Voters don't want Social Security, Medicare cuts: WSJ poll

The results of this poll is a consequence of failed leadership. While Republicans and conservatives have been sounding the alarm about the deficit and especially, the time bomb represented by unfunded liabilities arising from Social Security and Medicare, it isn't enough. The American people aren't listening or have decided that since everyone else is going to fight to keep theirs, they may as well dig in their heels when it comes to their sacred cows as well.

In the end, the buck stops at the oval office. And the paucity of political courage is so pronounced, that the president sent a budget to the Hill that didn't even address the entitlement issue out of fear that a voter backlash would ensue.

Wall Street Journal:

Less than a quarter of Americans support making significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare to tackle the country's mounting deficit, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, illustrating the challenge facing lawmakers who want voter buy-in to alter entitlement programs.

In the poll, Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was "unacceptable'' to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit. Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security "unacceptable."
At the same time, a majority supported two specific measures that lawmakers might employ to shore up the shaky finances of the main entitlement programs.

More than 60% of poll respondents supported reducing Social Security and Medicare payments to wealthier Americans. And more than half favored bumping the retirement age to 69 by 2075. The age to receive full benefits is 66 now and is scheduled to rise to 67 in 2027.

Depending on how they are structured, those two changes could eliminate as much as 60% of Social Security's underfunding, according to experts. Support for the two ideas in the poll is "impressive," said Chuck Blahous, one of the program's public trustees and a former Bush administration official. "I wonder if [public] receptivity is increasing."

Unfortunately, the much larger problem is Medicare and Medicaid. Long before Social Security becomes a real threat to our debt, Medicare will have overwhelmed our ability to pay for it.

Nobody that the American people will listen to is making this case. They are so inured to lies coming from Washington that when Chicken Little is finally right, they ignore the situation. The numbers are so huge that they become impossible for ordinary people to process. $1.5 trillion deficit? Is that a real number? You can bet it is, and getting that number reduced is going to involve pain and sacrifice the likes of which Americans haven't experienced since World War II.

We won't even make a start until the voter understands the stakes and why taking on entitlements is the only rational way to get us back to fiscal sanity.



The results of this poll is a consequence of failed leadership. While Republicans and conservatives have been sounding the alarm about the deficit and especially, the time bomb represented by unfunded liabilities arising from Social Security and Medicare, it isn't enough. The American people aren't listening or have decided that since everyone else is going to fight to keep theirs, they may as well dig in their heels when it comes to their sacred cows as well.

In the end, the buck stops at the oval office. And the paucity of political courage is so pronounced, that the president sent a budget to the Hill that didn't even address the entitlement issue out of fear that a voter backlash would ensue.

Wall Street Journal:

Less than a quarter of Americans support making significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare to tackle the country's mounting deficit, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, illustrating the challenge facing lawmakers who want voter buy-in to alter entitlement programs.

In the poll, Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was "unacceptable'' to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit. Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security "unacceptable."

At the same time, a majority supported two specific measures that lawmakers might employ to shore up the shaky finances of the main entitlement programs.

More than 60% of poll respondents supported reducing Social Security and Medicare payments to wealthier Americans. And more than half favored bumping the retirement age to 69 by 2075. The age to receive full benefits is 66 now and is scheduled to rise to 67 in 2027.

Depending on how they are structured, those two changes could eliminate as much as 60% of Social Security's underfunding, according to experts. Support for the two ideas in the poll is "impressive," said Chuck Blahous, one of the program's public trustees and a former Bush administration official. "I wonder if [public] receptivity is increasing."

Unfortunately, the much larger problem is Medicare and Medicaid. Long before Social Security becomes a real threat to our debt, Medicare will have overwhelmed our ability to pay for it.

Nobody that the American people will listen to is making this case. They are so inured to lies coming from Washington that when Chicken Little is finally right, they ignore the situation. The numbers are so huge that they become impossible for ordinary people to process. $1.5 trillion deficit? Is that a real number? You can bet it is, and getting that number reduced is going to involve pain and sacrifice the likes of which Americans haven't experienced since World War II.

We won't even make a start until the voter understands the stakes and why taking on entitlements is the only rational way to get us back to fiscal sanity.



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