Utahns Oppose Raising Age to Receive Social Security

By an almost two-to-one margin, Utahns reject the idea of raising the Social Security retirement benefits age from 66 to 70, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.

There are various estimates of when the Social Security trust fund will exceed payments going out to money being collected – but it is several decades away in any case.

Still, it seems every presidential campaign year – and 2016 should be no exception – the Social Security solvency issue is part of the debate, along with what, if any, fixes the candidates may propose.

Can you say “lock box?”

The new survey by Dan Jones & Associates finds that only 36 percent of Utahns favor gradually raising the retirement age from 66 to 70 to help stave off SS insolvency.

Fifty-nine percent oppose that idea while 5 percent don’t know.

Jones polled 601 adults from June 2-8; the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

The human trait of self-interest could not better be displayed than in some of Jones’ findings in this new survey.

For example, when Jones breaks out respondents by age he finds that those 55-64 years old – who are about to get their Social Security benefits after paying into the fund their whole adult/working lives – are overwhelmingly opposed to raising the retirement age.

Jones finds that 70 percent of those in that age bracket “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose that idea; while only 28 percent favor increasing the Social Security retirement age to 70.

But for those who are over 65 – and so are already getting Social Security or soon will be – Jones finds that 50 percent favor increasing the retirement age while 44 percent oppose.

That 44 percent oppose is the smallest opposition among all the age groups, Jones finds, and it’s because many of them are already getting Social Security so increase the qualifying age doesn’t affect them at all.

Other than those senior citizens, the poll results show that all other categories – age, gender and politics — oppose increasing the Social Security retirement age.

Some numbers:

— Republicans oppose increasing the retirement age, 56-39 percent.

— Democrats oppose hiking the age, 63-32 percent.

— Political independents oppose that idea, 60-35 percent.

— Men oppose the idea, 56-39 percent.

— And women, who may be more compassionate, but also outlive men and so are on Social Security for a longer time, oppose the idea, 63-32 percent.

National polling on Social Security solvency, and some ideas to fix it find the same opposition.

And that’s why Congress and recent presidents have not been able to come up with an adequate solution – no one wants to pay more into the trust fund and no one wants to decrease benefits and/or increase the retirement age.

That’s why politicians may wait until SS insolvency is upon us to decide on a fix, even though waiting just compounds the problem and its seriousness.

By the way, Congressmen and women and the president are on a different retirement program than Social Security.