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Social Security and Sharing Sacrifice

May 24, 1986

Conine might better have addressed himself to "Sharing the Sacrifice," because a rapidly growing number of older Americans are indeed carrying at least their share of fiscal responsibility.

They and their employers paid into Social Security whatever the law required. And they did so mostly with preinflation dollars and with average incomes substantially under that of today's preretirees. Today, older Americans are also taxed on up to one-half of their Social Security pensions.

Moreover, steadily increasing premiums and deductibles for Medicare are eroding the affordability of adequate health care. The end of that trail is pauperization and reluctant reliance on the welfare of Medicaid, paid for by all Americans at steeply rising costs.

As observed by Conine, "Older Americans are a very large and politically potent minority. But they are a minority. That's worth remembering." This kind of rhetoric sheds scant light on the bigger question being asked of a civilized society. That's also worth remembering.

H. C. REX MUGAR

Camarillo

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