Newsletter # 38 Summer 2005
GENERATIONS WORKING TOGETHER
We have been working for the next generations since SAFE was organized. That is what makes us unique. An organization run by seniors that is not looking for material benefits for seniors. Our motive is the good feeling we get by doing what we can to protect the future of the next generations, including our children and grandchildren.
Primarily, we look to protect them from the misbehavior of the federal government that threatens their financial future.
Why shouldn’t younger Americans work with us to help protect their own financial future?
That is the question we wrestled with at our May 2005 Director’s meeting. Our decision was to form an alliance with college students who are willing to promote Personal Retirement Accounts. As Director, Steve McLain, suggested, SAFE could also stand for “Students Against Federal Extravagance”. As a start, we decided to find students who will help with our table at the September 18th, Newark (DE) Community Day (held on the campus of the University of Delaware).
Through his contacts, Director Jerry Martin, has obtained a commitment for University of Delaware students to help with our table. In addition, we have contacted the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), who are contracting University of Delaware students as well. *(You could call this a belt and suspenders operation). ISI works “to educate for liberty” – to identify the best and brightest college students and to nurture in these future leaders an allegiance to the American ideal of ordered liberty. We can expect their student contacts to be valuable allies in promoting Personal Retirement Accounts.
The timing of our search for student allies is complicated by the end of the school year. We can make preliminary plans for Community Day, but will wait for student input before finalizing the plans.
We believe the collaboration of two generations will be newsworthy and of value in promoting Personal Retirement Accounts.
We’ll report results of this new approach in our Fall newsletter. Meanwhile, if members outside of Delaware want to try something similar, or to offer suggestions, we’ll be glad to hear from you.
NEW STUDENT ORGANIZATION
After we had started our two-generation approach, we learned from a National Taxpayers Union publication about an exciting new student organization supporting Personal Retirement Accounts.
Students for Saving Social Security was co-founded March 2005 by students Jonathan Swanson of Yale and Patrick Wetherille of Haverford College. Both have interned with the National Economic Council and have studied social security.
Their web site (www.secureourfuture.org) shows campus coordinators, with their e-mail addresses, at over 100 colleges. This is great news for the prospect of Personal Retirement Accounts. The University of Delaware now has a campus coordinator on the list.
Two suggestions for SAFE members outside of Delaware: If a nearby college is on the list, e-mail the coordinator with congratulations, best wishes, an offer to help and the SAFE web site. If the nearby college or one that you are interested in is not on the list, pass along (www.secureourfuture.org) to a student who might be interested.
WHIPPLE GIVES SOCIAL SECURITY SPEECH
SAFE President Bill Whipple spoke about social security before a seniors group. A very lively question and answer period showed the strong interest of the group in the subject. The text of the speech is on our web site. The following news release was sent to Delaware Media:
SAFE Pitches Personal Retirement Accounts
Wilmington, Delaware, June 17, 2005 – In covering President Bush’s proposals for Social Security reform, the media has generally indicated that older Americans are allergic to personal retirement accounts. However, to borrow a line from a George Gershwin song, “it ain’t necessarily so.”
Seniors Against Federal Extravagance (SAFE) President Bill Whipple spoke today to 120 members and guests of the Retired Men’s Luncheon Club, a diverse and basically apolitical group. His subject was “A Layman’s Guide to Social Security Reform.” Whipple began by noting that two problems are brewing for Social Security; the appropriate reforms depend on which problem we are trying to solve.
If our objective is merely to shore up the long-term solvency of the system, trimming future benefit increases or raising taxes might do the trick. To maintain the trust of younger Americans in the system, on the other hand, we should go beyond promises and enable workers to acquire an enforceable interest in their Social Security benefits – i.e., establish personal retirement accounts.
After reviewing the arguments for and against personal accounts, Whipple ended with three observations. First, advocates of personal accounts need to make their case more clearly than they have often done. Second, a bipartisan compromise that will please everyone may prove elusive. Third, our county does not simply face a future deficit for Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid are already generating substantial deficits, and the overall problem of funding “entitlements” for seniors needs to be confronted sooner rather than later.
During the question and answer session, an attendee requested a show of hands on Social Security reform. Approximately 2/3 of the seniors present indicated their support of personal accounts, with the other 1/3 voting against them.
The estimated cost of federal regulations is over $8,000 per household per your (Newsletter 24). Yearly cost per employee is about $7,000 for businesses with fewer than 20 employees and about $4,400 for larger firms (Ten Thousand Commandments, Cato Institute – 2003).
This matters to us, because the regulations are a heavy cost to the next generations. They are a huge deterrent to starting your own business. We need to be aware of the heavy burden that regulations impose. It seems clear that we’d all be better off with much fewer regulations.
CATO Institute publishes an excellent quarterly slick magazine, entitled (surprise) “Regulation”. The 76 page Summer 2005 issue includes an article titled “Methyl Mercury Madness” (a self-explanatory title).
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has an ongoing Regulatory studies program. Cato’s “Regulation” includes a section entitled “Mercatus reports.” Regulation is available at www.regulationmagazine.com.
REPLACE SOCIAL SECURITY
BY BILL MORRIS
Here is an idea expressed by author Harry Browne. I pass it along here as food for thought. He proposes we replace social security with private savings which worked pretty well before social security was enacted. Those few who didn’t save were taken care of by private charity, and lived as well as those who are wholly dependent on social security now.
The transition could be handled by selling trillions of dollars of government assets, including power companies, pipelines, idle military bases, business enterprises, over 400,000 buildings, mineral rights, commodity revenues and 29% of all the land in the U.S.
Those now getting social security would get lifetime annuities from stable insurance companies that have never broken their promises. Those over 50 would get annuities starting when they are 65. Those under 50 would gain enough from elimination of the social security tax to compensate for social security.
Excess money would be used to retire federal debt.
The social security problem would disappear, Americans would become responsible for their own retirements, and taxes for social security would be eliminated.
No doubt you can shoot holes in this idea, but think about it.
Don’t blame the Directors; I deliberately didn’t mention this item to them.
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