My favorite exchange, taken from the meeting at the Nissan plant yesterday:
Mrs. Smith: "Well, what I'm concerned about is my son and my daughter and their two sons. Will there be anything left -- my son will be eligible to retire -- well, he's already retired, but he can't draw Social Security for nine years. And my daughter is already --"
The President: "This is a man who retired early."
Wow, Mr. President, you were on the ball yesterday! Nothing gets past you, does it?
Another fun moment:
The President: "Senator Trent Lott, head of the Budget Committee and a great friend, is with us. Thank you for being, Senator."
Yes, I, too, would like to thank Senator Trent Lott for "being." Why not?
And here's a couple of passages that ought to make his position Windex clear:
The president: "You know, you hear all this talk about benefit cuts; we're talking about making sure benefits grow at the rate of inflation -- that's what we're talking about. You've been promised something; it ought to grow at the rate of inflation. Today, if you're an upper-income worker, it grows at the rate of wage growth. What I'm telling people is, is that ought to be applying for younger -- lower-income workers, but not all workers, so that the system can take care of those at the lower income scale. That makes sense to me." . . . . .
"By the way, the idea I laid out the other day about growing benefits at the rate of inflation for lower-income workers -- rate of inflation for upper-income workers, and rate of wages for lower-income workers, solves most of the problem, long-term problem."
Why, yes - now I understand completely! How could I have been so blind? Benefits should grow at the rate of inflation! But benefits grow at the rate of wages for upper-income workers - now. So benefits should grow at the rate of inflation - for lower-income workers . . . no, wait, upper income workers. And benefits for lower-income workers should grow at the rate of wages, the way benefits grow for upper-income workers now.This, if I read it right, seems to be predicated upon the notion that the rate of wages will be higher than the rate of inflation, so that benefits of lower-income workers will be higher than the benefits of upper-income workers. And I'm sure the President will do everything in his lame-duckish power to make certain that the rate of wages forever stays higher than the rate of inflation. . . . . . Won't he?