A new poll from ABC and the Washington Post reveals that voters support requiring rich retirees to pay higher Medicare premiums and Social Security taxes in order to reduce the national debt.
The poll, conducted July 14–17, found that 61% of Americans believe wealthier retirees should pay higher Medicare premiums than less affluent Americans, and 66% believe those making over $107,000 should pay higher taxes into Social Security. President Obama recently announced at a press conference that he supports raising Medicare premiums for those who can afford to pay as part of his “shared sacrifice” plan to reduce the deficit.
But most Americans, unlike Republicans, don’t want to slash spending on entitlement programs or make it tougher for ordinary Americans to get Medicare and Social Security payments. The vast majority of those polled (72%) oppose the government cutting Medicare spending. Just 46% believe the Medicare eligibility age should be raised from 65 to 67, and only 42% want the government to change “the way Social Security benefits are calculated so that benefits are calculated so that benefits increase at a slower rate than they do now.”
Instead of cutting social welfare programs that help retirees, voters want to reduce the deficit through higher taxes on rich individuals and corporations. A full 72% of Americans support higher taxes for those making over $250,000 a year, 66% want higher taxes on oil and gas corporations, and 64% believe taxes on hedge fund managers should be raised. Currently, the money that hedge fund managers and other Wall Street traders make off the stock market is taxed at only 15% because it’s considered “capital gains” rather than income.