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No Real Benefit Increase

August 11, 1985

Regarding "Changes Needed in Social Security" (Times Board of Economists, July 23), A. Gary Shilling asserts, "I have never heard any politician suggest a cut in anyone's existing benefits--only reductions in the rate of benefit growth. . . . People like Claude Pepper are masters at twisting limits to benefit growth into outright benefit cuts."

Since Shilling is a member of the Times' Board of Economists, it is reasonable to assume that he knows the difference between current and constant dollars. In that light, what can he possibly mean with respect to Social Security "benefit growth?"

There is no growth in Social Security benefits, hasn't been for years, is not now on anyone's agenda. The cost-of-living adjustment surely means exactly what the term denotes, a measure to protect the elderly from the effects of inflation.

Shilling does not need us to teach him these elementary facts. Then why is he beating the drum as he is? Who does he think he's kidding?

RAYMOND WEIL

Manhattan Beach

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