Regarding Robert Samuelson's article (What is entitlement? Let's drop the label," Oct. 22), he's as confused as our friends in Washington, D.C., are. Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements. My employer and I have contributed 15 percent of my income before taxes since 1965. If you averaged only $30,000 over your working life, that's close to $220,500. Over 49 years of working at 5 percent simple interest, that's $892,919.98. If you took only 3 percent per year, you'd receive $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years.

What about congressional benefits — free health care, outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays, 3 weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days. Now that's what I call welfare, and you have the nerve to call my Social Security retirement entitlements.

Our retired seniors live on a fixed income with no aid and they receive no breaks, and yet we continue to feed billions in welfare to Haiti, Chile, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The folks in Washington all deserve a cell right next to Bernie Madoff. Shame on all of us if we elect just one incumbent next election. Their priorities are sure not mine.

Dick Thomas