Participants were offered 12 possible changes to bolster the program, including raising taxes, lowering benefits by raising the full retirement age, changing cost-of-living calculations, and means-testing benefits as well as increasing benefits.
 
The package that won out among respondents included gradually eliminating over a 10-year period the cap on earnings taxed for Social Security. It would also gradually raise Social Security taxes on workers from 6.2% to 7.2% over the next 20 years.
 
The proposal would also increase COLA to mirror the fact that medical care for seniors costs more than for young people.
 
By contrast, the recommendations of the Business Roundtable earlier in January would gradually raise the retirement age for benefits to 70 from 67 and set the Medicare eligibility age at 70 instead of 65.
 
Its proposal would exempt anyone currently age 55 and older. The Roundtable also recommends switching to the chained consumer price index approach to calculate the effects of inflation.
 
It also called for including new state and local hires in the Social Security system.
 
Critics of this system say that benefits will decrease if the chained consumer price index approach is used.
 
The survey respondents were from a pool of 700,000 people who have volunteered to participate in surveys.

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