Senator Charles Grassley is holding 20 town meetings across the state this week, and he’s fielded questions about Social Security reform at each one he’s had so far. Grassley told an audience in Newton this morning that the retirement age may go up, and benefits may be reduced. “I think it’s kind of a moral issue of whether Grandpa Grassley, 71 years old, today drawing Social Security, should I just be worried about Grandpa Grassley or should I be worried about Dana Grassley, (who’s) 10 years old?” Grassley says. “When she retires, will she have Social Security?” Grassley held up charts, graphs and even a newspaper clipping to answer questions about the Social Security system and its predicted demise if nothing’s done. Donna McCoy of Newton asked Grassley about “privatizing” Social Security. McCoy fears the move to let younger workers pay less into the Social Security system so they can divert part of their Social Security taxes into private savings accounts. “I do not think it’s a solution. I think it’s very, very wrong,” McCoy says. “It could hurt Social Security in the end and hurt our economy.” Grassley says privatization will help younger workers save for their retirement and Larry Ballard of Newton was relieved by Grassley’s answers on Social Security. Ballard is getting Social Security disability benefits, and he believes Social Security is “in good hands.” Grassley heads the Senate Finance Committee and will be writing the Social Security reform bill. But he says nothing will be done unless President Bush becomes “professor Bush” and convinces the American people there’s a problem to be solved. Bush should “spend all his time, having a seminar with the American people” and encourage voters to pressure Congress to act. Grassley also fielded questions about Iran, Iraq, education, poverty, the economy and other issues during his 40 minute meeting that started at 7:25 this morning in Newton.
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