Clinton Announces Town Meetings On Social Security
WASHINGTON (Feb. 9) -- President Bill Clinton on Monday announced a series of four national town hall meetings on extending Social Security, saying it's important the nation act soon to preserve the retirement system.
In a talk to Georgetown University students, Clinton said
if the country develops a consensus to act soon, it can take "relatively modest steps" to extend Social Security's life in the face of an expected surge of baby boomer retirements early in the next century.
"If we change now, we can make a difference," Clinton said. The president has urged Congress to reserve all anticipated budget surpluses until lawmakers agree on a plan to shore up Social Security's finances.
Clinton announced a series of four national town meetings, the first in Kansas City, Mo., on April 7, to discuss the problem and debate possible answers.
The president called for a good debate on investment strategies and policy trade-offs, but said it ought to be beyond partisanship.
With polls showing most young people doubt that Social Security will be available to them in their lifetime, aides wanted the president to make his first major speech on the issue to youth in their 20s.
Aides say the White House believes the time to start reforms of the system to extend its life should be taken now. The White House cites economic forecasts which indicate small changes now will have great effect in 30 years, while waiting will necessitate "massive changes" in the future they claim will be more costly.
CNN's Eileen O'Connor contributed to this report.