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Turtle Mountain Star
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August 2, 2021     Turtle Mountain Star
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August 2, 2021

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Augus 2, 2021 The Star Page 5 Totheeditor Credit card ‘swipe fees’ are W dragging down merchants To the Editor: With the acceleration in online shopping and widespread use of con- tactless cards and mobile payments in stores during the coronavirus pan- demic, almost every retail purchase made today is paid for with a credit card or debit card. That’s a change that may be here to stay, but it’s bad neWs for merchants and consumers alike, especially those still struggling to recover from the economic impact of COVID-l9. The reason is that credit card net- works and the big banks charge mer- chants a “swipe” fee averaging about 2 percent of the purchase amount every time a credit card is used, whether it’s swiped, inserted or used via a digital wallet. Those fees add up quickly, totaling almost $100 billion a year. They are among most mer- chants’ highest cost and drive up prices by hundreds of dollars a year for the average family. U.S. swipe fees are the highest in the industrialized world, seven times the amount allowed in Europe. They’ve gotten there because of lack of competition - credit card swipe fees for Visa and Mastercard are set centrally by the two giant card net— works, and virtually every bank that issues their cards charges the same rates rather than competing to offer lower rates. Legal experts say that’s a viola- tion of antitrust law. Furthermore, transactions on Visa credit cards can only be processed over the Visa net- work and the same goes for Master— card and its network. VacCines are an investment To the Editor: ‘ COVID-l9 vaccination is an in- vestment in our individual and col- lective futures. While social distancing, mask-wearing and hand— washing have helped us in the short term, vaccines offer a long—term so— lution for a safe return to normal. BCBSND is helping to ensure members who want it have access to the COVID—19 vaccine. One means of increasing access is by covering vaccination costs. It’s an extension of our commitment to put members’ health and well-being first. Traditionally, there are two types of costs related to immunizations— the cost of the vaccine itself and the professional costs associated with ad- ministering the vaccine. In the case of COVID—19, the vaccine itself is being paid for through U.S. taxpayer dollars. The cost of medical staff to administer the vaccine is being ab- sorbed by BCBSND. Therefore, BCBSND members can receive the vaccine with no out-of-pocket cost. H,“ icy would reflect, not unilateral pres- idential power, but the collective wis- dom of the president and Congress acting in concert. The appointment power was cre- ated to provide a constitutional means for filling an office created by congres— sional enactment of a statute. Failure to fill an office would render meaningless the purpose of investing Congress with the authority to create offices, and un- dermine the ability of government to function efficiently. Occasionally, a va— cancy in an office may occur while the Senate is in recess, necessitating a pres- idential power to make “recess ap- pointments.” Thus,Article H, section 2 of the Constitution declares: “The Pres- ident shall have Power to fill up all Va— cancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” . Since the presidency of James Madison, most occupants of the White House have interpreted the Recess Appointment Clause broadly, so that they could fill any existing va- cancies, including those that first oc- curred while the Senate was in session. Rather than nominate some- one who might be defeated, presi- dents could wait until the Senate was in recess to make an “appointment.” When Congress returned, the name ’ of the appointee would be submitted to the Senate for advice and consent, but by that time, the appointee/nom- inee would have acquired valuable experience in the position, making it more difficult for senators to oppose the nomination. The circumvention of the Senate in this manner is what has given rise to controversy over the years. President Ronald Reagan was clever in gaming the system. He used recess appointments for the purpose of undermining the Legal Services Corporation, a governmental agency created to provide legal assistance to the poor in civil cases. In his first year in office, President Reagan made no appointments to the board of directors of the corporation. In his second year, for the purpose of en— suring that holdovers from Jimmy Carter’s term did not dominate the board, Reagan made seven recess ap- pointments at the end of 1981. Over the next couple of years, Reagan nominated people to the board, but then withdrew their names before the Senate could act on the nominations. With the vacancies intact, Reagan proceeded to fill the openings with recess appointments, a strategy that As we inch closer to business as usual, those in the medical field con- tinue to stress the importance of safely reaching herd immunity. That occurs when most people, about 70- 85%, become immune to the virus. The safest way to reach herd immu— nity is through immunization. While the COVID-19 vaccines are new, the science behind them is not. Decades of revolutionary virol- ogy and immunology research led to the viable vaccines before us now. Their quick entry into the market- place was not a shortcut in research . but rather is a direct result of private and public entities working together to expedite the development and de— livery of the vaccines. BCBSND encourages vaccina- tion for every, North Dakotan, unless you have a medical diagnosis that prohibits you from vaccination. Even if you don’t feel you’re especially at risk, please consider vaccination to protect those not able to receive the immunization. :2, v. ,.;V., —.l Abuse (Continued from Page 4) By contrast, debit cards can be processed over a dozen competing networks, which offer better security and lower fees than Visa and Master- card. Not surprisingly, banks and the card networks want to protect the sta- tus quo. They want to continue mak- ing enormous profits on the backs of small businesses and working—class consumers. They love the windfall they’ve seen during the pandemic and are already planning a huge in- crease in fees next year. It’s time to bring competition to credit card ‘swipe fees. Sincerely, Arch Simonson Simonson Station Stores V of North Dakota Grand Forks in your health While the Vaccine will prevent most from getting sick, ongoing re- search is needed to determine if the vaccines prevent you from harboring and spreading coronavirus. Experts are continually learning about simi- larities and differences between nat- ural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. If you have questions about whether you should receive the vac- cine, talk to your physician. Even if you already had COVID- 19, I recommend you get vaccinated, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends. All North Dakotans are eligible to receive COVID-l9 vaccines. To find the nearest vaccine distribution loca- tion near you, go to vaccinefinderorg. Dr. Greg Glasner Fargo (Glasner is the-chief medical ofi‘i- cer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and a 1982 graduate of Rolla High School.) . enabled him to control the agency from 1981 through 1984, even though none of his appointees was ever confirmed by the Senate. Recess appointments of federal judges, including the 15 Supreme Court Justices who have ascended to the High Bench through the recess process, are a matter of special con- cern since their appointment carries, as Article III of the Constitution pro- vides, tenure during “good behavior,” which can mean, generally speaking, a lifetime appointment. Recess ap— pointments have been upheld by the Supreme Court, but it remains dis- turbing that recess judges, who will exercise the same weighty authority as those that have been subjected to the advice and consent of the Senate, will not have been vetted or scruti- nized by the Senate. The tools and powers available to the president to circumvent the checking and balancing mechanism of advice and consent in matters of treaty making and the appointment power remain a matter of concern and controversy. This is not to say that the Senate—the joint partner in treaty making and appointments—is not without its own devices to frus- trate the constitutional design for col-, lective decision making. We turn next week to the ways that the Senate can foil the president’s ambition. Presentation Medical Center 477-3161 \ ‘rll' Ila. Located in Presentation Medical Center, Rollo An account to check on Dear Savvy Senior, I’m 58 years old and working on a plan for my retirement. I’ve read that I need to check my Social Secu— rity statement every year to validate its accuracy. How do I go about doing this? Planning Ahead Dear Planning, Checking your official Social Se- curity statement every year is smart move to make sure your posted eam- ings are correct, which will ensure you get the benefits you’re entitled to. But most Americans don’t do it. In fact, most US workers have never even created a digital “my Social Se- curity account” so they can access their statement information. Here’s what you should know. Online Statements In 2017, as a cost cutting measure, the Social Security Administration stopped mailing paper Social Secu- rity statements to everyone under age 60. The only people who still get statements in the mail are those over age 60 who aren’t yet getting bene- fits and who haven’t set up an online account. (Paper statements, however, are still available to anyone on re- quest by submitting form SSA- 7004.) If you haven’t done so, you should create a “my Social Security account” which will give you instant access to your personal Social Secu- rity statement so you can check your earning record and get estimates of your future retirement benefits at full retirement age, as well as at age 62 and age 70. Your statement will also let you know how much you would qualify for if you become disabled, and how much your family members will re- ceive in survivors benefits if you die. How to Create an Account? To create a “my Social Security account,” go to SSA.gov/myaccount. When you open the account, you’ll be asked to enter your Social Secu- rity number and birth date, and you’ll Prices effective Sunday, August 1 Wedn FRESH Ellllllllll BEEF $299 . -, lb. Reg. or Garlic angdon SAUSAGE $499 Cloverdale SUMMER SAUSAGE Cloverdale 28 oz. Tangy SUMMER Cloverdale RING BOLOGNA Dot’s 16 oz. Bag PRETZELS ......... .. Old Dutch On Cor Breaded and Cooked CHICKEN STRIPS 2I$6 PUNCH ................... .;. lEEI/ERS FOODS Assorted Cloverdale s299 POTATOES .......... ..lb. $1 99 Our Family 24 pack SAUSAGE $799 WATER . $9345 " "THE 3.4m ‘ "’ 1 By Jim Miller also be prompted to answer a series of multiple-choice questions that might include inquiries about finan— cial products you own and previous addresses to confirm your identity. Then you’ll receive a code by either email or text, which you will enter online to complete the process. If you have a problem creating an online account, call 800-772- 1213. After you establish an ac- count, you’ll get an annual email reminder to log on and review your statement. If you have a security freeze on your credit report to help ward off fraud, you must lift it temporarily to Temanson hat’s coming 0 you set up your online Social Security ac- count Specifically, you’ll need to thaw the freeze at Equifax, the company the administration currently uses to help verify users’ identities. , Creating an online account is also a good idea to prevent someone else from fraudulently creating one first and using it to steal benefit payments in the future. Given the number of security breaches in recent years, it’s possible someone may be able to illegally ob- tain your sensitive personal inforrna— tion, like your Social Security number, and use it to set up an ac- count in your name. Once you get access to your state- ment, compare the earnings listed on your statement with your own tax records or W—2 statements. You have to correct errors within 3 years, 3 months and 15 days following the year of the mistake. If you happen to spot a discrep- ancy within that time limit, call 800- 772-1213 to report the error. Some corrections can be made over the phone, or you may need to schedule an appointment and go in with copies of your W-2 forms or tax returns to prove the mistake, or you can mail it m. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, PO. Box 5443, Nor- man, OK 73070, or visit SavvySe- nior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. socIAL Law Firm Paul A. Temanson Lawyer a. E. Ian-ono-u-nI-I-n‘ i . Green Giant 5 12 oz. Ole CHIPS .. Cloverdale’sst. 16 oz. suern Bacon $393 lbs. Idaho Russet .... ........ $258 $1 49 VARIETY PACKS. .... "$699 Red. Orange. Ocean or Lemon Berry . . . n u u u u u u u u u n u u .- HAWAIIAN $259 202 Main Ave. 0 Rolla 0 477-3119 Open Monday-Saturday: 7 am. to 9 pm. SUnday 9 am. to 7 pm.