November 3, 2011

Generational Gaps in Views of Entitlement Programs

86%

More than eight-in-ten (86%) Millennials favor allowing younger workers to put Social Security taxes into private accounts.

Wide generational gaps exist with respect to a number of proposed reforms to federal retirement programs. The over-65 members of the Silent Generation are lukewarm on the question of allowing younger workers to invest their Social Security taxes in private accounts and using their Medicare benefits to purchase private insurance. On the contrary, Millennials enthusiastically embrace these proposed changes — eight-in-ten (86%) members of this group support this concept.

Support for privatization proposals declines with each successive age group. About seven-in-ten (69%) GenXers, 58% of Baby Boomers and 52 % of Silents support the use of private accounts . Similar results are seen on the question of allowing future Medicare participants to purchase private health insurance plans.

Silents voice more support than younger generations for the idea of gradually raising the retirement age for receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits. Roughly half of Silents favor raising the retirement age for these programs; no more than four-in-ten in the Millenial, GenXer and Baby Boomer generations agree.

Majorities in each generation agree that it is more important to maintain current Social Security and Medicare benefits than to reduce the budget deficit. However, the majorities holding that view among Millenials (53%) and GenXers 56%) are smaller than among Baby Boomers (62%) and Silents (64%). Read More