Jeannine Laplume’s letter (Aug. 24) is another in the continuing drumbeat of falsehoods promulgated by the right-wing media. In one sentence, she blames the president for no Social Security cost-of-living increase in 2010, and in another she mouths the now well-documented and erroneous claim that the health care reform act passed earlier this year will result in an increase in taxable income to most taxpayers.

First, Social Security COLA increases are not managed by the president, but by legislation passed by Congress many years ago. Annual increases in Social Security payments have been pegged to the Consumer Price Index and are not subject to presidential action.

Second, Laplume is confused by the requirement in the health care reform act to report the value of employer-paid health insurance benefits on the employee’s W-2 annual statement provided by the employer for income tax purposes. Independent sources such as Snopes.com and FactCheck.org have both debunked that myth. The value of health insurance will be reported on the W-2, not as taxable income, but as a Box 14 — other item.

It is patently false that health insurance benefits will now be taxed, but it serves the interest of the talking heads in the right-wing media.

My advice to Laplume is to seek sources other than Glenn Beck or Fox News for her information.

Denis Fortier, Lewiston


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