The three of us -- former aides to President Clinton, Senator McCain, and President Bush -- did an experiment to see if we could develop a reform plan that we could all support. The Liebman-MacGuineas-Samwick (LMS) plan demonstrates the types of compromises that can help policy makers from across the political spectrum agree on a Social Security reform plan. The plan achieves sustainable solvency through progressive changes to taxes and benefits, introduces mandatory personal accounts, and specifies important details that are often left unaddressed in other reform plans.
The plan also illustrates that a compromise plan can contain sensible but politically unpopular options (such as raising retirement ages or mandating that account balances be converted to annuities upon retirement) -- options that could realistically emerge from a bipartisan negotiating process, but which are rarely contained in reform proposals put out by Democrats or Republicans alone because of the political risk they present.
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