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Part I: Social Security's Role

Question Breakdown: Social Security’s Role | Knowledge of the Social Security System | Fixing the Problems | The Political Element | Your Retirement

1. Do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction, or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track?

2. I'm going to read you a list of federal government programs and for each one, please tell me how important you think this program is. Is it very important, somewhat important, not very important, or not at all important?

a. Medicare

b. Social Security

c. Medicaid

d. Federally subsidized loans for college students

e. Welfare

f. Defense Spending

g. Food Stamps

h. Foreign Aid

i. Federal aid to public schools

3. As you may know, the federal government has a budget SURPLUS this year, and choices will have to be made about what to do with this money. I'm going to read you a list of some ways the budget surplus could be used. As I read each one, please tell me if you think it should be one of the TOP priorities, important but not a TOP priority, not too important, or should not be done.

A. Cutting Taxes

B. Paying off the national debt more quickly

C. Increasing spending on domestic programs, such as health, education, and the environment

D. Increasing defense spending

E. Helping make the Social Security program financially sound

F. Helping make the Medicare program financially sound

4. If you mentioned more than one top priority, which ONE of these would you say is the MOST IMPORTANT priority?

3/ 4 Combined: TOP Priority

6. How closely have you been following the debate about the future of Social Security? Very closely, fairly closely, not very closely or not at all closely?

7. Compared with 30 years ago, do you think the share of Americans over 65 who live in poverty has increased, decreased, or stayed about the same?

8. Which of the following four statements about Social Security payroll taxes do you think is most accurate?

A. Taxes collected from workers today are used to pay benefits for current retirees
B. Taxes paid by workers today are put into an account to pay for their OWN Social Security benefits when they retire
C. Some of the taxes collected from workers today are used to pay benefits for current retirees, and some are put aside for future retirees
D. Some of the taxes collected from workers today are used to pay benefits for current retirees, and some are used to fund other government programs
E. Don't know