Letter to the editor: Finding solutions

To the editor:

There have been recent reports that Social Security will be in serious trouble in a few years because it will run out of money to keep the government’s promises to millions of people.

That was true in the 1980s too. I was the editor of a national trade magazine in Peoria, Ill., and I interviewed Bob Michel, the area’s local Republican congressman and the minority leader in the House.

Mr. Michel said in those days, when Congress was in session, they didn’t fly home every weekend. So on Friday afternoon, he would meet with Tip O’Neill, the Democratic leader in the House, and they would go to the White House to meet with President Ronald Reagan. He said they would discuss and argue for about an hour, then President Reagan would say “enough,” call in a butler to take their drink orders, then they’d sit around and tell jokes.

The end result? They fixed Social Security for half a century.

Another such “fix” will be needed in the near future. Will it happen in this political environment?

I’m not optimistic.

Mike Hartnett,



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