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I am afraid columnist Thomas Sowell made a judgment based on incomplete data. Yes, there will be a shortage of available money to continue to pay for Social Security and Medicare, in the near future. He correctly identifies the reason as being the fact that our politicians have raided the fund for other projects. But they did leave IOUs. So now, it is payback time.

Think of how much money we can save if all politicians be required to live with the same rules with which we common citizens are required to live. For example:

1. All politicians must join Social Security for their future retirement benefits. They may also pay into 401(k) retirement plans and the government will match their contributions. However, they may not withdraw retirement funds until they reach age 50, and then, they are only entitled to a percentage of the money invested.

2. Medicare will be provided the same way as common folk pay into it and withdraw from it but they must be 55 before it can be used to pay health costs. They may purchase additional health care (such as Blue Cross) but the government will only pay for 60 percent while they pay 40 percent.

If these two rules are activated, Social Security and Medicare will prosper. If you go one step further and reduce the pay and per diem to a reasonable amount, you will find that the national debt will disappear also.

— Richard A. Douglas, Paradise

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