Dipping Into Social Security Benefits

The Opinion page article "Many Retirees Don't Want Aid," Feb. 16, is critical of certain senior citizens for accepting Social Security and of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) for representing them.

The author states that he has received in benefits in a little over three years all that he has paid to the fund. This is a rather simplistic way of calculating pay back. What he should have done was figure out how much money he would have had if the total amount contributed by him and his employers had been put into a good investment instead of sent to the government. He would have found a different result. He also claims that Social Security is welfare, not insurance payments. This program was sold to the public by politicians as insurance.

If the author feels guilty about accepting Social Security benefits, why did he apply for them in the first place? Uncle Sam doesn't send the check unless you ask for it. If his guilt pangs occurred after the fact, there is a simple solution; he could send the money back. William Roberts, Laguna Beach, Calif.

I am a retiree who will be happy to pay my share toward getting the country free of debt and back in good shape. I, too, am a member of AARP and really enjoy the magazine "Modern Maturity," but I think that the organization goes too far in protecting the rights of older folks. Many of us can spare something to help our country much more easily today than when we were young parents raising families. Ruth Krause, Brookfield, Ill. Recourse for illegal immigrants

The author of the Opinion page article "Zoe Baird Is Famous, Her Nanny Is Forgotten," Feb. 12, believes America should continue its earlier tradition of admitting all of those people who can manage to get here. The author seems to believe this is still the America of 1900 - half empty, impacted little environmentally, with dynamically expanding job opportunities.

There are an estimated 3 million to 5 million illegal aliens in the United States. They must be denied citizen rights, otherwise we will be overwhelmed by the tens of millions of people who, surveys show, plan to immigrate to the US.

Environmental failure is also becoming the greatest threat to improving human prospects. Any general improvement in our ailing life-support systems will require our population to be stabilized, as other industrialized nations are doing. Instead, excessive immigration is causing rapid expansion of our population.

Never has the nation been less able to provide for poor immigrants. There are many positive factors regarding current immigration, if the process is legal, selective, and matched to US needs. Charles R. Ross, Corvallis, Ore.

All California needs at this time of financial distress is for more people to believe the muddled gibberish put forth in the Opinion page article on Zoe Baird and her nanny. According to the author, illegal aliens are creating vast wealth for our nation and receiving nothing but abuse in return. This vast wealth has destroyed California's educational system, closed our libraries, shut down our parks, decimated our police establishment, and is raising our taxes.

California is fast becoming a poor third-world nation due to the burdens involved in accommodating illegal immigrants. The demographic trends make it questionable whether California will even be a part of the United States a decade from now. Let's get rid of that wide open melting-pot idea while there is still something to save. R. D. Westfal, Columbia, Calif.

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