Looking at Social Security for Future Generations

How can the Opinion page article "Fallacies of `Geezer Bashing' ," Sept. 28, defend the present Social Security system? It is a system with a built-in bankruptcy plan that has continued because people today are misinformed. The author states: "Adjustments made in 1983 put Social Security on sound financial footing for now, and we will have plenty of warning if the situation changes."

I retired in 1982 and in the past 10 years have received about five times the money I paid in my working life. But it is the working people who are paying Social Security taxes and are thinking that they are saving for their own retirement. It has been calculated that between the years 2030 and 2050, a younger generation will finally find the pot empty.

If we want a sound Social Security system based on the principle that we support older people because they have carried the load of society for a generation, we can look to the Netherlands: All people, employed or self-employed, upon reaching the retirement age receive an equal pension and pay taxes according to their income. The money to pay for this comes out of general revenue. Pieter van Heerden, Woodinville, Wash. Government incentives

In the Opinion page article "Let's Give Government Incentives to Productivity," Sept. 21, the author fails to recognize the differences between private and public sectors. The author correctly states: "No one knows better what is wrong with an organization than those who actually do the jobs, who experience first-hand the capabilities and shortcomings of those they work with." Annual appropriation and authorization statutes demonstrate that Congress refuses to permit the executive branch to play its role ; Congress mandates specific procedures, organizational structures, positions, pay, travel rules, studies, reports, gifts to favored sons, and otherwise micro-manages all levels of government.

The merit-pay concept for mid-level managers and the executive service neglects one thing: Funds for incentives have been absent year after year, so managers continue to fall behind private-sector counterparts. Although individual politicians may mean well, efficiency is not in their self-interest, and they have insisted on using the legislative process to set the rules. Richard Wojciechowski, Springfield, Va. Foreign vs. domestic quality

Regarding the Economy page article "US Automakers Gain as Japanese Raise Prices," Sept. 22: The author states that it is better to buy American rather than Japanese automobiles, specifically based on the higher price of Japanese-made cars. What the author neglects is the importance of quality and service. American manufacturers don't produce the kind of quality consumer goods that can compete with Japanese counterparts.

Quality and service are almost extinct in the United States, and the automobile industry is a prime example. I love my country, but until US automakers cease producing disposable cars, it will be impossible to please me as a concerned consumer. David J. Morrison, Rexburg, Ind.

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