Letter: Try Expansion, Not Curtailment

To the Editor:

The word “entitlement,” which Webster ’s defines as having a right or legal title to, has been distorted by Republican ranting to suggest it means receipt of charity at unjustified expense to the rest of the population.

Ruth Marcus, in her Dec. 6 op-ed about the president’s “powerlessness” (“Obama All Too Familiar With Powerlessness,”) falls into this trap and says, “(C)urtailing Medicare and Social Security costs ... ought to be a national priority.” What a distortion of reality this is.

Social Security, far from being a charity the rest of us pay for, is a return to working citizens of their own money that they have loaned to the government through Social Security taxes on their incomes. We do not give it; we owe it. The Social Security trust fund is workers’ money that the government holds in trust, making a profit on it for years and must return.

Medicare is the least expensive and most efficient program for providing medical care. It has a far lower “overhead” — i.e., siphoned-off money — than the private insurance being sponsored under the Affordable Care Act. If, instead of “curtailing” it, we expanded it to the whole population, it would save vast amounts of money as well as providing better care.

Ruth Marcus should know better.

Quentin Deming