Nation: Nectar & Pickle Juice

For old New Dealer Lyndon Johnson, the signing of the social security bill last week offered a threefold blessing: a chance to memorialize F.D.R., an occasion to tell 24 million present beneficiaries that, beginning in March, they would get the biggest increases in payments enacted since social security began—and the knowledge that most voters would not feel the additional cost until after Election Day.

Average payments to beneficiaries will rise 13% in 1968, while at the low end of the scale the increase will be 25%. The law provides for additional increments in later years. Medicare benefits will be expanded as well....