UnNews:Bush meets with economic advisors
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27 August 2006
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The President took time off from his 740-day vacation to meet with the inner circle of his economic team - Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Department of Treasury, Rob Portman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Edward Lazear, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and God. Also present were Vice President Dick Cheney, who kept the President
awake alert alive during the more arcane discussions by keeping a Perazzi 28-gauge shotgun next to him.
Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was not present at the meeting, as he had to make an urgent business-related trip to the Bahamas. Also absent this time around was former aide Claude Allen, whose unorthodox but effective accounting schemes had served the president well in the past. Allen resigned from the White House recently, as he wanted to spend more time with his family.
The Chairman of the Federal Reserve board, Ben Bernanke was also invited to the last two days of the meeting, but sources said that he was unable to contribute much to the discussion, as he was gagged to stop him from making inappropriate comments to the press. Mr. Bernanke did manage to say "AAEEE...URGLE...OW" to financial journalist Maria Bartiromo.
Wall street initially reacted unfavourably to this remark, with the DOW immediately losing 23 points and the NASDAQ 3465, but the two rapidly recovered as analysts suggested that the remarks meant that there would be a halt in interest-rate hikes in the near future.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Secretary Paulson said, "I think we were able to have quite an interesting and productive session where we dug deeper into some of the longer-term issues, some of the complex issues we're dealing with." Asked what the discussions were on, he answered, "We had a good discussion -- Ed Lazear began by talking about the economy, but most of the session was spent talking about some of the longer-term challenges."
Mr. Paulson was positive about the state of the economy, "They're [Americans are] much better off than they would be if the economy were growing slower or weren't growing." and "if we can keep the job creation, keep making new jobs and productivity levels high, [...] you're going to see wage growth follow this."
The Secretary also said that he was struck by "how engaged the President was on all of these issues". Sources present at the meeting say that the President had the facts, figures and arguments regarding key issues under discussion at his fingertips - in a 3-inch manila folder prepared by his staff and glued solid to prevent any important information from being misplaced or leaked. While this meant that the information could not be looked at, that did not stop the "Decider" from making important decisions with huge ramifications for years to come.
At the meeting, the President expressed continuing faith in his program of Tax-cuts, saying "Y'know, if the government takes away less money, Americans will have more. And that's good, isn't it? [...] Well, I like having more money."
He also called for urgent reform of the Social Security program, and officials are following up on his suggestion to implement a color-coded "Social Security Advisory System", which indicates the current prediction on when the system will be bankrupt. Preliminary glitches in the system, which caused the forecasts to jump randomly to various points between "Yesterday" through to "When pigs fly", are currently being fixed.
Secretary Paulson also told reporters at the White House briefing, "And then there's the other question which really -- or the other part of this, which I think relates to a trend that's been going on now for 20 years at least, which really has more to do with the integration of the U.S. into the global economy and technology, and that's that, clearly, we're seeing a trend that the greatest rewards are going to those who have the skills to really adapt to the opportunities in the economy. And so that's a trend. The answer to that is clearly education and training. But I think one thing we all feel pretty strongly about, that whatever the issues are we're dealing, we're dealing with -- it's easier to deal with them with a strong growing economy that's creating new jobs."
Following up on that comment, Director Portman admitted that "we probably haven't done as good a job communicating the strength of our economy".
In the meeting, the President also underlined the close links between the economy and US foreign Policy, pointing out that by using a dollar's worth of explosives to blow up $100 worth of infrastructure in foreign countries, the United States can continue to maintain its high economic rank among countries around the world. He also said that "Somebody should do something about this "Yuropean Yunion", which keeps coming up on top of the US in all these lists", while looking through Lists of countries by GDP on Wikipedia. He then called up his Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, to ask him about any links between terrorism or weapons of mass destruction and the EU, said an informed source.
- "Press Briefing on the President's Meeting with Economic Advisors". White House, August 18, 2006