He had a point. The planet was being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what was being manufactured was lousy, by and large. Then Trout made a good point, too. 'Well,' he said, 'I used to be a conservationist. I used to weep and wail about people shooting bald eagles with automatic shotguns from helicopters and all that, but I gave it up. There's a river in Cleveland which is so polluted that it catches fire about once a year. That used to make me sick, but I laugh about it now. When some tanker accidentally dumps its load in the ocean, and kills millions of birds and billions of fish, I say, 'More power to Standard Oil,' or whoever it was that dumped it.' Trout raised his arms in celebration. 'Up your ass with Mobil gas,' he said.
They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics, to take on public-sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefits system that was headed to bankruptcy. But with bipartisan leadership, we saved taxpayers $132 billion dollars over 30 years and saved retirees their pensions. We did it.