While the Post did not publish the letter, we wanted to share the gist of it with you:
Samuelson’s argument is convincing—if you take his statistics on face value. But you shouldn’t.
Let’s begin with how Mr. Samuelson wrongly characterizes these important programs. First, and most unfortunately, he implies that Social Security and Medicare are retirement programs and that only elderly Americans receive “benefits.” Not true. These programs provide critical financial support to individuals with disabilities and their families, children whose parents have died, and families headed by grandparents or other relatives.
Samuelson also claims that the median net worth (assets minus debts) of 65-plus households is twice the amount for households aged 45 to 54. What he fails to note, however, is that much of our elderly’s net worth is tied up in their homes. Homes which are difficult to sell even in the best of times, often because of the updates and maintenance required. You can’t modernize homes with a limited income. Nor can you eat roof shingles or drywall. It takes liquid assets to buy groceries.