Monday, August 27, 2012

Poll: Public favors raising taxes, retirement age over benefit cuts

An Associated Press-GfK public opinion poll finds that most Americans would prefer to fix Social Security by raising taxes or increasing the retirement age rather than reducing monthly benefits.

“Social Security is facing serious long-term financial problems. When given a choice on how to fix them, 53 percent of adults said they would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations, according to the poll. Just 36 percent said they would cut benefits instead.”

“The results were similar when people were asked whether they would rather raise the retirement age or cut monthly payments for future generations — 53 percent said they would raise the retirement age, while 35 percent said they would cut monthly payments.”

Since raising the retirement age would reduce monthly benefits, what people seem to approve of is increasing both the normal retirement age (currently 66) and early retirement age of 62. Doing so would force people to delay collecting benefits, but wouldn’t reduce benefits once they did retire.

2 comments:

WilliamLarsen said...

“Social Security is facing serious long-term financial problems. When given a choice on how to fix them, 53 percent of adults said they would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations, according to the poll. Just 36 percent said they would cut benefits instead.”

What a ridiculous poll. Ask one question and provide only two possible answers. There are many answers to this question that could have been asked. A poll over a decade ago asked young those under 40 if given the choice of contributing to Social Security or keeping their contributions, the overwhelming majority would keep their money.

The problem with a poll like this is the same with those who use six sigma to analyze problems. To analyze a problem all the inputs have to be evaluated while at the same time all “OPTIONS” must be included. Otherwise six sigma analysis may not evaluate the key variable and lead to terrible conclusions.

The second problem with a poll on social security is that most do not understand how the benefit is calculated, have no idea how much they actually contribute and have never done a cost analysis. In essence they are making a pure emotional instead of calculated decision.

Therefore, based on only allowing two possible answers and an uneducated polling population, the poll itself would be considered garbage.

Chuck Stevens said...

Pretty telling that over half of the population would rather raise taxes than abandon the future generations. I actually would have to agree here. I don't think it is fair that social security will eventually fail a large group of people. Unfortunately raising taxes can be a sticky subject. I know I've had to seek some tax debt relief so whenever issues about taxes come up I get a little gun shy. I think as along as the taxes are raised at a reasonable rate it is something we should absolutely consider.