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Raising the Retirement Age: The Wrong Direction for Social Security

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The debate over Social Security has emerged as a key election-year issue, as the presidential candidates offer proposals for reforming the system or enhancing retirement security.

The Republican presidential nominee, Gov. George W. Bush, has proposed fundamentally changing the Social Security program by "carving out" private accounts from the current system. Under the Bush proposal, workers would be able to divert part of their Social Security payroll tax, reportedly two percentage points, into private accounts. In order to pay for these private accounts, Gov. Bush has left open the possibility that the resulting gap in Social Security funds could be made up through benefit cuts for younger workers, including an increase in the retirement age.