Regarding Robert J. Samuelson’s syndicated column in the Aug. 1 Advocate, I disagree with his opinion of Social Security and Medicare being “entitlement programs” for “the elderly.”

As a retiree, I worked some 42 years, paying into the system every time I got a paycheck.

My husband did the same.

We also paid into the Medicare system. We still do so.

Those of us on Social Security still pay monthly for our Medicare. It is taken directly from our Social Security checks.

As far as Medicaid is concerned, Medicaid, as I understand it, is for medical reimbursements for people who are either not working (on welfare) or those who do not make enough money to pay for private insurance. This will change with President Barack Obama’s health-care directives.

This new “entitlement program” will be available for millions of Americans who are not on Social Security.

I am sure Samuelson knows that Social Security funds collected were never to be used for the “general funding” of the country.

As I understand it, President Lyndon B. Johnson was the president who took Social Security trust funds out of their “protected” status and moved the funds into the general account, giving the government the use of these funds.

I do not agree with his statement that “federal retiree programs often represent middle-class welfare” because some retirees own their own homes and have saved money for their retirement. My husband and I own our home, but we worked years and years to pay for a home that we could afford, not one that was above our means or funded by the government.

Most of us elderly folks worked for the better part of our lives, served our country in the armed forces as did my husband, and we don’t now or have ever asked for handouts. We paid into a system and are now glad to get some of our hard-earned money returned to us.

Deborah Hebert

retired office manager

Baton Rouge