BOULDER, Colo. –

I found Dan Thomasson’s column (“True test of leadership,” March 24) of some interest.

His reference to the huge problem with entitlements at the end of the rant reflects the usual abysmal American ignorance about our own programs.

While it’s true that Medicare has some real systemic problems — overpriced procedures, insufficient taxes to pay for services, etc. — Social Security has been in the black virtually every year of its existence, and it is one of the best-run federal programs.

The problem comes from a misunderstanding of the whole Social Security program. When it was created, many years ago, it was written that no monies in the Social Security funds could be taken and used in the general fund; Social Security funds were only to be used for Social Security recipients.

Our sleazoid Congress found a way around that dictum, however, by taking the funds and claiming that they weren’t taking the funds, only borrowing the funds — which they’ve done every year since, placing IOUs in the fund for the monies taken.

All the government has to do in order to guarantee future Social Security payments to future recipients is to pay back the principal on all the funds it has borrowed over the years.

I just thought that your readers might be interested in the facts.

Dan Barshay