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Social Security and Slashing the Deficit

November 21, 1987

Your editorial does not even mention the biggest gorilla of all that intimidates Congress far more than the Social Security lobby. I refer, of course, to that group with incomes 15 to 500 times greater than the average Social Security beneficiary. These wealthy, upper-class citizens, led by their fellow traveler and eager leader, President Reagan, have succeeded in cutting their income tax rates 50% below what they were in 1980, thus causing and sustaining our horrendous deficits. At the same time, they have also succeeded in raising the taxes paid by the lower 95% of Americans by raising the Social Security tax.

We need to raise taxes on the affluent back to the rates under the Carter Administration and eliminate the deficit entirely without having to lower still further the incomes of those below the poverty line.

But that can't be done, or even half of it, without strong presidential leadership and telling Americans the truth about federal finances. The biggest monsters are as devious as they are powerful and will surely not let Reagan and wealthy congressmen take back their ill-gotten gains. Their control over the media and political actions committees, their self-righteous selfishness, their ability to deceive the voters is too great for that miracle to happen.

ROBERT B. PETTENGILL

Ridgecrest

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