Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Social Security

One potentially worrisome consequence of our population aging is the viability of our social security system. Generally speaking the majority of the United States population is concerned that we are spending too little on social security. This percentage has been growing from about 50 percent in the early 1990s to 64 percent in 2006, the time of the last General Social Survey. At the end of the Clinton administration, when we were running a budget surplus, social security was actually in pretty good shape and only minor adjustments were necessary to weather the years supporting the baby boom generation. With the heavy spending of the Bush administration, our options for maintaining solvency for this important social program are now more limited.

Yet I don’t think the proportion of the population that’s concerned about social security has so much to do with whether the program is in trouble as the proportion of the population that’s nearing retirement.

Question wording: We are faced with many problems in this country, none of which can be solved easily or inexpensively. I'm going to name some of these problems, and for each one I'd like you to tell me whether you think we're spending too much money on it, too little money, or about the right amount.

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