Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said that President George W. Bush's proposal to create private or personal Social Security accounts has no chance of passing. "Privatization is dead,'' Baucus declared. According to reports, the feisty Democrat contacted Bush administration chief of staff Andrew Card to tell him that the president's proposal would not receive backing from the Democrats. In order for the plan to pass, Republican lawmakers need 60 votes, a figure that would require at least five votes from across the aisle. The president's privatization proposal has been roundly criticized by Democrats and even some Republicans, who cite the mammoth transition costs of over $1 trillion to convert to the private system.

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