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Would you cut Social Security?

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
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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November 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Cut out Aid to our enemies.

Ralph L. Jull
November 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Have Congress pay back all of the money it siphoned out of Social Security and require money spent for non-SS purposes to be retrieved from payees, ie military over-runs etc,

Marc B
November 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm

If the government give Social Security the money they owe the system, there will be no problem with Social security. However, I will be willing to help if the House Members and Senate do the same. Why take from the poor while they are getting richer.

November 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm

My husband, brother and a cousin all died before they were old enough to collect even though they paid in to it for over forty years. Where did all their money go? I don't feel as if I should have to take a reduction when all the congressmen and senators get so much more than I

November 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm

This sounds a lot like what was said years ago...namely, let's pay more to provide for aging baby boomers - but what happened to the surplus? It was spent for OTHER government needs and now WE don't have the money there for us. Not me - I can't afford to give money to a government that makes decisions I would not make on how to spend money I've earned. No thank you.

Tina B
November 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I would have to see the numbers before making such a decision. How much of the national debt does it alleviate and at what cost to the individual?

MaryMelissa Grafflin
November 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Because of the GOP/WEP law, I and many are already denied 40% of our EARNED social Security. Additionally, I pay full Medicare premiums A and B ,so for me there is no COLA,Ever. If there is a Cola, the premiums are raised to take it. I still pay into social security from my part time work. I need my full benefit. My government pension,as Most government pensions, is modest. No, there is no excuse for cutting our meager resources. Raise the retirement age and make all levels of income pay into it!A government that can always build bombs and drones and attack other cultures for no reason,can afford to take care of its'elders who did,and still do the work.

November 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I have worked my whole life and always paid my fair share and now your asking for more it's not fair. If congress and the senate would pay there fair share like the people have too, we wouldnt be in this mess asking for a cut, why do we need to continue to pay benefits for those that retire and never pay in.

November 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

NO CUTS PERIOD. I know the money can be found. So much waste in government. Congress...take your job seriously and make it work. I personally would pay a little more in taxes, but all of us who have been paying into social security since our teens(I'm 56 now)are counting on this when we retire! I believe this is why Obama won the election. We all knew if Romney won we could kiss our retirements goodbye.

Mike V
November 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I don't feel my small cut in social security is going to put the U S on solid finanical footing going forward. What about the increase in medicare payments taken out of our social security? Then our checks just keep getting smaller.