Dear Editor:

Attention residents of Green Valley and the surrounding areas of Southern Arizona. A large percentage of us are 65-plus years of age and are collecting our entitled benefits from Social Security and Medicare.

There is a heated and contentious debate in Washington about the annual federal budget deficit and the ballooning total federal debt. These two entitlements are in the crosshairs of politicians for reducing both of the above. It behooves those of us in this age group to point out to our elected representatives and the general public that these two programs are not social welfare programs but are prepaid insurance programs which have been paid for over a period of years. In fact, the correct name for Social Security is the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA).

My wife and I have paid monthly insurance premiums into Social Security for 45 and 43 years, respectively, while not being allowed to draw payouts until age 62 or 65. Certainly, we will receive more in benefits than we paid in, which is typical of all legitimate retirement plans. These are benefits which we are entitled to under this insurance plan. The problem is that during the past 30 years, Congress has spent these contributions and only left IOUs to pay these benefits.

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