Washington -- Although he has promised to cut the federal deficit in half within five years via prudent restrictions on spending, President Bush said that more discussion if required before putting forth any strategy to reform the Social Security system.

Bush, whose ambitious second-term agenda calls for reforming both the federal tax code and Social Security, said during a press conference last week that the first step is to convince lawmakers of the problems with the current Social Security system.

Three years ago, the president assembled a blue-ribbon panel to examine potential reforms to the system including the use of "ownership accounts." However that proposal has come under fire from critics who point out that the "transitional costs" to convert to an ownership system would run in the neighborhood of $1 trillion to $2 trillion.

President Bush said that he would unveil a solution of Social Security reform in the near future, but that ultimately, any reform law would be written by the Congress.

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