Robert J. Samuelson ["AARP's America Is a Mirage," op-ed, Nov. 23] has been consistent in his criticism of AARP and in his stated belief that people need to work longer. I agree that people should work longer. However, Mr. Samuelson needs to tell this not to AARP and to older workers but to employers.
We are told to update our skills and learn new ones. I've done just that, and it is no guarantee of success. Over and over, I have seen a "deer in the headlights" look when I walk into an interview. Often, the interview is cut short without any questions asked about my experience or my skills.
A few years ago a man young enough to be my son abruptly asked, "Do you think you can learn our systems?" As someone who had been using computers since he was in kindergarten, I found that question insulting and demeaning.
I would be happy to work until well into my seventies, but employers don't seem interested. Until that attitude changes, more people will apply for Social Security and hope for the best.
LARRAINE L. FORMICA
Robert J. Samuelson argued in regard to Social Security that "past promises" are colliding with "present economic realities." The key word in that sentence is "present." Our present economic situation was not created by Social Security, yet some believe this essential program should bear the economic burden created by record deficits and tax cuts. The president's tax cuts alone, if made permanent, are three times larger than the projected Social Security shortfall.
Instead of pushing dire imagery of America's seniors "burdening our children and grandchildren," maybe it's time that Congress, the president and columnists talk seriously about our nation's priorities and how best to achieve them. We can afford an aging America because we must.
BARBARA B. KENNELLY
President and Chief Executive
National Committee to Preserve
Social Security and Medicare