December 15, 2012

George F. Will [“Fixing a judgmental tax code,” op-ed, Dec. 13] charged Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) with a falsehood for saying, “Social Security does not add a penny to the deficit.” Mr. Will pointed out that there was a shortfall of $165 billion between payouts and revenue.

What Mr. Will failed to note is that this $165 billion is drawn from a trust fund of $3 trillion (and change) that built up over several decades. Mr. Will used a logic that only a conservative columnist (or banker) can love: Workers can put money in the bank, but they cannot withdraw it.

The argument that Social Security is running a deficit and must be reformed is the biggest “bait and switch” of all time. The 1986 reform of Social Security stated explicitly that the program would run surpluses until baby boomers begin to retire, and then it would draw down those accrued surpluses until the baby-boomer wave passed.

Pat Thompson, Gilbert, Ariz.