My first wife, Renee, died on January 10, 1995. I was surprised to find out that my daughter,then 4-1/2 qualified for a survivor’s death benefit under Social Security. I earn a pretty good living and I surely thought the payment would be means tested. It would only be means tested if I drew the payment. I could earn a million dollars a day and my daughter could draw the full benefit.

My grandmother lived to be nearly 102. With just the COLA increases she was drawing a pretty decent check when she passed, and she used to comment every year when the notice that she was getting an increase came that it was ridiculous that the government was sending money to people who did not need it.

My father will soon turn 90 and the same is true for him. I do not begrudge him or anyone a dime of their money, but he could also live without the annual increases he receives.

Yet AARP and the public refuses to acknowledge that there is room to cut benefits. The demographics of social security leads to an inevitable crisis and both parties have failed miserably to face it. They could not raise taxes high enough to solve it. It will become means tested.

Americans again wants a benefit they are not willing to pay for, and our leaders foster this dangerous illusion.