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Letter to the editor: Social Security unfairly targeted in debt debate

9:00 PM, Apr. 21, 2013  |  Comments

Why is Social Security being targeted for benefit reductions through a "chained" Consumer Price Index approach by not only the right wing but also some moderates in government and the White House when it is not a part of and has not contributed to the national budget deficit?

The issue appears to be a red herring to distract the public from necessary reforms in government spending where there is too much waste, lack of oversight, and fraud. There seems to be a perceived notion that as the baby boomers retire, their benefits will place a burden on the system, starting to undermine it. The solution is simple: legislatively remove the cap on the amount of income on which Social Security is collected, institute a means testing for the wealthiest recipients, and consider a one percent raise in the payroll tax rate that has been unchanged for the past twenty years according to Robert Reich, a former Secretary of Labor. When Bill Clinton left office the budget deficit was non-existent. The Bush administration got the nation mired in two unfunded military actions, implemented tax cuts primarily benefitting the wealthiest citizens, and put in place Medicare Part D that proved to be costly, poorly constructed, and in need of reform.

To use the word "entitlement" primarily for Social Security is a misnomer because it is not an entitlement but rather a social contract between generations of workers in a free society. It has served the elderly poor, the disabled, children in poverty, and veterans with a needed safety net. Failure to support the program with the current level of benefits is unconscionable.

Geraldine S. Jay

Menasha

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