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Business Groups List Social Security Priorities

In separate messages to delegates at the White House conference on Social Security this week in Washington, D.C., the U.S.'s three largest broad-based business organizations each endorsed creation of individually controlled personal retirement accounts as part of a reform of the financially periled program. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Assn. of Manufacturers (NAM), and the National Assn. of Independent Business (NFIB) also called for a preservation of existing benefit levels to retirees. Moreover, two of the associations -- the Chamber and the NFIB -- voiced strong opposition to efforts to increase the payroll tax. Otherwise, the Chamber issued a statement urging delegates to: oppose means-testing of Social Security benefits; address long-term financial problems, but not by placing an undue burden on future generations; use the efficiencies of the private capital markets; encourage individuals to take personal responsibility in planning for and contributing to their retirement needs; encourage continuation of the voluntary employer-sponsored retirement system; limit federal regulatory guidance; reflect actual increases in the cost-of-living when adjusting for inflation; and reflect actual trends in retirement ages and health when considering increases in retirement ages. NAM, meanwhile, stressed the need for a "government-guaranteed" safety net beyond the personal retirement accounts. NFIB urged that Social Security paperwork burdens be reduced.

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