June 2010 Update

Monthly Email Update

Tribute Dinner for 60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin

On July 15, 60 Plus will honor the man who started it all, Chairman Jim Martin, for 50-plus years of political activism. A brief biographical sketch of Mr. Martin is below:

Born March 20, 1936 in Hazard, Kentucky and growing up on the outskirts of the Florida Everglades, Jim Martin joined the Marines in 1953 at age 17 as the Korean “conflict” concluded and served two tours on active duty. In 1955, his Battalion Commander awarded Jim a meritorious citation for “exemplary conduct and leadership qualities.” In 1956, Sergeant Jim Martin began a two-year tour of duty as an elite Marine Security Guard at the American Embassy in Djakarta, Indonesia. Jim entered the University of Florida in 1959 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1962, where he received the William Randolph Hearst Award for creative writing. In 1962, Jim covered Congress and the White House for two years during the Kennedy-Johnson Administration as a newspaper reporter and radio/TV broadcaster for three dozen media outlets. Jim served for six years as Chief of Staff to Congressman, then Senator, the late Edward J. Gurney (R-FL), 1964-1969. In 1968, Mr. Martin was instrumental in hiring a 22-year-old Yale University graduate –George W. Bush– to work on Gurney’s Senate campaign.

Jim founded 60 Plus in 1992, as a non-partisan seniors’ advocacy group with a free enterprise, limited government, less taxes approach to seniors’ issues, and 60 Plus touts a strict adherence to the Constitution. Jim set ending the federal estate (death) tax for seniors and saving Social Security for the young as 60 Plus’ top priorities. As the years have gone by, Jim has built 60 Plus into one of the fastest growing organizations in the country, calling on over 5.5 million citizen activists who agree with our Association’s philosophy for support. 60 Plus has been viewed as the “conservative alternative to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)” and Jim is credited with popularizing the term “death tax” for “estate tax.” One reporter wrote, “Jim Martin renamed the Estate Tax to try to kill it.” Another writer said, “Jim Martin came up the idea of re-labeling the Estate Tax as the Death Tax.” He called Martin’s rhetoric “politically brilliant.”

Earlier this year Jim turned over the day-to-day affairs of 60 Plus as President to former Executive Vice President Amy Frederick (who has been with 60 Plus for over 10 years). While relinquishing the Presidency, Jim retains his position as Chairman of the Board. As Chairman, Jim continues working with the national press and Members of Congress on seniors’ issues, as well as continuing to travel to states in order to honor Members from both parties with pro-senior awards.

For more information regarding the dinner, please visit our website at https://60plus.org/about/jimtribute/.

60 Plus Stands Up to EPA on Clean Air Act

Liberal big-government do-gooders love to attempt to “fix” America’s problems, which is shorthand for making things much worse and much more expensive for taxpayers. Few playgrounds are as ripe for their antics as the environment, which provides the perfect combination of government coercion (via the extensive powers of the EPA) and feel-good activism.

But the cost to Americans — and seniors especially — when they employ new environmental regulations is staggering, on individuals, families, and our economy as a whole.

60 Plus President Amy Frederick spoke out at a recent press conference to represent the interests of seniors in response to a study that shows very clearly the devastating effects the EPA’s desire to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the authority of the Clean Air Act.

Carbon dioxide, of course, is the bi-product of nearly ALL economic activity, and the EPA’s scheme to tax it will succeed in negligible environmental benefits while burdening Americans with billions – some estimate TRILLIONS – in new taxes.

As Frederick pointed out to the media, seniors on limited or fixed incomes will be hit with higher prices on food, medicine, transportation, nearly all the expenses that dominate their day to day spending.

As she noted:

A great example of this burden is the cost of heating oil. According to the study, heating oil would increase by 45%: From $2.85/gal. to $4.15/gal. if the EPA has its way. HOME HEATING OIL IS A CRITICAL ISSUE IN THE NORTHEAST and our activists already feel they are paying too much as it is.

The trickle down effects of these regulations can and will cause seniors to reduce their energy use for fear their heating and cooling bills will go too high. Seniors will have to risk HEAT STROKE in the summers and HYPOTHERMIA in the winters to prevent their power from being turned off.

If the EPA’s plan goes through, it will also adversely affect state run government services due to the extra amount of unemployed and others seeking the government’s assistance.

In addition to health risks, excessive energy burdens cause a variety of difficulties for low-income households. As the study suggests, “Inability to pay utilities is second only to inability to pay rent as a reason for homelessness.” Some of our seniors will have NO place to turn!

It is of note, that over 1.7 million activists of ours in the states listed in this study are up in arms over these figures.

60 Plus believes ONLY Congress – NOT an unelected government body, can change the Clean Air Act statute.

For a look at the study and the devastating costs to seniors, click here.

BP Disaster is Spillover of Misguided Liberal Energy Policy and Lax Government Oversight

by Jim Martin, Chairman 60 Plus

Attorney General Eric Holder, at the behest of his boss, President Obama, is looking to file criminal charges over the BP oil rig explosion. Naturally, we all wait to see if he’ll name the Secretary of the Interior as co-defendant. Americans were shocked to learn of the Interior’s cozy relationship with the industry it’s supposed to regulate.

This “you scratch my back” mentality seems to have so deeply permeated the bureaucracy that companies are being left to their own devices when it comes to the serious business of exploration and development. And while many companies’ devices are good, it appears as though BP’s were not.

Still, rather than hosting another dog-and-pony show in a kangaroo court, the President and Congress could better serve the public by doing something to help ensure another catastrophe doesn’t happen again.

Take, for instance, the current, asinine, perverse, two-faced, liberal energy policy that forces our nation’s energy producers to push the engineering and mechanical envelope in places that are prone to hurricanes, rough seas, and harsh winds where an accident could impact the lives of millions. At the same time in desolate Alaska, Washington has outlawed development of oil that is literally oozing up between our toes (if the ground ever thawed out enough). The political rationale? Drilling there may sully the pristine vast land (some say wasteland) that is the 49th state. Similar feel good yet unfounded policies have blocked much more accessible sources of oil on land and in shallow offshore waters that wouldn’t run the risk of a BP-type disaster.

Though enviros are gearing up to make as much hay as possible over the terrible accident in the Gulf, they should first pause to turn their critical eye back on themselves. The members of Congress who have voted to block the development of ANWR are equally complicit.

Now in its second month, the BP oil rig catastrophe that claimed 11 lives and threatens many more (political lives for sure) remains a media story without a clear plot line. Even with the prominence of a for-profit (and therefore “evil”) oil company in the mix, the press is still having a difficult time determining within this tangled web who exactly is playing the role of good guy and bad.

President Obama auditioned for the heroic lead during his May 27th East Room press conference, saying he was “fully engaged” and fixing the problem was his “highest priority.” Only took him six weeks. He apparently forgot that he “owned” this spill by law beginning on day one.

Casting a pall on Obama’s audition were not only Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) announcement that she was “not satisfied” with the Administration’s actions, but also Obama’s proclaimed lack of knowledge that his own Director of Minerals Management Services, political appointee Elizabeth Birnbaum, was ousted that day.

We need oil. We love oil. We cannot LIVE without it, least of all the politicians and media elites who spare no expense to travel the globe in oil-thirsty aluminum tubes to tell us all to use less of it. Yes, Mr. Gore, you! Oil is the engine of our economy, of our industry, indeed of freedom itself. Yet, any talk of expanding of domestic supply occurring in the halls of Washington – at least those within earshot of the national press corps – will have all the enthusiasm of a pet owner following his Beagle around the park with a plastic bag.

“Green,” you see, is the black gold of 2010.The nation, we’re told, wants renewable, reusable, clean, efficient and inexpensive energy – which could all be had if we just erect a few more windmills and solar panels. And raise your hand, if you want to play shortstop for the Yankees.

As the BP accident shows, oil may be the fourth rail of American politics; get it right or get packing. Obama is now watching his poll numbers sink, but his fate on this issue was set long ago by his own crowd, regardless of his own lack of leadership or culpability on the issue.

Most oil and natural gas companies have taken the hand Washington dealt and still managed to effectively and safely provide our nation with the fuel it needs to run. The President and Congress should learn from these companies’ best practices – see what they’re doing right – and compare them to others’ worst practices and bring real standards to drilling operations. We cannot prevent acts of God, but we can prevent acts of laziness and idiocy.

If the White House were serious about both finding more energy sources and protecting the environment, more onshore and shallow water areas would be open for energy exploration, not fewer. Energy exploration and development companies would live and work under an established set of guidelines, and bureaucrats would take their roles as public servants seriously. Then perhaps, Obama would see better poll numbers regarding his leadership since he would finally appear “fully engaged” in creating more sources of energy instead of creating more corporate criminals.

60 Plus Calls on Florida Senate to Pass Legislation Protecting Florida Seniors

The 60 Plus Association has been active in the Sunshine state, urging members of the Florida Senate to protect Florida’s seniors from being charged an additional “checkout fee” on debit card transactions by passing House Bill 621 and immediately sending it to Governor Charlie Crist for his signature.

60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin, a University of Florida Journalism Graduate and former newspaper reporter hails from this great state.

“For our seniors, this issue is very critical because government programs, like Food Stamps and Social Security benefits, are being issued through direct deposit and debit cards,” said Jim Martin. “Closing the loophole in Florida law will protect Floridians, especially our seniors from being charged an additional fee on their debit card transactions.”

In an effort to reduce costs associated with issuing paper checks, Florida has developed programs to issue debit cards for the distribution of government food stamp and unemployment compensation programs.

HB 621 will prohibit retailers from profiteering by surcharging government benefit programs issued via a debit card for unemployment compensation, food stamps and social security.

Seniors Deserve Freedom and Choice On Motor Vehicle Repairs

On behalf of more than 5.5 million citizen-activists nationwide, the 60 Plus Association asks Congress to support the passage of H.R. 2057, the “Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act.”

60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin noted, “The Right to Repair Act is a good piece of bipartisan legislation, introduced by Rep. Eldolphus Towns (D-NY) and co-sponsored by Republicans such as Rep. Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, that requires automakers to provide the same service information and tools to independent auto and maintenance shops, as well as to consumers, that the automaker dealership service centers receive.”

This bill would open up increased competition in the auto repair industry in the United States which we believe would benefit senior consumers.

“It goes against common sense that automobile repairs most seniors rely on still must be completed only in a dealership,” Martin proclaimed. As a non-partisan seniors advocacy group with a free enterprise approach to seniors issues, Martin said, “It’s time to provide parity for all repair shops.”

Read more about this legislation and the 60Plus lobbying effort here.

60 Plus Backed Candidates Win Big at Ballot Box

To those of you following our support of principled conservative candidates, you will be happy to know that several pro-senior candidates honored recently by 60 Plus were awarded victories by voters in recent elections.

In Hawaii, Republican Charles Djou won a special election to earn a seat in Congress, ironically in the very area where Barack Obama grew up! Last month 60 Plus Spokesman Pat Boone announced that Djou won our Honorary Guardian of Seniors’ Rights award.

Speaking for 60 Plus, Boone labeled Djou a “fighter for the elderly.”

The Association’s Guardian Award is presented to Democrats and Republicans in Congress based on their “senior friendly” voting records. The Honorary Award is given to incumbents and others running for office and is based on their views on seniors’ issues.

Previous award winners include both Arizona Republican U.S. Senator’s John McCain and Jon Kyl, Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia as well as Democrats, Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia.

In Nevada, 60 Plus awardee Sharron Angle won the GOP U.S. Senate primary and will now square off against a politician who is no friend to seniors, incumbent Senator Harry Reid.

Angle was recently honored by the 60 Plus Association, receiving the Benjamin Franklin Award because “she has vowed to vote in the U.S. Senate to repeal this terrible ‘death’ tax.” Reid has voted time and again to retain the Death Tax, which hurts small business owners and farmers all over Nevada.

60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin noted, “It was Franklin who famously said there are two certainties in life, death and taxes, but because of the estate or ‘death’ tax, there is a third certainty— taxes after death. 60 Plus decided to give a Benjamin Franklin award to those who support repeal.”

Martin concluded, “Sharron knows a bad tax when she sees one and the death tax is an unfair tax. I’ve been credited by many, most notably Bill Gates, Sr. in his book, Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes, with popularizing ‘death tax’ for the estate tax. Why do I call it that? Because it’s triggered only by death. Senior citizens know they can always depend on Sharron Angle to abolish this anti-farmer, anti-senior, anti-small business, job-robbing confiscatory tax.”

60 Plus Unveils New User-Friendly, Tech-Savvy Website

The 60 Plus Association, nationally recognized as the conservative alternative to the liberal AARP, is proud to launch its new dynamic Web 2.0 website, www.60plus.org.

“With so many Baby Boomers being tech savvy, 60 Plus is proud to be, once again, the standard bearer of seniors’ organizations with such an adept, user-friendly, and interactive website,” stated 60 Plus President Amy Frederick. “The new site does a very good job of modernizing 60 Plus’ online activities and appropriately leveraging the latest in technology to further 60 Plus’ goals and objectives on behalf of America’s seniors and our soon-to-be seniors.”

60 Plus worked with GXS Strategies – a renowned, Northern Virginia-based design company – to create the all new modernized website. The completely redesigned www.60plus.org places a greater emphasis on the interaction between 60 Plus and the public, through various social networking components, such as Facebook and Twitter as well as commenting on posts and links to informative articles.

Frederick continued, “The new site will be updated regularly with photos, news items and videos. It will also have RSS feeds (little orange icons) all over the website where people can syndicate all the content from the website and will also eventually host a bloggers corner where senior citizen activists have an avenue to make their feelings known on current interest topics that are affecting seniors nationwide.”

Along with the new www.60plus.org, monthly email updates, a new quarterly hard copy newsletter – Senior Voice, and a Congressional Scorecard on the horizon, 60 Plus continues to prove that they truly are the “conservative counter to AARP!”