But Americans are tired of giving up everything, including their long awaited retirement.
AP: They're not buying it. Most Americans say they don't believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget, and ditto for Social Security, a new poll shows. The Associated Press-GfK poll suggests that arguments for overhauling the massive benefit programs to pare government debt have failed to sway the public. Americans worry about the future of the retirement safety net, the poll found, and 3 out of 5 say the two programs are vital to their basic financial security as they age. That helps explain why the Republican Medicare privatization plan flopped.
In the poll, 54 percent said it's possible to balance the budget without cutting spending for Medicare, and 59 percent said the same about Social Security.
The recession cost millions their jobs and sent retirement savings accounts into a nosedive. It may also have underscored the value of government programs. Social Security kept sending monthly benefits to 55 million recipients, like clockwork; Medicare went on paying for everything from wheelchairs to heart operations.
Overall, 70 percent in the poll said Social Security is "extremely" or "very" important to their financial security in retirement, and 72 percent said so for Medicare. Sixty-two percent said that both programs are extremely or very important. The sentiment was a lot stronger among the elderly. Eighty-four percent of those 65 or older said both programs are central to their financial security.
Democrats have the advantage as the party more trusted to do a better job handling Social Security by 52 percent to 34 percent, and Medicare by 54 percent to 33 percent.