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Poll: Wealthy should bolster Social Security

Social Security Administration

(CNN) -- Americans think the wealthy should help bolster Social Security, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Tuesday suggests.

More than two-thirds of 1,010 adults contacted from Friday to Sunday said it would be a good idea to limit benefits for wealthier retirees and for higher income workers to pay Social Security taxes on all their wages.

Currently, the cap on wages taxed for Social Security is set at $90,000.

Other options to change Social Security fell far behind -- 40 percent of respondents said reducing benefits for early retirement is a good idea; 37 percent said increasing the tax for all workers would be a good idea; 35 percent said the government should increase the age at which people could receive full benefits; and 29 percent said reducing benefits for people under 55 was acceptable.

The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

About 55 percent of respondents thought Bush's proposal that would allow wage earners to invest some of their Social Security taxes in private investment accounts in the future is a "bad idea" -- the same percentage as a month ago before the president began his campaign for the plan.

Forty percent said it was a good idea in both polls.

But 64 percent said that the system will be bankrupt by 2042 if "major changes" aren't made.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security Administration and the Office of Management and Budget, the system won't be penniless, but it will be unable to pay all the benefits due by about midcentury.

Their conservative actuarial reports estimate income from the payroll taxes would cover between 70 percent and 80 percent of the necessary funds.

Those responding to the poll indicated they have more confidence in their own investment skills than in those of most Americans.

Thirty-seven percent said they thought most Americans would get lower benefits if allowed to invest through personal accounts (30 percent said the benefits would be higher).

About 40 percent said they believed they personally would reap higher benefits, while 27 percent thought they would do worse with personal accounts.

Of the respondents, 757 were not retired -- and 53 percent of them said they had done some planning for retirement "but not enough."

Four percent of those responding to the poll said they thought there was no problem with Social Security.

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