Grassroots Commentary

Energizing Comfortable Seniors: A Winning Strategy?

Murray T. Bass · Dec. 13, 2011

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Columnist Star Parker with this lead:

“Payroll tax ‘cut’ is another welfare scam.”

“Cutting payroll taxes earmarked for bankrupted Social Security is no way to run a country and no way for people – who are allegedly free and responsible citizens – to live.”

She is absolutely right about cutting payroll taxes being another welfare scam.

But, she is absolutely wrong about Social Security being bankrupted. It is only bankrupted if we allow it to happen.

Here are some facts from the governments own Social Security website:

There are 2 TRUST FUNDS. The Old-Age and Survivors Income (OASI) TRUST FUND and the Disability Insurance (DI) TRUST FUND. By law, the income to the TRUST FUNDS must be invested on a daily basis in securities guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the Federal Government. All securities held by the TRUST FUNDS are “special issues” of the United States Treasury. “Special issues” can be redeemed at any time at face value (giving both TRUST FUNDS the same flexibility as holding cash). The average interest rate on all securities held was 4.642% at the end of 2010. Bond holdings totaled just under $2.6 trillion. Income exceeded expenditures by just under $82 billion.

Sounds pretty solid, doesn’t it? Enough to pay all benefits for almost another 25 years. That’s what the law says about the condition of Social Security.

President Obama has chosen to tell the public that he can’t guarantee benefits to Seniors. Why? Because he has decided it is politically more profitable to spend the money for “entitlements”, bailouts and stimulus programs. He has done this in spite of the fact that he has both a legal and moral obligation to honor bonds guaranteed by the “full faith and credit of the United States.”

George Bernard Shaw said, “A government that has a policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul.” If you are a senior, under President Obama’s policy your middle name must be Peter. He is buying the support of Paul with money “In TRUST” for you.

I believe an energized Senior population can keep President Obama from bankrupting Social Security They have the potential voting power to prevent him from converting legal obligations into worthless IOUs.

Our Senior population seems to be divided into two distinct groups politically. The largest group seems unwilling to get involved in the political process. The second group is the other extreme. Old folks who are angry at partisanship being placed before interests of the people and the nation. The Un-American nature of politics for personal gain. Contempt for their promise to protect and defend the Constitution. Judges who ignore the intent of the Constitution to put their personal imprint on the legal process.. . Their" Rule of Man" in place of the “Rule of Law.”

Yes, at 83, I am one of those angry Seniors.

A prime example of the lack of involvement by Seniors was the 2010 election in California’s Congressional District 10. Total turnout was 20%. A candidate was elected to represent the district by 11% of registered voters. Settlements primarily populated by retired well to do Seniors just didn’t vote. The turnout in Northern California’s Green Valley and Upper Green Valley was between 10% and 20%.

It is a mistake to believe that the candidate was elected by the vote of 11% of registered Voter. He was really elected by the failure of more than 80% of voters to cast a ballot. I have talked to folks in other areas and this seems to be a pattern. Florida Seniors, with turnouts in the high 60 to mid 70 percents are the exception. They are organized to protect their genuine interests.

It can be done.

I have publicly called these nonvoters “Backsiders” People who sit on their backsides and ignore their responsibility to elect representatives who will honestly represent the interests of the people, the community the state and the nation.

Voting is a responsibility. Not just a right or privilege. A responsibility that is an inherent assumption in our constitution.

A recent election of school board and City Council members, had a turnout of 26.15%. Again, the winning candidates were elected more by the failure of Seniors and others to vote than by those who actually voted. Disgusting. People don’t seem to give a hoot how their kids and grandkids are taught.

Why the apathy? Someone else’s kids now? Got it made so you don’t bother. Think your vote doesn’t count anyway?

Maybe the answer to getting the old folks off their backsides is to have issues which effect them directly. Social Security is an issue that might do it – motivates Bob Miller.

Bob Miller is working for you and me to protect the Social TRUST FUNDS. He is a champion for the cause of restoring Federal Government honesty and responsibility.

Bob lives in the Northern California city of Vacaville. Not small and not big. He is concerned that the Federal government has decided that the assets of the OASI and DI (Social Security ) TRUST FUNDS are merely IOUs that don’t have to be honored. He has in fact met with his Congressman George Miller. According to Bob, Congressman Miller told him, in effect, the government couldn’t afford to honor its commitment. To do so would interfere with the operation of General Fund programs. Bob has told me that protecting Social Security is one of the most important issues there is for Seniors. I agree.

Did I tell you that Bob Miller is 90 years old. We young folks in our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s ought to be embarrassed.

What can we do? Inform Seniors of the threat to their lively hood and give them an action agenda they can follow. The key group for them to influence is Congress. Seniors should contact their Congressmen and Senators and tell them to make a commitment publicly to honor nation’s the legal and moral obligations to the bonds in the TRUST FUNDS. Or else.

Get Presidential candidates to make the same commitment. Or else.

If Florida can do it, so can the rest of America.

What do you think?

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