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Means Test for Social Security

September 18, 1985

As a Social Security recipient, I would like to commend Lamm for his proposal to apply a means test to this retirement program. Yes, every recipient of a government pension should indeed have a means test. Let him start with retired governors and state legislators, then proceed to retired presidents and senators.

What about the retired military officers who live a life of ease, collecting their generous pensions while working for the very contractors for whom they arranged lucrative projects? The retired or disowned congressmen who collect their pensions while helping wealthy persons evade the laws they helped to write, should they have the same means test the governor would apply to retired workers?

Does the governor intend an extension of a caste system where politicians are exempt from the ordeals of the rest of us? If a means test is fair for one group, let it be applied to all. Some retired politicians or military people may have earned the right to "double-dipping," but are they more entitled than the worker whose taxes made his position possible?

There is the implication in Lamm's proposal that people who are prudent and thrifty, whose self-restraint has made their future comfortable, should be penalized so that the profligate, the "live-for-today" person can be awarded. Surely that is not a beneficial social policy. Would he send the message that government will encourage one's indifference to his future? Is wiping out the middle-class, prudent person the goal of this proposal?

Lamm says the country cannot afford a subsidy to those who do not need it. Let him start with those who need it least, the politicians, bureaucrats, and military officers.

JIM WAGNER

North Hollywood

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