Individual retirement accounts are "central" to repairing the Social Security system, a presidential commission has concluded in a final report, which says that private investments would allow workers to "build substantial wealth" and gain control over their financial destiny.

A draft of the report, released last night, also seeks to undercut public sentiment in favor of the nation's existing retirement system, saying that Social Security benefits "are no longer the bargain they once were" and represent an "egregious failing" to minorities, women and other groups at greatest risk of poverty in old age.

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