RUSH: Scott in Los Angeles, you’re next. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: (fumbling with the telephone)
CALLER: Uh, hello?
CALLER: Oh! Hang on a second. Hey, Rush, I was listening to this guy calling a little a while ago, and he was saying how they could just take and hire a bunch of firemen and send ’em down to Arizona.
CALLER: And it’s just amazing the lack of knowledge about firemen. Just creating jobs or putting firemen in work? They don’t generate any revenue. There’s no way to pay for them except for taking taxpayer dollars.
RUSH: Yeah, but, what was at the root of it? We want to be careful here not to denigrate firemen.
CALLER: No, no, no. Absolutely. They show up first on the scene; they do a heck of a job.
RUSH: Right. But that, to him, was what job creation is: The government sending somebody somewhere to do a job.
RUSH: That’s what job creation is to him.
CALLER: Yes, and it’s the same thing when people talk about “infrastructure.” It’s “Let’s just build roads, make roads!” Not realizing that the roads don’t generate revenue unless you make it a toll road. There’s no way to pay for any of the jobs, any of the trucks, any of the cement, any of the landscaping that makes these roads. Infrastructure jobs are just overhead.
RUSH: Yeah, that’s true.
CALLER: And there’s no revenue generated from any of these jobs. Now, again, not to upset teachers — I love teachers — but that’s something else, too. How do we generate revenue from the schools? All of these government jobs are just overhead, and the only way — like for my company, the only way — for me to generate revenue is I have to sell the product I make.
CALLER: I can make it, I could employ people, I can hire trucks — we can drive, we can do infrastructure, we can fix the roof, we can come up with new products — and we make the products and we sit there and stare at the phones and until the phone rings and we sell one of those products that we make, no money comes in. And then when somebody buys it they’re not gonna pay me for 30 days. So it’s not from 30 days from the time that somebody buys my product that I get paid.
RUSH: If they pay you in 30 days.
CALLER: If they buy it, and if they pay me in 30 days, only then do I start getting money to pay for the salaries, the projects, the rent, the electricity, the insurance, and all the taxes and everything else. I have to have that money from the product I made or else we go out of business, and all of these government jobs are just that.
RUSH: You really are making a great point, but most people have no idea what does and what doesn’t generate revenue; what does or does not add value. There’s a romanticism attached to “Rebuilding roads.” They say, “M’yeah, let’s rebuild roads! Infrastructure! Let’s rebuild the schools!” Make-work jobs are jobs, by the way, for work that is supposed to have already been budgeted; work that should be done as scheduled maintenance. Any time you build a road or a house or whatever, scheduled maintenance should be part of the project built into the cost. You know, over the course of this program people have called here and complained to me about how much athletes make versus how little teachers make, and they want to talk about the relative importance of the two vocations.
I say, “Well, how many people pay to watch a teacher work?” Nobody pays. In fact, you have to be forced into the room where the teacher is. They have to make you go there — and then once you’re in there, you are a prisoner. You choose to go to an athletic arena. You pay to get in there or what have you. The difference is revenue generation versus revenue expenditure in a capitalistic system. If you want to start assigning moral value, that’s one thing; but then you’re going to have to have some tribunal set up to determine who gets what. Equal pay for equal work? Who’s gonna decide what job is as important as another? Well, there are people who want a government agency to do that based on their view of morality — you know, what’s important and what isn’t.
Some people are profoundly offended that Alex Rodriguez makes what he makes. Well, the dirty little secret is that Alex Rodriguez is generating far more than what he makes. It’s the same thing with any star athlete. I’ve told people who have asked me this, I’ve said, “You know, one of the most direct routes, if you want it, to high income is commission sales.” You get yourself in the revenue stream of some corporate entity, business entity, and you make yourself responsible — personally, directly responsible — for a portion of the income that enterprise generates, and you’re going to be compensated for it when you are directly responsible. Commission sales offers one of the greatest opportunities out there. Now, there are pitfalls in it, and there are rotten managers — everything’s relative; you know, it’s not magic — but that’s essentially what athletes are you when you get down to brass tacks.
RUSH: Snerdley doesn’t understand how it could be that a professional athlete is in commissioned sales. Look at it this way. It’s a stretch, I mean Alex Rodriguez is paid, or any high paying athlete is paid based on a number of things: leverage, what they can demand, how much they generate, so forth and so on. That is the key. Now, Alex Rodriguez is not a salesman per se, but his high level performance generates interest in the sale of tickets to the ballpark, to subscriptions to the Yankees cable network, to the sale of tickets in every ballpark the Yankees go to. Rodriguez, because of all that he’s become — he’s a gossip column celebrity, he’s a professional baseball player that happens to be pretty good — there are a whole bunch of reasons why he attracts attention and why people are willing to part with money to be where he is, to watch him do what he does. And in a sense he’s compensated for that.
He’s not paid simply because he’s good at what he does. Being good at what he does generates a whole lot of revenue for a whole lot of people, and he simply gets a percentage of it. He’s a percentage player, and you could argue that maybe he deserves even more. Others would say, “Nah, look, $25 million here, nobody needs more than that.” That’s not the question. Who needs what is not the question. You want to talk about fairness, who’s generating all this revenue that all these people are making? The people generating it should get a percentage of it. This is why, folks, when you start talking about public sector employees, they’re not generating anything. Now, they are performing a service. They are teaching, or they’re doing whatever, but they’re not generating revenue.
What the caller said is exactly right. This is not to denigrate them. We’re simply talking here about the differences in why and how certain people get paid. My only point to you is, in all of this, is not to be critical of anybody in what they do for a living. I’m simply telling you, people ask me over the course of my life, “How do you earn a lot of money?” Commission sales is one of the fastest routes. Now, I’ve been in commission sales, and nothing is magic. For example, in radio. You work in sales at a radio station, they give you a list, there are a number of salespeople at the station, and they each have a list of clients that they are to service, to try to sell. Not every client on the list is an advertiser. You go out and get them.
Now, many times, and a lot of salesmen will know exactly what I’m talking about here. When they start earning a little bit more money than the station thinks they should, they have certain people on the list taken away from ’em, and the list is given to somebody else, and it’s always a challenge. Nothing is magic. There’s always a lot of hard work involved in it. For me, it was real simple. This is a business, radio, where people get fired on a whim. You know how many times I’ve been fired; I’ve told you. I wear it as a badge of honor. Only one time, maybe twice, only one time was it for what anybody would think is a fireable offense, insubordination. The other times it was just the vagaries of the business: Format changes, radio station went to Chinese opera, they’re gonna automate, there was no reason to hold onto disc jockeys and so forth.
After a while I figured out, you know, I need ratings insurance. I need something that’s gonna keep me here because the ratings are even filled with vagaries. Back in those days, 20, 30 years ago the way ratings were taken, it was basically a wild guess. So I figured out if I can find a way to get myself personally involved in the revenue stream of that radio station, that business, it’s gonna be ratings insurance. And everybody at some point in their life has epiphanies where they learn things. Lights go off or somebody teaches them something that they didn’t know. Hopefully that will happen your whole life. I learn something every day.
One of the reasons I’m fascinated by computers, folks, is one of the reasons I’m fascinated by high tech. It’s one of the things that keeps my mind as active as I want it to be and current and hip and what have you. It’s just something I want to happen and something I want to be the case. And in the process, if you’re open to what you’re learning, doors open that you sometimes didn’t even know existed, and then you have to have the courage to walk through the door, if it indeed opens up. That could be something no more complicated than to say, “Yeah, okay, I’ll move from where I live to a new city where the opportunity is.” But I’ve always said that most people’s limitations are self-imposed. Most of the limitations are not placed on you by others, but rather on yourself. Good and bad.
You may love where you live, and where you live might not have a whole lot of opportunity in the field that you love, so those are circumstances and realities you have to deal with. It’s ridiculous to feel bitter about it. If what you love to do requires you to go to someplace else to do it, and you don’t do it, you have just limited yourself. It’s nobody else’s fault. It’s not the country’s fault; it’s not the system’s fault. It’s really nobody’s fault. It’s just a decision that you made. Once people can overcome this notion of self-limitation then the world opens up to you and your perspective on life changes. Anything within your dreaming and imagination becomes possible. And we want people dreaming. We want little kids dreaming. We don’t want school kids being corrupted with the notion that their very existence is destroying polar bears. We don’t want little kids to be raised with the idea that their existence is destroying the planet, but this is what liberals do to people. Liberal teachers do this. Liberal parents do this.
Young people need to have the vistas of their dreams as wide open as possible. There’s nothing wrong with anybody thinking they can do anything. How many times have you heard a highly successful person say that throughout their life everybody told ’em they couldn’t do it? Common. Because it happens. There are millions of people who tell you you can’t do it. They do it for a number of reasons. Some are trying to be helpful, trying to keep you grounded in reality. Some are bitter because they have failed. I’ve always said if you want to succeed in radio, for example, don’t go talk to failures. Don’t go talk to people who are bitter about it. You know, find people who love it, find people who have succeeded at it, try to get hold of them, learn from them. Whatever it is you want to do, find the people who have succeeded; find the people who have passion for it; find the people who love it and see if you can absorb something from them.
But negativism is easy. Bitterness is easy. Comes naturally. Nobody has ever had to write a book on how to think negatively. But guys who write books on how to think positively have become multimillionaires. It takes effort, it takes discipline, particularly when you haven’t had any experience yet that generates positivity. But if you stick with it you will. It’s the great promise and the great offer of this country, why so many people are working so hard to preserve what this country’s always been, because this is a country where dreams come true. People all over the world dream about coming here because this is where dreams do come true. And most dreams — not talking about fantasies here — most dreams are grounded in reality. They can happen. They don’t happen overnight, and when they happen they may not last.
I once heard Oprah Winfrey say that she’s not one of these people afraid of success, and I, El Rushbo, knew exactly what she meant. A person who is afraid of success is a person who has no confidence. What you are smirking at in there now? Are you upset with me crediting Oprah for something? She was in an interview, I think it might have been with Larry King. It was not her show, Snerdley, I wasn’t watching her show. I’m not a traitor here. In fact, I was channel surfing, I ran across Larry King, the suspenders blinded me, frankly, they froze my finger on the remote. So I couldn’t keep changing channels. I heard Oprah say she’s not the kind of person afraid of success. Now, the person who’s afraid of success is a person who, when success happens, says, “Ah, this isn’t gonna last. I don’t really deserve this,” and they talk themselves out of it.
Other people, when their dreams come true, when the hard work that they’re putting in results in whatever they’ve defined as success happens, say, “All right!” and then they say, “There’s more.” Have you ever wondered why somebody who has got a billion dollars doesn’t just stop? (interruption) You have? You’ve wondered why somebody who has a billion dollars just doesn’t stop? This is why you better be careful when you go on a job interview and somebody asks how much money you want to earn, if you give ’em number you just told ’em where you’re gonna stop working. Be very careful, folks, you go on a job interview and they say, “How much do you want to earn?” your answer better be: “As much as I can.” ‘Cause if you give ’em a number they’re gonna say, “Uh-oh, this clown’s gonna stop working when that number hits.” That’s the comfort level. It’s not that you need any more, that whole word “need” need not even apply. Of course, a billion is comfortable.
I’m not talking about comfort. That’s my point. I’m talking about ambition. I’m talking about self-worth, fulfilling one’s sense of value and self-worth. We happen in certain ways to define that by money, other ways are used to define somebody’s self-worth. It varies from person to person, so forth. But I’m just asking you, you know that there are people who make a billion that don’t stop. It’s not that it’s not enough; they’ve got more than they ever need. Why does Warren Buffett keep doing it? Why does he still do what he does at Berkshire Hathaway, why does he do it? He’s got $38, $40 billion. He’s out there saying he’s gonna give it all away when he dies to Bill Gates’ charity. Why? He loves it, pure and simple. He loves it, and he wants to do more of it. He happens to keep score. His success is determined by Berkshire Hathaway’s value increase or not. Whatever the value is, if it’s $25 billion and he wants it to be 40, fine, that’s what he shoots for.
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