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April 25, 2005

Hearings on Social Security Reform Legislation Begin This Week

The Social Security reform battleground shifts this week. The first steps to draft Social Security legislation begin Tuesday with hearings on potential options for reform. Krugman's column "The Oblivious Right" makes it clear that the likelihood that congress will pass a bill despite public opinion to the contrary should not be underestimated. As Krugman notes:
...Mr. Bush doesn't understand their concerns. He was sold on privatization by people who have made their careers in the self-referential, corporate-sponsored world of conservative think tanks. And he himself has no personal experience with the risks that working families face. He's probably never imagined what it would be like to be destitute in his old age, with no guaranteed income...
As this Washington Post story makes clear, the congress and administration are determined to pass private-accounts legislation despite polls showing seven in ten Americans say they're uneasy about his approach to the issue:
Washington Post, Jonathan Weisman, April 24, 2005 - Panel to Start Writing Social Security Bill Five months after President Bush launched his drive to overhaul Social Security, the difficult, if not impossible, task of drafting legislation begins Tuesday when the Senate Finance Committee holds the first hearing on options to secure Social Security's future …, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said last week he will move forward with Social Security legislation, hoping to push a private-accounts plan out of his committee this summer -- on a party-line vote if necessary … Supporters and opponents of the president's ideas say Grassley's determination will help the White House cause, by ramping up pressure for compromise …

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