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Social Security – flooding the airwaves with deceptive messages?

September 14, 2021

Greg Visscher, one of our readers and supporters, recently got in touch with us after hearing a 15-second radio ad in the Washington, DC area. You can listen to this brief message, too, at this link.

The message was from the Social Security Administration. Greg recalls that the station called it a “taxpayer funded” message.

The words in the 15-second ad are:

Millions open a “my Social Security account” every year, so they can prepare for retirement. Social Security – securing today, and tomorrow. See what you can do at SocialSecurity.gov.

The front page of that website has a click-through tab titled “my Social Security” (with the “my” in italics). Clicking on that tab brings you to a page featuring the following image …

… with an invitation to “Create your personal my Social Security account today.”

Greg has been aware of our concerns about Social Security messaging, including the first version of their “My Social Security” webpage. Back in 2017, I took note of that new webpage, which featured this image (and some wording on the image). 

The previous wording (on the image of the young man looking out over the ocean) was:

Set yourself free. Open a my Social Security account today and rest easy knowing that you’re in control of your future.

That image was replaced with the current one (with new wording) sometime in August 2018. The current messaging isn’t so ambitious, which is a good thing. 

The federal government chooses to exclude tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded Social Security obligations as debt on its balance sheet, and the reason it clings to when trying to justify this practice runs along the lines of “the government controls the law, and can change the benefits at any time.”

In other words, maybe we shouldn’t rest easy, knowing we are in control of our future.

For that matter, maybe they should stop calling it “my Social Security account,” too.

How many radio stations are they paying to run these ads? 

 
 
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