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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Bush Pushes Social Security Plan
Aired February 3, 2005 - 12:51 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go out to Fargo, North Dakota, the president making his case for Social Security reform on this day after his State of the Union Address.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... quite dramatically in the year 2027 it will be $200 billion in the red, $200 billion for one year alone, and in 2032, it's like $300 billion, and in 2042 it's bust.
Now, for people who have been elected, I guess that seems like a long time down the road.
BUSH: If you've got a two-year horizon, you're only thinking about two years -- or four years, in my case. But I believe the role of a President, and I believe the role of a Congress is to confront problems and not pass them on to future generations. I believe that...
It's a problem when you're $200 billion a year short. Now, what does that mean? It means you either have to run up taxes, cut benefits, cut programs, or borrow money. That's what it means. In big ways.
And so I went to Congress last night and said, I see a problem. Some of them doesn't see -- didn't see the problem, evidently. A lot of them do. A lot of really good people on both sides of the aisle recognize we have a problem. I'm going to spend the next couple of days going around the country explaining to people as clearly as I can, the problem, because I expect people in Congress, when they see a problem, to then come up with solutions.
And so last night, I said, all options are on the table expect for running up payroll taxes.
I said, everybody -- all different -- all different ideas as to how to solve the problem are on the table. And that's important for members of Congress to hear. In other words, we're not going to play politics with the issue. We're going to say, if you've got a good idea, come forth with your idea, because now is the time to put partisanship aside and focus on saving Social Security for young workers.
(APPLAUSE) I put out an idea last night that I think is important. It's a novel way of saying to young workers, we understand whose money we're spending; and two, we want you to be able to have more security in your retirement -- and that is to allow younger workers to take some of their own payroll taxes and set it aside in what's called a personal retirement account, a personal retirement account that will earn a better rate of return than the current Social Security trust earns; a personal retirement account which you will call your own; a personal retirement account that can be only invested in conservative stocks and bonds; a conservative account that you can't withdraw all your money upon retirement.
But it's your own account, and it grows. And it supplements Social Security. In other words, you'll get a Social Security check, but you'll also be able to withdraw money from your own personal retirement account to supplement that money.
And why it's a good deal for younger workers is, is because it compounds at a rate of interest faster than the money inside the Social Security trust. You start setting aside money at a young age, it grows over time. It's your money. It's money that you can decide to leave to whomever you want. It's money that the government can never take away. It's an interesting idea...
It's an interesting idea to make sure the Social Security beneficiaries of the future get as close to that which the government is possible -- guaranteed is possible -- has promised as possible, but it's a new idea to encourage ownership in our society. You know, federal employees have this under the thrift savings plan, this kind of idea. If it's good enough for federal employees, it ought to be good enough for workers out there working every single day, it seems like to me.
Now, I've heard all of the complaints, and you'll hear a lot more -- how this is going to ruin Social Security. Forget it, it's going to make it stronger.
We're going to phase it in so that we can be more fiscally responsible with the budget. And I want to work with Congress on the idea. I mean, I think it makes sense...
BLITZER: The president of the United States making his case for Social Security reform, proposing his private personal-savings accounts, retirement accounts as he outlined last night. We'll continue to monitor the president's speech in Fargo, North Dakota. Later he heads to Nebraska. He's got other states he's going to include, in Florida and Arkansas. We'll watch him every step of the way.
That's all the time I have this hour. But I'll be back later today, every weekday, 5:00 p.m. Eastern for "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." U.S. foreign policy: Can President Bush reshape America's image abroad? I'll be joined by the former Defense Secretary William Cohen. I'll also have a separate interview with former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle. All that, much more 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Until then, thanks very much for watching NEWS FROM CNN.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "LIVE FROM" with Kyra Phillips and Miles O'Brien -- there they are. Miles is walking. Kyra is ready. That's coming up next.
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