Letter: Don't do it again

Don't do it again

Editor of the Reformer:

On June 7, the Reformer ran a guest editorial from the Washington Post ("Social Security benefits are a wrong priority.")

I hope the Reformer doesn't share the views of the editorial because it is full of misleading statements and even falsehoods. The editorial is nothing but an outright propaganda piece fed by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to which the editorial refers in its second last paragraph. The CRFB is a creation and financial beneficiary of Pete Peterson, the Wall Street billionaire and President Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury. Through the CRFB Peterson has tried for years to slash or abolish programs such as Social Security and Medicare to "solve" the nation's "debt crisis." Of course, the CRFB does not use this parlance. It talks about the "need to reform entitlements." "Entitlements" are the earned benefit programs that American workers pay into with each paycheck and need for a decent living.

Billionaire Peterson, of course, does not need these programs and thinks slashing or abolishing them is just fine. The editorial takes up a claim by the CRFB that "people 65 and over" in the United States "have higher average income (from all sources) than their counterparts in all but one other industrialized democracy." No other source is given for this exorbitant claim, presumably because it is false.

Here are five key facts concerning Social Security in this country compared to other democracies, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: American Social Security benefits are quite modest; the majority of beneficiaries have little income from other sources; for most seniors, Social Security is the only income they will receive that's guaranteed to last as long as they live and to provide full inflation protection; Social Security benefits in the United States are low compared with other advanced countries; and future retirees already face lower benefits (relative to their past earnings) than current retirees because of a rising Social Security retirement age and escalating Medicare premiums.

So please, Reformer, don't run another editorial from the Washington Post that so distorts reality. "Entitlements" are not the cause for our huge deficit. However, cutting our bloated military expenditures would be a good first step in tackling the debt.

Reto Pieth, Grafton, June 10


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