ECONOMIC SECURITY 2000
“In America, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, we fought for civil rights. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, we fought for women’s rights. In the 1990’s, why not fight for equity rights, I thought”
– Sam Beard
In 1991, another fortunate accident changed my life. I was making a presentation about the Jefferson Awards in San Francisco. A co-presenter, Bob Hawkins, president of ICS, a conservative think tank and publishing house, was talking about financing welfare mothers in Oakland. Afterwards, we talked. I told him about the National Development Council and our low-income financing. On the spot, he asked me to write a book on economic opportunity in America. This led to Restoring Hope in America: The Social Security Solution. The book started a 16-year cause
My goal was equity rights. Create a nation of savers. One third of all income comes from savings – money making money. 85% to 90% of most Americans have no meaningful savings. This threatens the American dream of home ownership, business ownership and retirement security.
In America, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, we fought for civil rights. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, we fought for women’s rights. In the 1990’s, why not fight for equity rights, I thought. My whole vision was to allow every working American to set aside $1,000 per year into a personal savings account. This led me to Social Security reform. Low- and moderate-income workers pay $1,240 to $2,480 per year in payroll taxes. They didn’t have an additional $1,000 to invest in an IRA. Moreover, with the Baby Boomers ready to retire, and everyone living longer, Social Security itself needed reform.
We incorporated the non-profit organization Economic Security 2000, and raised $2 million per year. We held over 5,000 grassroots media events. A team of five organizations and 60 dedicated professionals played a leading role in changing the American vision of Social Security. In our judgment, President Bill Clinton would have changed Social Security in 1999 adding the savings accounts. The Congress had impeachment proceedings instead. In 2001, President George W. Bush created his Social Security Commission. The bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11th changed the focus and resources of the presidency. Without either of those two events, we believe that Social Security reform would have been enacted. Imagine the impact of every working American setting aside $1,000 per year into a personal savings account.