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Strong Support for Social Security – Even With Higher Taxes

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Photo: A new survey finds broad support across party lines by American age 21 and older for the value of Social Security, even when it comes to paying a little more to expand benefits. Image credit: the Social Security Administration.
Photo: A new survey finds broad support across party lines by American age 21 and older for the value of Social Security, even when it comes to paying a little more to expand benefits. Image credit: the Social Security Administration.
November 3, 2014

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - A new survey finds broad support across party lines and age for the value of Social Security - even when it comes to paying a little more to expand benefits.

The survey of Americans 21 and older finds three out of four value Social Security, with 86 percent agreeing the current program does not provide sufficient income for beneficiaries. Stephen Gorin is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, which issued the findings.

"Large numbers of people, including many Republicans who you might not expect, were willing to pay a bit more to ensure that Social Security is solvent well beyond the next 75 years," he says.

The study was based on an online survey in June of more than 2,000 Americans aged 21 and over.

Gorin says the new survey finds more Americans are willing to make tradeoffs such as a gradual increase of one percent over 20 years on the Social Security tax rate.

"A worker who's earning $50,000 a year, might wind up paying 50 cents a week more each year, and that would be matched by the employer," says Gorin. "That would go a long way towards ensuring the stability of the Social Security Trust Fund."

He says most of those surveyed want to see a package of fixes that would support and expand Social Security for 75 years and beyond.

According to Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, the survey results make sense, especially for younger people with a lot of debt. He says they've been told by critics of the program Social Security won't be there when they're older and will have to be changed. But he says they like the program the way it is now, only stronger.

"With so many students having so much debt piled on their back, the one thing that they do need is a defined benefit that they can count on in the future," says Boettner.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV