Today in history: An attempt to overhaul Social Security

In 2001, President Bush formed a commission to study the efficacy of the entitlement program
George W. Bush holds one of his last news conferences in January 2009.
George W. Bush holds one of his last news conferences in January 2009. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

May 2, 2001: Warning that benefits might have to be cut and taxes raised to shore up Social Security, President Bush formed a commission to study the entitlement program. Among the ideas discussed by his panel: Partially privatizing Social Security by giving younger workers the option of investing a portion of their funds in the stock market, which, it was believed, would generate higher returns. The partial privatization idea was a big part of his 2005 State of the Union address; and although Bush spent considerable time and effort pushing for his idea, it didn’t go anywhere. Bush later said that encouraging debate on Social Security was one of the biggest achievements of his presidency.

Quote of the day

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” — John F. Kennedy

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