As I approach my 70th birthday, I am astounded to read that according to Rep. Anthony Beilenson {op-ed, Nov. 8} I am responsible for the stock market crash and that according to The Post {editorial, Nov. 9} only I can save the country from its fiscal troubles.

It seems that my Social Security benefits (earned by contributions during a teaching career), along with those earned by the military and civil service retirees, have placed my country in jeopardy, caused the impoverishment of children, kept young people from buying houses, created a massive debt, etc., etc.

So, are we helpless? Can we not change the unprecedented military spending for defective weapons, the greed of some Wall Street manipulators, foreign competition, computer trading, congressional salary raises and a multitide of other problems? Only a cut in and/or further taxing of my meager income will do the job?

In the meantime, I'm urged to buy, buy, buy, to prevent a recession; to pay larger premiums for a limited Medicare program; and somehow to save money for huge medical bills that someone my age must anticipate.

There's something wrong with this reasoning in my great, beloved country. MAYSEL JACKSON Chevy Chase

Rep. Anthony Beilenson's comments and suggestions on Social Security make sense.

I'm only 72, but whenever I go to the theater, a public golf course, a liquor store or a pharmacy, I'm offered a discount (usually 10 percent). Why is this?

Most of the seniors I know in my middle-class neighborhood have more money now than they had before retirement. In most cases their houses are paid for, expenses for clothing and food are less, and the children are gone.

I realize that many older folks are in difficult circumstances, but it seems kind of dumb to offer a retired doctor, lawyer or businessman a 10 percent break when he doesn't need it or deserve it.

Let me anticipate the obvious remark -- that I should refuse the discount. Well, I do, except on the golf course, because the game owes me something after all the dough I've poured into it.

Social Security should not be sacrosanct. Should it remain an insurance policy or a welfare program?

In The Jan. 12, 1936, Washington Post there were feature articles about the new Gallup Poll concerning Social Security old-age pensions and the Townsend Plan. The principal question was: "Are you in favor of government old-age pensions for needy persons?"

The poll was 89 percent in favor of old-age pensions for the "needy." The pension favored was $40 a month, and the eligibility age favored was 60 years. In those days the government retirement age was 70. (The working week was 5 1/2 days. During the Depression years, government salaries were cut 10 percent.) Social Security was a hot issue in the election of 1936.


The budget summit offers an opportunity to find a more equitable way to distribute Social Security COLAs (cost of living adjustments).

I have introduced a bill to distribute a flat dollar increase to Social Security recipients, rather than a percentage COLA. Under the current system, seniors -- rich and poor -- receive the same percentage increase, meaning that those with bigger benefits get bigger increases. A flat-rate COLA would treat our seniors more fairly.

The flat-rate COLA would be based on the 20th percentile benefit level (or about $320 per month), multiplied by the projected consumer price index (currently 4.2 percent). This means that all Social Security recipients would receive an increase of about $13.40 per month in 1988, regardless of their benefit level. By giving all seniors the same benefit increase, we can realize approximately $30 billion in budget savings over the next five years.

I have talked to senior citizens in my district about this proposal. They understand that every part of the budget must share in our effort to cut the deficit and that a flat-rate COLA is an approach that's fair to less-wealthy retirees. Putting COLA reform on the table may be viewed as politically risky, but I don't think it's risky to do what's fair. TIMOTHY J. PENNY U.S. Representative (D-Minn.) Washington