Most Support Social Security, But Not Sure About Reform

Republican presidential hopefuls have been seizing on past comments from President Obama as proof that the current Social Security model does not work. President Obama remarked earlier in the year that he could not guarantee Social Security checks for the next generation. Newt Gingrich is one Republican hopeful who used these comments to ask young Americans why they would want to pay into a system like this. This exchange highlights two facts that both sides of the aisle seem to agree on – no one can guarantee Social Security checks will be going out in the future, and some reform is necessary in order to keep benefits going out to retired or disabled Americans and their families. Of course the problem is – what reforms do we implement?

A look at poll results of American opinions on Social Security topics reveals a few trends. First, many seem resigned to the fact that the Social Security retirement age is going to move up. Nearly 40 percent said in a poll last week that the age will be 80 by the year 2036. Second, there is not a lot of hope that politicians will do much about the problems facing Social Security. 63 percent do not think Social Security will remain fully funded as it is today (in fact, without change, in 2036, retirees will only get 77 percent of benefits they are due). Additionally, just over a third of Americans do not think that Social Security will even exist by 2036.

In contrast to the pessimistic opinion Americans have towards Social Security’s future, the majority of us like Social Security benefits and do not want to do anything that lessens them. For example, a few things that most Americans think are bad ideas regarding Social Security reform are:

  • Reducing benefits for people who retire early
  • Increasing the age at which people are able to retire and receive full benefits
  • Increasing Social Security taxes for everyone

What are your thoughts on the future of Social Security? Have you made any financial adjustments based on what you think might or might not happen in the next 20 to 30 years?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

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