News Flash: Americans Remain Overwhelmingly Opposed to Social Security Cuts
By Nathan Tabak
April 6, 2010 - 10:11am ET
When opponents of Social Security speak out in favor of eviscerating the program, they rarely do so with the candor of Colorado Republican Rick O’Donnell. Don’t remember him? That’s probably because his 2006 Congressional campaign ended in ignonimous defeat, after O’Donnell was forced to admit authorship of a 1995 essay with a refleshingly blunt title: “For Freedom’s Sake, Eliminate Social Security.”
Instead, proponents of eviscerating the program – whether by benefit cuts, raising the age for the program, privatization, or any combination of the above – are more likely to cite noble-sounding platitudes about fiscal responsibility, raise fears about the deficit, or even magnanimously call on Americans to “sacrifice.” Social Security is often dubbed the “third rail” of American politics, and there’s a simple reason why: Americans overwhelmingly support it against any proposed cuts, as two recent polls show.
According to a March poll by Democracy Corps on means of reducing the budget deficit, 65 percent of Americans oppose cuts to Social Security or Medicare. Moreover, 48 percent strongly oppose such cuts, whereas only 12 percent favor them. Other, more specific proposals for cuts to the program fare little better; 62 percent of respondents oppose raising the eligibility age to 70, and 51 percent oppose allowing Social Security savings to be invested in the stock market.
And a new Quinnipiac poll paints a similar picture. 77 percent of all Americans oppose taking an ax to Social Security in the name of reducing the deficit. What’s more, this opposition runs across party lines and class divides; these cuts are opposed by 73 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of self-described Tea Party members, and 57 percent of those with annual household incomes of more than $250,000.
The opponents of Social Security are on the wrong side of public opinion, and they know it. They may prefer to sugar-coat their agenda, instead of calling for it to be forced down American’s throats “for freedom’s sake.” But the prescription is essentially the same.
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