Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Name Game - Social Security Advocacy

I love turnips. I have a thing for rutabagas too. I know the difference between the two vegetables. Many people mistake one for the other. Websites are a lot like turnips and rutabagas. It is hard to tell legitimate web sites from organizations that want to promote their vision or agenda.

Naming an advocacy site close to an official government agency or program is nothing new. It is not necessarily wrong if visitors can quickly discern your purpose. The most common example is the difference between whitehouse.gov and the 1999 version of whitehouse.com, which was a porno site.

Here are two examples from the opposite ends of the spectrum, SocialSecurity.org and SocSec.org.

The Cato Institute is a conservative research think tank. It has a close relationship with the current administration. How close? Some of the language used is very similar to the documentation found at the White House web site.

The Institute has created http://www.socialsecurity.org to provide information in favor of the proposed changes to the social security program. You can find calculators that demonstrate the advantages of personal investment accounts, reasons for the change and the advantages to citizens and the country.

The information is presented in an easy to read style. It does not inflame but it makes it clear to the visitor that privatization is the way to go.

On the opposing end of the spectrum is The New Century Institute. It is a liberal organization supports http://www.socsec.org. As you might expect, they are not in favor of the administration’s plans to change social security. The site has downloadable Adobe PDF booklets that go into detail about the realities of the current social security program.

One of those realities is that the current system is not on the verge of fiscal collapse. There is much documentation and provides links to other sources visitors can review to get the facts on the program.

My feeling is this is no time to be partisan, especially when it comes to my money. I want information from multiple sources. I will keep my eyes on both these and other sites as I continue the search for "The Plan."

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