RUSH: Will in Columbus, Ohio, Open Line Friday, and the program now is all yours.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, mega dittos. It’s quite the honor to speak with you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much.
CALLER: Hey… (sigh) I just have a… (sigh) I agree with 99.9% of everything you cover. I mean, you’re fantastic. But where you lose me is when you make the statement that people that get retirement checks from their pensions or what have you are ‘non-producers’ and we’re paying non-producers, and my question would be this. I mean wasn’t our country founded on contracts?
RUSH: Wait a minute.
CALLER: — and if you make a —
RUSH: When did I say that about pensioners? What did I say about unproductive…? You talking about when I have talked about companies who are unable to pay people who no longer work for them like General Motors and some of these health care and retirement benefits?
CALLER: Right, and these people entered into contracts with these companies, and —
RUSH: ‘What’s the contract worth now?’ is the point? I know they went and entered into contracts, but the point is they did something that’s nonsensical. You can’t — you can’t pay people to not produce anything. You just can’t do it. It doesn’t work. This is all gonna come imploding on you at some point; we’ve just happened to reach that time.
CALLER: I agree with you. But then the company should suffer the consequences of their bad choices, and the people that push for those contracts should suffer the consequences for their bad choices.
RUSH: Well, the bad consequence for the companies here is going out of business.
CALLER: Right, and the company… The last bolt should be sold, and should be paid to the people that they owe, because they entered into contracts. And so these people that are not getting their pensions —
RUSH: No, no. The route for that is bankruptcy — or if you’re the United Auto Workers, it’s a bailout by Obama.
CALLER: Right, but these people —
RUSH: Either way, you’re not talking about a recipe for getting your money.
CALLER: Right. But some of the companies still exist, and they continue on — and as long as they exist and are in this country, they should honor their contract. ‘Cause people gave up their lives, Rush, to work for these companies for 30 years. So they didn’t start their own businesses based on a contract, which is the foundation of our country. Based on a contract, they saw that these benefits, and they believed — rightfully or wrongfully, they believed — they were gonna get these benefits. They didn’t start their own business they gave up 30 years of their lives, and so these people are entitled to anything these companies have left.
RUSH: Well, actually in the case of Chrysler and General Motors, the exact opposite happened. The bondholders and the primary investors in both companies were told to take a hike, that their investments were worthless and were not gonna be paid back.
CALLER: And that’s wrong.
RUSH: And the pensioners —
RUSH: The pensioners, the United Auto Workers got their pensions upheld and their health care.
CALLER: And that was wrong.
RUSH: Well, but, see, it happens on both sides.
RUSH: In either case, a company assumed an obligation it knew down the road it wasn’t gonna be able to meet. The government knew it, too; that’s why the government has a division that takes over bankrupt pensions and pays what? Fifty cents on the dollar in some cases?
CALLER: And they shouldn’t do that. Why is the government taking over pensions? That’s because there’s some corporations out there that lobbied certain RINO Republicans that got this passed to where they could take those dollars that they should have been investing in people’s pensions and used them for whatever other purposes they wanted to use them for.
RUSH: The government is taking over pensions to buy the votes of the pensioners.
CALLER: Right. So then it comes back on Congress. It comes back on ‘we, the people’ who elected them, but the bottom line is the people that have the pensions due them are due unless the company goes bankrupt and the money’s not there. I just don’t think, one: Our government shouldn’t have been bailing out these companies in the first place. Our government should have stayed out of it. The companies that make —
RUSH: The problem here is — and you’re not gonna like this. I know you’re not gonna like it. I’m not trying to irritate you.
CALLER: I really understand. But trust me Rush, you’re dead on (garbled).
RUSH: We’re talking about… What I’m talking about — I don’t know if you’re talking about the same thing — when I originally make this statement, is I’m talking about unions. And, therefore, I’m not talking about contracts. I’m talking about looting.
CALLER: Well, and then who…? (sigh) It goes back to companies have the make the decision to tell the unions, ‘No, we don’t agree to this contract.’
RUSH: Okay, how about the contracts in Bell, California, that paid the city manager $600,000 a year?
CALLER: Totally ridiculous, and those managers… It gets down to the point of being criminal.
RUSH: But should they get their money? It’s a contract.
CALLER: I know. (sigh) The people that entered into those contracts should be held (chuckles) criminally liable.
RUSH: I guess he’s… Well, there. There, you see?
RUSH: I have a question for all of who think that those contracts that all those city officials in Bell, California — 500 grand a year, 400 grand a year, 600 grand. Those are silly, right? Those are ridiculous. Why? ‘Well, who’s gonna pay people that much money to run the city? It’s ridiculous!’ That’s no more ridiculous than making a deal to pay somebody for 20 years after they have stopped working for you and pay for your health care. Wether you’re paying the city manager of Bell, California, half a million dollars or Anastas Mikoyan for 20 years full salary and benefits after he’s retired, both are silly in the commonsense ledger. But a contract’s a contract. Right. Okay. So the Bell, California, city manager gets his half a million dollars a year. A contract’s a contract. Backbone of America.
‘But, Rush! But, Rush! That’s silly. That’s silly.’
Yeah, I know. No more silly than any other union deal that promises people they’re gonna make full salary or even 80% salary and health care benefits after they’ve stopped working until they die. (snorts) Jeez.
RUSH: Griffin in Evansville, Indiana, nice to have you on the program. I used to fly over it all the time.
CALLER: Nice to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: It’s a pleasure. The gentleman that called in a while ago talking about the union stuff and talking about how they should honor these —
RUSH: Contracts, contracts, yeah, the backbone of America.
CALLER: Exactly. I grew up, brother worked as a union coal miner in our area here, which I’m sure will now be outlawed because we can’t run a coal industry anymore. But anyway, the union, they went on strike for a hundred and some odd days at one time, he got an opportunity to be a company man. They were starting a reclamation program to reclaim all the ground and he took that job.
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait. I need to learn the lingo. Does to become a company man mean to become management?
RUSH: Yeah, okay.
CALLER: Union in the coal industry and probably — (crosstalk)
RUSH: Oh. Oh. Oh, okay. Gotcha. All right.
CALLER: So a salaried employee for the company now having to put up with all these union people.
RUSH: A-ha. Yes.
CALLER: In any event, he would talk about how the union, there’s a duality or dichotomy to that in that the nonunion miners, the nonunion autoworkers, someone like Toyota that’s near by us in Princeton that builds the vehicles, my brother’s analogy was the nonunion guy owes his benefits package and his labor and his wages to the union guy because that’s sort of helping set that standard. So it’s an awkward thing. Back to this guy’s deal with the pensions, sometimes the unions, particularly the auto and the coal had so much power they really left the companies not a lot of option, not a lot of choice to simply (unintelligible). So some of this stuff that happened to GM and Chrysler and Ford, too, you know, they had too much, my opinion, too much power, too much ability to tell the company how to run the company, how many people per shift —
RUSH: Right, it’s called looting.
CALLER: Exactly. And the guy I wanted to take issue with, his point he made about, you know, they should honor those contracts, those guys didn’t go into business, I was in business. I’d listen to these union coal miners come in when they were on strike and say, ‘How did you vote on this, how did you vote on this contract?’ And the guy said, ‘I voted against it. They could always be better.’ And they were already making five times the wages I was to run my own business. And I’m like, you gotta be kidding me. I mean, come on, guys, try to work with a little bit. And, nope, you know. And then be frustrated when it went out of business. And what’s happened here is some of the coal mine stuff that’s not dissimilar, it’s very similar to the other industry in how it was done, they just come back in the mine nonunion. I mean it just took a long runaround to get the company to come back. You know, they still got OSHA and EPA and everybody to sort of watch over that to make sure it’s right, but, yeah, when the guys aren’t working, they don’t get paid, when they get done with their job or fired or retire —
RUSH: Well, look.
CALLER: — they don’t get any compensation.
RUSH: I want to apologize in advance for this uncivil rhetoric, but what you’re basically saying is the unions effectively had a gun to the head of the companies.
CALLER: Not in so many words —
RUSH: That’s exactly right, I know it sounds uncivil but to hell with it.
CALLER: Right. Yeah. And, you know, I’m not saying that the unions — I’m worried if a union was to completely go away, that someplace like Toyota and Honda and these places that aren’t union — and this is gonna offend you, but would Walmartize that job force. They go to the Walmart worker, and let’s face it, if you can stock shelves and tell me where the sporting goods section is in Walmart, you can put a wheel on a car, and they come to you and say, ‘How would you like to make four dollars more an hour?’ Well, they’ll think they died and gone to heaven and up to Toyota they go. So the union issue —
RUSH: Wait a second. Did you just say if you can stock shelves and tell me where the sporting goods section is at Walmart, you can put a wheel on a car?
CALLER: Yes, I did say that.
CALLER: And what I’m getting at is a lot of those jobs are low-skill jobs. They have a good benefits package. It wouldn’t take much to trump another nonunion huge conglomerate and take some of their workforce, and now the person that’s working at Toyota that says, ‘I’m not gonna work for $14 an hour, I’m making 20 now,’ he says, ‘Well, that’s what the job’s gonna pay because the union is not there anymore.’ So there’s a huge issue, in my opinion, that needs to be carefully resolved there, and I don’t know — that’s why I’m telling you this, you can think about that and give me your advice on how that’s gonna be fixed, you know. The union just has too much power, you know it, I know it, plain and simple, that was the whole issue.
RUSH: Well, one of the reasons is they got a president who’s the number one union boss in the country. What’s the unionized workforce, private sector, 12%, something like that? Whatever, eight, 12, doesn’t matter. Obama is the president of 12% of the people, 8%, whatever number you want to use, and 82, 81, 79% of the people bear the brunt of it. No question about it. Look, I’m glad you called. I appreciate it. Thanks very much. I like that: If you can point out where the sporting goods section is at Walmart, you can change a tire.