The chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is questioning President Bush’s call for reform of the Social Security program.[@@]
The chairman, Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., is suggesting as an alternative a savings plan for long term care as “an augmentation to Social Security payments.”
Bush wants to reform Social Security by cutting guaranteed benefits for younger workers and by creating a new system of privately managed retirement accounts.
Any Social Security reform bill will have to pass through Ways and Means before it can reach the House floor, and Thomas says opposition from Democrats makes the private account plan a “dead horse.”
Instead of creating a new system of private retirement accounts, Congress should consider adding a savings plan that taxpayers could use to pay for long term care and care for chronic health problems, Thomas says.
“What I’m trying to get people to do is get out of the narrow moving around of the pieces inside the Social Security box,” Thomas said at a forum on Bush’s second term. “If we miss this opportunity . . . I think we will have missed an opportunity that may not present itself for another 20 years.”