What President Bush says is what people think the Social Security trust fund is. It’s a series of IOUs displayed to the president Tuesday at the Hintgen building of the Bureau of Public Debt.
"There's no trust fund," the president told an audience at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. "Just IOUs that I saw firsthand, that future generations will pay in the form of higher taxes or reduced benefits, or cuts in other vital programs."
The president emphasized that the much-discussed personal account is aimed at younger people paying into the Social Security system. It involves a trust fund made up of both stocks and bonds.
"A nice addition to that worker's Social Security check," he said. "The savings account is an addition to a part of the retirement plan. It's not the retirement plan; it's part of the Social Security retirement plan."
It's that idea, say critics of the proposal, which could disrupt the system as it exists now, and that message is being aimed primarily at senior citizen groups.
"Senior citizens who are getting checks today will get their checks; nothing will change. Baby boomers like me, born prior to 1950, the system is strong enough to take care of us."
The president continues to emphasize that he's open to other ideas to ensure the solvency of Social Security, but he adds that he believes his is the idea that will continue Social Security for young people.