RUSH: John in Argyle, Texas, I’m glad you called, sir. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Rush, I gotta take issue with you. Before you think it’s a serial caller (sic), to my left here where I’m sitting, on my I Love Me Wall, is a certificate signed by you in December of 1992 confirming I’m a Dittohead. I carried my three daughters which were all raised as Rush Babies up to a bake sale in Colorado —
RUSH: I know you’re not a seminar caller because you didn’t even get the term right. You said “serial.” Okay, so you’re not a seminar caller. I’ll grant that.
CALLER: (chuckles) Okay, Rush. What you said earlier about unions, I am a union member at AMR American Airlines.
CALLER: And this certificate you signed in 1992, I’m a 767 International captain.
RUSH: I love you, man. I love it.
CALLER: I’ve got 26 years with the company, all right?
CALLER: My pay rate today is identical as when I was flying the Super 80 in 1992. In 2003, AMR, American Airlines, came to the 90,000-plus employees and said, “Help us stay out of bankruptcy.” The employees stood up with billions of dollars of concessions, no more so than the pilot union. Two to one, if not more. Shortly after that, which caused Don Carty’s resignation, upper management started taking millions, tens of millions of dollars in bonuses, and has so every year since. The shared sacrifice never became the shared gain. Before you give me a pay raise, give one to the copilots I fly with. Before they get one, give one to the flight attendants. Before they get one, give it to the ground crew.
RUSH: Okay, what is…?
CALLER: Before they get one, give it to the secretary. Not at AMR.
RUSH: How much…?
CALLER: They fill their pockets first. With you, Rush —
RUSH: How much…?
CALLER: No, this is my argument with you now, Rush. When you and Sean and Mark Levin all said — and said to to ABC, NBC, CBS and the rest — “Don’t paint the Tea Party with a big swath. They’re not all that way just because you’ve got one.” All unions aren’t run by Trumka.
RUSH: Well, okay. How much do nonunion pilots make?
CALLER: I’m sorry?
RUSH: How much do nonunion pilots make?
CALLER: I have no idea. I’m not a nonunion pilot, Rush. If you need one of those have one of them call in. You make the call, you get tens of thousands of them to call in.
RUSH: You’re missing my point. You’re missing my point and you are being contentious — a little more contentious here than is justified.
CALLER: Well, I’m sorry. I’m upset because we’ve been in negotiations for six years.
RUSH: Okay. Hang on. I have a break. Hang on. I’ve got a question for you, but I don’t have time to answer it right now. You tell me what’s next to fix this. Be back in just a second.
RUSH: Now we go back to John, the American Airlines pilot in Argyle, Texas, who is very, very agitated at me.
CALLER: Not anymore, Rush. I got over it.
RUSH: Okay, now, what needs to happen? I know that what happened is you guys —
CALLER: I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen, Rush.
RUSH: — took steep cuts. You helped ’em out in 2003 in Chapter 11, all of that. I don’t know about the executives getting bonuses. Cardy quit after that became known. I don’t know that —
CALLER: Well, it’s happened every year since. What’s gonna happen now, Rush, is the employees will come together because the employees will be here. Management teams are what come and go. Look at what Carl Icon did, Frank Lorenzo. Look what happened at Eastern. Management teams come and they go. The employees continue to stay. The employees will step up to the base once again, they’ll do what’s necessary to make this a great company once again. You asked me a question before the bottom of the break, Rush. You said, “What dod nonunion pilots make?”
CALLER: I’m gonna throw it right back at you. I don’t know. You hire two of them every time you go in your jet. What do you pay ’em?
RUSH: Well, (chuckles), you know, I’m not a good guy to ask.
CALLER: Ah, ah, ah. No?
RUSH: You know what, I’ll tell you why. ‘Cause I don’t care what anybody else pays ’em. I pay ’em enough so that they won’t leave. ‘Cause I don’t want to deal with it. I find people that I like, that I love, that do the job. I bonus ’em and I pay ’em so that nothing else looks good to ’em. So I don’t have to deal with it.
CALLER: Well, that’s what our management should do, Rush, right there.
RUSH: Well, I agree but not everybody has the good management sense that I have.
CALLER: All right. Rush, now —
RUSH: I have been an employee most of my life, and I’ve had my share of excrement sandwiches; and I have made sure in my life that the people who I pay are not gonna be treated that way. Now, I can’t speak for others who have to deal with employees, but I’ll tell you: If I had to deal with unions, it would be a whole different thing. I couldn’t do that. I would not be able to run my business that way if every employee I had was a member of a union because I wouldn’t be able to compensate ’em, and if I did start bonusing a couple of them here or there over what the others got then I’d have real hell to pay. (sigh) So it’s a dilemma.
CALLER: Can I I continue with one other item completely unrelated?
CALLER: Okay, Rush. To the listeners that call in and every now and again you offer ’em an iPad, some Two If By Tea, a tie? Next time you do that instead of offering it to them, package it up and say, “On your behalf I’m gonna send this over to the Walter Reed burn center. I’m gonna send it to a soldier that’s been blown half to hell.”
CALLER: If somebody’s good enough to dial a phone, let ’em get their own iPad if they’re a real conservative and send that stuff to the soldiers that have risked everything.
RUSH: Well, how do you know that we don’t?
CALLER: (silence) I don’t.
RUSH: You don’t know.
RUSH: You’ve gotta be very careful here because I’m also not one who talks about what I do charitably, other than with the leukemia society, which is public. Also at Two If By Tea, we sponsor the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. So you have to be careful when you assume what you know and don’t know. But, you know, I’m not a Kardashian here. My private life is not public. I don’t live it in public. I do everything I can to make sure nobody knows what I’m doing. Not because I’m trying to hide anything. It’s just because… (interruption) Yeah. Right. He’s mad about what I said in the first hour, right. He’s mad about what I said about the unions. Well, look, here’s the problem. At the end of everything, American Airlines is more than $30 billion in debt. They are facing $7.8 billion in retiree obligations.
It’s the same thing as General Motors. It’s the same thing all over again. Now, do we want Obama to bail out American and own it to see to it that the unions are protected? ‘Cause that’s what happened at General Motors and Chrysler. But, see, it’s a dual-edged sword, because American owes it because they committed to pay it. They signed the deal. They signed it! (interruption) Well, maybe it was under duress, who knows, but they signed the deal. So if you are an American employee, you’ve been working all your life thinking that when you retired you’re gonna get a pension. Your union got it for you, and management agreed to it — and now they’re filing Chapter 11, and they’re claiming they can’t pay it. See, I can understand the anger people have.
If somebody reneges on a deal with me — it happens, by the way. It happens, by the way. It happens to everybody in life, not just union people, but everybody has deals reneged on. Don’t even get me started. Here’s the difference, and this is gonna really irritate you. If I haven’t irritated you yet, this will. Here’s the difference, and I probably shouldn’t say this ’cause it’s not gonna be helpful; it’s not gonna be productive. All it’s gonna do is irritate further. (interruption) Well, it’s true for me, is the point. I have never in my life expected to be paid after I quit working! I’M SORRY! I expect to be paid when I’m working. I have never assumed — it doesn’t compute, calculate with me — that somebody is going to pay me when I’m no longer doing work for them.
So I have always thought it was my responsibility to take care of that. But I realize that the reaction of that is, “Well, easy for you to say. It’s old-fashioned.” (interruption) It isn’t helpful. You’re exactly right. It’s not helpful. All I’m doing is irritating people by saying this. I know full well, because they can come back and say, “But we made a deal, they agreed to it. I don’t care what you expect! I don’t care, Limbaugh, what your life dreams and so forth were. These people said that was part of our deal. We gave back wages in exchange for a pension.” I understand it. I just have never thought that way. Let me put it this way. (sigh) I’ve worked for A-holes my whole life, and I have never once trusted them! I’ve always trusted me. You know, it just… I don’t know. For crying out loud.
Let me take a break here because I’m really about —
RUSH: Okay, did you notice something with the pilot? He wants to know what I pay my pilots. He tells me who I should give my iPads and my money to. Did I once tell him how to live his life? I coulda said, “Hey, pal, why don’t you get out of your union and start making some real money. Why don’t you look around and see if there’s a way you can make more money by getting out of your union. Did you ever think maybe I might be right about this?” I didn’t say that to him. I listened to his complaint and then I get to hear him tell me how to be more generous than I already am. But there’s a reality creeping in out there, folks. Snerdley just pointed this out. The reality is starting to creep in that nobody’s got any money, except people who work. People who work have money. What they earn is real. Everything else is an illusion.