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POLL: Clear Majority Want No Medicare, Social Security Or Education Cuts

Memo Pad Politics

POLL: Clear Majority Want No Medicare, Social Security Or Education Cuts


Americans want to cut the deficit, but they don’t want to cut Medicare, Social Security or education to do it, according to the new Kaiser Family Foundation/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health survey — 58 percent want no cuts to Medicare or Social Security and 61 percent want to completely preserve current public education spending.

So what do Americans want to cut?

71 percent of want at least some cuts to defense. Clear majorities also say they are for some cuts to health insurance subsidies, unemployment insurance, food stamps, aid to farmers, federal salaries, foreign aid and the war in Afghanistan.

Medicare remains extremely popular — 60 percent say the program is working well. Eight out of 10 seniors aged 65 and older feel the program is working. That popularity is behind the desire to improve the program, as even 76 percent of Republicans say the deficit can be cut without cutting Medicare.

Despite this, some Medicare reforms are popular, including negotiating better rates from prescription drug suppliers and requiring high-income seniors to pay higher premiums.

A slight majority, 51 percent, oppose raising the Medicare eligibility age. Ironically. 64 percent of those already on Medicare approve of raising the eligibility age, though 59 percent reject lowering payments to providers.

A majority also support expanding Medicaid to cover up to 17 million uninsured Americans who currently earn too much to receive it, but only earn 133 percent of the federal poverty level or below. Because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, states can reject Medicaid expansion, though their residents will still be taxed for it and the state’s immigrants will still have to be covered.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 3 through Jan. 9. It surveyed 1,347 adults and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.



  1. Sand_Cat January 25, 2013

    Idiots: they want to cut foreign aid.
    My recollection is that there was a survey several years ago asking those who strongly indicated that we spend way too much on foreign aid how much they thought was reasonable, and an overwhelming majority suggested amounts at least 2-3 times as much as the actual amount spent.

  2. Lynda January 25, 2013

    Unfortunately, far too many of our fellow citizens have no idea of where the funding of the Federal Government comes from or where it is spent. These numbers vary a bit from year to year, but close enough for discussion. There are three parts of concern; Mandatory spending makes up 56%, Discretionary makes up 38% and Debt interest payments make up 6%. Mandatory spending is defined by law and Congress has little day to day involvment once the programs and under law. We should all be happy about that. They spend their time working over the Discretionary portion. Of that a full 53% is military and Pentagon spending. As Sand_Cat has pointed out folks seem to believe that Foreign Aid is the problem and they want it cut. FA makes up less than 1% of the Federal Budget. We have a long way to go on the education front.

    1. dtgraham January 26, 2013

      I don’t know Lynda. It seems to me that debt interest payments are really the only mandatory spending, although it’s not normally defined that way. Entitlements may be codified but, unthinkable as it is, Congress could enact new laws to end them at any time… let’s face it. On the other hand, you couldn’t seriously contemplate ever missing payments on your national debt and it would never be done. Most of mandatory spending I would call automatic discretionary spending.

      1. Lynda January 26, 2013

        By law Social Security to name just one is mandatory and has to be paid by law. As I understand it up to and until Congress and the President signs into law the entitlement (I hate that word) changes they must continue to be paid as per current law. Automatic discretionary spending is certainly another way of looking at the funding issue. If the government is shut down by some asinine attack from the GOP it is a fair bet that those items covered by discretionary spending will be chopped first. The politics of trying to hold Medicare, Medicaid, Chip and Social Security is hopefully even too far a step for the GOP. Lets hope so.

    2. nobsartist January 27, 2013

      At least we have the market cornered on morons.

  3. charleo1 January 25, 2013

    Clearly what Republicans continue to propose for cutting spending, is not in agreement with
    the majorities in their own Party. And when polled, the same numbers surface again, and again.
    85% of those polled want to close the gun show loophole, and ban military style weapons.
    When ask if they believed the wealthy, and corporations pay an approiate amount of taxes.
    Again the majority, 62% of those voters who identify themselves as Republican, or Conservative,
    believe they should pay more. Time and again here of late, Republicans are finding their policies
    on the wrong side of the issue. Paul Ryan the, “courageous,” Congressman, and darling of the
    Ayn Rand set, said he believed that, even though they lost the election, people still favor
    Republican, “values.” But, more, and more it seem as though Republicans have settled on
    their real problem. Which is too many Americans are voting for the other Party. So, I heard
    today they have set about to change the way our votes get counted. I say, they should quit
    beating around the bush with this democracy thing. If they don’t like it, they ought to have
    the guts to stand up, and say so. Because, with their table manners, and policies, that’s
    about the only way they are ever going to get the kind of power they think they deserve.

    1. idamag January 26, 2013

      Charle, I am apolitical I believe political parties have divided the country. However, I voted straight Democrat because of what the Republican party has become. Values? Hardly.

  4. Dominick Vila January 26, 2013

    Minor adjustments, such as raising the contribution cap, are needed to keep Social Security solvent for future generations. Unfortunately, the 2003 MEDICARE Part D had such a negative impact on the program, from a funding/outlay perspectives, that major changes are needed to reduce its reliance on general funds to function.
    There is widespread service provider fraud, the pharmaceuticals are ripping us off, and so is the insurance industry. Incredibly, it is cheaper to buy American made RX from pharmacies in Canada than to buy the same exact medication in the USA! Service providers are charging outrageous claims, even when they know MEDICARE only covers a fraction of what they are charging, ostensibly to claim the unpaid part as a loss to reduce their tax liability.
    Benefits don’t need to be cut, fraud and abuse do.

    1. idamag January 26, 2013

      Dominick, you are right, as usual. Social Security has a 2.7 trillion dollar trust fund. Unfortunately, part of that is accounts recievable because of the money borrowed by the Federal Government to finance the Viet Nam war. so, when a figure is thrown out that the government is supposed to be paying for SS, it is money owed to be paid back. Al Gore wanted to lock Social Security so it could not be dipped into.

      When a person pays $120,000 into SS, he does not have to pay FICA. Removing this cap is a good idea. The person who makes the most draws the most so it is only fair they pay the most.

      Administrative costs for private insurance companies is 29 cents on the dollar. For Medicare it is 6 cents on the dollar. No 6 million dollar bonuses to Medicare administrators. People, on Social Security do pay premiums on Medicare and also pay premiums on medigap insurance.

      They need to re-instate the fraud department and make the penalties for fraud rigid enough to deter anyone even thinking about it. Governor Rick Scott got off too easy.

    2. nobsartist January 27, 2013

      Funny, the law makers seem to think that passing laws that bankrupt us is what we really want.

      bush should be in prison for the mayhem he caused but Obama wants to protect the bush crime family and save prosecutions for “regular folk”.

  5. nobsartist January 27, 2013

    Since when has it mattered what Americans want. Did Americans want Vietnam?

    Did they want the drug war?

    Did they want us to give Israel nukes?

    Did they want us to create OPEC and the oil cabal?

    Did they want lax fuel economy standards?

    Did they want the states and cities bailed out but no bank of mortgage investigation?

    Did they want the Iraq war?

    Did they want the Afghanistan war?

    Did they want all of the jobs shipped to china?

    Do they want foriegners to be allowed to come over here and take our jobs as is happening right now?

    I dont think so.

    I also dont think anyone in Washington really cares what we want.

    Thats why we buy guns.


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