BLUE BELL, Penn. - President Bush announced yesterday that he plans to ask Congress to establish the Bet on America lottery, a first-of-its-kind national lottery that "will fix social security for good." Citing a Fox News survey in which one out of three persons said the best chance to build wealth for retirement was by playing the lottery, Mr. Bush declared, "It's time we listened to the wisdom of the American people."
According to Mr. Bush, who unveiled his plan at an off-track betting parlor in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, the present social security system is built with "smoking mirrors [and] who-doo economics" that few people, including himself, understand. "But everybody understands lotteries," he said, "even people who need lottery machines to pick their numbers for them."
Mr. Bush called the weekly Bet on America lotto, "a you-win-I-win situation. Proceeds from the lottery will fix social security, and winners of the lottery will be able to retire at once instead of having to work at some dead-end job until they're sixty-two. And best of all, the plan provides immediate tax relief for working-class stiffs."
Finally providing the kinds of specific details his critics have been demanding, the president said that social security taxes will no longer be deducted from the salaries of workers born after 1950. Those workers will now own their retirement funds by using them to purchase Bet on America lottery tickets. Furthermore, employers will be required to provide up to three hours of paid release time each week to enable employees to purchase lottery tickets. He also said he was looking into a plan that would allow low-income families to use losing lottery tickets as food stamps.
Before leaving the meeting to attend a beef-and-bingo supper at the Blue Bell fire hall, Mr. Bush announced that he had appointed former education secretary William J. Bennett to head the Bet on America commission, which will oversee the lottery. "Bill's extensive research into games of chance, conducted at his own expense, qualifies him to sit on the national nest egg," said the president.
Following his introduction by President Bush, Mr. Bennett addressed the gathering via satellite hookup from a gaming cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean. Bennett said he will use the bully pulpit of his syndicated talk show, "How to Beat Any Odds," to publicize the Bet on America lottery.
In related news, President Bush revealed that social security benefits of persons born before 1950 would not be affected by the Bet on America lottery, but those benefits would be paid only in months containing an r.