Social Security is insurance, and it’s not a tax

To the editor:

I am encouraged by Charles Gould’s Sunday letter, “Road to ruin,” on the insolvency of Social Security. I have noticed several other letters of outrage over the current attitude toward Social Security.

I have myself sent letters of outrage to our elected representatives about their approach to Social Security. I had resigned myself to the situation, thinking that everyone has accepted the notion that Social Security is a government handout. This notion is exactly what the current administration and many academics would like to brainwash us into thinking.

The truth is that Social Security is an insurance program funded by contributions from workers and their employers to a trust fund. These contributions are misnamed “payroll taxes.” In my opinion, they’re not a tax. True, it’s not voluntary. Employers are required by law to withhold the required amount and send it to the IRS. However, consider that no exemptions or deductions are allowed to be taken from these amounts, as they are from income taxes or capital gains taxes.

Also consider that the amount withheld (from employee and employer) is recorded in each employee’s account by the Social Security Administration. Every employee in the country can access this information by requesting a statement (annually) from the SSA. This doesn’t resemble any tax that I am aware of.

Finally, as Mr. Gould’s excellent analogy illustrated, we only have ourselves to blame if we allow our uncle to steal our money. We need to react in outrage and demand a law that prevents Congress from spending Social Security contributions. Instead of our leaders attempting “entitlement reform,” such as reducing benefits, why not a law preventing them from “borrowing” from the trust fund? Also, why not enroll all of our elected officials in Social Security and let them feel the pain that their constituents are feeling?




Advanced nursing

To the editor:

In response to your Sunday article, “No easy cure for doctor deficit”:

As noted in the article, Nevada ranks 46th for its share of primary care providers and other types of specialists. Nurse practitioners have been in Nevada providing care for more than 30 years in a variety of settings.

The Institute of Medicine published a report in 2010 titled, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” where it recommended nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training. Nurse practitioners meet the needs of access to health care for all citizens of Nevada in both urban and rural areas, but the current limits on licensure don’t allow full practice as recommended.

A December 2012 publication by the National Governor’s Association said states might consider changing scope-of-practice restrictions and encouraging nurse practitioner involvement in providing primary health care.

We have the opportunity to make positive changes in Nevada to create one more avenue for critically needed access to care for all of our citizens by utilizing a valuable resource: advanced-practice nurses.




The writer is an assistant professor of nursing at UNLV.


Satire or crazy talk?

To the editor:

Was Jim Cassidy’s Feb. 1 letter, “Mount Rushmore,” meant to be satirical, or was it for real? I read his assertion that President Barack Obama is “a logical and deserved choice” for inclusion on Mount Rushmore in total disbelief.

Does anyone on this earth really believe what this person wrote?




Child protection

To the editor:

After reading your Friday front-page article, “Boy’s death results in dismissal,” it’s obvious the Clark County Department of Family Services and the Clark County School District are shielding themselves from liability by attributing the tragic death of a 7-year-old child on an employee not following protocol. While I’m confident that some highly paid attorneys representing both of these agencies are satisfied to use one terminated employee as the scapegoat, each agency needs to be held accountable.

On Nov. 28, Roderick “RJ” Arrington went to Roundy Elementary, and obviously something was wrong. Somebody from the school made a call to the Family Services “hotline” to get help for this child. For some unknown reason, nobody from Family Services responded. School officials didn’t think to contact Las Vegas police or the school police and simply allowed little RJ to return to the hands of his killers. While this gross negligence on the part of both Family Services and the school district might not rise to a criminal level, from an ethical frame, they are both culpable.

I couldn’t understand how the school district spokeswoman, Melinda Malone, said all district employees were cleared of wrongdoing. “We’re also looking to be better and do better. But in this situation, protocol was followed.” If Ms. Malone honestly believes that the school district did nothing wrong, that may explain why our dropout rates are the highest in the nation. The investigation by Las Vegas police only stated that criminal charges were not expected.

My frustration is not at some bureaucrat seeking to deflect blame from her agency; it’s the lack of transparency with county agencies. Although the monsters who physically inflicted death upon this gift from God will stand before a judge; both Family Services and the school district need to do more to protect our children.

A good first step would be total honesty and transparency with the citizens who pay their salaries.



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