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Retiresafe.org understands that only robust long-term economic growth can assure the retirement security of our aging population-not government entitlement programs.

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Conservative Spotlight: Retiresafe.org

Retiresafe.org understands that only robust long-term economic growth can assure the retirement security of our aging population-not government entitlement programs.

RETIRESAFE.ORG Huge organizations for the elderly such as AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) tend to favor statist approaches to Americans’ retirement, health care, and other needs. Conservative groups such as the 60 Plus Association and the United Seniors Association attempt to counter-balance this influence by promoting limited government, free-market solutions. Retiresafe.org has joined the fray, focusing on boosting economic growth. On March 4, Retiresafe.org President Charles Hardin explained the mission of the new project, run by the Council for Government Reform, in testimony before the House Committee on Ways and Means: “I am here today representing Retiresafe.org, the nation’s only retirement security group focused primarily on a pro-growth, free-market message for reform. We’re a network of citizen activists, organized primarily through our website, who promote a supply-side vision of prosperity for all Americans and favor ending the bias against savers and investors in the tax code. Retiresafe.org is a project of the Council for Government Reform, an organization of over one million senior citizen supporters across America.” Hardin testified in favor of President Bush’s tax cut package. “We realized that to effectively talk about Social Security reform, we needed to talk about overall retirement concerns,” said Hardin in an interview. “Retirement is a 20th Century concept. People worked as a family in the past.” Retiresafe.org understands that only robust long-term economic growth can assure the retirement security of our aging population—not government entitlement programs. Americans have fewer and fewer children, and the impending retirement of the baby boom generation poses a major obstacle to continued economic prosperity since fewer people will be working relative to the number of the retired. “We have a ‘golden years’ concept, a long relaxed vacation at the end of their lives, although now, a more active concept of retirement is emerging…. As the worker-to-retiree ratio drops, there could be inter-generational warfare,” said Hardin. “We could have to greatly increase taxes or cut benefits.” So Retiresafe.org has a “pro-growth concept. Personal retirement accounts (PRAs) are good for individuals and good for the economy.” “A PRA is an account you own and control made up of a portion of your existing payroll taxes invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds or simple government T-bills…,” says Retiresafe.org. “How would you like to retire a millionaire? Leave your children a nest egg? Become a stakeholder in the American economy? Generations of Americans have relied on Social Security to take care of them in their golden years. While it works for today’s retirees, it won’t provide the same type of security for tomorrow’s. Social Security faces a demographic crisis that will cause its financial house of cards to crumble. Personal Retirement Accounts are the answer.” “Bush’s partial-privatization plan for Social Security [establishing PRAs], eliminating the double taxation of Social Security benefits, eliminating the Social Security earnings limit, 401k expansion, and eliminating the death tax are all goals of ours,” said Hardin. Retiresafe.org follows the progress of bills in Congress and mobilizes its members. When a Senate committee reduced Bush’s dividend tax cut proposal, Retiresafe.org said, “RetireSafe.org and its supporters across the nation urged the Senate today to consider a larger dividend tax cut when the tax bill comes up for a vote on the Senate floor. The plan, as passed by the Senate Finance Committee, excludes only the first $500 of dividends from double taxation, adding another calculation to the already complex process of planning for retirement.” Half of all dividend income goes to senior citizens, said the group. The boondoggles of statist politicians also do not go unnoticed. “Democratic presidential wannabe Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) has released a dangerous new health care scheme that easily could be mistaken for HillaryCare. It grows a big government HMO, forces a costly mandate on small businesses, and creates a giant bureaucratic behemoth to administer it all,” says Retiresafe.org. “That’s not the end of it. The Gephardt-Clinton plan repeals the Bush tax cut to pay for itself—sticking ordinary Americans with the bill.” Hardin said that he wants to get the 40-60 age group involved in the fight over retirement security. “People in their 20s and 30s are harder,” he said. “They haven’t addressed their mortality yet.” Unfortunately, Bush’s Social Security partial-privatization plan has not gone far in Congress. “I have not seen anything very encouraging,” said Hardin. “I hear from some people that [there will be no action] until after the next presidential election. We can’t keep kicking this down the road.” Retiresafe.org may be contacted at 3124 N. 10th St., Arlington, Va. 22201 (703-243-7400; fax: 703-243-7403; e-mail: info@retiresafe.org; website: www.Retiresafe.org

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Mr. D'Agostino, former associate editor of HUMAN EVENTS, is vice president for Communications at the Population Research Institute.

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