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REPORT: Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want?

By: Jasmine V. Tucker, Virginia P. Reno, Thomas N. Bethell
Published: January 2013

Social Security faces a long-term shortfall. How do Americans want to deal with it?

In addition to learning about Americans’ attitudes about Social Security, this study used trade-off analysis, a market research technique, to explore the kinds of policy changes Americans want for Social Security. If Americans could choose their own policy package, what would it be? Would they...

  • ...raise the retirement age to 68 or 70?
  • ...means test benefits for the well-to-do?
  • ...increase the Social Security tax that all workers and employers pay?
  • ...raise the cap on earnings that are taxed and counted toward Social Security?
  • ...use the chained CPI to produce a slightly lower cost-of living adjustment?
  • ...increase benefits for long-serving low-paid workers?
  • ...increase the COLA to reflect inflation experienced by seniors?
  • ...reinstate student benefits for children of disabled or deceased workers?

The study explores Americans’ views on Social Security across generations, income levels, and political party affiliation. Read the press release here.