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Social Security Central

What was once the untouchable third rail of American politics -- Social Security -- is quickly becoming a game of one upmanship between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

After criticizing Bush's plan, Gore announced recently a new retirement proposal, Retirement Savings Plus, which shares two key elements with the Bush plan. Both plans rely on individuals to manage their own investment accounts and both use various government mechanisms to transfer the funds into the private accounts. Amazingly, both candidates agree that people should be managing their own retirement accounts, something that would have been inconceivable just a few short years ago.

Of course, not everything is like it seems. While Gore's plan shares some superficial similarities with Bush's plan, the vice president's plan would create a new government bureaucracy. Didn't know that? You would have learned it at Social Security Central, a web site run by the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Along with finding out the specifics of the plans promoted by Bush and Gore, the web site takes a look at all sides of the Social Security issue. The web site makes its case that the long term prospects of the system are not good and investigates what are the best ways of providing retirement benefits. You can even use the Social Security Calculator to compare what you're "guaranteed" to receive under the present system compared a system based on personal investment.

The NCPA has a 17-year history of working on the issue, including the first published book in 1980 on a private Social Security system, and it shows on the web site. There is a wealth of information here for someone new to the debate and plenty of persuasive evidence that a transition to a personal system is a necessity.

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