A recent editorial by Bob Bennett explains the winners and losers in the current system ("The good, the bad and the hopeful," April 18). The winners are those who survive past 65, and the losers are those who die before retirement age — around 80 percent are winners because of longevity of life.

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Hence the unsustainable strain of close to one wage earner's contributions to Social Security to support one recipient whereas in the early stages of the program the ratio was about 40 wage earners to one. This leads me to support at least two reforms: First, means testing (those who are capable of sustaining themselves being willing to forego their benefits). Second, gradually increasing retirement age to 70.

While this may seem unfair in one aspect, it falls under what we all are asked to do: sacrifice for the financial survival of our country. This proposal would also be part a giant step necessary to help us out of our federal debt.

Vernie Swenson

Salt Lake City