Back to the shuffleboard
Since late reports have it that the social security system is once more sound as a dollar (which may not be the best way to put it), a final report from bench No. 6 at the shuffleboard court may be in order.
One of the ways social security was brought into solvency was to tax the people who are getting it. Not everybody, of course. Only some of those who are getting money from somewhere else in addition. This is basically the same thing, economically, as cutting the amount of the check, but it is not the same thing when you look at it politically, or socially.
For instance, one mature recipient complains he will have to pay over $600 in additional taxes. Since he has already paid his dues once to social security, he thinks this is a tough rap. But it is not the same kind of complaint as if he had to say, ''I am getting over $600 less!'' Paying taxes gives most people a mild case of hubris. It is like suffering. It gives one a sort of pride.
Another way of putting money back into the fund was to delay the cost-of-living rise. On the average, this amounted to a loss of about $85 over a six-month period or about 35 meals at the local Burger King. No one we know actually went without lunch. They only held back on the lettuce and tomato.
There are other ways of putting money back into the system, but down on bench No. 6 these are the only ones which concern anybody. The only thing remaining under serious discussion is whether this ''scare'' about social security has damaged confidence in the Reagan ad-ministration.
President Reagan himself is on social security and he doesn't seem worried, so this does have a calming effect on the radicals. These are the ones who wear a baseball cap and have a T-shirt which says ''Exiled from New Hampshire.''
The conservatives can be identified by the shirt which says, ''Let me tell you about my grandchildren.'' If someone has this written on his T-shirt and sits alone on another bench, he has more than five grandchildren.
In other words, social security is no longer at the top of the conversation list.