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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 3, 2005

Fact Sheet: Setting the Record Straight
Participants get 100% of Their Personal Retirement Accounts, Both Principal and Interest

Myth: Jonathan Weisman's Washington Post Story today (p A13), includes the headline that "Participants would Forfeit Part of Accounts' Profits," which is flat wrong. The article says workers who opt for personal accounts "would ultimately get to keep only the investment returns that exceed the rate of return that the money would have accrued in the traditional system." This statement, unfortunately, is also flat wrong. Both the headline and this assertion are completely inaccurate. The White House is seeking a correction from the Washington Post.

Reality: Under President Bush's plan, participants would get EVERY SINGLE PENNY OF THEIR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS -- BOTH the PRINCIPAL AND INTEREST.

Myth: The WP story suggests that President Bush's proposed personal retirement accounts actually benefits the Federal Government more than the account holder, by providing a "claw back." A "claw back" is typically a feature of a plan where the government guarantees a certain combined benefit from the traditional system and the personal account. Under such a plan, the better your account does, the less you get from the government. Therefore, the gains in the accounts are "clawed back."

Reality: The President's plan for personal retirement accounts does not have a "claw back." Under the President's plan, you, not the government, get all the gains in your personal retirement account. The amount you receive from the government is NOT reduced if your personal account does well. The better your account does, the better off you are.

Here are the facts:


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