Thomas F. Schaller's commentary ("Older, wealthier get plenty of 'free stuff,'" Nov. 14) is typical of the far-left position that everything an American citizen owns belongs to the federal government. He talks of "benefits" that the government bestows upon us peasants as magnanimous grants from on high which we may use to sustain ourselves. In my opinion, this is not the case. We citizens toil in our everyday life to earn a living. Taxes of any sort are an imposition by the government to maintain itself in order to serve its citizens. In other words, they work for us not the other way around.

As a retired person, I receive the only entitlement in the long list of "benefits" so granted by the government by virtue of the fact that I paid into what we now come to realize is a gigantic Ponzi scheme known as Social Security, perpetuated on us by a socialistic government in the 1930s. It is like grabbing a tiger by the tail — you can't let go. Our government didn't for see that medical science would extend the life span of the early 1930s from age 58 and 62 for men and women respectively, to today's span of somewhere around 79 years.

Knowing these figures, its not a stretch to assume that many retirees will receive many more dollars than they have contributed, but before you condemn us as greedy geezers, consider that one dollar contributed in the '30s (by me while working summer jobs) would buy ten loaves of bread then while one dollar returned to me from the government in the form of Social Security today will buy at best two-thirds of a loaf. If I want 12-grain or specialty bread, it will buy less than a quarter of that loaf.

William D. Young, Timonium