Max Richtman's recent article demonstrates why it will be extremely difficult to reform entitlement programs for seniors ("Protect senior programs," Feb. 17). Despite reports from the trustees of Social Security and Medicare that those programs will run out of money within the next 10 to 25 years, Mr. Richtman apparently believes that we should put our heads in the sand and continue to pay out benefits at a level that is unsustainable.

He also apparently believes that benefits should continue in their present form because they are popular So is ice cream and chocolate cake. That doesn't mean current workers should pay for free desserts any more than we should burden future generations with huge public debt.

His other argument is the usual liberal folly of claiming we should tax the rich. Even if we took every dime of the so-called 1 percent, it would not cover the cost of these increasingly expensive programs.

The first part of any reform movement is to recognize that a problem exists. Mr. Richtman seems content to wait until both programs go under. Such dithering in the face of the problem is selfish, irresponsible and unfair to our children and grandchildren.

Robert C. Erlandson, Lutherville