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Rivlin Budget Memo

October 28, 1994

White House Budget Director Alice Rivlin's memorandum on fiscal options available to the President (Oct. 23) is typical of Democratic economic myopia. Instead of cutting expenditures, Rivlin proposes yet again going to the seemingly bottomless trough of the taxpayer for relief from irresponsible financial policies and fiduciary mismanagement.

Especially irksome is the proposal to cap and/or tax Social Security benefits, which in effect breaks the contract the federal government has with the American worker. Might I remind Rivlin that Social Security is akin to a national annuity, in which workers have invested in return for a payout at retirement, rather than a pure "entitlement" program. It should not be tampered with.

Rivlin should focus her efforts on reducing the operation expenses and general overhead of the federal government. The revenues currently received by government are more than adequate to pay for necessary services and substantially reduce the deficit. It is the government's bloated cost of doing business that require her proposed "Draconian cuts."

MATTHEW L. DADAY

Rowland Heights

* "Cuts to Elderly Benefits Seen as Political Poison" (Oct. 25) raised the dilemma facing Congress and the President in the next few decades: It will be all but mathematically impossible to keep the federal deficit from spiraling out of control without cutting into Social Security and Medicare entitlements as the baby-boom generation ages.

I believe that a bipartisan consensus, agreed upon early, could effectively remove this issue from the political arena. The starting point should be the recognition that the basic idea behind Social Security is old-age security. Those of retirement age who have enough to provide amply for their own security could be allowed to use their entitlement as a tax deduction (or credit). The cutoff point would be subject to negotiation.

J. B. JOHNSON

Santa Ana

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