BERT SPEAR, Benton City
I just had to respond to Rick Engelmann's letter, "Let's get serious," Nov. 27. about the entitlement problem we face in America. He has a valid point that these programs have gotten so large and expensive that they cannot possibly continue to be funded at the rate they are today.
Having said that, I wanted to mention that I will turn 60 next July and have paid into the Social Security program since my first real job, when I was 14 years old (that's 46 years for those who are math challenged).
I do not consider this an entitlement. As a matter of fact, I consider it simply receiving what is due me. I would gladly receive a lump sum of what I've paid and the interest accrued over the years, but unfortunately, this is not an option.
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Social Security and Medicare are owed to the people who have worked and paid into them. One very large problem is that too many people who have not paid into these programs receive benefits from them.
(Just curious, but does anyone remember how welfare, cell phones, food stamps, subsidized housing, etc., became entitlements? No, me either. It just kind of happened.)