The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation has released a new poll on American?s views on Social Security, proposals for raising the retirement age, and cutting benefits. The national telephone poll, conducted June 24-June 30th by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, shows a growing disconnect between the average American?s economic priorities and those being debated in Washington.?These poll results aren?t a surprise for those of us who hear from Americans each day that Social Security has been their only lifeline during these tough economic times. From young and old alike, attitudes about the need to separate Social Security from the deficit debate are clear and should serve as a wake-up call to our nation?s leaders. Americans want fiscal sanity restored to Washington but they also know that Social Security didn?t cause this crisis and ignoring the promise made to millions of workers who paid into the program their entire working lives is not an option. The American people, of all ages and political persuasions have clearly said borrowing money from Social Security and then proposing benefit cuts because Washington doesn?t want to pay it back is not fiscal responsibility.? …Barbara B. Kennelly, President/CEO?Throughout this survey I was surprised at the lack of major differences, including through political demographic groups, where you would expect some differences. Republicans and Democrats alike understand there is a deficit out there and they don?t think Social Security is the cause of it.? Andrew Smith, Ph.D., Director, University of New Hampshire Survey CenterPoll highlights include:
- Only 2% of Americans believe Social Security is a major cause of the deficit with 77% opposing any changes in Social Security as part of a deficit reduction plan.
- Two out of three Americans (64%) think Social Security provides security and stability to our economy while only 20% see the program as a drain on the economy. 70% believe this recession underscores the critical role Social Security fills for families.
- Virtually all Americans polled (98%) believe Social Security funds belong to the people who contributed them and their beneficiaries and a majority (71%) say Social Security is a promise made to all generations that should not be broken.
?Next month, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Social Security, a national treasure that has only improved with age,? said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Congressional Seniors Task Force.?The poll released today shows that Social Security is cherished by the vast majority of Americans of all ages. They believe it is critical for their economic well-being and that its essential protections must not be reduced. I agree. The poll also made clear that the American public knows Social Security is not a contributor to today?s deficits. The program is not in crisis; while we will need to act ensure its solvency throughout this century and beyond, we can do so without making cuts in critical benefits.?Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) is Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee and warned against efforts to cut or privatize Social Security benefits, ?There are those, even in the aftermath of the failed efforts by President Bush to privatize Social Security, who would take those changes right into the benefit structure today with a rationale of long term solvency without looking at other options. They never fully discuss that we are taking away the legacy of the program for our children.?Congressman Ron Klein (D-FL), a strong advocate for Social Security who represents over 130,000 seniors in South Florida said, ?Social Security is a contract we have with our seniors, and they have lived up to their end of the bargain. It?s essential that we live up to our end. That?s why I am here today to say that I will not stand for any attempts to weaken Social Security benefits for our seniors, or any reckless efforts to balance our nation?s books on the backs of our seniors.? The poll ?U.S. Attitudes Toward Social Security? is now available on the National Committee Foundation?s website.