RUSH: John in Nashville, you’re next on the EIB be right back. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my call. I appreciate it.
RUSH: You bet, sir. Thank you.
CALLER: I’ve been a longtime listener. It’s the first time I got an opportunity to talk to you, and I appreciate that. I’ll get right to my point. I worked for the State of Ohio (unintelligible) Services for several years, and when I retired, of course, our pension is set up to where… I know I’m a little off subject for you today, but our pension is set up where we donate — or don’t donate, we put in — so much of our own money through our paycheck to out —
RUSH: Yeah, I know where you’re going. Your pension isn’t there, basically, is what you’re gonna say.
CALLER: Well, no. Basically what I’m gonna say is if the state is gonna have to take our pensions because of this shortfall — you know, it’s not working out too well — I think at least we ought to be able to receive our money that we personally put in along with some interest.
RUSH: Wait a second. You have a pension. You are willing for the state to take it except for your personal contribution with interest?
CALLER: Yeah. I mean, if that’s what it takes.
RUSH: That’s your civility? That is your compromise?
CALLER: Well (chuckles), you know, our country is going broke.
RUSH: Let me give you the facts of this. Let me tell you how this is going. I have a story here from the Financial Times. The headline: ‘States Warned of $2 Trillion Pensions Shortfall — US public pensions face a shortfall of $2,500 billion that will force state and local governments to sell assets and make deep cuts to services, according to the former chairman of New Jersey’s pension fund. The severe US economic recession has cast a spotlight on years of fiscal mismanagement, including chronic underfunding of retirement promises.’ Your money isn’t there. They didn’t save it for you. It has been spent!
CALLER: Well —
RUSH: Nothing is real!
CALLER: One thing about Ohio’s pension —
RUSH: All of these people like you who think you have a pension out there, they’re $2.5 trillion unfunded nationwide. California, Illinois, and New York are leading the way. I don’t know what the situation is in Ohio, but it’s gotta be pretty similar.
CALLER: Well, no. Actually Ohio is pretty solvent. Our pension plan is set up to where the money that was… They have to have ten years, by law, worth of funds to fund the pension. For ten years, by PRS and Ohio State law.
RUSH: Well, the same laws exist in California. (whispers) The money’s not there.
RUSH: The same laws exist in Vallejo, California. They got nothing. It’s nothing. Zilch.
CALLER: Yeah. Ours is pretty solvent. If you take a look at the pension in Ohio, actually it’s in pretty good shape. You know, it’s not perfect, but it’s in a whole lot better shape than other states.
RUSH: Then why are you willing to let them keep most of it?
CALLER: Well… (sigh) (sigh) We make agreements with folks, and I do business mostly on a handshake, and if they can’t live up to their obligations, that’s not my fault.
RUSH: No, no, but you’ve said they’ve lived up on ’em. Your pension fund is solvent.
CALLER: Yeah, it is. It’s pretty solvent.
RUSH: All right. So if it is, why are you willing to make compromise with them and only take out what you’ve put in?
CALLER: Well… Well, Rush, because that’s all I earned.
RUSH: Well, I understand that, but you said you made a deal, that your pension is X. They’re gonna be matched or what have you, or certain percentage of what you contribute is —
RUSH: — matched and you’re willing to forgo that in a solvent fund.
CALLER: Yeah. If things are as bad for our country as they say, we have to come out of this bind that our country is in. Our individual comfort is —
RUSH: You are willing to accept the penalty and the blame for something that’s not your fault.
CALLER: Well, we do our damnedest to do what we have to do. The men and women that serve in our military —
RUSH: How about this? Would you support this? Would you support what they’re doing in Illinois: Raise income taxes 66% to deal with the pension shortfall?
RUSH: Why? I mean, that’s everybody contributing. That’s, ‘We gotta all pay a price.’
RUSH: Do you want the states to be bailed out by the federal government?
CALLER: No, I don’t. I want the states to be able to go on their own.
RUSH: Okay. So you want to feel the pain.
CALLER: It’s not that I want to feel the pain, Rush. Okay?
RUSH: Well, I’m… (sigh) Look, I live in Realville.
CALLER: And I understand that.
RUSH: It will be painful if you do what you want to do here.
CALLER: You improvise, you adapt, and you overcome.
RUSH: Okay, I understand the valor. I understand. This sounds like it’s a patriotic thing to you because what you think what you’re doing is saving the country. You’re working with other people on all these unfunded pensions. You’ll forgo a portion of what you’re owed if that money will go to help somebody else get a portion of theirs, where they not be getting anything. Is that…? Am I basically reading that right?
CALLER: That’s… I don’t know if that’s right or not, Rush. (sigh) You know, I’m gonna go back on a little something and kinda go around the bush a little bit if you’re bear with me.
RUSH: Sure, sure, go right ahead.
CALLER: In 2008, I was working for the state. The big shots from the union came around.
CALLER: They’re pushing Obama for president. Well, I’m up front in the communications center, and we politely tell ’em, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, you union bosses, but you’re wrong. He’s not the right guy for our country. So just go on out, union leadership.’
RUSH: Okay. You’re gonna tell me now you’ve lost your kneecaps, right, and you can’t walk anymore?
CALLER: I know I’m on a different point. Forgive me. That’s for another time. I’ll stick with the pension funds. I think what our country needs is for men and women to stand up and do what we have to do to keep our country from falling into the hands of the Chinese.
RUSH: Ah. Okay. I want to try to comfort you a little bit. You know, the ChiCom premier Hu Jintao is in town, and a bunch of people have done some stories today on the real situation we have with China, that they’re not outperforming us economically, that they don’t own our debt (they own 11% of it), that we actually manufacture more stuff now than we did in the 1950s. There are a lot of myths about us losing to China, when in fact the ChiComs are only where they are because they have adopted, in part, a capitalist economic system. At any rate, I gotta run now. I appreciate the phone call, and I understand what you’re talking about.
RUSH: I was not lying, ladies and gentlemen. The story is: ‘US public pensions face a shortfall of $2,500 billion that will force state and local governments to sell assets and make deep cuts to services,’ like the cops and the school teachers, which they won’t cut. You’ll just do with less to avoid all that. I can see it all happening now.