Social Security reform

Four years ago, Social Security reform was a centerpiece of George W. Bush's campaign, but the only attention the issue received in his first administration came from a special commission whose 2001 recommendations were overwhelmed by 9-11 and its aftermath. Last week, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan warned of "abrupt and painful" consequences if something isn't done about the future of Social Security.

Bush gave Social Security prominence in his speech last night to the Republican National Convention. Without providing details, he once again called for partial privatization of individual Social Security accounts on a voluntary basis.

According to a Wall Street Journal Page 1 story Thursday, the administration opposes any increases in payroll deductions, while both Bush and Democrat John Kerry are against raising retirement ages. That leaves benefit changes, indexing benefits to inflation and means testing as options.

This issue is too important to be neglected, and it certainly is appropriate fodder for a presidential campaign. Social Security should be a prominent topic in debates -- a likelihood sure to be spurred by Bush's speech.