May 12, 2013

You Can Scare People But They Still Want Their Social Security

     From a poll conducted for the National Academy of Social Insurance:
Percent who agree strongly or somewhat:
Don't mind paying Social Security because it provides security and stability to millions -- 84%
It is critical that we preserve Social Security even if it means raising taxes -- Working Americans 82%, Wealthy Americans 87%
Percent who favor increasing Social Security's Cost of Living Adjust (COLA) beyond what it is now -- 64% Percent who oppose -- 10%
Percent who are very/somewhat confident in the future of Social Security -- 43% Percent who are not very/not at all confident 57%
Percent who are very/somewhat confident they will receive all of the Social Security benefits they are supposed to receive -- 31% Percent who ore not very/not at all confident -- 69%


Anonymous said...

I would be interested in a breakdown of perceptions by age.

Most of the people I encounter that have doubts about Social Security's future are young, in their 20's and 30's. It finally hit me. Their problem is not with Social Security being there but more with imagining a world where they will be in their 60's and old enough to collect benefits.

Can't really blame them. I felt the same way at their age. But, since I am now in my early 60's, I can verify that it does happen.

Anonymous said...

I like this poll. It reminds us that with a tiny bit of knowledge, one true fact, the effects of an aggressive false propaganda campaign can be broken. The challenge is to get that true fact out to the public, and then for the public to make it clear to their representatives that Social Security remains a third rail, and any politician who tries to step on it will be soon be looking for a new line of work. Hear that Congress? That means you!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, SS is 3rd rail territory, improve it, but don't harm it in any way shape or form. Raise the cola, not decrease it and raise the taxes to 7.6% or lower the tax rate to 5% and remove the payroll tax cap, either way would work.

Don Levit said...

The fact is that all taxes, including FICA taxes, go directly to the Treasury's general fund, where they become indistinguishalke from other monies.
Suggesting that raising the FICA tax to fully fund benefits for the next 75 years, is, at most, a half-truth.
The half that is true, is from an accountinfg standpoint.
The half that is false is that no cash is set aside in the trust fund. Every dolar redeemed requires new cash to do so.
Which half would you rather be true: the accounting half or the cash flow half?
Don Levit

Anonymous said...

Let me begin by saying I am in no way against continuing the Social Security Program. Having said that, is anyone surprised by the results of the poll? People want things, they don't care to be bothered with the details. For example, the second question says people don't care if the Feds raise taxes to keep the program going. I wonder how much those percentages would change is an actual tax rate were quoted? How high is too high?

Anonymous said...

Attention Mr. Levit the black helicopters are on the way. We can not have anyone spreading the truth around so recklessly. We hav ehad our eye on you for quite some time. Big Brother...

Anonymous said...

This just in, people like free money. They also like the security of having the government pay for their retirement because they don't have the will or foresight to prepare on their own.

Next, people like free beer and donuts!

Anonymous said...

@ 11:09

while I am with you (I saw that recent USA Today article, too) regarding the roughly 1/3 of American workers who never even bothered to set up their employer-offered 401(k), the other 2/3 are not hurting at retirement because of their lack of "will or foresight."

Not everyone who bought a home between 2003 and 2008 was some novice idiot self-imagined house flipper, trying to buy and sell a house in a year and make 50% to add a few hundred K to his nest egg. A lot of people were just buying houses--a move, a downsize, an upsize due to kids, etc etc--and got reamed and are now way underwater when the market fell through.

Similarly, plenty of the 2/3 of people who did engage in their employer's 401(k) or similar retirement vehicle were doing pretty well until the market collapsed and took, on average, between 1/3 and 1/2 of their accounts' value. To blame this on lack of will or foresight...foresight? Please don't start spouting off about gold...