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Split Decision Over Social Security Overhaul


The President's plan to privatize Social Security is getting a mixed response.

The latest University of Wisconsin poll finds Wisconsin residents are split over President Bush's plan to overhaul Social Security.

Poll results show 49% of the state supports the plan, while 47% oppose it.

"It threatens to cut benefits which we absolutely oppose and it also sets up a possible borrowing of up to $2 trillion in order to cover the transitional costs," says Associate State Director of Communications with AARP Wisconsin, Jeremy Janes.

Janes works at Wisconsin's AARP. He says covering commitments to present and imminent retirees won't be easy.

"It basically sets up future generations to pick up that tab with no guarantee that their investments in private accounts are going to yield anything like returns necessary to ensure retirement."

Those approaching retirement are also worried about themselves.

"We're at an age this is really going to hit us hard if this happens," says 55 year old Peg Roddick of Evansville, "There's a great fear in our lives that they will run out of money. 401(K) was not as popular when we were younger we have retirement funds yes but not enough to survive on without Social Security."

56 year old Gary Poulson of Madison agrees. "I think it's a crap shoot. I think Social Security was originally meant to be a safety net for folks and I think to let it go toward speculation is a mistake."

But those who make up the younger generation say they're up for a challenge.

"From a business standpoint I think it's good to give younger people more control over their money and how they can invest it," says UW graduate student Paul Pucci, "As long as it's going to be taken out of your paycheck anyway you might as well have some say over where it goes."

Young or old, both agree on one thing.

Pucci says, "I think people should now that they know they will be working to retirement be planning ahead and have money set aside for that purpose."

Janes adds, "Social Security should be an integral part of everyone's retirement planning but not the sole part by any means."

According to facts from the Department of Labor's web site, in 1993, of those who had 401(k) coverage available, one-third didn't participate.

Also, less than half of Americans have put aside money specifically for retirement.


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