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NEWSLETTER   # 32        WINTER 2003 - 2004

Main Topics

OUR PRESIDENT

ON TALK RADIO

NEW PRESIDENT-ELECT

SOCIAL SECURITY
       ACTUARY BOOSTERS PRA'S

PRINT AND CIRCULATE

OFFICERS

THIS NEWSLETTER

TID BITS

REGULATIONS


MEMBERSHIP

      Thanks to everyone who has rejoined for 2004, and special thanks to those who have rejoined for 2005 or beyond. 

      We have an important mission, and the larger our membership, the more effective we’ll be.  So, please rejoin now and get us some new members.  Even one or two will be a big help – it all adds up.


     It is time to blow the whistle on the unregulated discharge of dihydrogen monoxide into our streams and into the air.  This chemical causes death when accidentally inhaled.  When contacted in gaseous form, it can cause blisters over the entire body.

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MEET OUR PRESIDENT

           

       Barry, a Wilmington, DE resident, was co-chairman of Taxpayers Lobby, a Delaware Organization, several years ago.  He is semi-retired from the DuPont Company where he was a customer service representative.

      He now works part time at a travel agency. Barry and his wife “Trish” occasionally use their time-share in the Caribbean.

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DORSCH & MORRIS

ON RADIO

      SAFE President, Barry Dorsch and founder Bill Morris were November 26th guests on the Rick Jensen talk show (WDEL 1150, Wilmington, DE). 

     The Medicare bill including new prescription drug coverage had just been passed, so that was the main topic.  Rick Jensen and most callers were opposed to the bill. 

     Barry and Bill expressed SAFE’s opposition, because of the huge additional spending when our children and grandchildren will be paying the tab. 

     We were also able to name our web site and to express our opposition to the big government bias of the Washington, D.C. office of AARP. 

     Most of the new Medicare bill will take effect 2006 or later.  There will undoubtedly be changes meanwhile. 

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ANNUAL MEETING

     We elected Director Bill Whipple as President-Elect. He will serve as President in 2005.  Bill is retired from the DuPont Company where his assignments included international finance, taxes, and financial planning. He is an attorney and financial consultant. Bill is on a Pennsylvania Federal Court Civil Rights Panel. 

     Bill, his daughter, and son-in-law all helped at our table at the 2003 Newark, DE Community Day.  His article on Social Security is in this newsletter. 

     At the Annual Meeting, we enjoyed lunch, general conversation, and discussion of SAFE activities, past and present.  In addition to Directors, we were joined by SAFE member Steve McClain and our webmaster, Charles Kaszytski, both of Wilmington, DE.

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SOCIAL SECURITY:

TIME FOR ACTION

Bill Whipple

     Our Social Security system is operating on a pay as we go basis that will – unless it is fixed soon – lead to major tax increases and/or benefit reductions. 

·         About a year ago, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pegged the unfunded liability for Social Security at $4.6 trillion.  This is about $1 trillion more than the current national debt (held by the public). 

·         A 7/17/03 article in the Wall Street Journal cited new OMB projections showing that “Social Security’s imbalance exceeds $7 trillion.” 

·         Per a 12/1/03 Wall Street Journal article, the unfunded liabilities of Social Security are “about $10.5 trillion.” 

    I don’t know which figure is right. You may be sure, however, that (a) the unfunded liability is huge, and (b) it is growing because Congress is spending the current excess (until around 2017) of social security tax payments over benefits for other purposes. 

     As you may recall, this is a longstanding problem.  “The time is act is now,” said the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security in August 2001, but nothing happened.  Instead, the Bush Administration fought for a Medicare prescription drug benefit that will cost a lot of money without benefiting most seniors. Would it be too much to ask that Social Security reform be addressed in 2004, which – in case our political leaders have forgotten – is an election year? 

     SAFE believes that future retirees deserve some real assurance (Government IOUs don’t qualify) that they (or their heirs) will receive the Social Security benefits they are paying for.  The way to do this, we believe, is to permit active workers to earmark a portion of their payroll taxes for Private Retirement Accounts (PRAs). 

     Some reform advocates have suggested that earmarked contributions for PRAs be capped at 2% of a worker’s pay (1/6 of the combined payroll tax for Social Security paid by the worker and his/her employer).  Others support a bolder approach. 

     According to a recent analysis by Steve Goss, the chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, and his professional staff, PRAs could safely be funded at up to 6.4% of pay (taxable portion).  “The Social Security program would be expected to be solvent,” concludes Mr. Goss, “and to meet its benefit obligations throughout the long-range period 2003 through 2077 and beyond.”  Wall Street Journal editorial and companion article by Peter Ferrara, 12/1/03. 

     Not only is such an approach viable from a fiscal standpoint, albeit with some modest assumptions about moderating the growth of Federal spending and issuing interim debt to finance the transition to a funded system, but it should also be politically attractive. As Steve Forbes put it (Forbes, 9/25/03): 

    Since Republicans are going to get hammered for even considering changing the current on-its-way-to-going-broke system, they might as well be bold instead of tentative. They should advocate an exciting, whole-hog alternative to today’s system, thereby making the reform effort worth the political heat. 

     SAFE is a nonpartisan organization, which does not endorse the programs of any political party. Therefore, we would welcome action by Republicans and Democrats alike to finally modernize the Social Security system instead of letting the problem get steadily worse. 

     What is the AARP position?  Interesting that you should ask. After getting hammered by their membership for supporting the Medicare prescription drug benefit, they seem to be pulling in their horns on this issue. “AARP drops out of Social Security forums:  Group cites its desire to avoid partisan politics.”  The News Journal, 12/16/03.  Hmm – sounds like they are leaving a clear field for us. 

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PRINT AND CIRCULATE A PAGE

     Please Print and use the Following Flyer Page to help get new members.  Use it as a handout, pass it on or leave it at strategic locations.  You decide how many copies to make. 

     Even better, act as a local contact.  For example, at the bottom you could hand print something like:  “or call Joe at 376-2846 in San Francisco.” 

     Remember, there is strength in numbers.  We are the good guys doing the right thing for the next generations.

 

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SAFE OFFICERS 

President

   Barry Dorsch, Wilmington, DE

     (302) 478-0676

                Email:  

          President-Elect

            Bill Whipple, Middletown, DE

            (302) 376-7036

            Email:

Treasurer

   Ed Fasig, Wilmington, DE

     (302) 999-0611

                 Email:

        Director 2004-2006

            Dick Reese, Wilmington, DE

              (302) 478-4970          

Director 2004-2005

   Jerry Martin,  Wilmington, DE

     (302) 478-5064

             Email:

Director, 2004

   John Boughton, Wilmington, DE

     (302) 475-6718

      Email:

   Ed Fasig, Wilmington, DE

     (302) 999-0611

      Email:

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HOW THIS NEWSLETTER

GETS DONE

     SAFE founder, Bill Morris is editor and Director. Dick Reese is Art Director.  Membership Chair, Ed Fasig gives an updated list to Chuck Oertel who provides addresses.  Brenda Belizzone (A to Zippy Typing Service) types the newsletter and provides a disc used by Charles Kaszytski, webmaster, to post the newsletter on our web site.  Ralph Downing and Bill Morris do the mailing. 

 

    We’re leaving too much government to the next generations. How did the government get so big?  It happened because of the mistaken idea that bureaucrats would make decisions that are better for the people than the selfish decisions made by those in business. 

     Economists are now examining how government works.  How bureaucrats operate for self-interest like everyone else.  How citizens spend or waste resources to get preferential treatment by the government. Foremost among the economists is James Buchanan who has developed the “Public Choice Theory”. 

     We have an excellent five page article by Buchanan that we’ll be happy to share.

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TID BITS FROM

DICK REESE

    Very upsetting . . . to see a Terminex truck in your neighbor's driveway.

I spend all my time . . . making out “to do” lists.

Today was a banner day . . . I received in the mail five approved credit cards.

Do you ever dread . . . your automatic garage door lifter will not go up?

 

Winter Hint

Has your car ever been stuck on a slick spot? 

Sand, broadcast thinly by hand provides a surprising amount of traction improvement.  Add dry sand to a used cardboard milk carton, tape the spout and keep it in your trunk.  Cheap traction insurance.

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REGULATIONS

A HIDDEN COST OF GOVERNMENT

     Government regulations are not taxes, but they cost us money just the same. The total cost approaches a staggering $1 trillion per year in the U.S.  According to a 2001 Mercatus Center Study, environmental regulations impose the greatest cost, followed by workplace regulations which cost roughly $100 billion per year. 

     The total cost of regulations is about $8000 per year for each U.S. household. This is not only expensive for us – it is a real threat for the next generations. The trend is dangerous. The Federal Register went from 20,000 pages in 1970 to over 83,000 pages in 2000.

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