RUSH: Listen to this audio sound bite from Thomas Friedman. Last night on PBS’ Charlie Rose Show on PBS. Charlie Rose said, ‘We’re looking in the next several years at the most stern challenge to leadership in the political class we’ve ever seen, right, Tom?’
FRIEDMAN: You know, Charlie, for 60 years you could really say being in politics, being a political leader was on ball about giving things away to people.
FRIEDMAN: That’s what you did most of your time. I think we’re entering an era — how long it will last, I… I dare not predict — where being in politics is going to be more than anything else about taking things away from people.
RUSH: Well, that’s the way he looks at it, ‘taking things away from people.’ The American people will head to the polls in November to stop this madness of giving things away, which Friedman loves. Friedman loves the notion of giving things away, ‘But it’s going to be really tough to be a leader now! Oh, it’s frightening! It’s going to be really scary. It’s going to be tough to be a leader because now we’re going to take things away from people. (Gasp!) Oh, no!’ Who would want to do that, Charlie? Who would want to do that? Charlie says, ‘Yes, well, you know we at PBS, we need your pledge — and without your pledge we may not dust.’
Speaking of taking things away from people: ‘Budget Squeeze, Padlocks 55 Parks and Historic Sites in New York — Officials at the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation say the agency today will start shutting down or keeping closed 41 parks and 14 historic sites across New York. Parks officials say that at parks across the state, parking lot gates and restrooms are being locked, and anyone venturing onto the properties will be asked to leave. … Paterson and parks Commissioner Carol Ash announced earlier this year that dozens of the state’s 178 parks and 35 historic sites would have to be closed and others would have their services reduced because of New York’s budget deficit, now estimated at $9.2 billion.’ Oh, yeah! They’ve gotta close the parks, gotta close the historic sites. We’re not gonna get rid of the 15,000 redundant people in every school system. No, we’re going to close the parks. We’re going to tell people how bad it is, and next it’s going to be the cops, and next it’s going to be the teachers, and next it’s going to be the firemen.
Back to the phones we go. We’re going to go to Long Island. This is Rob. I’m glad you called, sir. Nice to have you on the program.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, how you doing?
RUSH: Very well. Thank you.
CALLER: Hey, great segue. I was calling in ’cause I wanted to talk about that. I just think that I wish you would spend a week just exposing the ridiculous entitlements borne to the state and county workers here in New York where I heard over a four-year period it’s actually a $60 billion budget deficit, and that New York was given $53 billion already in 2008 as a safeguard to hold itself over while they figured out their budgets, and now that’s gone, and now there’s no discussion of any kind of entitlement reform with respect to defined benefits —
RUSH: No, they’re going to close the parks!
CALLER: (laughing) That’s a drop in the bucket, Rush. The health plan for the state and county workers, it’s going to $950 for singles and $1,800 for families. That’s nowhere near reality in the private sector. Just to give you an idea, if you had an index of the private sector for the public sector New York state for 1.2 million state workers you’d save $8 billion right there. You’d have money for your security in Times Square. And there was an article by Amy Merrick in the Wall Street Journal —
RUSH: Wait, wait, I’m missing some of what you’re saying. You said if there was an index of the private sector. What do you mean that, an index?
CALLER: Well, I’ve always felt it was unfair that, for example, a guy-like Captain Sullenberger, who was responsible for probably, what, 300,000 lives in a given year, transporting people on an airplane. His union was exposed to market forces. His union went bankrupt. His union had to reschedule all their benefits.
RUSH: Oh. Oh. Well —
CALLER: But if you’re in the public sector, there’s never any kind of rescheduling.
RUSH: Oh, no. There are no cutbacks, no union concessions. Look at New Jersey. The governor there said, ‘Would you just forego raises this year and pay 1.5% for health care — just one and a half percent — and keep your job?’ ‘No way! No way.’ But here’s the problem. All of these people, all these things you’re talking about are a net drain on the private sector. There is no productivity going on here. There is nothing being produced.
CALLER: You are absolutely right. You’re going to have no growth; 8.8 million people lost their job, 160 football stadiums filled with people. And when they —
RUSH: I’ll tell you what’s going to happen in New York. I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. It might even happen in New York City eventually if this doesn’t stop. It may not get all the way but what’s going to happen is, everybody’s gonna leave except the people on the dole.
CALLER: You got it.
RUSH: And then what are they going to do? When everybody leaves, who’s Paterson going to tax? He can close every park in the world ’cause nobody’s going to be able to get to ’em anyway. California’s looking at the same thing. People are leaving California in droves pretty soon, and Villaraigosa is saying, ‘Oh, yeah, illegals adding to our economic might here in the city of Los Angeles.’ Everybody’s leaving, and the only people left are going to be those on the dole, and who’s going to pay for ’em?
CALLER: I read somewhere it was $57 trillion of unfunded defined pension benefits to state workers across the country. It’s just not real.
RUSH: Yeah. Well, guess who’s on the hook for that?
RUSH: That’s right, us!
CALLER: And you, yes.
RUSH: All that stuff’s going to be off-loaded to the federal government. A hundred percent of it won’t be but the taxpayers of California, New York, and the rest of the country are on the hook for this stuff. At some point, you have Atlas Shrugged. People say, ‘Unh-uh. I’m not paying any more. I’m leaving. It makes no point to stay. It makes no sense for me to work and give up 80% of it to support these other people who are not doing anything. I’m not going to do it.’ Then where we are?