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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Survey finds bipartisan consensus for Social Security fixes



An innovative "citizen cabinet" survey of Florida voters found four significant steps to shoring up Social Security that an overwelming majority of Democrats and Republicans agree on.

"In the debates so far, we’ve heard about locker rooms, we’ve heard about emails. What we haven’t heard from the candidates is what they’ll do about Social Security,” said Steven Kull of Voice of the People, which sponsored the survey conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation. “Meanwhile, voters from both parties have clearly identified a path forward.”

Unless reforms are put in place, Social Security benefits starting in 2033 will have to be cut by roughly one quarter. But the in depth survey indicates that finding consensus in fixing the problem is not nearly as difficult as often assumed.

Raising the cap on income subject to the payroll tax to $215,000 is the most popular option, with 88 percent support, including 84 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats. Raising the retirement age to 68 years old garnered 77 percent approval, including 75 percent of Republicans and  81 percent of Democrats.

Seventy-one percent approved of raising the payroll tax from 6.2 to 6.6 percent (69 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats), while reducing benefits for the top 25 percent of earners received 73 percent support, including 67 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats.
These four steps would eliminate two thirds of the shortfall. In addition, 59 percent supported entirely eliminating the cap on taxable earnings, which, together with the other steps, would completely resolve the projected Social Security shortfall.

Asked about raising Raise the minimum monthly benefit for those who have worked 30 years or more from $800 to $1,216, 54 percent of the Florida resondents (61 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Republicans) supported the idea. 

The survey included a representative sample of more than 8,600 registered voters nationwide, including 657 from Florida. Unlike a standard poll, Citizen Cabinet surveys take respondents through an online ‘policymaking simulation’ that seeks to put them in the shoes of a policymaker by giving them the pros and cons and key information about each issue. The content of the simulation is vetted by Republican and Democratic congressional staffers, as well as experts from the National Academy of Social Insurance and the American Enterprise Institute.

You can try the simulation yourself here:

The full report is here

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 12:03am]


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