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« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 83 -- Hollywood Movies. | WILLisms.com | VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Iran's Sham Election; Houston, Texas; June 17, 2005. »

Quotational Therapy: Part 21 -- President Clinton On Social Security Reform.


February 2, 1998:

We have a great opportunity now to take action now to avert a crisis in the Social Security system. We have a great opportunity now to be able to tell all these young people who are shadowing their Cabinet and administration leaders that Social Security will be there for them when they retire. We have a great opportunity, those of us in the baby boom generation, to tell our own children that when we retire and start drawing Social Security, it isn't going to bankrupt them to take care of us and undermine their ability to take care of their own children. We need to do this.


February 9, 1998:

This fiscal crisis in Social Security affects every generation. We now know that the Social Security trust fund is fine for another few decades. But if it gets in trouble and we don't deal with it, then it not only affects the generation of the baby boomers and whether they'll have enough to live on when they retire, it raises the question of whether they will have enough to live on by unfairly burdening their children and, therefore, unfairly burdening their children's ability to raise their grandchildren.


April 7, 1998:

Today the system is sound, but the demographic crisis looming is clear. The baby boomers -- 76 million of us -- are now looking ahead to their retirement. And people, clearly, are living longer, so that by 2030, there will be twice as many elderly as there are today.

All these trends will impose heavy strains on the system. Let's look at the next chart here. You can see that in 1960, which wasn't so long ago, there were over five people working for every person drawing Social Security. In 1997, last year, there were over three people --3.3 people -- working for every person drawing. But by 2030, because of the increasing average age, if present birthrates and immigration rates and retirement rates continue, there will be only two people working for every person drawing Social Security....

This national effort will call on the best of our people. It will require us to rise above partisanship. It will require us to plan for the future, to consider new ideas, to engage in what President Roosevelt once called "bold, persistent experimentation." It will remind us that there are some challenges that we can only meet as one nation acting through our national government, just as there are others we can better meet as individuals, families, communities.

This is also a challenge for every generation. To the older Americans here today, let me say, you have nothing to worry about. For you Social Security is as strong as every. To the younger people here today who may believe that you will never see a Social Security check -- indeed, I saw a poll which purported to be serious that said that Americans in their twenties thought it was more likely they would see a U.F.O. than that they would every draw Social Security. (Laughter.) That skepticism may have been well founded in the past, but just as we put our fiscal house in order, we can and must put Social Security in order.

And above all, to my fellow baby boomers, let me say that none of us wants our own retirement to be a burden to our children and to their efforts to raise our grandchildren. It would be unconscionable if we failed to act, and act now, as one nation renewing the ties that bind us across the generations.


October 24, 1998:

As with so many other long-term challenges, if we act now, it will be far, far easier to resolve the problem than if we wait until a crisis is close at hand. I believe we must save Social Security and do it next year....

Unfortunately, some in Congress already may be backing away from this historic opportunity. That would be a grave mistake. As with so many other long-term challenges, if we act now, it will be far, far easier to resolve the problem than if we wait until a crisis is close at hand. I believe we must save Social Security and do it next year.

I pledge to work with anyone from any party who is serious about this task. We cannot let partisanship derail our best opportunity to strengthen Social Security for the 21st century.


All of these declarations that Social Security faces a crisis and needs reform could have easily come from President Bush. While President Bush makes similar points all the time, the above words are not his.


All these words are belong to President William Jefferson Clinton. Monica Lewinsky happened at the same time, though, derailing any kind of potential for serious and lasting reform.

Clearly, the "There Is No Crisis" crowd in Washington can't really believe that Social Security is "A - O.K." It's just tacky, partisan silliness.

Previous post on Clinton's "Social Security = crisis" declarations:
"Crisis, and opportunity."

Previous Quotational Therapy Sessions:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20.

The right quotation can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 June 2005 05:32 AM


Great use of historical quotes. This could easily have been an adjunct post on 'Reform Thursday'.

But, remember, the 'crisis' is only in the minds of those who wish to reward their Wall Street pals.

Posted by: Giacomo at June 20, 2005 10:09 AM