George W. Bush: Andrew Biggs is with us. He is the Associate Commissioner for Retirement Policy of the Social Security Administration, Washington, D.C. In other words, he is an expert on the subject. Andrew, step forth. Let the people of Arkansas — no, sit forth — let the people of Arkansas —
Dr. Biggs: Thanks very much.
George W. Bush: Tell them whether or not we got a problem or not, from your perspective.
Dr. Biggs: Put simply, we do, in fact, have a problem.
George W. Bush: By the way, this guy — PhD. See, I was a C student. He’s a PhD, so he’s probably got a little more credibility. I do think it’s interesting and should be heartening for all C students out there, notice who’s the President and who’s the advisor. All right, Andrew, get going. Andrew’s got a good sense of humor.
Little Rock, Arkansas, Feb. 4, 2005
Woman in audience: I don’t really understand. How is it the new [Social Security] plan is going to fix that problem?
George W. Bush: Because the – all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those – changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be – or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It’s kind of muddled. Look, there’s a series of things that cause the – like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate – the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those – if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.”
Tampa Bay, February 4, 2005