The Feb. 22 editorial on Social Security hewed dangerously close to the rhetoric of Social Security’s opponents by attempting to pit one generation of Americans against the other. The argument that we cannot afford to take care of the nation’s children and boost Social Security benefits for seniors sets up a false choice.

More than 4 million children benefit from Social Security through benefits for survivors and families, including at one time former House speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). With the average Social Security benefit around a meager $18,000 per year and about two-thirds of seniors relying on the program for more than half of their income, this is no time to cut benefits.

That’s why we support the bill from Rep. John B. Larson (D-Conn.) that would provide all beneficiaries a modest boost. We’re a long way from “tapping the rich” simply by asking the wealthy to pay into Social Security at the same rate as everyone else.

Meanwhile, the Trump/GOP tax cuts robbed the federal government of nearly $2 trillion in revenue that could have been put toward domestic priorities, including children. In a just and equitable United States, we don’t have to choose between a modest increase for Social Security recipients and funding programs for children. We can do both.

Max Richtman, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and former staff director of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.

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