To the Editor:

I must admit, my feeling of relief at our avoidance of economic catastrophe is tempered by my anxiety regarding the next battle to come. Now, 12 Congressmen will have to find a way to reduce the debt by $1.5 trillion. I cannot imagine that this will go any better than this month's debates went. It will be ugly, and it will divide down party lines. Unfortunately, I fear that any deal, or lack thereof, will result in cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

In New Jersey alone, 1.4 million residents receive Social Security income, and of this 22 percent rely upon it for at least 90% of their income. Without it, bills will not be paid, food will not be purchased, and houses will become unaffordable. We have paid into this program, expecting to count on these benefits. Do we deserve a deal that puts us in such a financial vice? I don't think so. Medicare cuts would also lead to unquestionable hardship. Costs will go up and service quality will go down. Again, do we deserve this?
I urge Congress to think twice before cutting entitlement benefits. Any cuts will put millions of lives at risk.

Kevin Hawryluk
Princeton Junction, NJ