RUSH: Springfield, Illinois, with Brian. Welcome, sir. Great to have you here.
CALLER: Hey-ey, Rush. It’s an honor and a privilege.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Twenty-year-listener, first-time caller.
RUSH: I appreciate that.
CALLER: You made me think a lot about this Wisconsin thing and about how the citizens are paying their salaries.
CALLER: And it made me think about the NFL, and how I’m a big supporter of the NFL. Maybe we need some representation there, the fans, on some of these negotiations.
RUSH: Well, in this case, you can make the analogy, of course: Private sector union negotiations versus public. But in the case of the public sector unions, the payment is direct. It goes from the back pocket of the taxpayer right to the employee — and that guy does have no choice about paying his taxes. He has no choice. Whatever the state tax rate is he gotta pay it. You can choose whether or not to buy a jersey, you can choose whether or not to go to a game, you can choose whether or not to even have cable and watch the stuff on television. You can chose to totally avoid it. If you don’t want to donate a dime to the National Football League, you don’t know have to.
CALLER: Right. But do you think it might help if we get organized?
RUSH: Not at all. What are you gonna do?
CALLER: I — I’m not sure, but if we organized and we got our money and our resources together we could, eh… We could —
RUSH: You don’t have to do that.
CALLER: — have a say in how many games or, you know, have some sort of input in on it.
RUSH: Wait a second. Wait, wait a minute now. Let’s cut to the chase here. What is it about the NFL CBA talks that’s got you bugged? Who are you mad at?
CALLER: It just made me think that the people paying the salaries —
CALLER: — the taxpayers. It made me think about the NFL and the fans that are paying the salaries, maybe I’m wrong here, but it just… It hit me as a similar analogy.
RUSH: Well, yeah, but it’s all elective when it comes to the fans in the NFL. Even… You can say, ‘Okay, well, the NFL has licensed sponsors,’ so there’s Reebok. Well, fine, but you don’t have to go buy Reebok equipment. And if you don’t, you’re not contributing to anything, owner or player, of the NFL.
RUSH: But your taxes, you have no choice.
CALLER: Well, you don’t have to live in Wisconsin, either.
RUSH: No, but choosing not to buy a ticket to a football game or whatever is a little bit more realistic than choosing to leave Wisconsin. But no matter where you go in this country, you have to pay taxes — and in almost every state you are paying public sector government workers with your taxes, and not just at the state.
CALLER: Yeah, I got the point.
RUSH: You’re paying your local employees; you’re paying everybody with your tax dollars.
CALLER: You just got me going made me think about this NFL thing for some reason.
RUSH: No, I don’t mind.
CALLER: But I just thought maybe it might be a decent idea for the fans to get a full representation somehow.
RUSH: Well, let’s explore this! I don’t mind the thinking here. Think about it, if you want some representation here, like the governor was the representation for taxpayers in Wisconsin.
RUSH: So you’ve got the players and the owners, they’re meeting ostensibly the final time today before the lockout unless there’s another extension. It’s five o’clock today. So if there were a fan representative there, representing you and the rest of the fans, what’s the case that that representative would make?
CALLER: Well, on what sort of issues that they might be stuck on, and that the people that are really gonna be impacted a lot as well are the fans. So I thought maybe we might be able to mediate and be in on some of the negotiations. I don’t know. Just I thought with all that money, all our pool of resources, we might be able to do something with some sort of representation.
RUSH: Okay, well, let me try it this way: What do you want to happen in these football negotiations? You want the game to be played, right? You don’t want a lockout?
CALLER: Right. No lockout.
RUSH: You don’t want a lockout. So you want free agency. You want the draft (well, the draft’s gonna happen). You want it all. You want the stuff. So you want these two sides to come together?
RUSH: And come to an agreement. So you think —
CALLER: Seems like there’s three sides. I don’t know.
RUSH: Well, there’s actually more than that. How about the poor people that work at the concession stands on an NFL Sunday?
CALLER: You’re right. Yeah.
RUSH: How about, for example, all of these guys that own sports bars? I have to tell you a sports bar owner will tell you that football season is his most profitable. I don’t want to hear this Final Four college basketball garbage. The NFL and college football in the fall are what make a sports bar profitable. (interruption) Don’t give me World Cup! Another thing: How about the Vegas casinos? How about the sportsbooks?
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: Look at all the money bet on football. Look at all the stuff that’s gonna go dark.
CALLER: I’m just offering up an idea for some of these people, an umbrella to get under to make sure that we can get this out, you know, without a lockout. I don’t know maybe you can get the bar owners and the workers together and maybe donate some money, get some in there. I don’t know how it works, Rush.
RUSH: Yeah, but not all the fans are gonna be united. Some of the fans are gonna be on the players’ side. Some of the fans are gonna be on the owners’ side. Just assuming that the fans are all gonna be aligned into one way of thinking is also a little fallacious. (interruption) Whose fault is it? Who’s fault is the NFL…? (interruption) Um… (groans) Snerdley wants to know who I think is at fault; know at fault. I don’t look at this as anybody being at fault. This is just a dispute. At some point it’s gonna get resolved, at some point it’s gonna settle, and I’ll tell you who’s gonna lose: The players. The players are facing a loaded gun. They don’t, at the end of the day, have a prayer.
The owner of the Seattle Seahawks has a 414-foot yacht. The owner of the Seahawks could support the other owners for a year or two if he wanted to. While the players, nobody on the players has a 414-foot yacht. I’m not saying it’s gonna happen. I’m just saying at the end of the day here — (sigh) and I don’t mean this in a cutting way, but — the owners have the ability to outlast the players. The thing that the owners have to be concerned about is what this guy is calling about. If this goes on way long and it appears that these guys are selfish and the press is able to convince people that these billionaires are just greedy and they really don’t care about anything but themselves, could they lose all of the fan base, who knows?
You know, baseball went without the World Series. They had a walkout, they had a strike, they went without the World Series. It took steroids to get people back into that game! You might not like hearing that. You might not like it, but it took steroids and human growth hormone to make that game exciting enough to get fans back. Well, look, I’m just telling you what the truth is. You go on strike and you cause the World Series not to be played… They got it back, their stadiums are full now, they’re doing new stadiums are popping up. But the NFL is number one. The NFL has taken over as the, quote, unquote, ‘national pass past time.’ Frankly I don’t think the owners think the fans are gonna go anywhere. I think at some point the owners know the fans will watch.
Let me tell you what the owners are more worried about the than anything else, folks.
I’m gonna tell you right now, folks.
It’s high-definition TV, 60-inch screens.
They’re worried it’s much easier than going to the stadium.
RUSH: Matthew in Harrisburg next as we roll on with Open Line Friday. Welcome to the program. Hello.
CALLER: (whispering) Hello, Mr. Limbaugh.
CALLER: I have 99.6% mega dit-tooos. I’m calling to call you on you’re saying that the NFL can’t raise our taxes. Who do you think builds their coliseums? Most specifically, your beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, which I like, too.
RUSH: All right, all right, okay.
CALLER: The stadium they had built was built by the taxpayers.
RUSH: Touche. You have a point. You do. They threaten to move, threaten to leave unless the city builds them a stadium. They offer some bonds or they increase sales tax or whatever. Yep, yep. Yep. I have to admit. You’re right. But we still have a chance to vote on it. We still vote. At the end of the day, the Steelers coulda lost it, and any other community could vote against them. The people in the community, the NFL does have to think about that now. If they do anger voters this way next time they want a new stadium someplace that’s gonna be publicly financed, they could lose it.
CALLER: But, Mr. Limbaugh, it was actually voted down by the taxpayers. They said they didn’t want to do it and so they just initiated it anyway. I used to live there.
RUSH: Now, I had forgotten that.
CALLER: Oh, yes. It was voted down by the public. It was some kind of a tax, a Regional Asset District tax.
RUSH: Hmm. So the people in Pittsburgh…
CALLER: Voted down by the populace, but our esteemed leaders, our most knowledgeable ones still put it into being.
RUSH: Yeah. Well, they didn’t want to lose the team. They didn’t want to lose the team.
CALLER: That’s understandable.
RUSH: Yeah, it is. Okay, so — I got 20 seconds — where does that put you in the current disagreement over the collective bargaining agreement? Where does it put you?
CALLER: Collective bargaining agreement? I have to agree with the Wisconsin governor. I agree with the Wisconsin governor, because we need to find a way for the taxpayers to have a voice in our government.
RUSH: Right. Okay, Matthew, I appreciate it. Well, there I am properly chagrined. What a way to end Open Line Friday. Yip yip yip yip.
RUSH: All right, look, for the last time, folks: Public sector unions have nothing to do with the National Football League. If the NFL doesn’t get people voluntarily attending their games, it ends. They cannot compel attendance, they cannot compel ticket sales. But if you don’t pay your taxes, you lose your house; you go to jail (unless you’re getting Obama’s mortgage program). Sports leagues, they’ve been tried and some have failed. They don’t exist anymore. But government never goes away, does it? Never at any level, and it’s time some of it did.