The continuing confusion regarding our nation’s Social Security program is again apparent from the Oct. 2 commentary from Parker Short.

This serious misunderstanding — shared by a large number of citizens — is simply that Social Security is not a tax in the usual sense. It is an insurance program.

The 6.2 percent deduction from wages, plus another 6.2 percent from the employer, becomes an insurance premium toward participants’ old age — should the participants live that long.

I have been disappointed over the years with the poor job the Social Security Administration has done in explaining to the public, through schools, universities and local organizations of all kinds, what the program is and something of its history.

After completing my legislative service, I worked as a volunteer for AARP doing what seemed to me the job that Social Security should be doing, giving talks all over the state to all kinds of groups explaining the program.

That program is officially OAIS, or Old Age Insurance System, giving benefits only to those who live long enough to be helped by the program. You die, you get a very small death benefit. You live into your 70s, 80s or 90s, you get some help for your old age.

Mr. Parker will probably eventually get this help with a monthly check, and that check’s amount will also reflect the years of his participation.

Young taxpayers like Mr. Parker are already paying sales taxes in nonfood items, so he’s already suffered “taxation without representation”!

Karl Swan, Clearfield