On the same day that Neil Cavuto went into a snit over the thought of a $10 an hour minimum wage, he completely lost it over the suggestion that all workers should have a pension. While Cavuto is undoubtedly set for a very cushy retirement, making sure that others are secure in theirs is, to him, akin to asking for “chateaubriand every night.” Meanwhile, he shot down two alternative suggestions for cuts – charging oil companies for drilling on public lands and/or holding off on $300 million dollars to build a new baseball stadium – without even considering them.
Cavuto opened up the segment by bringing up protests against pension cuts in San Jose. To hear him tell it, this was an example of union thuggery because the cuts got “a whopping 70%” approval in the vote.
Cavuto then introduced Democrats for Progress columnist Steven Leser.
“I think it’s wrong to scapegoat the unions over this,” Leser said. “And the fact of the matter is that we had these voters vote on an ballot measure where they didn’t have all of the available options open to them. …Spending in San Jose, for instance - $100 million dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium for the Oakland As. There’s all kinds of other things we could be looking at to raise money without attacking middle class workers who risk their lives for us. You know, police officers, firefighters…”
Cavuto cut him off, to be “fair.” He said, “This is 27% of the budget. Now, I’m not saying you target those people entirely. But, you’ve got to target what is right now the biggest and most ballooning part of public costs around the country and that tends to be pensions, benefits. It‘s unfair, it‘s reality of the times, I guess… Companies have to re-visit pensions that might have made perfect sense when there were 20-30 workers paying in for every one getting something out. But this is what it is. I mean, California collectively has a $400 billion shortfall. What do you do?”
Wait a second. Cavuto is ready to cut pensions because they cost $245 million, as he said in his introduction, but he can’t concede that holding off on constructing a $300 million ballpark would be a more practical cut to make? Oakland’s having a decent year, but what if that changes and they can’t pull in the revenue when it’s done? Shouldn’t the city be more secure?
Leser continued, “Well, ya know… California is the only state that doesn’t charge oil companies money for drilling on state lands. Just making that change - by the way, they’re the third biggest oil producer in the country - just making that change would make billions of dollars in difference for the budgets here in California. Why aren’t we pushing…”
Cavuto interrupted, “Well I dunno if it would make $400 billion of difference.”
So... it’s not an answer because it won’t resolve the whole $400 billion? Neither will the pension cuts… but Cavuto liked those!
He said his “bigger question” was what’s wrong with “going away from the fixed pension, let’s say” to “a defined benefit plan where you kick in some money. What is wrong with that, for new workers?”
Leser replied. “It’s the slippery slope. We’re going to take this benefit away from them and in a couple of years we’re going to take this benefit away from them.”
Cavuto now began to lose it. He interrupted Leser to say that most Americans don’t have “that option.” When Lesser tried to argue that people should have “those options,” Cavuto began shouting him down, and in the middle of the shoutfest, he yelled:
“Yeah, we should all have Chateaubriand every night, but we don’t... We don’t have that option. Let’s wake up in the real world!”
Yeah Neil, the same real world where postponing a baseball stadium and charging oil companies to drill are bad ideas for cuts, but cutting the pensions of the middle class is like giving up an expensive cut of steak.
Video via Media Matters.
(Update: video no longer available)
Newshound Eileen (who used to live in San Jose) and I had a talk about the area’s political leanings, and she told me that they kind of swing towards whoever has the more moving argument. That’s why numbers are so schizo with them.
So I looked up how groups like their Tea Party are doing? Even better than solidly right areas like Palo Alto, thanks largely to their speakers being some of the best shysters in the free world.
I mean that- I could debunk these people faster than they can talk, but they can manipulate your emotions to their side like that if your guard’s down.
Suddenly, how this vote could even pass makes perfect sense, but you know Cavuto would never bring that up. Even he’s smart enough to know that the smarter Fox News viewers instantly realize the agenda at those two little words.