• We have to pay for our benefits
    May 01,2013
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    As a senior, a veteran and an AARP member, I read with great interest the full-page AARP ad in the Sunday, April 21, issue of the Rutland Herald, and I applaud Sen. Sanders’ efforts to preserve and support the middle class and his emphasis on the tremendous disequilibrium in wealth in our great nation.

    The Social Security payroll tax is a regressive tax. This regressiveness is only magnified over the years by growing income inequality and the favorable tax treatment of unearned income over earned income.

    The AARP ad is misleading when it tells Sen. Sanders to keep fighting for “the benefits we’ve earned” if this language implies that we have earned all of the benefits (100 percent) we get. Clearly, most of us have not and will not.

    As for Medicare benefits, current estimates are that a person retiring in 2010 will receive more than $3 for every $1 contributed.

    Getting back to Social Security benefits, the so-called “trust fund” contains only IOUs (treasury instruments) which musty be redeemed out of general revenues.

    As for veterans’ benefits, there is no reason that these benefits cannot be linked to the “old” CPI. Washington, D.C., has plenty of computers.

    The experts say current benefits for seniors are not “sustainable.” Everybody says funding is inadequate. If we want these levels of benefits to continue, we need to find a way to pay for them. If not, benefits will inevitably have to be cut.


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