Survey: Older Individuals More Likely to Support Tax Increase to Shore Up Social Security

We recently asked our readers if they would support higher taxes to extend full Social Security benefits. Here is what you told us.

FedSmith recently asked our readers this question: “Would you be willing to have your taxes increased in order to extend full benefits in Social Security beyond 2034?“.

You can see the original article on this subject along with the comments left by readers on the subject (there were many).

Survey Results

Although not a scientific test, the survey did have visible results. Most notably, as one’s age increased, s/he was apparently more willing to have higher taxes. And looking at the overall results without factoring in age, the answer to the question was almost a 50/50 split.

These are the overall results to the question:

  • Yes: 52%
  • No: 48%

I have provided further analysis of the responses in the table below. As mentioned before, as the ages of respondents increased, so did the number of positive responses to the question about raising taxes.

Age Range No Yes Grand Total % Yes
< 35 30 9 39 23%
35 – 45 51 32 73 44%
45 – 55 64 63 127 50%
55 – 65 98 123 221 56%
Retired 24 55 79 70%
Grand total 257 282 539

Impact of Taxes on Age

Understand that increasing the rate of payroll taxes affects younger voters much more so than older voters who have fewer years remaining before retirement. For someone who is 17, they are likely looking at paying the higher tax rate for 45 years, whereas someone like me may pay for 5 or 6 years. So it doesn’t take a lot of intuition to realize that people like me are more apt to support the payroll tax increase.

In my experience, there has been a surprising depth of support in wealthier workers, particularly those close to retirement. These workers really do not mind paying taxes on more income provided that the change will reduce the pressure to means-test the benefit level. When you look at someone earning benefits at the maximum, they can receive roughly $500,000 in benefits over their lifetime, so protecting the current benefits formula is apt to be an interest.

I would like to thank those people who participated in the recent poll on increasing payroll taxes. For those of you who missed the poll, please feel free to discuss the subject further in the comments below.

About the Author

Brenton Smith (A.K.A. Joe The Economist) writes nationally on the issue of Social Security reform with work appearing in Forbes,, MarketWatch,, and regional media like The Denver Post.