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National experts tout views on Social Security reform at LBJ School symposium

Leading national experts from opposing sides of the Social Security debate will hold a policy forum at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin on April 21.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Leading national experts from opposing sides of the Social Security debate will hold a policy forum at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin on April 21.

The event organizers are Kenneth Apfel, who headed the Social Security Commission under President Bill Clinton and now holds the Sid Richardson Chair in Public Affairs at the LBJ School, and Betty Sue Flowers, director of the LBJ Library and Museum. Apfel has testified before members of the U.S. Congress and appeared frequently in the national media on this topic.  

Apfel and Flowers have put together a diverse lineup of panelists that include Thomas Saving, a public trustee with the Social Security Board of Trustees; John Rother, AARP director of policy and strategy; Barbara Kennelly, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; Maya MacGuineas of the New America Foundation; Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation; and Peter Orzag, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. The audience will be composed of Central Texas Social Security beneficiaries, university students and health professionals.

Titled “Big Choices: The Future of Social Security,” the policy symposium will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., Thursday, April 21 in Bass Lecture Hall. From 7-9 p.m., Texas Forums will moderate roundtable discussions among the audience members in the LBJ Library and Museum.

According to Apfel, the fact that the symposium features prominent policy advocates from all sides of the debate, and that it will take place in a neutral environment, sets it apart from other forums on Social Security reform that have taken place around the nation in recent months.

“Almost all of the forums and discussions over the past year have been one sided—either strongly for private accounts or strongly against private accounts,” said Apfel. “This conference provides a unique opportunity for policy advocates on all sides of the issue to come together and discuss the long-term challenges we face as well as possible solutions.”

A detailed agenda is available online at LBJ School News.

The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. For more information or to register, contact Jim Betancourt of the LBJ Office of Conferences and Training, at 512-471-4746.

Members of the media interested in interviewing symposium participants should contact Megan Scarborough at 512-471-8954.

This is the third symposium in a five-year series organized by the LBJ School’s Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP) and the LBJ Library and Museum.  The first, “The Future of Health Insurance for America’s Families,” was held in April 2003; and the second, “The Future of Health Care for Older Americans,” was held in April 2004. Other sponsors for this year’s symposium include Texas Forums and the LBJ Future Forum.

For more information contact: Megan Scarborough, LBJ School of Public Affairs, 512-471-8954.