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Gingrich wants to allow younger workers the option of private retirement accounts
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) ' Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich wants to allow younger workers to choose private retirement accounts as an alternative to Social Security.
The former House speaker, who has seen his political fortunes improving in recent weeks, planned to tell students at St. Anselm College on Monday that he wants younger workers to have another option and wants to end the expectation that Social Security is the only safety net for older workers.
Gingrich's plan would also let the markets determine how much money workers who choose private accounts would get each month.
His aides did not immediately provide a price tag for the proposal.
"Growth and innovation means securing and strengthening Social Security by empowering Americans with the option to invest in personal savings accounts," Gingrich said in remarks prepared for delivery. "This gives Americans ownership over their retirement and the opportunity to unleash the power of the market to enjoy prosperous retirements beyond their most optimistic expectations, while also wiping out all future liabilities in the Social Security system."
Gingrich said his plan would reduce the inequality between workers who paid into Social Security as their sole retirement account and higher income workers who benefit from private funds.
President George W. Bush offered some similar proposals for Social Security soon after winning re-election in 2004, but ran into stiff resistance from Democrats and from some within his own party about proposing changes to the popular program.
In recent weeks, Gingrich has seen a boost in the polls as he tries to position himself as the leading alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney just six weeks until Iowa's leadoff presidential caucuses.
During the appearance in New Hampshire, Gingrich also planned to renew his call for returning control of welfare programs to the states, as well as offering states alternatives to Medicare and introducing private options.
His plan would allow seniors in Medicare now to stay, but others would be eligible for subsidies toward traditional insurance plans.
"Unleashing competition will dramatically increase options for American seniors, while also lowering costs," he said.