Social Insecurity

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Only 11 percent of workers and 8 percent of retirees feel any “confidence” in the federal government, a new national poll discovered. It also found a huge majority of working Americans don’t believe Social Security and Medicare will be there for them when they retire. These findings can be seen as a dramatic and seminal judgment of the policies and operations of the Obama administration and the Congress.

In addition, these attitudes, expressed in a poll of a representative sample of Americans, are a significant socioeconomic development in the life of the tried and supposedly true programs of Social Security and Medicare. Since its birth in 1935, the Social Security System has been fondly called America’s most popular program. For nearly one-third of recipients, it has provided their entire income. And Medicare, the health-care program for the aging since 1965, not only has won the confidence of the elderly it has helped to keep many chronically ill seniors alive. But now most retirees, as well, are doubtful about the future benefits promised by Social Security and Medicare, the new poll revealed.

These upsetting attitudes toward the federal government and its major long-standing programs were discovered in the 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey, a representative national sample of 1,153 adults conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, a public opinion company. This was the 20th annual survey of EBRI, a non-partisan Washington-based organization. It is engaged in original public policy research and education on economic security and employee benefits and attitudes. It is supported by 30 large, well-known American companies and private individuals.

When those working Americans were asked by EBRI “if the Social Security System will continue to provide benefits of at least equal value to the benefits received by retirees today” only 6 percent of the men and 7 percent of the women were confident that this would be the case. When the sample of the nation’s working adults were asked “if the Medicare system will continue to provide benefits received by retirees today,” even lower percentages showed any confidence. Only 5 percent of men and 4 percent of women responded they were sure this medical-care benefit would be available for them.

Even among current retirees, only 11 percent expressed confidence that Social Security benefits will continue to pay current benefits to them. Seventeen percent said they were “not at all” sure. When asked about Medicare, only 7 percent are confident it will serve them in the future. But 17 percent of the retirees answered that they were “not at all” confident about Medicare’s future. This, despite a strong pitch from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about Medicare sent by first class postage in a slick brochure to all 44 million households with Medicare recipients.

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  • GOP_Sucks

    Social security was never meant to be a retirement fund. retired people blow their whole check in Vegas and it makes me sick. Makes me wanna push their "f"ing wheel chair down the casino steps

  • K. Bond

    I heard that many years ago, all of the money in this country was backed by gold, yes? In recent years, I've heard that we did away with that system. Is this true? If so, what do we back our currency with? Paper money printed 24/7 by the Treasury Dept.?

    Tell me this can't be!

    • Sprinklerman

      K. Bond, where have you been?

      "During most of the 1800s the United States had a bimetallic system of money, however it was essentially on a gold standard as very little silver was traded. A true gold standard came to fruition in 1900 with the passage of the Gold Standard Act. The gold standard effectively came to an end in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlawed private gold ownership (except for the purposes of jewelery). The Bretton Woods System, enacted in 1946 created a system of fixed exchange rates that allowed governments to sell their gold to the United States treasury at the price of $35/ounce. "The Bretton Woods system ended on August 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon ended trading of gold at the fixed price of $35/ounce. At that point for the first time in history, formal links between the major world currencies and real commodities were severed". The gold standard has not been used in any major economy since that time."

      • Jaafar_1946

        Take a look at the book "Econoclasts." All will be explained to you.

  • Turbeaux

    I don't know what the deal is with all this new page turning we have to do just to read an article, but I hate it.

    • trickyblain

      Gives the site more clicks (in theory). More clicks = more ad revenue!

  • sflbib

    Re: "Even among current retirees, only 11 percent expressed confidence that Social Security benefits will continue to pay current benefits to them."

    I would wager that this 11 percent is beyond the average life expectancy, so the odds are in their favor. Those who are pessimistic are probably the younger people.

    The numbers might have shifted somewhat, but these attitudes have been this way for decades, so I don't see what's new here.

    • Lori

      sflbib, This Is nothing new, Just A Social Program being called on the carpet,truth is finally coming forth, We Americans have put our trust in A Program that was never regulated, Fear seems to be fallen! Fear is the motivation to control all it ! They are pushing people around the tree putting people in A whirlwind so they can take the green.So Sad !

    • Rifleman

      What's new is SS is now paying out more than it's taking in, and it came about a decade before they predicted.

  • 080

    Do you remember that the baby boom post-WWII was like a pig in a python. First they provided a boom in elementary schools, then high schools, then colleges. Now they have hit the retirement system. Retirement almost certainly will be set back to age 70 because you can't get blood out of a turnip, or more simply, the government doesn't have the money.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    I often wondered where the old people came from pushing carts with who knows
    what hanging over the sides, shuffling along towards nowhere. How was I to know
    that I was prescient, it never occured to me that I could see into the future. Buy into
    small cart manufacturing, the baby boomers will be a great market, I might have
    to steal mine…………………..William

  • USMCSniper

    I bet that by 2014 the retirement age will be 67 and the 62 early retirement will be gone. Watch massive fake disability claims start about then for thise in their early 50;s and late 50's as the wconomy tanks.

  • tpaine3

    The deifcits are being created by CORRUPT LAWMAKERS(CONGRESS). Take away THEIR assets and jobs. THEN they will be FORCED to help this COUNTRY RATHER than their special interests TRY it.

  • andy

    What about the government workers who are able to retire with pensions that pay almost as much as they were making, and some cases more than when they were working, after 30 years of work. They could be 50 years old! Greece here we come!

    • badaboo

      uh…Andy , a pension , comes from a pension plan , and if it is well mananged , just like a 401 or several others , then after 30 years of contributions , one should be able to retire near full pay ….any plan above full pay is certainly a-typical for govt workers , unless say a soldiers puts in 30 years -retires and then works elsewhere and get a second retirement pension . btw , someone on a govt pension cannot collect full SS pensions benefits .

  • Rob

    Is there a gov. program that's not over budget? I'm trying to think of a gov. program that has actually been eliminated.
    The gov. is a money making machine that is simply doing what it does best, promise big, deliver little and never, ever go away.
    The current administration is just getting started. They are fascists (communists, socialists, warlords, what ever "ist" you want to use) and they want your freedom and your wealth. History is simply repeating itself, wake up America. We are experiencing a take over of our country. Our Constitutional Republic is on it's death bed because of our lack of diligence. There have always been crooked politicians, we just stopped caring about the real world once we became hooked on TV and every other thrill we could buy into.

  • badaboo

    ..uh , "the government " owes about 2 TRILLION to theocial Security Administration . It's never been a matter of babyboomers or more paying out thern coming in , it's ALL a matter of politicos [from both sides of the aisle turning SS into a piggy bank .

    LOL…and I 'd love to see the politician , no matter the stripe , who tries to sell the retirement age going to 70 . There's a sure pick , for who will lose that election .

  • badaboo

    I'm just glad that the idiots who proposed using SS funds to invest in the market , didn't get that passed .
    No need to stretch the imagination on that one , it would have been a disaster .
    This aint Greece , although it almost was due to Wall Street . And HEY ! What the matter with retiring at 50 ?
    What happened to all that capitolism and free market stuff ? You work anywhere in this country for 30 years , and you've earned a retirement , because you've been paying into it .