SENIORS AGAINST FEDERAL EXTRAVAGANCE
NTU SCARES US
McTigue Visit a Huge Success
Maurice McTigue received a standing ovation after his May 18 talk before approximately 200 members of the of the Retired Men's Luncheon Club of Wilmington, Delaware. We received unsolicited comments that his talk was the best ever given in the last several years of monthly meetings.
McTigue talked about how the New Zealand government was turned around by making government agencies accountable for results.
He told how they solved complaints about long lines at Post Offices. They required that customers waiting more than five minutes be given five dollars. To minimize the five dollar giveaways, Post Offices required workers to have either an early or late lunch period.
Starting as a sheep farmer, McTigue was elected to the New Zealand Parliament, as Minister of Employm tHe eliminated most of the programs, concentrating on those that were successful. With 40% fewer employees, the rate of people moving into the private sector was increased by 300%.
He was later Ambassador to Canada and after retirement joined the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia. He consults with agencies of the U.S. government and with governments of other countries. Application of the New Zealand experience can help governments become smaller. For that reason, the Directors of SAFE decided to sponsor the McTigue visit to talk to the Retired Men's Luncheon Club.
While in Delaware, he visited with staff members of the two U.S. Senators and one U. S. Representative. (Senators, Biden and Carper and Repesentative Castle were in Washington, D. C.).He also had breakfast with two Delaware State Representatives and with SAFE Director Jerry Martin.
As this is written, we do not know the full effect of the McTigue visit, but believe it was a very worthwhile use of SAFE assets.
Two members have suggested joining for more than one year, and have done so. Not a bad idea. That way, members can avoid having to write a check each year, and Directors can work on furthering the aims of SAFE rather than reminding members to rejoin. So, go ahead, rejoin now for 2002 and as many later years as you wish. Send $5.00 for each year plus whatever contributions you wish.
President Bill Morris, Wilmington, Delaware
Treasurer Ed Fasig, Wilmington, Delaware
Barry Dorsch, Wilmington, Delaware
Orville Wetmore, Wilmington, Delaware
Dick Bewick, Dover, Delaware
Jerry Martin, Wilmington, Delaware
Ed Fasig, Wilmington, Delaware
Bob Hammond, Milton, Delaware
Newark (DE) Community Day
We have applied for a space at the September 16 Newark Community Day, and expect to receive it (we always have-we'II know July 25). For a mere $25.00 we can participate in a day with a large crowd on the campus of the University of Delaware.
Along with "Community Information", including SAFE, there will be food, a flea market, art and craft sales, and various performances.
We'll be there with our big banner (Seniors Against Federal Extravagance), providing information and signing up members. Datails will be developed after we receive confirmation. If you know a 6 to 12 year old child who is a "ham", we could perform little theatre pointing out our focus on helping the next generation. Let's talk.
If you have suggestions and/or want to volunteer to spend some time at the booth, call Bill at (302) 475-7060.
If you want to consider using the banner to publicize SAFE in Delaware or elsewhere, please call Bill.
Scary Entitlement Future
After 2016 when social security payments will equal social security taxes, the operating deficits will total $21.0 trillion from 2016 to 2075. This dwarfs the total surplus of $1.0 trillion from now to 2015. These estimates, published by the National Taxpayers Union in their 2001 Chartbook are derived from projection by social security's trustees.
Assumptions are that taxes are not increased, benefits are not decreased, and the system is not changed. These assumptions and the estimates are needed to point out the urgency of making needed changes ASAP.
SAFE has been urging privatizing social security and paying off federal debt as rapidly as possible while there is a surplus of social security taxes over social security payments. Both are important, but the potential financial meltdown indicates that we should emphasize privatization. The long term returns from stock and bond investments could rescue the next generations from the failure of the "pay as you go" approach.
We believe we are the only seniors organization that is dedicated to protecting the financial future of the next generations and that is not asking for anything for seniors.
Based on the above information from the 2001 Chart book, seniors should not be asking for anything more. We could get along with "modest limitations", in our entitlements.
Entitlements per retiree in 1999 were four times the 1965 level,,
Important elements of the problem are that life expectancy has increased, but retirement age has decreased. Those over 65 were 8% of the population in 1950, are 12% now, and will be 20 to 24% in 2040. Voters over 65 were 16% in 1966, 24% in 1998, and will be 35% in 2038.
Obviously our children and grandchildren are in serious jeopardy. As a very special senior's organization, we can help them.
Constitution Changes (YAWN)
A proposed addition to our constitution is that Directors must be at least 60 years of age. We propose to continue welcoming members of any age to join and be as active as they wish.
The 60-year limitation is meant to ensure that seniors set policy, thus averting any possible future criticism that we do not represent the interest of seniors,, without this limitation, it would be possible for younger members to take control. Members of the present Board are well over 60.
Other changes that will be prepared are described on Page 5. Constitution changes will be voted on at the Annual Meeting in November. Details of the Annual Meeting will be provided in the October Fall Newsletter.
SAFE can become more effective as our membership grows. We grow through the efforts of members, including person to person contact and letters-to-the-editor. Let it be known that you are a member of SAFE. If you'd like a draft of a letter to the editor, see page 5, see newsletters 19 and 21.
Letters to the Editor
We have tried direct mail. Two small scale mailings were marginally successful and direct mail is on hold. We are now trying low cost advertising, with classified ads in "Human Events", a weekly newspaper.
If you want to try something similar on your own, please go for it and let us know the result. We welcome any suggestions you might have.
Subscribers to Out-Of-Delaware papers.
When you see a letter-to-the-editor that expresses our point of view, please contact and congratulate the writer. Tell them about SAFE and send a copy of the last page of this newsletter, or, if you prefer, let us know and we'll send a newsletter. The writer will appreciate your interest and you'll be helping SAFE to grow.
Gate's Handbook for Congress
Cato Institute issued their fourth "Handbook for Congress" this year. They sent the 680-page, 64 chapter handbook to members of the U. S. House, Senate and White House staff. Here are some of the recommendations that SAFE agrees with:
Allow young workers to redirect their social security payroll taxes to private retirement accounts.
End all corporate welfare which costs taxpayers $65 billion a year.
Close the departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, Agriculture, and Interior; the Legal Services Corporation and Tennessee Valley Authority; and other entities, saving taxpayers $256 billion.
Open medical savings accounts to all Americans, free of federal meddling.
More Constitution Changes
The latest constitution changes were made in 1997. Changes are proposed to reflect the way we really operate. Under "objectives" we propose tochange enrolling "senior Delawareans" to "U.S. Citizens", and eliminate encouragement of the formation of similar organizations in other states. (Instead, we are enrolling as many members in as many states as we can.)
We propose to drop a requirement that amendments be sponsored by at least 10% of the members. Experience shows that members are not that interested in the constitution.
We propose dropping a requirement that the President-Elect chair the membership committee. At present a Director is chair, and all other Directors are considered members of the membership committee. Ideally, every member of SAFE would be recruiting new members.
We are governed by six Directors, under a ten-page constitution and bylaws, which have been and are now available to members on request.
Here is a new letter-to-the-editor that anyone outside of Delaware should feel free to use "as is" or as the basis for a letter.
Letter-to-t he-Editor Generational Setback
Our ancestors have worked to give their children a better lilfe. At one time, farmers cleared the land and left productive farms for their children. Later, parents have paid to secure a better education for their children than the parents had. Such sacrifices have helped to improve the standard of living from generation to generation. This steady improvement appears due for a setback for three reasons:
1) First is demographics. With a pay-as-you-go social security system, there will be only two workers to support each retiree. With the huge political clout of retirees, emphasis will fall on higher taxes rather than reduced entitlements.
Second is the irresponsible accumulation of federal debt. Ifit doesn't get paid down, an increase in interest rates could result in an interest cost double the total military spending.
3) Third is the increasing level of entitlements, such as prescription drug coverage for everybody, which will make the problem worse.
Fortunately, there are many seniors who want to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. An organization that fits into this category is Seniors Against Federal Extravagance (s-a-f-e.org). I am proud to be a member. We believe we are the only Seniors organization focused on the future welfare of the next generations.
We want to prevent a generational setback by privatizing Social Security, thereby, moving away from the present pay-as-you-go Ponzi scheme. We want to cut federal government spending and pay off the debt before the demographic time bomb explodes. We want to avoid additional entitlements, which would exacerbate future conflict between generations.
Let's solve this problem now!
Occasionally, someone asks about meetings. We do have an annual meeting and the Directors meet bimonthly for lunch. However, if you'd like to promote an informal get-together, we'll be happy to cooperate. This can be difficult where members are far apart, but we can try. At the least, we can communicate by telephone or e-mail..