February 25, 2013
60 Plus Quarterly Update
In this issue:
Happy New Year — from the 60 PLUS Association!
It’s a New Year across America, but little has changed in Washington, with President Obama and Senate leader Harry Reid (D-NV) obstinately standing against reining in government spending, and senior citizens scheduled to get walloped with higher taxes and the effects of Obamacare as more facets of the healthcare law continue to be rolled out.
Obama’s January 21 inaugural address was a cattle-call to move forward with every item on the liberal special interest wish list, but despite his tough talk, 60 Plus and millions of our senior activists will be standing in the way of his agenda!
This is why more seniors are flocking to 60 Plus every day, and the SURGE in our numbers (now over 7 million strong) will be a potent weapon as we continue to spread our message of limited government and free enterprise. Now more than ever it is critical for seniors to STAY ENGAGED and hold Washington’s feet to the fire!
60 Plus will continue to fight for YOU and the values that made this country great. The battle for our nation’s future is far from over, and too important for us to sit on the sidelines. We are PROUD to have you amongst our ranks, raising our voices so that future generations will know that when the chips were down, we did not back away and continued to fight for a future every American deserves!
60 Plus Putting the Death Tax in the Crosshairs
For over 20 years, 60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin has been one of the nation’s leaders in fighting to repeal the immoral, unfair and disastrous death tax, the tax that says that when a person dies, Uncle Sam gets to take nearly half the money made over the person’s lifetime. Jim even earned the name “Mr. Death” from one prominent journalist, a moniker he wears proudly.
Starting immediately, 60 Plus is committed to working overtime to re-energize the fight to kill the death tax. We are already making waves in the media, and implementing a strategy in coordination with principled legislators in Washington and across key states to bury the death tax, once and for all.
After all, you don’t have to be rich to care about the death tax, you just have to care about America’s economic future and support killing bad laws that punish success and prevent family businesses, farms and ranches from building wealth and achieving their dreams. Most Americans already understand this; a 2010 poll found that 82% of Americans were very (56%) or somewhat (26%) concerned about letting the death tax increase significantly.
But at 60 Plus we don’t merely ‘oppose’ the death tax, we are pushing it to the forefront as one of the key issues of the current term to highlight just how damaging it is to both our economy and the culture of American free-enterprise that rewards hard work, savings and innovation. This tax is bad on so many levels, every American, of EVERY economic level, will benefit with its demise. For some 20 years, 60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin has stated, almost on a daily basis, “Dying should not be a taxable event!”
Studies from liberal and conservative economists alike reach the same conclusion: the death tax raises very little money, but kills well over a million jobs and falls disproportionately on small businesses and the middle-class, not the rich who hire lawyers and accountants to avoid the tax whenever possible. (See Warren Buffett update below).
In the most recent tussle in Washington over the debt ceiling and ‘fiscal cliff,’ the death tax was permanently set at an exemption of $5.25 million (indexed for inflation) with a top rate of 40%. While this is far and away better than the $1 million exemption and morbid 55% rate that were scheduled to take effect beginning January 1, even at the new levels the death tax remains a jobs killer and a destroyer of hard-earned family wealth.
Especially vulnerable are family farms, ranches and small businesses, who have land, equipment and inventory valued in the millions of dollars, but very little of it is liquid. This means that upon the death of their owner, hundreds of thousands of companies, farms and ranches are at serious risk to be broken into little pieces and auctioned off to pay the government, while the grieving family is left to pick up the pieces. The death tax isn’t just a bad tax; it is cruel and unusual punishment on America’s families and job creators.
The Death Tax was originally enacted four times as a ‘temporary’ tax to support defense purposes in 1797, 1862, 1898 and 1916 and with the cessation of hostilities, it was quickly repealed the first three times. However, following the end of WWI in 1918, this ‘temporary’ tax was conveniently allowed to continue as Congress stepped up its spending at a dizzying pace. 60 Plus feels strongly that the time to go for this nearly one hundred year old ‘temporary’ tax is long overdue. The Death Tax has stuck around almost 100 years longer than the war it helped defeat. Now it is time to return the favor, because a tax that once helped America is now needlessly hurting it. 60 Plus will have all hands on deck going forward, to end the death tax for good, before it celebrates its 100th birthday.
Tax-Dodging Warren Buffett Trumpets Higher Death Tax for Everyone Else
It’s important to remember that in the debate over the death tax, don’t look at what its supporters say, look at what they do. Classic case in point is death tax champion himself, billionaire Warren Buffett.
Buffett is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, which means he’s 100% behind the death tax, so long as he doesn’t have to pay it himself. He recently joined forced with ultra-liberals George Soros and Jimmy Carter to lobby Congress and public opinion with a pledge for an extremely punitive death tax rate that starts at 45%, and goes up from there. So does Buffett himself plan to support the federal government with death tax revenue upon his expiration? Fat chance.
In fact Buffett was quoted during a 2010 shareholders’ meeting telling participants to “follow my tax-dodging example.” Buffett and Soros will likely never leave a dime to the federal government, but will instead leave billions to the charitable organizations that fund their liberal causes.
But Buffett’s breathtaking hypocrisy gets even worse. Anyone familiar with how Buffett amassed his fortune recognizes that keeping the death tax, and making the tax especially punitive, sends Buffett’s stock and bank account soaring. As professor Edward Zelinski notes, Buffett owns a significant stake in the life insurance industry, who make a killing by selling products that protect families from the death tax. He also excels at buying up the remnants of family businesses broken apart by the death tax, and doing so at bargain basement prices.
Said 60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin, “If Mr. Buffett and his pals insist on higher taxes, then I say I’m flexible enough to offer a compromise. In exchange for killing the death tax once and for all, we will agree to support a hypocrisy tax, that soaks the wealthy liberals who push policies that will hurt millions of average Americans, but will never affect them one iota.
“Or why doesn’t Mr. Buffett put his money where his mouth is and volunteer his own money to the government when he dies? We can rename the death tax in his honor if he will volunteer to do what he wants to force others to do — leave most of their estate to the government. What will it be, Mr. Buffett? Since you are so enamored with higher taxes, we’ll let you decide. So pick your own poison, because we will work hard to stop you from trying to make others pay more, while you skate away with more bags of their money.”
Seniors Stand Against More Debt, For a Balanced Budget
Politicians have been promising to “do something” about our nation’s frightening amount of debt and chronic overspending in Washington for years, yet they still keep borrowing, they still keep spending, and our national debt is scheduled to hit a jaw-dropping $20 trillion before Obama’s 2nd term is over. So much for HIS promise to cut the deficit in half during his first term, all he managed to do was earn the dubious distinction of having four consecutive years of trillion dollar deficits.
Thankfully an influential crowd of fiscal watchdogs is mounting a campaign inside the Beltway to end Obama’s blank-check budgeting habits, and organizing legislators to refuse further increases in the debt ceiling unless the President comes to the table to work for an agreement that guides America to a balanced budget within 10 years.
Headed by deficit hawks including former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina (now head of the Heritage Foundation), the Conservative Action Project ‘memo for the movement‘ states, “America is on an unsustainable fiscal path. Unless immediate action is taken, our future is destined to be that of Greek-style implosion or the slow managed decline of Western Europe. Neither option is acceptable.”
60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin was one of the 41 leaders signing the memo, and said, “It is not even arguable that our nation is on an unsustainable path of borrowing and spending. We have plenty of examples from other countries as to what happens when you spend more than you can afford, and it is a future that is especially devastating to the seniors and children the President so sanctimoniously suggests he wants to protect. It is reckless, cruel and irresponsible to condemn future generations a fate of hopelessness and despair that unrestrained government spending inevitably brings.
“Just 17 months ago, this Administration asked for and was granted a $2.1 trillion increase in the nation’s debt limit. We have now run through THAT credit card and they want yet another one. When America is running up the same amount of debt in 500 days that it took more than 200 years to create, a serious course correction is in order.”
Continued Martin, “On behalf of the 60 Plus Association, I am proud to put the support of millions of seniors across America behind the Conservative Action Project proposal of putting our nation on a money diet, and getting us to a balanced budget in 10 years. This is a serious proposal that represents the only workable and responsible blueprint to save our nation by ending the blank check and automatic debt ceiling increases without reducing spending.
“Senior entitlements are certainly a contributing factor and need to be reformed NOW rather than later, when they will surely go bust. Mr. President, you’ve had your way for four years and we have nothing to show for your policies but a non-existent recovery and $6 trillion more in debt. Your agenda is a path to Greece, our agenda is a path back to America that was the strongest and most prosperous nation on earth.”
Obamacare Update: Seniors to Pay More To Get Less
President Obama made a litany of promises regarding his healthcare law, almost none of which have actually come true. He said premiums would come down an average of $2,500 per family, but they have already gone UP by $3,000. He said Americans wouldn’t lose their insurance, but hundreds of thousands have already been dumped as employers scramble to find ways to stay in business.
Regarding seniors, the President said Obamacare would strengthen Medicare, which it turns out is as ridiculous as saying that moths will strengthen your wardrobe. Obamacare robs nearly $1 trillion from Medicare, and we are already seeing cuts planned for future Medicare treatments, which is a big concern as 30 million more people will be added to Medicare rolls in the next decade.
Obama’s own actuaries forecast that in just six years, seniors will receive nearly $1,500 less in care than they would have without Obamacare, care that will help prevent sickness and keep them in the active lifestyle we all hope to maintain. Doctors, nurses, hospitals and hospice care will all see substantially less reimbursement from the government, according to Obamacare expert Betsy McCaughey, who has a new book coming out, Beating Obamacare, that could provide valuable information for seniors in these uncertain times.
Now is also a good time to review the many new taxes created by Obamacare, taxes that will fall on the sick and elderly especially. The coming months could be tough sledding, but by staying informed and aware of the healthcare law changes, it is possible to lessen the burden that Obamacare is putting on America’s seniors. If you lose coverage, or see a decrease in coverage or increase in fees, 60 Plus wants to know! Write us at [email protected], and we’ll continue to keep seniors up to speed and informed on how the law affects us all, and we may just tell your story in our next 60 Plus newsletter.
More Shady Shenanigans from the AARP
There they go again, you take your eyes off the AARP for even a minute and you’re going to find the liberal organization up to no good. Latest case in point, a front-page story in the December 4 edition of the Washington Post exposed in detail how the AARP stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue if Congress and the President reform Medigap, a proposal AARP has consistently lobbied against, despite earlier denials.
Under proposed reforms, seniors who purchase Medigap would pay lower premiums and the U.S. would save billions in healthcare costs. Despite these benefits, AARP opposes such measures because they not only negatively impact the group’s main source of revenue, but the personal income of their executives as well.
60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin, leader of the nation’s largest conservative seniors organization with over 7.2 million supporters and the acknowledged conservative alternative to the liberal AARP (Association Against Retired Persons) said, “Once again AARP is exposed for selling seniors down the river for the almighty dollar. For years 60 Plus and others — including Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Congressmen Fred Upton (R-MI) and Wally Herger (R-CA)– have been shouting from the rooftops to expose the tawdry and sordid business practices of the AARP. The Post should be commended for taking a strong look at their agenda, and their actions which undermine the welfare of America’s seniors.”
AARP was further embarrassed this past summer when secret memos came to light revealing AARP’s coordination with Democratic operatives in the White House and DCCC to promote Obamacare behind the scenes, despite their own members being opposed to the legislation by a margin of 14 to 1. In one memo, AARP bragged they were more effective in their lobbying efforts if they had “the appearance of impartiality.”
The Post also reported:
“The AARP claims to be a guiding force in the healthcare field, but the procedure they are most familiar with is performing the wallet-ectomy — removing seniors from their money. At almost every turn their activities can be reduced to making money on the backs of the elderly, and putting their own welfare ahead of that of their members and the nation as a whole.
“It is time that everyone, from the average voter to our leaders on Capitol Hill, treat the AARP for what they are — another self-interested party working for what is best for them and them alone.”
60 Plus in the News
As usual, the past few months have been extremely active with 60 Plus receiving heavy media coverage in national and local news. When lawmakers in Washington started tossing around proposals to cut Social Security benefits, 60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin appeared on the Fox Business Channel to talk with Stuart Varney about why seniors should not be the scapegoat for the nation’s current budget crisis .
Jim Martin Talks Death Tax on Comcast TV Newsmakers
Make sure to catch Jim Martin’s appearance on the highly respected and influential Comcast Newsmakers program, giving an inside look on the current state of affairs with the federal death tax. Newsmakers features political discussions on cutting edge issues with top figures both inside and outside the Beltway. The show is hosted by well-known politico and longtime friend of Jim Martin, Robert Traynham. Watch it here.
The segment will run on Comcast’s national Xfinity On Demand platform, as well as on www.comcastnewsmakers.com and on their YouTube channel beginning Jan. 25 and run through Feb. 24.
Talk is Cheap, but Obama State of the Union Costs us All More
If you found yourself disappointed and unsurprised by the President’s annual State of the Union address this month, take heart that you are far from alone. Apart from failing to mention even a hint of a plan to help protect and save Social Security, Obama’s address indicated his second term will be a rambling attempt to achieve every item on the liberals’ wish list to borrow, tax and spend more of our money.
With over 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, we now have ample proof the President’s second term will be nothing more than a continuation of the same failed big-government policies of his first term, unencumbered by having to ever run for office again.
After the speech, 60 Plus Chairman and Founder, Jim Martin, released a statement, excerpted below:
“Once again the President’s State of the Union speech was long on rhetoric, but short on ideas and solutions. The President has a government program and policy to every problem, real or perceived. Yet on his obligation to take the lead on cutting our crushing debt, putting Americans back to work, approving more domestic energy supplies and fixing our flailing senior entitlement programs we get nothing.
“Just as in the past four years the President offered nothing but deception, deceit and empty promises. Saying he won’t increase the deficit ‘one dime’ is a flat-out falsehood. As a man who has increased our national debt by 58 TRILLION dimes he has precious little credibility. The man who promised Obamacare would make healthcare more affordable had nothing to say regarding the fact that Americans are paying MORE for healthcare, and the employers forced to pay for it are cutting jobs just to stay afloat.
“The best way to achieve the fair and prosperous nation the President talks about is to let the free-market economy thrive, and limit government’s intrusion into our lives. But this President disbands his jobs council and presides over the weakest recovery since WWII, and it is no secret why. More government is all he proposes, when it is only a free and growing economy that will put our nation back on track.
“Obama is sadly committed to the same failed policies that now see our economy shrinking and more people out of work. His State of the Union was a sad performance, and showed in crystal clear clarity that he follows the beat of a drummer far out of sync with reality, and far out of sync with the future we all want for our nation, our children and grandchildren.”
Seniors Pole Vault Across the Digital Divide
As you may have noticed, everyday life is now dominated by technology, which is giving all of more and better options by which to connect with our friends and family, stay informed and enjoy better, less expensive choices in the marketplace.
We at 60 Plus wanted to know what our millions of seniors think about living in the new wireless age, and how technology is making their lives better, so we conducted an online survey on Facebook (of course!), and the results were very interesting!
Of the more than 2,000 respondents, over 90% use a cell phone or smart phone on a regular basis, and most use the phone for more than just making and receiving calls. In other words, the stereotype of America’s seniors shying away from technology and social media is a complete myth. In fact, people 60 and over are the FASTEST growing segment of Facebook users, with over 14 million logging on to their accounts on a daily basis.
Said 60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin, “Technology continues to dazzle us all. As much as any age group, seniors are embracing the near daily advances in our digital age and experiencing the many ways technology is increasing our quality of life, our health and well-being, and connecting us to our world.”
60 Plus has offered testimony in the past to legislatures on the importance of legislation that supports advancing technologies in the life and health of America’s elderly. Aside from regular use of social media and smart devices, seniors are benefitting from such things as wireless communication and telehealth, which allows doctors to provide top care at an affordable price when travel is difficult.
Martin continued, “It’s important that technology continue to advance unabated by unnecessary, obsolete or outdated laws and regulations. Seniors have crossed the digital divide, and that includes our National Spokesman, legendary entertainer Pat Boone, now in his late 70’s and still performing in concerts. We are fully invested in the technology and cutting edge advances of today, as well as those of tomorrow. More than any other time in our history older Americans are ‘on the go’ and we don’t see anything that is going to slow us down.”