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Newsletter # 37   Spring 2005

 

 

 

 

RENEW, RENEW, RENEW

     Did you renew?  If so, we thank you.  If not, please use the membership form at Join Us. 

    The Directors decided to upgrade the dues effective 2006 to $10/year to be more in line with other organizations.  However, we’re holding at $5/year now for up to five years.  Also, we’ll renew your membership for another year for each new member you bring in.

     We want to treat you right, because you are one of the “good guys” who are looking out for the welfare of the next generations.

 

SAFE GOES TO CONGRESS

      We’re making sure that Members of Congress are aware of SAFE and our position on Social Security reform.  Our President, Bill Whipple along with Directors Martin and Past-President Dorsch met with Congressman Mike Castle in Wilmington, DE, as discussed in our Winter Newsletter.

     Since then Bill Whipple and Barry Dorsch went to Washington, D.C. to meet with a member of Senator, Tom Carper’s staff.  Also, Whipple and Director Bill Morris met with Senator Joe Biden’s State Director.  Director Steve McClain and others attended a 3/22/05 Social Security Town Meeting hosted by Congressman Castle.

     As SAFE members know, we have prepared a position paper on Social Security reform, and sent it to all 100 Senators. The same position paper was sent April 20th to all SAFE members.

     Now, it is up to you to take the position paper and “run with it.”  For the sake of the next generations, let’s make the influence of our ideas out of all proportion with our size.

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FDR & PERSONAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

     Jerry Martin points out that President Roosevelt supported Personal Retirement Accounts, in the form of annuities.

      In his 1/7/35 address to Congress on Social Security, FDR proposed “compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations.”  Also, “It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplemented by self-supporting annuity plans.”

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SAFE AND THE PUBLIC

      In addition to communicating directly with members of Congress, we make ourselves visible to the general public.

     Bill Whipple will be speaking at the June 17th luncheon of the “Retired Men’s Luncheon Club.”  An audience of over 100 is expected.  The talk is entitled:  “A Layman’s Guide To Social Security Reform.”  In addition, Bill has been asked by the Delaware State News (Dover, DE, circulation 20,000) to write an article about the SAFE position on Social Security.

     As mentioned elsewhere, we will have a table at the September 18th “Newark (DE) Community Day,” to be held on the campus of the University of Delaware.  We have been present at this event for several years.

     We have an ongoing policy of submitting letters to the editor. Two examples are given at the end of this newsletter.  Feel free to use any part of them for your own letter to the editor.  If you are outside of Delaware, feel free to use them verbatim if you wish.

 

      Cost of the prescription drug benefit for Medicare was originally estimated at $400 billion over ten years.  A new estimate of $720 billion was offered in February.  The long term cost is amazingly higher.

      When you take the present value of all future spending under this bill, you get $16.6 trillion.  This is the Medicare trustee’s estimate, and is larger than the present value of all future spending for Social Security!

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GEMS FROM A CATO INSTITUTE CONFERENCE

     Bill Whipple and Jerry Martin attended a February 8-9th Cato Institute Conference on Social Security reform.  They expected an interesting and worthwhile conference, and it exceeded their expectations.

     Here are some of the gems offered by participating economists, politicians, pollsters and think tank employees.

·        Raising the payroll tax ceiling from $90,000 to $120,000 would not increase payroll taxes as much as you might expect, because higher paid workers would negotiate higher fringe benefits rather than higher wages.

·        The Wall Street charge for the Thrift Saving Plan is only 0.1% of principal per year.

·        Benefits paid to Social Security participants under current law create winners and losers. Many losers are low income workers.

·        We need to reach college students, but it’s hard to get them in the same room.

·        European used to work 50% more on average than they do now, because many European dropped out of the labor market as tax rates went up.

·        There is no transition cost. Recognizing and funding debt that already exists is not a “cost”.

·        Polls show you can change opinions by giving people information that supports your proposal.

·        When there were surpluses, the voter’s first choice was to pay off debt.

·        Social Security poll results on a scale of 1 to 10.

            First, 9.6:  Protecting the system from Washington, D.C. politicians.

            Second, 8.9%:  Fixing the system so it won’t have to be fixed again.

 

      You may notice the change in format of this newsletter.  The Directors felt that the present format has a more professional look.  If you have any comments or suggestions in this regard, please fire away.  The Director likes to get input from members.

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PORK BARREL SPENDING

     Senator Everett Dirksen was a fiscal conservative who knew that even relatively small amounts add up.  Here’s how he once explained what a million is:

     Look at your watch and watch the second hand.  You can see it every second, every minute, every day, every night, every week, every month, every year – and in 2 years it would go around 1,000,000 times.

     The Senate Minority Leader must have rolled over in his grave when members of Congress inserted 18,000 “earmarks” in the omnibus spending bill (3,646 pages) that was enacted after the 2004 election.  Among the projects authorized were $1 million for a Wild American Shrimp Initiative and a similar amount to study the DNA of bears - $22 billion in total.  Wall Street Journal, 11/29/04.

     Some of these projects may be worthwhile, who knows, but we at SAFE don’t see why our tax dollars should be used to pay for them.  Let’s give the President a line item veto and then hold his (or her) feet to the fire to use it.

 

     For future planning, we will again be participating in the Newark, DE “Community Day,” September 18th on the campus of the University of Delaware.  No specific plans have been made for our table and we are open to suggestions.  As always, we expect to use our big banner.

     If you want to represent SAFE at a similar event, the banner could be made available.

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REFORM GOOD IDEA FOR FUTURE

To the Editor:

     The Washington, D.C., office of the AARP is sending me mail every few days, asking me to oppose reform of Social Security by instituting personal retirement accounts. However, I disagree, because I believe personal retirement accounts would be a great deal for my grandchildren.

     Their arguments do not persuade me.  They call investment in America risky, but diversified, long-range investment incurs very little risk.

     My opinion is that the motivation for this scare campaign is the big government bias of the Washington, D.C., office of the AARP.  They have consistently promoted bigger government, even though most AARP members believe the government is already too big.

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INVESTMENTS ARE SAFE OVER BROAD INDEXES OF MARKET

     Why deny low-income workers the opportunity to accumulate money they can leave to their children?  Social Security doesn’t provide this now, but personal retirement accounts would.  Yet the American Association of Retired Persons opposes this reform with misleading arguments.  Most members disagree with the Washington, D.C. office of the AARP, which favors big government. I belong to Seniors Against Federal Extravagance, which promotes smaller government for the sake of the next generations.

     The AARP calls the stock market risky, but there is little risk associated with long-term investing in a broad market index.  Those 55 and older would get their promised benefits.  Without personal retirement accounts, younger workers run the risk of future cuts in benefits.

     Concern is expressed that Wall Street firms will benefit by charging large commissions.  This is wrong.  When personal accounts are based on broad market indexes, the yearly charge would be only about .2 percent of the money invested.

      The transition from the present pay-as-you-go system to a prefunded system using personal accounts will require some up-front money, estimated at $2 trillion over a period of years.  This must be balanced against giving workers the huge advantage of compound interest and ability to leave money to heirs.  Our children and grandchildren will gain from the greater prosperity.

     If you want a tattered, worn out or frayed American flag retired in a dignified manner, send it to:  Kitchen Table Gang Trust, 42922 Avenue 12, Madera, CA 93638-8866, where veterans conduct retirement ceremonies each Flag Day, June 14th

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 FREE

     Insurance against frozen food loss.  We repeat it again, redundantly.  Fill a plastic juice jar about 5% full with table salt.  Bring to 95% full with water.  Put it in your freezer.  If the power fails, the frozen saltwater will melt below 32 degrees, absorbing heat and delaying the warm up.  Three bottles are thrice as good.

   “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people minds” – Samuel Adams

 

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