Including recent presentations in Indian Harbor Beach, Coral Gables and Cape Coral, the RLC of Florida has been instrumental in reaching hundreds of Republican activists in 2004 with an hour-long, face-to-face and nuts-and-bolts review of plans to partially privatize the Social Security system.
“Our goal is to reach thousands in 2005,” said Al Gutierrez, chair of the RLC of Florida. “We will continue to set fires under GOP groups all over the state to increase understanding about the issue and motivate Republican activists to act.”
As in earlier stops of what is now being called the “Social Security reform tour,” John Hallman – an RLCer and the Florida director for the national organization FreedomWorks – gave his Social Security briefing to interactive crowds at the Cape Coral Republican Club Oct. 27, the Brevard Leadership Council in Indian Harbor Beach on Nov. 18 and the Biscayne Bay Young Republicans meeting in Coral Gables Nov. 30.
It was a full house at the Cape Coral Republican Club in October, an event organized by RLCer Aaron O’Brien of Ft. Myers.
Over 120 people showed up to hear Hallman go over the details of competing bills in Congress to add optional personal retirement accounts, or PRAs, to the Social Security system. The purpose of PRAs is to give citizens more control over their retirement decisions, permit participants to build an estate, realize a better return on their savings, and to make the Social Security system solvent over time. It would also have the benefit of giving more citizens a direct stake in our economic system.
In his introduction of Hallman, O’Brien pointed out “libertarian economists like Milton Friedman have long seen the benefits of ending this Ponzi scheme called Social Security, but politicians wouldn’t go near it. It was once the dreaded ‘third rail’ of politics.
“Fortunately, times have changed,” he said. “There are now an increasing number of politicians – including the president — willing to publicly advocate privatizing Social Security, at least in part.”
O’Brien stressed that is incumbent on Republican activists to understand the idea, to be able to defend it and to explain it to fellow voters.
The Cape Coral Republicans clearly embraced that responsibility, as the question-and-answer session following Hallman’s talk finally had to be cut short by the club’s chair as the hour grew late. Hallman
reports that the questions were numerous and intelligent.
As part of the introduction, O’Brien also gave an introduction to the RLC, which he said “represents the libertarian and libertarian-leaning elements in the GOP.”
RLC National Treasurer, Alan Turin of Hollywood, also attended the event.
In Indian Harbour Beach (near Melbourne) with 40 members in attendance, Hallman reported on the impending insolvency of the current system and explained how Personal Retirement Accounts would free the government from continuing to make promises it cannot fulfill while providing workers with higher returns and greater benefits. As in past
presentations, the audience asked several questions and a lengthy discussion ensued.
“The Social Security Reform tour is critical because there are so many misconceptions about Personal Retirement Accounts and everybody seems eager to learn more,” Hallman said after the event.
His presentation in Coral Gables (just south of Miami) was similar, but the meeting had a sad cast to it, as it was dedicated to the memory of Ed Rahn, a longtime RLC organizer and libertarian Republican activist who passed away on Nov. 17.
Rahn had many friends among the Biscayne Bay Young Republicans, several of whom are also members of the RLC. RLCers Ernesto Martinez, Frank Cuzzocrea Jr., and Jose Alcaraz all attended the event.
However, here too the questions were numerous and pointed. At each stop of “the tour,” its value in educating the Republican troops and advancing this issue is clear. With a Republican president calling Social Security reform a major goal of his second
term, dozens of Congress members having signed FreedomWorks pledges promising to support reform and the looming insolvency of the system, the time for the grass roots to mobilize on this issue is now.
Please contact the RLC about having John Hallman speak at your Republican or other civic club. Call Philip Blumel at (561) 254-8458 for more information.