S. A. F. E.
SENIORS AGAINST FEDERAL EXTRAVAGANCE
NUMBER 19 Fall 2000
|NEWARK DE COMMUNITY DAY||DIRECT MAIL|
|AARP LOBBYISTS VS MEMBERS||PLEASE JOIN US|
|ANNUAL MEETING||DIRECTORSHIP OPEN|
|MEMBER IN EVERY STATE||OP-EDS AND LETTERS|
|WHERE TO CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING|
If you joined or rejoined after June 30, 2000, you are a member for 2001. If not, now is the time to rejoin. Just tear off the back page and send it in with your check for at least $5.
How about adding the last page to your pile of bills? If you rejoin now, we won't nag you later.
NEWARK DE COMMUNITY DAY
Backed up by our big black on yellow banner, we spread the word about SAFE at the 9-17 Community Day. Thanks to John Skehan, Ed Fasig and Bill Morris for representing us. Passersby were asked whether they believe the federal government is too small, about right, or too big.
Of the 234 participants, 74% said "too big," 22% "about right" and only 3% "too small." The 64 participants who are members of AARP gave almost identical results.
The same day we e-mailed or faxed a news release to two TV stations, six newspapers and 18 radio stations. The central point was that AARP members and AARP lobbyists disagree strongly on the appropriate size of government. If the complete legislature agenda of AARP were enacted, spending would increase by a whopping $944 billion per year, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.
The good news — the media heard from us. The bad news - they didn't publish anything. Now for Plan B. We can highlight the difference between AARP lobbyists and AARP members by using the news release as the basis for a letter to the editor. Director Dick Bewick has already written such a letter to the State News (Dover, DE).
Here is the news release FYI and as a basis for your letter. If you wish, we'll supply it in letter to the editor form. Just let us know by mail, telephone, e-mail, or carrier pigeon.
AARP LOBBYISTS VERSUS MEMBERS
Most AARP members think the federal government is too big, according to a poll conducted by Seniors Against Federal Extravagances. In the poll, conducted September 17 at the Newark Community Day, 73% of AARP members said the federal government is "too big," 23% said the size of the federal government is "about right" and only 3% said the federal government is "too small."
"I'm not surprised at these results," said Bill Morris, President of SAFE. 'This contrasts with the big government bias of the Washington, D.C. office and lobbyists of AARP. They apparently believe the federal government is too small. If their complete legislative agenda were enacted, spending would increase by a whopping $944 billion per year, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation."
Of all the 236 participants in the poll, 74% believe the federal government is "too big," 22% "about right" and 3% "too small." Sixty-four of the participants were AARP members.
According to Morris, AARP lobbyists have been at odds with most members of the AARP for years, and few of the members are aware of that fact.
You are invited to our annual meeting at 1 p.m., Tuesday, November 14 at the Ches-Del Restaurant a mile south of the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal. We'll elect two Directors to serve 2001 through 2003. They will replace Walt Kabis and Roland Downing. We thank Walt and Roland for their valuable service to SAFE.
This will be an opportunity to meet the officers, learn more about what we're doing and plan to do, and give us your input. You are not expected to buy anything, but you can order food and drinks if you wish.
The Ches-Del Restaurant is on Route 13. Coming from the north on Route 13 and Route 1, stay in the right lane of the beautiful bridge that crosses the Canal. You will leave the bridge to the right, go back under the bridge and then south, less than a mile, to the Ches-Del. Just before the restaurant, turn left toward Port Penn. After a few yards turn right to the Ches-Del.
Bill Morris, Wilmington, DE (302) 475-7060
Ed Fasig, Wilmington, DE (302)999-0611
Director, 2000-2002 Dick Bewick, Dover, DE (302) 735-9720
Phil Mink, Newark, DE (302) 738-0497
Director, 2000-2001 Ed Fasig, Wilmington, DE (302)999-0611
Bob Hammond, Milton, DE (302) 684-2666
Roland Downing, Wilmington, DE (302)478-1618
Walt Kabis, Odessa, DE (302) 378-9369
NOTE: SAFE is a grass-roots all-volunteer organization. We have 501(C)3 tax status, so contributions are tax deductible.
MEMBER IN EVERY STATE
We are down from nine to five states that don't have the advantage of a SAFE member. Here are the recalcitrant states:
New Mexico Rhode Island Nebraska
Surely, at least one member has a friend, a relative, or a classmate in each of these states. Please recruit a member.' If you want us to send a newsletter to your prospect, call Ed at (302) 999-0661, or email Budwiliy©aol.com
DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGN
We've made two mailings, each to about 1100, 62-65 year old voters in two upper middle class suburbs of Wilmington, DE. In the first mailing, about 0.5% of recipients joined and in the second about 1.0% joined. One percent, we are told, is typical for this type of mailing. As an important bonus, the second mailing brought us Barry Dorsch who is a candidate for Director. We have not decided what to do next. Any comments or suggestions you might have are welcomed. If you have experience in this area, your comments or suggestions are especially welcomed.
Here are some details, in case you are interested. Both mailings went to all 6265 year old voters in the 10th and 11th Delaware Representative Districts. About half are Republican, one-fourth Democrat, and one-fourth independent, with a few small party members.
Both mailings included our membership flyer which is at the back of this and all newsletters. The first mailing included a letter, starting with: "Dear Prospective Member, If you are one of those - like many of us -- who is concerned about the financial security of your children and grandchildren and other young Americans, then SAFE should be of significant interest to you. SAFE has one focus: the well-being of future generations.
PLEASE JOIN US
Discussing SAFE further, with "PLEASE JOIN US" twice more, the one-page letter ends by asking the recipient to send in the membership application form.
Having heard that repeat mailings are required for good results, we decided to mail to •the same people (less the 7% returned letters) with different letters in hopes of finding a superior approach. We did so with three letters, each to a third of our list.
One letter (A) was two pages with the heading: "Thank God we don't get all the government we pay for!." It included: "SAFE is unique. We're not like other seniors organizations that sound like Oliver Twist, forever crying "More!." After discussing Social Security, the debt, and drug benefits, it included 'Finally, there's the issue of fairness to those generations hard at work today and those to come." This letter was signed by Ed Fasig, Membership Chairman.
The next two letters were one-pagers, signed by Bill Mortis, President. The second letter (B) had the heading: "Your children and grandchildren" followed by: "What will their future be like? Maybe everything will keep getter better throughout this millennium. Let's hope so." Uncertain risks were then mentioned, with the inability to protect against everything, but the ability to join SAFE which focuses on the future well-being of the next generations.
The third letter (C) had the heading "The AARP lobbyists" followed by: "They work for bigger government, while most Americans think the government is already too big! We disagree with the AARP lobbyists. We advocate cutting spending to protect the future of the next generations."
Only one member was obtained from mailing B. Five members from five households were obtained from mailing C and six members from three households were obtained from mailing A. With the small number of new members obtained, we are not ready to draw firm conclusions. However, attacking the pernicious effect of the AARP lobbyists might be productive. What do you think?
Incidentally, those who joined are close to the same proportions of Republicans, Democrats and Independents as those in the mailing. Any future mailings will include all registered voters in a specific age range.
If you'd like copies of our first mailing and the three versions in our , second mailing, please let us know.
Thanks to those who helped with our second mailing of the direct mail campaign: John Boughton, Ed Fasig, Bill Hoover, Bill Morris, Herb Moss, Chuck Oertel, Gene Pierce, Joe Reed and Bill Sevems. Special thanks to John Gardner who helped all three days plus an abbreviated fourth day to wind up the job.
Well be electing two Directors at our November 14 annual meeting. If you want to consider being a Director now or in the future, please call Bill Morris at (302) 4757060.
Directors are important in SAFE. The six Directors decide policy matters and make major decisions. The minimum requirement to be a Director is to agree with the goals of SAFE and to attend the bimonthly meetings. Currently, we have luncheon meetings in Delaware, during the week. Specific dates are decided by consensus.
We realize that if you are remote from Delaware, it may not be practical to be a Director. Please, do not let that deter you from being an active member. We can communicate in other ways and you can become a State Coordinator if you are willing. Regardless of your level of participation, your help is certainly welcomed.
OP-EDS AND LETTERS
An Op-Ed piece by Bill Morris featured the uncertainty of government predictions of future surpluses, and the need to cut spending and pay down debt as quickly as possible. It was published in Dover, DE and Farmington, NM and possibly elsewhere.
SAFE member D. D. Reed of Torrington, WY had a letter to the editor published on the same general subject. The letter referred to SAFE. We hope you will use this method to obtain free publicity for SAFE.
To make it easy, we include the following letters that you can borrow from, or use "as is." Please send a clipping when your letter is published.
To The Editor
If you overuse credit cards and accumulate a large debt, then get a substantial pay raise, what should you do? If you are sensible, you will pay off the debt ASAP. The future is uncertain so it would be very unwise to look for ways to spend the additional money. Yet that is just what the federal government is doing with the current surplus.
One example is the 'current momentum to add prescription drugs to the benefits we seniors already get. The problem is that even the present level of benefits can't be maintained after the baby boomers retire. Proponents of a prescription drug benefit would include all seniors. If the Congress insists on adding this new benefit, it should be reserved for those who "have to choose between buying drugs and buying food." Middle class and wealthy seniors don't have to make such a choice even when using expensive drugs. Fairness to the next generations requires that the federal government refrain from adding new programs, and cut present programs wherever possible. The federal debt of about $20,000 per citizen should be paid off before the baby boomers retire in large numbers.
We'd better pay off the debt ASAP, because the future is uncertain. For example, if interest rates return to the 1980's level, the increase in interest cost in the federal budget will be larger than total military spending.
So, let's clean up the mess and clear the decks before the crunch comes. Fairness to our children and grandchildren demands it. We who are members of Seniors Against Federal Extravagance (s-af-e.org) want the Federal government to adopt this responsible policy.
To The Editor.
There is a big disconnect between AARP policies and the interest of Baby Boomers. When the Baby Boomers retire there will be only two workers per retiree. The greater the federal debt at that time, the more entitlements will have to be cut below the levels that present seniors enjoy.
AARP policies work to increase the debt. If their complete legislative agenda were enacted, federal spending would increase by a whopping $944 billion per year, as reported by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. Such policies work against Baby Boomers, members of Generation X, and present seniors who are interested in the future of the next generations.
To protect the future of the next generations, the federal government should cut spending and pay off as much debt as possible before the Baby Boomers retire. I advocate that policy as do other members of Seniors Against Federal Extravagance (SAFE).
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Delaware member Bill Hoover suggests the motto "Better Be S-A-F-E than sorry (for your grandchildren)"
Would you put this bumper sticker on your car?
S-A-F-E.org Seniors Against Federal Extravagance
Comments? Other ideas?
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If you don't keep your newsletter please don't throw it away! Give it to a prospective member. If not that, at least leave it at the airport or the dentist's office or anyplace where someone might pick it up and read it.
WHERE TO CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING
The federal government should decrease the dollars spent from one year to the next. This is the responsibility of Congress, but here are a few suggestions:
ELIMINATE CORPORATE WELFARE
Elimination of corporate welfare should be easy to agree on. In fact, Congress is already moving in that direction and is considering cutting $10 billion. We could prod them to do more— Cato institute has identified $65 billion of corporate welfare.
ELIMINATE SOME DEPARTMENTS - SCALE BACK OTHERS
Energy Dept - The energy companies are capable of supplying all the energy we need without subsidies or excessive regulations. Most of the functions of this Dept. should be eliminated as well as the department. Commerce Dept - Let private companies compete on a free market. Let them promote their own products overseas. Education Dept - The more local control the better. There is far too much bureaucracy in the government education system.
All other departments should be viewed with a critical eye, with a bias toward elimination or downsizing.
Much of welfare cost goes to administration. The system should be simplified to eliminate most of the overhead.
DECREASE WELFARE BENEFITS
Welfare benefits are quite substantial. This reduces the incentive to be self - supporting and is very unfair to low income people who are self -supporting. Based on a Cato institute study (briefing paper No. 27, 6/12196) the head of a one parent Delaware family receiving housing assistance would have to earn $10 per hour to maintain the same standard of living as that obtained on welfare.
STOP FEDERAL PAYMENTS TO STATES
Taxpayers send money to Washington, DC and some of it is sent back with government controls. Each dollar sent back is another dollar added to the debt. Stop payments to the states and let the States get along without federal subsidies.
STOP ALL SUBSIDY PAYMENTS
Subsidies mean those paying for goods and services may not want them enough to pay the full price, while someone else is paying part of the price and receiving nothing. "If you get something for nothing, someone else is getting nothing for something."
SHARE BURDEN ACROSS GENERATIONS
Retirees should do their part to help put this country on track by accepting modest reductions in entitlements.
CUT REGULATIONS TO HELP THE ECONOMY
We got along in the past without the regulations now in effect. Anyone in a small business knows how expensive and, in some cases, how ridiculous regulations can be.
SELL SOME GOVERNMENT ASSETS
The federal government owns a tremendous amount of land, buildings, mineral rights, and other assets. Many of these assets could and should be sold. A sale of assets to pay off part of the debt would help mitigate the unfairness of the debt to future generations. It would also decrease interest payments which are about 15% of the budget
SENIORS AGAINST FEDERAL EXTRAVAGANCE (SAFE)
SAFE is dedicated to the future welfare of the next generations. There will be a serious entitlement problem when the baby boomers retire. With only two workers per retiree, we can expect the baby boomers to receive less Social Security than present seniors receive and we can expect members of Generation X to pay much higher taxes than present seniors have paid.
To counter the dangerous effects of skyrocketing entitlements, we advocate inclusion of private savings in a revised Social Security system.
If the federal government continues to increase spending, the next generations will have to contend with a huge federal debt in addition to the entitlement problem. In fairness to the next generations, we want the debt to be paid off before the baby boomers retire. We advocate cutting federal government spending now to make sure the debt is paid.
In contrast to other seniors organizations, we do not want to maximize our gains at the expense of the younger taxpayers. We are willing to accept modest limitations of our entitlements if government spending is decreased so the debt can be paid off. We are willing to do our part for the sake of the next generations.
There is no age limitation for membership in SAFE
I AGREE WITH SAFE. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST DECREASE SPENDING TO PROTECT THE FINANCIAL FUTURE OF THE NEXT GENERATIONS.
`SAFE is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. Contributions are tax deductible.
For more information, visit our web site at www.s-a-f-e.org e-mail budwilly@aol. (302) 475-7060