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AARP Touts Popularity of Social Security, Medicare Amid TRUST Act Concerns

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What You Need to Know

  • A large majority of Americans over 50 see the federal deficit as a very or moderately big problem.
  • However, an equal majority don't want retirement benefit programs cut.
  • The TRUST Act is seen by AARP and others as a shady way to get around the will of the people.

A large majority — 87% — of Americans age 50 and older believe the federal budget deficit is a very or moderately big problem. However, a similar-sized majority of that age group oppose cutting Social Security or Medicare benefits to help reduce it.

In fact, a bipartisan majority of Americans over 50 — 88% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats — oppose any cuts to Social Security, while a similar amount oppose cuts to Medicare, according to a new survey by AARP.

However, age also mattered slightly in opposition, the study found. Of those 65 and older, 89% opposed Medicare benefit cuts and 87% opposed Social Security cuts, versus 81% and 83% respectively of those age 50 to 64.

These findings were from a survey of 1,016 adults 50 years and older, conducted both online and by phone from April 22 through April 26 by the advocacy group, which used NORC’s AmeriSpeak Omnibus, a monthly multi-client survey.

The poll was taken right after the reintroduction of the TRUST Act proposal by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, which is intended to make it easier for lawmakers to overhaul Social Security and Medicare before the trust funds run out. Senior advocates say the law would be used to cut benefits.

“The Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act would create ‘rescue committees’ in Congress to propose legislation to ‘shore up’ various trust funds, including the reserves for Social Security and Medicare. The committees’ proposals would then be fast-tracked through the House and Senate, with no amendments and limited debate,” wrote Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, in a column for ThinkAdvisor in April.

Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president, said in a recent statement that “proposals like the TRUST Act would give a handful of lawmakers the power to propose cuts behind closed doors with fast-track legislative consideration with minimum transparency and oversight from voters.”

Richtman wrote: “By leaving only the skeleton of Congress’ normal deliberative process in place, it would limit opportunities for seniors to let their lawmakers know whether they support or oppose specific proposals to fix the trust funds.”

In a FAQ, the Committee for a Responsible Budget, an advocacy group, stated that “the TRUST Act would not make any direct changes to Social Security or Medicare. It would set up bipartisan commissions made up of members of Congress that would be charged with restoring the solvency of these important programs. Cost reductions would be on the table, especially reforms to address the overall cost of health care, as would benefit expansions and new revenue.”

But according to AARP, 250,000 Americans have contacted Congress to express their opposition to the TRUST Act.

(Image: Shutterstock)