Americans disagree with Social Security cuts to trim deficit

A facial close-up of a bearded and disturbed elderly gentleman.

Cut my Social Security? Does that mean the poor house – or the glue factory? (Photo Credit: CC BY/Mick Rogers/Whizzer's Place)

According to a recent poll conducted by research firm GfK Roper and funded by AARP, Americans largely disapprove of cutting Social Security in order to reduce the national deficit. The Huffington Post reports that polls results show that 85 percent of adults are against cutting Social Security. A large sample (72 percent) “strongly opposes” such action.

‘Me first,’ say Social Security recipients

For a 75-year-old Social Security system that has received a great deal of criticism, such support may seem surprising. However, considering that AARP funded the poll and many AARP members are or are about to begin collecting Social Security benefits, perhaps it all makes sense. Another interesting related figure to surface from the poll is that 57 percent of American adults younger than 50 claimed they’d be willing to pay higher payroll taxes to ensure that they’ll have Social Security to collect after they retire. While a tremendous national deficit will certainly affect future generations for decades to come, the grim reality is that the sense of entitlement commonly associated with the “Baby Boomer” generation makes their refusal to cut Social Security less than surprising.

Raiding the trust fund

The Obama administration is currently looking into what should be done with Social Security, as the insurance program clearly is not sustainable in its current form. Many fear that their shrinking nest eggs will be taken away. Current tax levels aren’t enough to maintain into the system, and privatization may help younger workers, but not the scores of Baby Boomers who need the money now.

Two-thirds of Americans believe Social Security cuts would leave them destitute

While two out of three Americans fear the direct effect that cutting Social Security would have on their budgets in the golden years, a whopping 80 percent are wary of indirect financial stress such action would cause families of fixed-income retirees. Clichéd old fears of a “poor house” or “debtors’ prison” rear their ugly heads, giving way to hysteria. However, nearly 80 percent of “the sky is falling” types don’t even know – according to the poll – that if the Social Security trust fund is in fact drained, they’ll still receive benefits, just at a slightly lower level.

Sources:

AARP survey

Cato Institute

Huffington Post

Social Security Online

Milton Friedman on the Social Security myth:

Other recent posts by bryanh