Cal Thomas is more than a little disingenuous in claiming that “everyone knows” Social Security, Medicare and “other entitlement programs” are mainly responsible for the swelling national debt (“Presidential candidates: these are the issues I want you to talk about, and it’s not impeachment,” Jan. 16). First, Social Security and Medicare are not “entitlements.” They are earned benefits. Social Security and Medicare Part A are fully self-funded and do not contribute a penny to the national debt.

In fact, the number one driver of the debt is “tax expenditures” (revenue the federal government forgoes through tax policy), especially the 2017 Trump tax cuts benefiting the wealthy and big corporations. Far from “not touching” proposals to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, House Democrats have embraced the Social Security 2100 Act, which boosts benefits and puts the program on a sound financial path for the future — and the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act which will save Medicare more than $300 billion in prescription drug costs.

Max Richtman, Washington, D.C.

The writer is president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

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