- Associated Press - Monday, November 21, 2011

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich is telling college students that he would let them use their payroll taxes to fund private retirement accounts instead of putting the money into Social Security, if they want to.

Younger workers could also opt to stay in the Social Security system.

Gingrich says his proposal would let those workers decide what to do with their money and how to save for retirement.

He says private accounts are likely to perform better than Social Security, even in grim economic times.

Stocks had plunged several hundred points by midday as a special committee in Washington appeared ready to declare failure in its attempt to agree on trimming the federal budget deficit.

The former House speaker outlined his proposal in a speech Monday in New Hampshire.