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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 20, 2012 at 12:14 am

How come it is always cutting the needs of the "little people" so to speak? They do not hestitate to tax us or cut us, but what about them taking at least a 10% cut in pay. I bet they will howler, until they are blue. What about cutting their retirements, where they can not have but a certain amount in savings-anywheres. If they do, pensions will be cut accordingly. Who in the world needs $3 million to live on? There should be no expense accounts for their wants or travels. They get paid way too much, all it did was get us in the fix we are in now.

Jim B.
November 20, 2012 at 12:13 am

Cut Social Security- NO WAY. Let us first cut aid to places like Pakistan, eliminate the MASSIVE waste and fraud we seem to tolerate here at home, and secure our borders allowing only legal immigration and not illegal aliens entry then MAYBE. Lets take care of our own first.

November 20, 2012 at 12:07 am

We have done our part to support the s.s. system as baby boomers, the surplus that was in the s.s. system many years ago should have stayed in the reserve account to help the baby boomers when they retired and not put the surplus into the general fund for the political system to waste the revenue as they have done and now they want us baby boomers to pay for their bad judgements and wasteful spending that has put this country in the poor state its in, its about time our elected officials do what is right by the American people for witch they were elected to do in the first place. We have done our part its about time you do your part.

November 20, 2012 at 12:05 am

Absolutely NO! Why do we continue to give aid to foreign countries when our country needs it? Leave our Social Security alone and get some of the foreign aid back here where it belongs and quit sending out more until OUR budget is better.

November 20, 2012 at 12:03 am

Cutting Social Security is a false choice, and it is the only one put forward in these types of polls. Increasing the cap on what is collected will more than solve any future funding problems that the program may encounter. An increase in the number of employed workers will also do the trick.

November 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Stop giving our Social Security benefits to Illegal Immagrants and you wouldn't have to ask that question to anyone

Tom Mahon
November 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm

One of the more misleading headlines for one of your articles. 45% of women with over $250,000 in savings (and 55% of them said no. What a bogus headline that was. My answer is emphatically NO! I paid into a system that promised me a defined benefit pension after 50 years of contribution. Backpedaling on that promise makes the U.S. government no better than the numerous corporations going into bankruptcy to get out of pension obligations they failed to finance and letting the government take over those payments. Tax securities bonuses and the wealthy who don't pay before you cut any SS benefits.

Bob Gilbert
November 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Need to be cutting the fools on the hill in D.C. that got us into this mess. I wouldn't mind cutting my pay or retirement if it is as much as they get. Other than that leave it alone. Start taxing all these companies that move out of the U.S. for cheaper labor and ships their goods back here. They are the ones that need to be taxed.

November 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm

The lead-in to this article by Comcast is misleading. It says "some say it's OK to cut social security". I have yet to see one person commenting here that says that is a good idea or acceptable at all!!

November 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I could not live if they cut my SS. My husband was ill for 20 yrs and passed away. That took most of what I had been able to save. I couldn't afford to live if they did that! Let's let Congress and the rest of the lawmakers live on what we do and see how they like it!