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The Social Security Debate Is Not a Debate of Childen vs.

Jeff Danziger's editorial cartoon, March 26, pits retirees against young children. Social Security does not take money from other programs; it uses only its own trust fund, which retirees have contributed to throughout their working lives. The government uses Social Security surplus funds for other programs, very likely many children's programs.

If Mr. Danziger advocates eliminating Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, then he must also advocate freezing the cost of food, medicine, and homestead taxes to avoid pushing many retirees over the poverty line. There are many wrongs in this world that need to be corrected. Social Security is not one of them. Richard Whitehead, Merritt Island, Fla.

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As a retired schoolteacher I remain concerned about children. However, after three years of retirement, I am watching the poverty level moving upward with inflation toward our retirement income. Didn't I pay into Social Security and is it not self-supporting? Why are we portrayed as fat cats who are cutting into children's resources? My wife and I give, as best we can, to children's causes by teaching Sunday school, volunteering, substitute teaching, and donating money and resalable items to organization s that help children. J. C. Fidler, El Centro, Calif. Problems with au pairs

Regarding the article "Au Pairs: an Alternative Form of Child Care," March 18: The author comments on the disadvantages of live-in child-care providers, but for the most part portrays foreign au pairs as convenient and hassle-free.

Although, as the author says, au pairs are required to work no more than 45 hours a week and do only light housework, this is not standard practice. As an au pair in Germany, I experienced this first-hand. Paid by the week and not by the hour, it's too easy for parents to see an au pair not only as cheap day care, but as full-time nannies and housemaids.

Teenage girls indenture themselves as au pairs, assuming that an exciting new country will transform the job into something other than what it is. Many have no practical experience with children. Often their idea of discipline is different from the parents'. Many also become homesick while abroad. All these elements of the experience should be considered when hiring an au pair as an alternative form of child care. C. McDade Rexburg, Idaho Boston University's John Silber

The article "Boston University's President Weathers Charges of Illegal Gain," March 29, calls for a correction. While John Silber is correctly quoted as saying, "This was a sloppy way to pay us," he did not say that his attorney advised him it would be illegal to accept the funds because the trustees had only authorized to pay him in stock options, as the article states. Mr. Silber said the university counsel advised him that there was a discrepancy between the way in which the funds were paid and the vo te of the Task Force on Executive Compensation acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

The intent of the Board of Trustees - to reward Silber and Charles Smith for their efforts in Seradyn - was fulfilled by the payment of the funds. But the vote prescribed that the funds to exercise the options come from deferred compensation. No deferred compensation funds were used, the options were never exercised, and the stock never transferred to Silber and Smith. They received the funds from the general funds of the university and not from the sale of any interest they had in Seradyn stock. Carol Hillman, Boston Vice President for University Relations, Boston University

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