“A true test of Americans’ support for Social Security is their willingness to pay for it,” said Jasmine Tucker, Senior Policy Analyst at NASI and author of the brief. “Americans across racial and ethnic groups say they don’t mind paying Social Security taxes because the program helps millions of people and because they and their families benefit from it.
”Large majorities of Americans agree that all workers could pay somewhat more for Social Security if necessary. Fully 82% of Americans agree it is critical to preserve Social Security for future generations even if it means increasing the Social Security taxes paid by working Americans; those agreeing include 90% of African Americans, 84% of Hispanics, and 81% of whites.
NASI partnered with Mathew Greenwald & Associates to use trade-off analysis, a technique widely used in market research to learn which product features customers want. Survey participants chose which package of Social Security policy changes they prefer and are willing to pay for. They considered various combinations of 12 changes, including raising taxes; lowering benefits; and increasing benefits.
More than 7 in 10 of those surveyed chose a package that would raise revenues, improve benefits, and eliminate the program’s long-term financing gap – without cutting benefits. In fact, the preferred package would increase, not reduce, Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) – in stark contrast to a chained-CPI benefit cut being widely discussed by Washington policymakers.
The online survey of 2,000 Americans 21 and older was conducted in 2012, drawing from a panel of 700,000 consumers. Results were weighted to reflect the population in the 2010 U.S. Census.
The National Academy of Social Insurance is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to advance solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security.