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July 18, 1981
Sens. Baker & Dole, Dave Stockman, Max, Mike D., Ed Meese & Dick Darman came up to the study. It seems Jim Wright is playing games. On the House floor he introduced a resolution that the sense of the Congress be that we should drop from our budget cuts the elimination of the minimum Soc. Sec. benefit. It is presently in both the House & Senate versions. It is a pol. trick aimed solely at creating a 1982 election year issue for the Dem’s. Presently the minimum $122 a month is going to about 3 mil. people. 1⁄2 a mil. are pub. employees who have a full pension. Others who have paid into S.S. only $68 total are collecting $122 a month for life. There are, to be sure some needy people who really need it. These latter are eligible for S.S.I. which will pay more than the minimum. Sen. Baker said I could fight or retreat—he’s not sure we can win either on the floor or in the conference committee. If I retreat the gains we’ve made in lowering inflation will be lost. It will be taken as a test of my determination & looked upon as a sign that I’ll back down on the tough decisions. Well I have no intention of retreating. I’ve sent a letter to our leaders on the hill informing them that early in August I’ll go on T.V. to discuss the Soc. Security problem. I think this will shake Jim Wright more than a little. Tomorrow off to Ottawa.