That survey found that 82 percent of those surveyed think it would be preferable for everyone (including themselves) to pay higher taxes than to cut Social Security benefits. But there's more:
84% believe that Social Security benefits are inadequate, and 75% believe we should consider increasing benefits in order to provide a more secure retirement for working Americans."Enter Duncan Black, aka Atrios, and his call for increasing Social Security benefits. Here's why.
We should be worried that large numbers of people nearing retirement will be unable to keep their homes or continue to pay their rent.We have this worry because of the failed experiment of employer-based retirement plans becoming more and more centered on 401(K)s, with investments that have taken multiple and drastic hits. To add to that, retirees and near-retirees in almost every part of the nation have seen their home values plummet. If they're still paying on the mortgage, they're underwater. If they own the house, it has drastically reduced equity to count on. That's particularly true for retirees and near retirees, but the outlook for younger cohorts isn't much more encouraging, particularly those saddled with outrageous student loans.
According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the median household retirement account balance in 2010 for workers between the ages of 55-64 was just $120,000. For people expecting to retire at around age 65, and to live for another 15 years or more, this will provide for only a trivial supplement to Social Security benefits.
And that's for people who actually have a retirement account of some kind. A third of households do not. For these people, their sole retirement income, aside from potential aid from friends and family, comes from Social Security, for which the current average monthly benefit is $1,230.
The plight of America's middle class in a still-crappy economy isn't getting a lot of traction in the circles in which the people who could do something about it seem to circulate. But if they were listening to the rest of the country, they'd hear that the policies they seem hell-bent on following on social insurance programs are the exact opposite of what the people who elected them want. Which could be a problem in the next election.