Letters to the Editor, Jan. 16

Jan. 15, 2014 @ 04:27 PM

“Issue” misused word

The leading headline of The Herald-Sun Jan. 14 reads: "Officers knew of Huerta drug issues."  

This headline is an example of the alarming increased frequency of using "issue” and "problem" as synonyms in the common vernacular.  As a publication that contributes to the language of its readers, I hope that your newspaper will consider carefully the choice of these words in the future.  

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "problem" as something that is difficult to deal with; something that is a source of trouble, worry, etc.  Whereas it defines "issue" as something that people are talking about, thinking about, etc.; an important subject or topic.

The distinction between these two words is more than semantic nit-picking.  The explosion in the use of "issue" as a substitute for "problem" seems to have originated from politicians and others to whom the confusion between the two words serves a useful purpose.  For example, to the vast majority of those informed on the subject, climate change is a problem to which we desperately need solutions.  However, to a politician whose agenda is to steer us away from those solutions, climate change is an issue to which everyone is entitled an opinion and whose existence we should continue to debate.  

The vernacular substitution of "issue" for "problem" is distracting us from identifying real problems and seriously seeking their solutions.

Terrence Oas
Durham

Not in good hands

I just went to my doctor for my annual physical.  Blood work, physical exam, chest X-ray, wellness chit-chat -- you know, a regular physical. Everything turned out very well except for the billing.

I called Medicare to find out why they did not pay for anything. Imagine to my surprise, their definition of a "wellness" visit (according to the Medicare rep I talked to) consists of my being weighed, measured and then a conversation pertaining to my health history.  They do not cover chest X-ray, lab work, etc.

I don't think my doctor is going to continue our relationship for free. I sure am glad I have insurance. Lawdy, lawdy I can't wait for the next great "change" from our fearless leader. I feel like I am not in good hands.  My wife's insurance went up $200 a month (50 percent) so she had to choose a lower, less costly plan, but the coinsurance and the deductibles went up.

The local insurance giant said it was due to higher health care costs ( I thought the costs were supposed to go down or at least be stable with the affordable health care plan) and, believe it or not,  it also stated because of costs associated with the affordable health care plan.

I guess I didn't read it so I don't know what's in it, Mrs. (House minority leader Nancy) Pelosi.
Joe Gilchrist
Rougemont

Raise minimum wage

Good logic to raise the minimum wage from Ron Unz, a conservative entrepreneur.  It will boost our state's economy by lifting those working at the poverty level off food stamps and other government assistance paid by us, the taxpayers.  Those workers will be able to purchase more, helping local businesses, while increasing tax revenues for the state. 

Unz dismissed the notion that raising the minimum wage would be a job-killer, stating employers have lower-wage positions they must keep filled in order maintain business.  History is on his side since many such raises in the past have never destroyed our economy.  Thirteen states agree and raised their minimum wage this January. 
Paul Andrews
Durham