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NPR/KAISER/KENNEDY SCHOOL

SOCIAL SECURITY SURVEY

Part III: Fixing the Problems

21. I am going to read you a list of some ways that have been suggested to deal with the future financial problems of Social Security. For each one, please tell me if you would favor or oppose such a proposal. Do you (favor/oppose) this proposal STRONGLY, or not strongly?

a. Increasing the amount employers and employees pay in taxes to Social Security

b. Eliminating the current Social Security payroll tax cut-off that exempts income over $68,400 a year from being taxed for Social Security

c(a). (Asked of half sample) Reducing Social Security benefits for seniors whose income is more than $40,000 a year

d. Limiting cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits

e(b). (Asked of half sample)Increasing taxes on Social Security benefits for those earning more than $75,000

f. People having individual accounts and making their own investments with a portion of their Social Security payments

g. Allowing workers to take all of their Social Security taxes out of the Social Security system and invest them on their own

h. Gradually raising the retirement age for Social Security to age 70 over the next 20 years

22A. (Asked of half sample of respondents who oppose raising retirement age for Social Security) I'm going to read you a list of reasons people sometimes give for why they oppose raising the retirement age for Social Security. For each one, please tell me if it is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason at all why you oppose raising the retirement age

Your job is too hard or physically demanding for you to keep working that long.
You want to spend more of your life enjoying things other than work.
You're too sick to keep working that long.
You don't think you can hold onto your job that long or find another job.
It wouldn't be fair, because people were promised that they could retire at 65.

23A. (Answer ONLY if you answered more than ONE major reason )You mentioned several major reasons. Which ONE of these would you say is the MOST IMPORTANT REASON you oppose raising the retirement age?

A. Your job is too hard or physically demanding for you to keep working that long.

B. You want to spend more of your life enjoying things other than work.

C. You're too sick to keep working that long.

D. You don't think you can hold onto your job that long or find another job.

E. It wouldn't be fair, because people were promised that they could retire at 65.

F. Donít know

22A/23A Combined table: Most important reason

A. Your job is too hard or physically demanding for you to keep working that long.

B. You want to spend more of your life enjoying things other than work.

C. You're too sick to keep working that long.

D. You don't think you can hold onto your job that long or find another job.

E. It wouldn't be fair, because people were promised that they could retire at 65.

F. Donít know

22B. (Answer ONLY if you oppose raising the retirement age for Social Security) I'm going to read you a list of reasons people sometimes give for why they oppose raising the retirement age for Social Security. For each one, please tell me if it is a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason at all why you oppose raising the retirement age

For many people, their jobs are too hard or physically demanding for them to keep working that long.
People want to spend more of their lives enjoying things other than work.
Many people are too sick to keep working that long.
Many people won't be able to hold onto their jobs that long or find another job.
It wouldn't be fair, because people were promised that they could retire at 65.

23B. (If you named more than 1 major reason in Q.22b) Which ONE of these would you say is the MOST IMPORTANT REASON you oppose raising the retirement age?

A. For many people, their jobs are too hard or physically demanding for them to keep working that long.

B. People want to spend more of their lives enjoying things other than work.

C. Many people are too sick to keep working that long.

D. Many people won't be able to hold onto their jobs that long or find another job.

E. It wouldn't be fair, because people were promised that they could retire at 65.

F. Donít know

22b/23b Combined table: Most important reason

A. For many people, their jobs are too hard or physically demanding for them to keep working that long.

B. People want to spend more of their lives enjoying things other than work.

C. Many people are too sick to keep working that long.

D. Many people won't be able to hold onto their jobs that long or find another job.

E. It wouldn't be fair, because people were promised that they could retire at 65.

F. Donít know

24a. Some recent studies have suggested that the government has been over-estimating the rise in the cost of living for retirees. Do you think future cost-of-living increases in Social Security payments should be based on a lower estimate of the increase in the cost of living, or do you think the current, higher estimates should be kept?

24b. As a way of dealing with the future financial problems of Social Security, do you favor or oppose having the government invest in the private stock market a portion of Social Security reserve funds, which are currently invested in government bonds? Do you (favor/oppose) this proposal STRONGLY, or not strongly?

25. (Answer ONLY if you oppose having the government invest a portion of Social Security reserve funds in the stock market) Which of the following is the main reason why you oppose having the government invest a portion of Social Security funds in the private stock market? Is it mainly...?

A. Because people in government are not capable of making the right investments

B. Because it gives the government too much control of the economy

C. Because the government's decisions would be too political

D. Because the stock market isn't a place where Social Security funds should be invested

E. All

F. None/Other

G. Donít know

26. Some people have suggested that the federal government set up an independent commission to decide how to invest a portion of Social Security funds in the stock market. If such a commission were formed...

A. Do you think the commission would remain independent and try to make the best investments for retirees, or

B. Do you think the investment decisions by the commission would increasingly be made for political reasons rather than in the best interests of retirees?

C. Donít know

27. Some people have suggested that workers should have the option of taking some of their Social Security taxes and putting them in investments such as the stock market. People who did this would get more money when they retired if these investments did well, but less money if those investments did poorly. Do you think the government should or should not allow Americans to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in investments such as the stock market? Do you (favor/oppose) this proposal STRONGLY, or not strongly?

28. (Answer ONLY if you oppose allowing Americans to invest a portion of their Social Security benefits) Do you oppose such a proposal...?

A. Mainly because you think it is too risky, or

B. Mainly because you think it will destroy the Social Security system and people who depend on it won't have enough when they retire

C. Neither/other

D. Both

E. Donít know

29A. (Asked of half sample) How confident are you that you would make the right decisions if you were investing your future Social Security funds in the stock market? Would you feel very confident, somewhat confident, not very confident, or not at all confident?

31. (Asked of half sample) If people were allowed to invest a portion of their own Social Security payments in the stock market, do you think most people would have more, less, or about the same amount of money when they retire than they would if the system stayed the way it is now?

32. Thinking about all of your investments, including retirement savings plans at work, do you currently have money invested in stocks or mutual finds?

33a. (Answer ONLY if you have money invested in stocks or mutual funds) Do you and your family have any control over where your money is invested, or not?

33b. (Answer ONLY if you currently have money invested in stocks/mutual funds and have control over where money is invested) Are you the person primarily responsible for making your or your family's investment decisions, or not?