Newsletter 80 - Winter 2015

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A milestone
Many voices (18 of our members)
It could happen in America
Path forward
SAFE Board
About SAFE

A milestone – We are pleased to bring you the 20th anniversary issue of this newsletter, which has been published quarterly since the spring of 1996. It’s a good time to celebrate the past and also reflect on the path forward.

SAFE (originally Seniors Against Federal Extravagance) sprang from discussions of a small group of civic-minded individuals (Bill Morris et al.) about the need for fiscal responsibility in government. The founders succeeded in getting a story in the News Journal, telephone calls poured in, and the group was off and running. About SAFE

Our initial slogan was “Smaller government now for a safe future for our grandchildren and all of us.” A cartoon to make the point (“Grandpa” offers to help a struggling child carry the US debt) was published in issue 8 (Winter 1997) and appeared on the mailing page of the newsletter for years. The cartoon appears below, and is on the mailing page of the paper edition of this issue.
Bill Morris was the president until 2003, and he remained active in SAFE until his death in
2013. Barry Dorsch served as president for two years and was then succeeded by Bill Whipple (who with the assistance of an able board of directors is still in the post).

In 2006, the name of the organization was changed to Secure America’s Future Economy with the objectives of accentuating the positive and attracting younger members. Many thanks to Charlie Kaszytski, our now retired webmaster, for suggesting the name.

Looking ahead, SAFE’s perspective is needed more than ever. At the end of 1997, the gross federal debt was about $5.3 trillion; it’s nearly $19 trillion now – which works out to an inflation-adjusted growth rate of 5% per year. Even Grandpa might have trouble helping to carry the growing load.

To get the government and this country back on track, Americans must put their collective feet down and demand corrective action. Are you with us?

Many voices – SAFE members have been persistent advocates for smaller, more focused, less costly government. Here are some examples of our collective output, in chronological order. (For links to the underlying letters, etc., see the on-line edition. Secure America’s Future Economy, Administrative Section, Newsletter Page, No. 80.)

John Boughton: [Government] grants are an insidious poison in several ways, one of which is the costly federal, state and local bureaucracies required for the applications to receive and the administration of the grants. For example, one anti drug program for schools has a 74-page application kit that references 1,300 pages of regulations that grant recipients must follow. It takes a small army of people to follow and to monitor the activity, and not much useful comes of this bureaucratic cost in time and dollars. 1

Barry Dorsch: Here’s what’s going on: We send taxes to Washington, D.C. The bureaucrats spend part, then let us have the rest if we spend it according to their complicated rules. I say, use the money to pay off debt, to help protect our children and grandchildren.

Steve McClain: To re-establish national financial discipline will require serious consideration and good will from all of us. [But] we are more divided and unwilling to participate in a common effort to address our nation’s problems than at any other time in my life and I fear for our country’s future.

Bill Whipple: Two recent editorials say the candidates should offer ideas to combat the relentless rise in healthcare costs. I agree. To devise a solution, however, it is important to understand why healthcare costs have been soaring. In a nutshell, the interface between healthcare providers and consumers has been subverted because intermediaries (insurance companies and/or government agencies) pay most of the bills.

Chuck Oertel: A two-column article appearing on page one of the local Delaware section highlighted a group supporting a public health insurance option. [There was] a large photograph, above the fold, which showed [about a dozen] supporters carrying signs promoting government healthcare. *** Last month over one million people, many of them from Delaware, demonstrated on the Washington Mall against government’s involvement in healthcare and the exorbitant costs associated with it. The News-Journal belatedly covered this event with a small article buried in the newspaper.

Harry Kenton: The environmentalists continually preach foreign oil independence, a worthy goal, but then do all they can to deny us local oil, which is counterproductive. Their dreamy myth is that non-fossil energy – wind, solar, etc. – is all we need. This is pure fantasy, not true in the foreseeable future and perhaps never.

Jose Alvarez: We read and hear many, including the News Journal, stir the cry of increasing taxes on greedy corporations, suggesting among other things that profits are illegal and immoral, and therefore such corporations should be punished for being successful. The truth is that corporations do not really pay taxes. It is the people who pay for their products and services that do.

Jim Venema: By eliminating the Department of Energy we would save about $39 billion annually and probably wind up with energy initiatives that make sense. By eliminating the Department of Education we would save about $70 billion annually and help to prevent the further destruction of our public education system. Between the two we would save $1 trillion in the next 10 years – and be better off for it.

John Nichols: Supporters of alternative energy, like intermittent wind and solar, believe it replaces an equal amount of reliable energy (coal, nuclear or natural gas). Unless each unit of alternative energy is backed-up by an equal unit of reliable energy, however, the switch will reduce the capacity value of the grid and lessen the ability to meet peak demand. The end result would be a need for prioritized electricity delivery.

Edgar Fasig: US Attorney General Eric Holder has stonewalled US Rep. Darrell Issa’s committee for 18 months [re “Fast & Furious”] and now, the president, who initially said he knew nothing about the program, has cited executive privilege to prevent crucial documents from being sent to the committee.

Bill Morris: . . . special evacuation plans for those living within ten miles of a nuclear plant could easily do harm, but no good. *** It has been proved many times that lower level radiation is not harmful, but beneficial. This phenomenon, called “hormesis,” occurs widely. Just one example: one aspirin can cure a headache, but a thousand might kill you. *** A realistic re-evaluation [of the 10-mile “evacuation radius”] should result in much cheaper nuclear power and a lower cost of electricity.

John Greer: [Manmade global warming] "believers" put their faith in computer models and the United Nations IPCC. But the models are not evidence and do not match reality. And nothing could be less scientific or more political than the United Nations.

Jim Thomen: I fear, as we allow our government to continue its phenomenal growth, we are forfeiting our inherited freedoms and are relying on “The Road to Serfdom.” It is time we citizens rein in our government and reassert greater control over our individual lives.

Andy Betley: This book [The Way Forward, Paul Ryan] is a relatively quick read, which will provoke considerable thought on the part of the reader. The content listed below is not the usual political generalities. You will find that Congressman Ryan is specific as to the means and methods required to achieve the change he promotes.
Sept. 2014

rycK Stout: The debt is now intractable and there is no way to pay it off or even stop or slow down its cancerous progress. We are letting a profligate government undermine our wealth and certainly that of our children and later offspring.
Fall 2014

Dan Kerrick: Many lenders have reconsidered debt collection practices and whether or not to enforce lending agreements after consumer defaults, simply to avoid the inevitable consumer complaint or inquiry [to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]. Additional bad debt and compliance costs have added to their overhead, which must, of course, be passed on to consumers.
Spring 2015

Jerry Martin: Democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. *** Basically we are at that point with almost 50% of our population on some form of government subsidy – welfare, food stamps, EITC and even free cell phones! I urge readers to contact your state senator to urge them to vote "NO" on SB 111 (same day voting registration bill).

Suzie Dickson: The Supreme Court has recognized same sex marriage as a constitutional right. This harmonized with prior decisions, e.g., Roe v. Wade (generalized right to abortion), but raises questions as to how far the Court should be willing to go in blurring traditional sexual mores. Also, conflicts between 1st Amendment rights (freedom of speech & religion) and the inferred right of same sex marriage will spawn further litigation. Summer talk, Conservative Caucus of Delaware, 7/25/15

It could happen in America, by Jose Alvarez -This video (7:16) is about problems that undermined the economy and social fabric of an advanced and prosperous nation due to a government takeover of the economy. Remember that at the time Irigoyen came to power in Argentina (1910s), Socialism was widely viewed as the answer to society’s problems.

Historically, the facts re Argentina are essentially correct. Growing up in Cuba, I remember how the perspective of Argentina was still one of a great power!

In our country, the soaring national debt, and the fact that this problem is hardly discussed by either party, is
totally scary. The seeming inability to balance the federal budget is, for me, an incontrovertible indication that an economic crisis is coming.

Since the US Economy is currently viewed as the last remaining bastion of stability, any economic crisis here will be global. And the most worrisome issue is the social upheaval that will predictably come with it.

Re the political sentiments at the end of the video, I wish that a good portion of the “guilt” had been attributed to “Republicans” in the US. Truly, fiscal irresponsibility is a bipartisan problem.

If we got one-tenth of what was promised in State of the Union speeches, there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven. - Will Rogers

Path forward – Over the past 20 years, the government (which consumes or redistributes wealth) has grown considerably faster than the private sector (which produces wealth). Things will end badly if this continues.

Here are some needed changes: slash spending (not across the board but on a targeted basis); make the tax system simpler and fairer; eliminate regulations that can’t be justified on a realistic cost vs. benefit basis; and restructure Social Security and healthcare programs so they will be sustainable. See the
policy statements on our website for discussion.

Such actions will not be taken unless Americans demand them. In the run-up to the 2016 elections, SAFE will be keeping tabs on where the candidates stand on the issues and reporting our findings. Stay tuned!

SAFE Board
Andrew Betley, (302) 239-9679
Suzie Dickson
Edgar Fasig, treasurer, (302) 999-0611
Dan Kerrick, (302) 658-7101
Steve McClain, (302) 998-3910
Jerry Martin, (302) 478-5064
rycK Stout, (302) 478-9495
Bill Whipple, president, (302) 464-2688
For e-mail addresses see

About SAFE - SAFE is a non-partisan, all-volunteer organization that was founded in 1996. We advocate smaller, more focused, lower cost government, to be achieved by cutting spending, restructuring “entitlements,” simplifying taxes, and rationalizing regulations.

The SAFE agenda is promoted through: (1) Our
website, including issue statements, a weekly blog, and a “Delaware Chatter” microblog; (2) Letters to the editor, public events, legislative contacts, etc., which are also posted and/or recapped on the website; (3) This quarterly newsletter, available in print (since 1996) and now electronic editions; and (4) Posts on Twitter and/or Facebook (click icons on the website to access). SAFE dues are $10 per year for subscribers to the print edition of the newsletter and zero for electronic subscribers. Contributions are also appreciated and may be tax deductible (SAFE is a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization). To join SAFE, renew your membership, or make a contribution, please print and complete this form and mail it with your check to SAFE, 214 N. Spring Valley Road, Wilmington, DE 19807. Thank you!