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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Shine a Light on Me

A little snippet from USA Today:

John Cogan: The president's professor

Former secretary of State George Shultz invited over a few Stanford colleagues in April 1998 to meet George W. Bush. The Texas governor discussed foreign policy with provost Condoleezza Rice, who would become his secretary of State. He talked about taxes with professor John Taylor, who would take a senior post at Treasury.

And he began a conversation about Social Security with John Cogan.

"We spent three hours talking about domestic policy and foreign affairs over tea and cookies," Cogan recalls. Bush, then running for a second term as governor but eyeing the White House, was interested in Cogan's view that individual accounts could let workers accumulate wealth and have more control over their retirement. Bush already had been considering the concept.

Their conversation has never stopped. After Bush was elected president in 2000, Cogan led the task of producing Bush's first budget. In 2001, Bush appointed him to a Social Security commission that drew up options to add the accounts to the system.

Though he eschews the spotlight, Cogan, 57, remains a key adviser. "He has very close relationships over time with the president," says Leanne Abdnor, who also served on the commission.

Cogan, an economist who worked for President Reagan and the elder President Bush, is unpretentious and pragmatic. "Success would be a combination of personal accounts plus curbs in future benefits," he says. "They go hand-in-hand." He's argued against Bush advisers who say there's no need to take some painful steps.

"I give my advice," he says, "and sometimes it's taken and sometimes it's not."

It may be that he "eschews the spotlight," but I think it's time for him to step forward and take full credit for "a combination of personal accounts plus curbs in future benefits."

I've been wondering who to blame.

List of Social Security Commission Members

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    Posted by on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 at 11:07 PM in Economics, Politics, Social Security | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (0)

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