Finally, an issue we can all agree on.
Further confirmation of the popularity of Social Security is found in a recent report from the National Academy of Social Insurance. It found strong support among Americans of all stripes for financially shoring up the system and improving benefits, with a majority saying they are willing to pay higher taxes to make it so.
According to the survey of over 2,000 Americans age 21 and over, large majorities of both Republicans and Democrats agree on ways to strengthen Social Security—without reducing benefits. Almost 70% of Republicans and 84% of Democrats agree “it is critical to preserve Social Security benefits for future generations even if it means increasing the Social Security taxes paid by working Americans.”
When asked the same question about top earners, 71% of Republicans and 92% of Democrats agree that they could pay more. Social Security taxes are paid by workers and their employers on earnings, but only up to a cap ($117,700 in 2014 and $118,500 for 2015). About 6% of workers earn more than the cap.
Majorities oppose measures to balance Social Security’s future finances by reducing benefits. Fully 75% of respondents oppose increasing the retirement age to 70; and 76% oppose reducing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that retirees receive.
To gauge Americans’ policy preferences, the survey used “trade-off analysis”—a technique widely used in market research to learn which product features consumers want and are willing to pay for. The trade-off exercise allowed survey participants to choose among different packages of Social Security changes.