Don’t use entitlements to combat coronavirus

The president’s plan to reduce payroll taxes to zero in order to combat the effects of coronavirus is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Payroll taxes fund Social Security and Medicare. A reduction in money coming in for Social Security will affect your check if you are over 62, and your future check if you are working. It will also affect Medicare.

Americans who do not pay into Social Security for any period of time during their working years will get smaller benefits when they retire because of the formula for designating those benefits. A suspension of payments will starve the benefits for future recipients. Plus the lost revenue for the federal budget will affect the entire economy.

Republicans seem to want to destroy Social Security. President Donald Trump has indicated repeatedly his willingness to cut entitlements. Under cover of darkness during this public health crisis, it appears the Republicans are trying to make their dream come true.

Cutting Social Security taxes will not pay for more test kits. It will not speed up the development of a vaccine. It will not make up the wages of those who have to miss work. It will not produce more masks or hire more medical personnel. It will not make your grandmom’s nursing home safer. What it will do is make the American economy more fragile in the not too distant future and beyond. It will not fund the disease control center work that Trump has proposed cutting.The piper always has to be paid.

Linda Buckmaster

Belfast

Building our students’ social emotional skills

Our children’s early years lay the foundation for their academic career. In elementary school, children are still learning how to manage their emotions, make friends, communicate and express their wants and needs. While we have long known the importance of strong academic skills, research also indicates that social emotional skills are crucial elements of children’s academic and future professional success, too.

If children do not have the social emotional skills they need to effectively participate in school, they are missing critical opportunities to learn and grow. Teachers and parents are often the “first responders” to address challenging behaviors and need the knowledge, resources and support to nurture children in their positive social emotional development. It is our responsibility as adults to teach children the skills they need to be successful.

LD 2016, An Act Regarding School Discipline for Maine’s Youngest Students, would end the practice of suspending and expelling elementary students from school. While this change is important to ensuring children remain in classrooms instead of being removed, it is critical that we provide support for educators and parents to manage challenging behaviors that might otherwise lead to suspensions or expulsions.

Fortunately, beginning in September, legislation sponsored by Sen. Cathy Breen will create a team of well-trained, community-based consultants to provide these very supports for teachers of young children.

Working together, we can ensure that our young children stay in school so they can learn the skills they need to ensure their academic and social emotional success.

Stephanie Eglinton

Executive director

Maine Children’s Alliance

Augusta

Coronavirus misinformation

After multiple statements from President Donald Trump indicating the coronavirus was going to be contained in the U.S., with the number of cases “ going to be down close to zero,” he now appears to acknowledge that containment has failed, and that wide-scale testing and treatment are necessary.

On Friday, he announced that, “Anybody that needs a test, gets a test. They’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.” This despite the continued short supply of test kits, but we can take heart because he also told us that a vaccine for COVID-19, as the new coronavirus is known, could be available in a matter of months.

This is just more in the series of falsehoods told by the president. Our elected Republican senators and representatives are once again ignoring science in favor of political expediency, damaging the health of the citizens they ostensibly represent, adding to the deepening financial crisis and worsening the potential effects of an entirely new disease on all of us. I urge everyone to make their vote count for something positive in November.

Donald Holmes

Sedgwick