NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

35 Percent of Americans Want Pension Reform to be a "Top Priority" for Government

February 17, 2015

A new Reason-Rupe telephone poll of 1,003 adults found that 72 percent of Americans are concerned about their state and local government's abilities to fund public employee pensions, and 82 percent favor requiring current public employees to contribute more towards their own future pensions and benefits. According to the poll:

  • Of the 72 percent who were concerned about governments' ability to fund pensions, 39 percent of Americans said they are "very concerned" about the problem, while another 33 percent are "somewhat concerned."
  • Thirty-five percent say public pension reform ought to be a "top priority" for government, while 41 percent said it should be "an important but lower priority."

According to Emily Ekins, director of polling for the Reason Foundation, 67 percent of Americans would like to see future public employees shifted away from defined-benefit pension plans (those which guarantee certain levels of benefits) and instead into retirement plans similar to 401(k)s. While just 38 percent would favor such a transition for current public employees, 60 percent would be in favor of moving current employees away from guaranteed pension plans if it would prevent the government from raising taxes or reducing services.

Source: Emily Ekins, "Poll: 72 Percent of Americans Are Concerned About Public Pension Costs, 82 Percent Say Public Employees Should Contribute More to Their Own Retirement,", February 6, 2015.


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