March 11, 2005 -- Posted at 11:00 AM CST
MEMPHIS, TN (AP) - President Bush says America owes it to future generations to fix Social Security now. At the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, the president said he's urging lawmakers to repair the system's finances permanently. He said, " Let's don't slap a band-aid on the problem."
Protesters turned out a couple hours before the address, carrying signs that read "Hands off my Social Security." About 200 orderly protesters stayed behind police barricades, carrying mostly pre-printed signs. Also, the Democratic Party was running ads on Memphis broadcast stations denouncing his plan.
President Bush appealed to seniors to ignore what he called "political propaganda" and insisted his plan won't cut their benefits. Bush argues Social Security's going broke, and that it's time for a bipartisan solution; one that includes private retirement accounts.
However, Democrats in Congress are virtually united in opposing those accounts, saying the accounts would actually hurt the system's finances and add trillions to the national debt.