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AP News - Personal Accounts Tank in Polls, GOP Says

From AP News:

"The heart of President Bush's plan for Social Security, allowing younger workers to create personal accounts in exchange for a lower guaranteed government benefit, is among the least popular elements with the public, Republican pollsters told House GOP leaders Tuesday.

According to the memo, Americans of all age groups "were most resistant to proposals that involved cutting or reducing benefits or raising Social Security payroll taxes.

"When forced to choose a course of action, a majority ... chose raising the age of early retirement, and there was also support for further reducing starting benefits for early retirement."

Despite the general resistance to higher taxes, there is very strong support for exposing higher levels of income to the existing levy, the pollsters wrote.

Asked what they liked least, 31 percent of the participants in the sessions mentioned that the government would be responsible for keeping track of the accounts. Another 24 percent "least liked the fact that workers would be required to accept a lower traditional benefit in return for participation," a key element of Bush's plan.

The findings surfaced on the eve of a House Ways and Means Committee hearing into Social Security's finances and as the administration pushes ahead with an aggressive campaign to raise public support for changes."
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