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Would you cut Social Security?

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Posted: 7 am ET

Would you vote for a small cut to your Social Security payments if making this cut would ensure that you and others would continue to get the remaining promised payments for the rest of your life and put the U.S. on a solid financial footing going forward?

Harris pollsters on behalf of Wells Fargo asked a representative sampling of Americans a version of this question and got a mixed response, with the majority opposed to the idea.

Some 61 percent of people who said they had saved less than $250,000 for retirement told pollsters no, they would not be willing to take a reduction in their Social Security or Medicare benefits.

People with more retirement savings -- greater than $250,000 -- weren't a whole lot more willing to accept cuts, with 54 percent saying no to this question. The most willing to accept a reduction were women with more than $250,000 in savings, with 45 percent saying yes.

In making any decision that reduces Social Security benefits, you have to take into account the impact that Social Security has on the personal economies of millions. The nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that almost 90 percent of people aged 65 and older receive some of their household income from Social Security. Thanks to Social Security, only 8.7 percent of Americans 65 and older live on incomes that are below the poverty line, but without Social Security, 43.6 percent would have incomes below it.

Of course, no proposals are talking about getting rid of Social Security altogether, just giving it a haircut. It's a tough retirement planning idea to swallow. Nearly all of us who are at or near retirement age have paid into this program for more than 40 years -- even during times in our lives when we needed every penny we could scrape together just to limp by. For our leaders to ask us to accept less than we might have gotten under different economic circumstances doesn't feel fair. But as my mother used to tell me -- frequently -- life isn't fair. If it would help reduce the debt that burdens our country and could overwhelm our children as they grow older, then I am reluctantly in favor.

How do you feel? Would you support cutting Social Security for the long-term good of the country?

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367 Comments
Irma
August 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I agree with Ed137 that the problem with Social Security is that the excess funds have been transferred to the general fund and spent. Frankly I believe that the government did not "borrow" the money but was stolen since they have no intention of paying it back. If the government has bailout money for firms that eventually go bankrupt they should pay back all the funds due social security with interest. I contributed to SS for 45 years and thought it was an investment for my retirement. I agree that members of Congress and all government employees should contribute and be part of the same retirement program the rest of us have to live by. Why should a member of Congress serve for one year and collect a full salary for life plus benefit for a spouse?

Chuck Peck
August 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

No....need to eliminate waste in overhead and spending unnecessarily .

Rob
December 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

We should consider the congress and senate. Why should they get away with being in office for life when the President gets 4 years. It should be changed to have 1 or 2 terms at the most and only 2 years per term. Plus after they get out of their offices they should have to pick up their own life and health insurance instead of us paying the tab for it.
We should quit giving our money to other countries and take care of our own because a lot of the ones we support hate Americans and want to do harm to us.

John
December 08, 2012 at 12:26 am

Why should retired and disabled Americans lose benefits when our government BORROWS money from foreign countries ( adding to our national debt ) and sends those billions of dollars to still other FOREIGN countries in aid? When does the United States government start taking care of their own people instead of helping people from foreign countries who have never paid one cent to the US, and have never helped build this country into the great nation nation that it is? How do you justify helping people in other countries while allowing your own people to go hungry, be homeless or have to decide whether to pay their utilities, buy their life sustaining medicines or buy food? I read so many peoples' comments and complaints about helping their fellow AMERICANS, but few of these people ever complain about the billions of dollars the US sends to other countries in aid. Who do you people think foots the bill for all this money that is given to foreign countries? And I don't know about you people, but I don't recall ever hearing of other countries sending aid to the US when we suffer natural disasters. I don't remember hearing about any foreign countries sending aid to the US to help our homeless and hungry. Wake up people. It's time to start taking care of our fellow Americans and stop the fighting among ourselves. If we don't, we will help bring about the demise of this nation. The term "United States of America" will become nothing but words printed in History books. Think about it.

Blood, Sweat, & tears
November 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I do not believe that there is a fiscal cliff; there is however, a great deal of mismanaged and lost money from our military and the military contractors. I read that 6 billion is missing on Iraq alone, and that even the GAO ( General Accounting Office) is not able to decipher the military's spending and where that money has gone. Sadly, many want to cut the military in areas that will affect the soldiers, and that is the unkindest cut of all! Mismanaged military monies would be the logical place to cut, and until the military is accountable , all other bets are off the table. We would in no way lose protection by cutting here, as we have more munitions, drones, planes etc. than any other nation in the world. How can any think to cut the health and welfare of the soldiers?

Secondly, I read that CEO Blankfein has said the the poor and the old need to learn to live with less. Gosh, Mr. Blankfein, how about you learn to live with a CEO salary that is equal to the successful work that you have actuaLLY DONE.

Since 2007, when the financial markets tossed the economy ( people's homes, and savings and investments,) it would make more sense to have this CEO group earn a reasonable salary. I have often thought that if irresponsible CEOs could do a bad job, and not only keep their outrageous salaries, but get raises,that no one in banking should ever be able to be fired for doing a poor job, as the rank and file workers on the bottom are held accountable. Doesn't leadership start at the top? At least that is what we are told those big salaries are paid for.

The best time for America was after WW II, where college was affordable, and homes too and employment paid a livable wage and people could count on an employer to keep jobs in America. IF, those like Mr. Blankfein think that those on the bottom should have pay cuts, then surely those at the top should too.

Once America falls into walmart wages for all, then education, health and investments will all suffer. Without those basics, we don't have a country. If a nation will invest in CEOs, but not in infrastructure, or people , then the imploding of a nation is on a fast fall to the bottom.

It really takes everyone to keep a democratic republic going and growing. But then, Ben Franklin famously said that we have a republic..IF WE CAN KEEP IT.

Grandparents should not be forced to have social security cuts, as many have lost jobs and will never find another. I keep reading that this is a Christian nation, but that religion, in its truest sense was started and nurtured by the poor and displaced people of the Roman occupation 2,000 years ago. I wonder what Jesus would think of this "Prosperity Gospel?" I find no mention of it in the Bible. Although, throwing the money changers out of the temple was certainly well documented.

We have already had in America one Gilded Age, and one was enough. For those with much, to then turn and pick on grandparents with so little, is a travesty. To continue this downward pressure on those least able to withstand it is an insult to the humanity and the future of this nation.

Please look to the back of your one dollar bill. You will see a pyramid, and the pinnacle at the top is held up by a very large base. That base is composed of Americans, and they are what has held up and worked to make this nation a power in the world. Please remember that without that broad base of humanity working to hold up the pinnacle, that the entire structure falls. America was built by everyone, and NO, CEOs and Congress, YOU did not build America. What we have is a nation built by many hands and many skills at many levels. It takes a POULACE to build a nation, and sadly so many at the pinncale have forgotten that. NEVER FORGET!

ed137
November 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I'll take a cut in my social security benefit (when I'm eligible to start receiving it thirteen years from now) when the politicians pay back all the money plus interest that they borrowed from the so called "Trust Fund".

Tim
November 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm

The problem cannot be reconciled with cuts to our SS benefits, because government will just spend the savings, which is why the USA is in debt to begin with. Stop paying benefits to those who have not earned benefits. Politicians are destroying the motivations that made our country great, i.e. - motivation to survive and succeed. This has happened several times in History. Promises are made to get votes and stay in power. Then the people who work a lifetime and sacrifice end up paying for those who did not.