This is an extended version of Jose Pinera’s article in the January/February 2016 issue of Cato Policy Report, with full text of some documents and links to references.
MIDNIGHT AT THE HOUSE OF GOOD AND EVIL
“It’s 12:30 or 1 at night, and Bill Clinton asks me and Dottie: ‘What do you know about the Chilean social‐security system?’ ” recounted Richard Lamm, the three‐term former governor of Colorado. It was March 1995, and Lamm and his wife were staying that weekend in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House.
I read about this surprising midnight conversation in a Newsweek article by Jonathan Alter (May 13, 1996), as I was waiting at Dulles International Airport for a flight to Europe. The article also said that early the next morning, before he left to go jogging, President Bill Clinton arranged for a special report about the Chilean reform produced by his staff to be slipped under Lamm’s door.
That news piqued my interest, so as soon as I came back to the United States, I went to visit Richard Lamm. I wanted to know the exact circumstances in which the president of the world’s superpower engages a fellow former governor in a Saturday night exchange about the system I had implemented 15 years earlier.
Lamm and I shared a coffee on the terrace of his house in Denver. He not only was a most genial host to this curious Chilean, but he also proved to be deeply motivated by the issues surrounding aging and the future of America. So we had an engaging conversation. At the conclusion, I ventured to ask him for a copy of the report that Clinton had given him. He agreed to give it to me on the condition that I not make it public while Clinton was president. He also gave me a copy of the handwritten note on White House stationery, dated 3–21-95, which accompanied the report slipped under his door. It read: