This is a response to Kenneth B. Creer, the AARP state director for Utah, who argues that Social Security and Medicare entitlements should not be cut (Forum Feb. 11).

Social security is welfare, and it is designed to give the biggest share of benefits to the rich. The more you paid into it during your working years the more you get paid in your retirement up to about $24,000 per year. If you were wealthy in your working years, you get paid more when you retire. If you were poor during your working years, you get less. That is acceptable for pension funds and savings, but the money being paid to the elderly who are wealthy is not coming from what they paid, it is coming from people who are paying today.If you work a minimum-wage job, you earn 7.5 percent to 15 percent less because of what is being taken out, and the money is being preferentially given to the elderly who are well-off. This is immoral.

Medicare is a little more progressive, but if you are well-off and elderly the government subsidizes your health insurance to the same degree that it does to someone who is poor and elderly. Hundreds of thousands of retired millionaires receive subsidized health insurance through Medicare.

We should cut entitlements for the well-off before cutting entitlements for the poor. One way to do this is to means-test for Medicare and Social Security. That is, if your income is over a certain level (like $40,000 per year) you should pay the full cost of your Medicare insurance, and you should not receive any money from Social Security.

When the richest lot of Medicare recipients receive more from the government than WIC (women, infants and children), Head-Start, and AFDC (aid to families with dependent children) it is crazy to think that substantial cuts in government spending can be realized by cutting entitlements to the poor.

Entitlements for the rich: That is where the real government waste is located.

Daniel C. Longstaff

Salt Lake City