeping layoffs of government employees,’ sweeping layoffs of government employees, i.e., union employees, ‘are needed to prevent New York going bankrupt, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday. Bloomberg, who is in tense negotiations with municipal workers’ unions, said an extra 7,000 jobs would have to go unless major reductions are made in employee benefits. ‘We cannot continue. Our pension costs and health care costs for our employees are going to bankrupt this city,’ he said in comments broadcast on NY1 television. Bloomberg, running for a third mayoral term at the end of this year, said that proposals from unions so far were ‘nowhere near what is adequate.’ The possible job cuts, first announced Wednesday, would be on top of 1,300 already proposed and another 8,000 that could be axed through attrition.’
Let me add this up. Sixteen thousand three hundred jobs lost in the city of New York. Union jobs lost. And of course there will be even more when I cease doing business in New York, ’cause there will be even less tax revenue. And this, of course, pleases the governor of New York, David Paterson, who has publicly said that if he knew I would leave, he would have raised these taxes sooner. A grand total of 16,300 union jobs, can’t afford the pension costs or the health care costs. Now, I don’t know, it doesn’t say how many will be left, it doesn’t say what the total payroll is. The budget office said on Wednesday that 7,000 extra job cuts would allow the city to cut a further $350 million in expenditure. So if they cut the 7,000 extra jobs they can save $350 million they don’t have to spend or won’t have to spend. Now, look, in a way, I really do have mixed emotions about this ’cause these are people. We are talking about Americans and human beings, and they’re going to get laid off, and they’re being told, ‘Your pension and your health care costs,’ which again were negotiated, the city negotiated health care costs and pension. Now, you hate to see this happen. I know that they’re liberals. I don’t think all the union employees are liberal. There’s some conservative Republicans in New York, but the vast majority I’m sure are. And of course the city is run by liberals, as is the state.
What they’re admitting here is the hard, cold reality of truth, that none of this was ever sustainable. The concept of being paid far more than what you produce just isn’t sustainable, and look where the cuts are coming from. Even with all these preferred union employees, the city really isn’t cutting services to the people on welfare. They claim they’re going to be, but they don’t dare because that would lead to riots. They don’t dare do any of that. So they’re going to be laying people off. Health care, pension, people had been counting on it, this is what they thought the deal was, the promise was, when they signed on. Many of them are looking forward to retiring at age 40 which you get to do with 80% pay or whatever, and then you go out and get another job. The point is that none of this works. Over time you learn that it’s unsustainable. The golden goose is only golden for so long. You can only rape the golden goose for so long before it doesn’t have any gold left. All of this is coming home to roost now, and look where it’s coming home to roost. It’s coming home to roost for the largest part in public and private businesses that are unionized. Not entirely, not exclusively, but predominantly.
I remember I got into big trouble on this program, and innocently so, early on in the days of this program, might have been 1988 or ’89. We were discussing unions, and I made the point that one of the big problems with unions was that every contract year they’d demand more pay for less work, more time off, more sick days, more vacations, more this, more that, and I remember my father telling me about a contract that he had to do with the bricklayers union. So I mentioned this — and this is in the late eighties — and the bricklayers union, out of Chicago was livid, they called, they demanded a retraction, they said it wasn’t true, and I stuck to my guns, and it was. We dug up the information. Everything that I said about it was true. They did negotiate contracts. Bricklayers had to lay X-number of bricks a day fewer with the new contract with more break time and so forth. This is not how productivity happens. It’s not how wealth is accrued. It’s not how growth happens. Now Snerdley thinks I’m being too nice here with my compassion for these union employees. Well, James, let me ask you a question. Do you want to be in their shoes?
It may be a life lesson for them, but do you want to live in New York City on what they earn? Do you want to live out in Queens, wherever it is they live, live in one of the boroughs, make what they make, and their whole reason for doing this is the pension they’re going to get when they retire and their health care, and all of a sudden they’re going to be told — (interruption) What else are they going to go do? They’re going to have to become entrepreneurial themselves. These kinds of jobs are vanishing. Then they’re going to be on unemployment for as long as they can. I know a lot of you people are saying, ‘Okay, good riddance, the way the liberals have stuck it to us every year, the way these people have stuck it to the genuine producers and have tried to do their damage in the private sector, good, it’s about time they found out what the pain is like.’ Remember when Rick Wagoner got blown out of General Motors, there were prominent liberal columnists who wrote pieces of glee and happiness. ‘Good, it’s about time he finds out what it’s like to walk out the door without a job. It’s about time he finds out what it’s like to be treated the way he treated all of his employees.’
All right, if we wanted to, when we get the news of these 7,000 upcoming layoffs, because the pension and health care costs are bankrupting the city, imagine you’re one of these 7,000 people, and you hear the mayor say that your health care and pension plans bankrupting the city? I don’t think you’re going to believe that, but it’s liberal versus liberal here. You got liberal government in the state and the city, liberal employees making deals with one another. Now the bloom’s off the rose. So some people might say there’s some sweet justice, or at least a teachable moment. I’m not into vengeance. I’m not looking to be made happy because of these people’s suffering. I actually feel for them. I feel for them because they’ve been duped; as liberals, they’ve been duped into believing things about economics that are not true, and now here it’s all coming home to roost, and it’s happened before. It happened back in 1975 with the city. Union membership at its high in this country was 35, 38%. It’s down to 11 or 12% now. That’s why card check is such an important thing to Democrats. That’s why illegal immigration is so important. Illegal immigration is all about finding new union members at lower wages that will become Democrat voters. It’s what it’s all about, but, you see, it doesn’t work, because the deals that are made, paying people after they stop producing, even if they’re retired for longer than they’ve worked, does not work. It’s mathematically impossible.