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The Civil Service Employees Association's 50,000 retiree members join me in saying we are offended that The News' Doug Turner would describe the recent actions of our country's Democratic leadership to protect Social Security a "crock."

The senators who voted against the balanced-budget amendment did so with good conscience and with substantial documentation. These senators defended Americans from a raid on the Social Security Trust Fund -- the major benefits program that touches the life of nearly every American.

Turner's recent column on the Democrats' victory in protecting the Social Security Trust Fund in balanced-budget amendment debate ("Amendment loses on phony Social Security Issue," Feb. 6) was just another thinly veiled attempt to downplay the crushing effect a balanced-budget amendment would have on all Americans, especially senior citizens.

In New York alone, if the balanced-budget amendment had passed, Social Security benefits would have been cut by $1,680 per recipient, per year. Slashing these benefits would have been a part of the total spending reductions for New York, which would have topped $19 billion.

Clearly, Turner's concerns focused on the "no" votes cast by Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad and Minority Leader Tom Daschle in relation to their more tacit role in the Senate Finance Committee when it was chaired by Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan in previous years. But the fact remains: This year, when it came to voting on an ill-conceived balanced-budget amendment, the senators spoke out with a resounding "no." We're proud of their courage to do so.

There should be no doubt that the debate was won in the defense of older citizens and all Americans, and opponents should accept the defeat of the amendment with dignity, not stone-throwing.

Civil Service Employees Association
American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees

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