The Nov. 23 editorial "Maybe Not the Third Rail" regarding Social Security reform mistakenly favors "add-ons" [creating new savings accounts from other than Social Security funds] and opposes "carved-out" reform plans [those that would direct some Social Security tax revenues to private accounts]. Add-ons are a bad idea because they do not address Social Security's financial crisis and only add another centralized retirement plan that requires raising excessive taxes to fund it.

In contrast, the carved-out approach allows the system to move from a pay-as-you-go system to a fully funded, market-based personal retirement system. It gives meaningful tax relief for low-income families while giving them more retirement benefits.

My Social Security reform plan (the Personal Security and Wealth in Retirement Act, S. 1103) guarantees benefits for current and future beneficiaries without increasing taxes or the retirement age or reducing benefits.

The safety net would not only be retained but expanded. Workers would enjoy maximum freedom to control their funds and resources for their own retirement.

We have no choice but to reform Social Security to ensure we have a sound retirement plan that will provide as good or even better benefits in the future. Personal retirement accounts are the best solution to save and strengthen Social Security.

ROD GRAMS

U.S. Senator (R-Minn.)

Washington