AARPColumnists

Reimagine Everything: Bipartisan Majority Opposes Social Security and Medicare Cuts to Reduce Deficit

By June 4, 2021June 10th, 2021No Comments

Ron Mori

An AARP survey finds that 85 percent of Americans age 50+ oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare to reduce the federal budget deficit. The poll shows overwhelming opposition from both Republicans (88 percent) and Democrats (87 percent) on cutting Social Security benefits to pay down the deficit. Similarly high proportions of Republicans (86 percent) and Democrats (87 percent) strongly oppose cuts to Medicare.

“Older Americans overwhelmingly oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare to reduce the deficit. Proposals like the TRUST Act would give a handful of lawmakers the power to propose cuts behind closed doors with fast-track legislative consideration with minimum transparency and oversight from voters,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vp and chief advocacy and engagement officer. “On behalf of AARP’s nearly 38 million members, we call for full and open debate that ensures public input on protecting the future of our earned benefits. All members of Congress should be held accountable for any action on Social Security and Medicare.”

Under the Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts Act — or TRUST Act, for short — all it would take for legislation cutting these programs to be fast-tracked in Congress would be for seven members of one of these rescue committees to support a proposed bill. Under the act, lawmakers would be unable to make any changes to a TRUST Act bill once it went to the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate.

AARP urges Americans to make their voices heard in support of Medicare and Social Security and oppose the TRUST Act. (Photo: AARP)

Social Security and Medicare were particularly important during the coronavirus pandemic, with Social Security being a stable source of income for more than 34 million older households and Medicare providing critical health care coverage to more than 62 million enrollees, according to AARP research.

The TRUST Act was first introduced in 2019 but has not become law. AARP is urging Americans to make their voices heard in support of Social Security and Medicare. To date, nearly a quarter million people have sent messages to federal lawmakers demanding they oppose the TRUST Act — legislation that would create a 12-member committee that could fast-track cuts targeting Social Security and Medicare.

The history of these types of efforts show that they are flawed from their inception, create further polarization and violate the trust of the American people since they do not provide open and accountable deliberation.

Elected officials should instead focus on meeting the health and retirement income needs of all Americans. AARP continues to as urge Americans to make their voices heard in support of both Medicare and Social Security, and so far, nearly 250,000 individuals have sent messages to their federal lawmakers demanding that they oppose the latest TRUST Act.

Additional survey findings:

  • People age 65 and older (89 percent) are slightly more likely than those age 50-64 (81 percent) to strongly oppose reducing Medicare benefits to reduce the deficit
  • People age 65 and older (87 percent) are slightly more likely than those age 50-64 (83 percent) to strongly oppose reducing Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit.

This nationwide poll of 1,016 adults ages 50 and older utilized NORC’s AmeriSpeak Omnibus, a monthly multiclient survey. Interviews were conducted in English online (90 percent) and by phone (10 percent) from April 22-26, 2021, and included three AARP questions on federal budget deficits.

Data are weighted to the latest Current Population Survey benchmarks developed by the U.S. Census Bureau and are balanced by gender, age, education, race/ethnicity, region and AARP membership. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.33 percent with a design effect of 1.99.

Ron Mori is a member of the Washington, D.C., JACL chapter and manager of community, states and national affairs — multicultural leadership for AARP.

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