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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 10:45 pm

No!!! Absolutely not! Let's see Obama and the people making millions to take only a percentage of their investments. They wouldn't even think about it and neither would I.

November 19, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I voluntarly paid into a life insurance plan for 42 years. The insurance company promised my benificery $1,000 a month for the rest of her life. Should I tell the insurance company she will accept 750.00 a month?

I was force by the goverment to pay into SS for 42 years, should I take anything less than 100 % of what the goverment promised?

Does it matter if i am rich or poor?

chuck holmer
November 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Absolutely not!!! To many people have this as their only source of income - Take this away and we will be increasing the amount of people on welfare. These people have worked (many of them) their whole life and now they should reduce something they have earned? Call it entitlement if you want - yes they are entitled! We face major issues with health care and the "fiscal cliff" how much more can we scare seniors on fixed income - how about stripping our senators and congressmen and women of some of their benefits? What a mess!!

November 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm

No, I would not. It is what my employers and I paid into for over 40 years. Like one of the other posters, what about the monies that were collected but never paid to those or their families because they died prior to eligibility. Repay those infamous IOU's to the fund, cut out the ridiculous government studies, quit sending billions to other countries everytime they have a storm or whatever or have hungry kids, etc. Our monies were earned just the same as our paychecks. Let Congress retire on modest 401K's, personal savings, and SS just like the rest of us. My retirement (not counting SS) doesn't even begin to come close to what one of their retirements is nor do I get any perks for "working" (as they like to call it) less than one quarter of a year for years on end.

November 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Give me back all the money I paid in plus 3% interest and they can quit paying anything-IT IS MY MONEY NOT AN ENTITLEMENT.

November 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I do think multi millionaires should not receive SS benefits especially if they have received all they ever paid into the system. I know people who laugh at their "Mailbox money" as they travel the world and live in luxury.

November 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I have submitted a comment twice but keeps disappearing.

Hugh H
November 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm

no we should not be asked to,all you need to do to social security is put a 2 plan system in where the payee has 2 opitions on his taxes for social security,one with just covered the payee when reaching 62 would draw social security and medicare and if he became disable at any age he would have to be 75% disable for a disability payment.I have 3 kids around my neighberhood that draw checks, 1 boy is 38 with only had a shoulder operated on and gets a check ,1 boy 30,get a check starting in school at age ten because he didn,t have a i,q high enough that has went to prision for thelf and his mother received it while he was their, another by 29 receives it for the same thing and works daily,this part of this progaram needs to be put in the taxes which would be put in a higher premium if the worker chooses it in his social security taxes.if he did not choose the higher premimum he would not qulify for the child programs,set it up like a insurance premium Just you had to pay 10 years into that program for the higher premium to cover your family members and the lower premium would only cover the retiree and the people who have not paid could not receive benifit . thanks

John Blood
November 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

In 2008 I was amongst the many that was laid off from a colapsed construction industry. Fortunately, I was able to claim an early retirement. However, I lost 25 percent of all of my benfits. Here is an obsevation from an old man that has worked hard all his life. Instead of allowing the childish economic elite to hold the middle class hostage for their life time of excessive oppulance, let's spread the tax burden more evenly. Also, let's stop the special interest groups form dipping their hand into every taxpayers pocket. And a last thought from me, I know we live in a global economy. We need to bring back manufacturing on a national scale. IF we do at least all of these things and more, there would no need to cut social security or any other benefit that supports our population.

November 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Lets cut some of the public aid entitlements first. Those are running this country into the ground. Stop taking from those seniors who paid into it all the working life and take it from those who have never worked at all. The politicians would find ways to save it if They had to retire on it instead of the special retirement benefits they get.