Clinton's Social Security Agenda

The Social Security debate is all about who gets the credit, reports CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley.

During a Thursday fundraising visit to New Hampshire, one of the issues on President Clinton's mind will be promoting his plan to save Social Security.

The president's plan would leave all the Social Security tax money in government hands and invest part of it in Wall Street. Republicans, by contrast, would give individuals part of the money they now pay in Social Security taxes and allow them to invest that in Wall Street.

When Clinton was promoting his plan at the White House, it sounded like a cure for all ills.

"Our idea will give you a stronger economy, will save Social Security and Medicare, will stabilize families, will strengthen the ability of the United States to lead the world."

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who has written one of the leading competing proposals, had just as strong an opinion.

"The president has put forward a program that, regrettably, uses smoke and mirrors," he said, "does significantly increase taxes on the next generation and ends up nationalizing the stock market. Now that's not a constructive proposal."

Wednesday, Clinton acknowledged that all the competing plans will be complicated, so he said, Trust me.

"I ask you to at least look at the last six years and say, maybe they ought to be given the benefit of the doubt."

When Democrats and Republicans talk about saving Social Security, it's important to remember that these plans only postpone the insolvency of the system for about 50 years.

Any permanent solution is likely to require increases in taxes and cuts in benefits.