There's no quick or easy fix for Social Security and Medicare

Commentator Max Richtman is delusional if he believes senior programs can be protected by simply raising taxes on the wealthy ("Protect senior programs," Feb. 17).

He states the impressive fact that tax breaks to the wealthy drain $11.6 million from the Treasury every hour. That "impressive" rate represents a little more than $100 billion per year. But Social security and Medicare cannot be stabilized by an addition of only $100 billion per year; the problem is much greater than that.

The problem with these programs is that they are both underfunded insurance programs. The only way these programs will be fixed is to make a difficult choice between raising taxes, raising the benefit age and/or cutting benefits. Any workable solution will have to affect the middle class.

The hard reality is there simply is not enough money in taxing the wealthy to solve the problem. The status quo is unsustainable which means collapse of the programs unless hard decisions are made. The president's approach is similar to that of an ostrich — ignore the problem and hope it goes away. We need a courageous leader willing to make tough choices if Social Security and Medicare are to be preserved.

Mark Campbell, Millersville

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