In the eyes of half of America's youngest voters, the American dream of government-funded retirement is slipping away.
Half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 don’t believe that Social Security will exist by the time they reach retirement age, a recent poll from iOMe Challenge finds. Of those young people that do say Social Security will still be around when they’re 67, only five percent say it will exist at the same level it does today.
The findings come as officials announced that Social Security recipients will get a 3.6 percent boost in their benefits next year and lawmakers look for ways to slow the program, according to The New York Times. A 12-member panel of lawmakers has been meeting to find ways to curb the national debt, and one of the many options on the table includes altering the calculation of Social Security benefits.
Some Republican presidential candidates advocate for more dramatic cuts to the program. Texas Governor Rick Perry has referred to it as a “Ponzi scheme” and others have indicated that the Social Security requires large-scale reform.
While politicians may believe the program needs reform, the majority of Americans -- even those concerned about the program's future -- have good things to say about the program. Indeed, 80 percent of Americans and 70 percent of young people say they think Social Security has been good for the country, according to a CNN poll released last month.
The talk of possible cuts to Social Security has more than just young people worried about the sustainability of the program. Confidence in the government’s ability to provide Social Security and Medicare declined 22 percent in the past year, according to a Sun Life Financial Inc. survey cited by Reuters. Still, private employers saw a bigger plunge in trust: Americans’ confidence in their employers’ ability to provide retirement benefits dropped 32 percent from last year.
Though Americans may be concerned about how they’ll fund their retirement, many say they don’t view it as the government’s job to help them. One in five Americans and one-third of Republicans believe that Social Security is unconstitutional, the CNN poll found.
Recent talk on the campaign trail of cuts to Social Security may explain why Americans and especially young people are losing confidence in its viability. Still, the Great Recession and its slow recovery have weighed on attitudes towards the program for some time. A 2010 USA Today/Gallup poll found that three-fourths of young people don’t expect to receive Social Security when they retire.