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Politics and Public Opinion On Social Security Reform. Social Security University February 21, 2003 The Cato Institute, Washington, D.C. www.socialsecurity.org. There are some in government who advocate changing the Social . Security system to give younger workers the choice to invest a .

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politics and public opinion on social security reform

Politics and Public Opinion On Social Security Reform

Social Security University

February 21, 2003

The Cato Institute, Washington, D.C.

www.socialsecurity.org

slide2

There are some in government who advocate changing the Social

Security system to give younger workers the choice to invest a

portion of their Social Security taxes through individual accounts

similar to IRAs or 401(k) plans. Would you...?

80

68.1

70

60

50

40

29.1

30

20

10

0

Total support

Total oppose

Zogby International, 2002

cnn usa today gallup poll november 2002
CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll: November, 2002

“A proposal has been made that would allow people to put a portion of their Social

Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts that would be invested

in private stocks and bonds. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?”

70

57

60

50

40

40

Percent of respondents

30

20

10

3

0

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

andres mckenna research the american survey january 6 7 2003
Andres McKenna research: The “American Survey” January 6-7, 2003

Republicans in Congress will…

60

49

50

40

32

Percentage of respondents

30

20

12

10

0

Bring too little change

to Social Security

Bring the right amount of

change to Social Security

Bring too much change

to Social Security

slide7

Los Angeles Times Poll: Jan. 30—Feb. 2, 2003“Do you approve or disapprove of George W. Bush’s proposal to allow individuals to divert part of their Social Security payroll taxes into private accounts which they could personally invest in the stock market for their retirement?”

80

Approve

73

Disapprove

70

Don't know

58

60

54

52

50

42

Percentage of respondents

40

37

40

30

20

20

7

10

6

6

5

0

All %

Democrats %

Independents %

Republicans %

slide8

There are some in government who advocate changing the Social

Security system to give younger workers the choice to invest a

portion of their Social Security taxes through individual accounts

similar to IRAs or 401(k) plans. Would you...?

80

68.1

70

60

50

40

29.1

30

20

10

0

Total support

Total oppose

Zogby International, 2002

slide11

Which of these is the most important reason you

support individual accounts?

45

38.8

40

35

30

25.7

25

Percentage of respondents

20

15.6

14.4

15

10

4.2

5

0

Higher

People should

Money could be

I control money

Other

retirement

be allowed to

passed on

in my account

benefits

invest privately

Zogby International, 2002

slide13

With which statement do you most agree?A: Allowing workers the right to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes would be too risky because individuals might lose money if the market performs poorlyB: The current system is more risky because the government cannot pay all the benefits that it has promised.

100

90

80

70

60

Percent of respondents

50

44.6

43.7

40

30

20

10

0

Personal accounts more risky

Current system more risky

Zogby International, 2002

slide14

If Social Security taxes are invested in stocks, bonds and money

market funds, who should do the investing?

70

62.0

60

50

40

Percent of respondents

30

22.4

20

10

0

Government should invest through a

Individual workers should invest in private

central fund

accounts

Zogby International, 2002

slide15

With which statement do you most agree? A: The Enron scandal shows the dangers of the stock market and why we must maintain Social Security as it is and not allow individuals to invest their payroll taxes in personal retirement accountsB: The Enron scandal proves that people need more choice and more control over their retirement savings, including allowing workers the option to invest part of their Social Security taxes in a personal retirement account

70.0

63.6

60.0

50.0

40.0

Percentage of respondents

29.0

30.0

20.0

10.0

0.0

A

B

Zogby International, 2002

base question
Base question

Zogby International, 2002

slide17

Does knowing this make you more or less likely to support the plan to privatize Social Security?*

Younger workers who invest a portion of

their Social Security taxes in individual

accounts will have to give up a portion of

their benefits under the current system.

Support conditions

14.4

4.0

The Supreme Court has ruled that you

have no rights to Social Security. In other

words, Congress is free to change or

eliminate your benefits at any time.

1.7

3.6

While plan will cost more in short run,

it will restore long-run solvency, increase

benefits for low-income widows and

improve safety net for old age poverty.

23.0

1.0

There will be no reduction in benefits for

those who stay with the current system.

8.6

0.6

10.0

5.0

0.0

5.0

10.0

15.0

20.0

25.0

Percentage of those somewhat/strongly opposed to accounts in base

question shifting to more favorable position.*

Percentage of those somewhat/strongly in favor of accounts in base

Zogby International, 2002

question shifting to less favorable position.*

slide18

Support Conditions

A candidate for congress says he wants

to give taxpayers ownership and

control over their retirement money.

Does this candidate’s position make you

more or less likely to vote for this candidate?

9.7

4.0

A candidate for Congress claims there is

no problem with Social Security. Does this candidates position make you more or less likely to vote for this candidate?

3.0

35.6

A candidate for Congress acknowledges

problems with Social Security, but has

no plans to fix it. Does this candidate’s

position make you more or less likely to vote

for this candidate?

3.3

39.0

10

0

10

20

30

40

50

Percentage of those somewhat/strongly opposed to accounts in base

question shifting to more favorable position.*

Percentage of those somewhat/strongly in favor of accounts in base

question shifting to less favorable position.*

Zogby International, 2002