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'The Politics of Sensitivities'

June 11, 1988

Former Colorado Gov. Richard D. Lamm ("The Politics of Sensitivities," Editorial Page, May 28) seems to be having difficulty recognizing the legitimate basis of his sensitivity when it interferes with the easy solutions he would like to apply to the complex problems he discusses.

He would prefer to rob Peter (the seniors and the minorities) to pay Paul (other underprivileged groups) rather than find real solutions to the problems that he poses.

The Social Security/Medicare fees paid by every employed person are not the reason for the poverty that is choking the young in their efforts to make a decent living for themselves.

Terribly high rents, unaffordable home prices, low wages that are out of sync with the cost of living, the soaring costs of medical care--all these have a greater impact on the living standards than the Social Security/Medicare deductions.

Lamm's proposal to solve the financial problems of the working poor and the unemployed by crippling Social Security and Medicare benefits would only result in adding an impoverished retirement to their impoverished working life.

His proposals can only lead to digging a deeper lifetime hole for those whose income has been drastically reduced during the 1980s.

He has also found an easy escape from any social responsibility for the problems of the major minority groups in this country. He discovers that "the culture of the ghetto and the barrio has contributed to the failure of large numbers of blacks and Latinos to take their place in the American mainstream." How convenient! Let them cleanse themselves of their culture and then they can fully participate in the benefits of the American mainstream.

The Times has been far more constructive in its consideration of the problems of the elderly and the minorities.

On the same page that carried Lamm's simplistic absolving of our problems, The Times had a thoughtful editorial ("Future Is OK--and Not So OK") about Social Security and Medicare. This kind of thoughtful treatment will be far more helpful in arriving at needed solutions than Lamm's plea to spread the poverty.

DANIEL COHEN

Santa Monica

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