Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Social Security DOH!

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Social Security DOH!

The playbook distributed this weekend to Republican lawmakers has been leaked.

Here are some quotes about "Communicating SS Reform":
“Personalization” not “privatization”: Personalization suggests increased personal
ownership and control. Privatization connotes the total corporate takeover of Social Security;
this is inaccurate and thoroughly turns off listeners, who are very concerned about corporate

Talk in simple language: Your audience doesn’t understand financial jargon. Phrases such
as “cash flow deficits” and “actuarial imbalance” don’t normally crop up in conversation;
avoid using them.

Keep the numbers small: Your audience doesn’t know how trillions and billions differ.
They know these numbers are large, but not how large nor how many billions make a trillion.
Boil numbers down to “your family’s share.” Also avoid percentages; your audience will try
to calculate them in their head—no easy task while listening to a speech—and many will do
it incorrectly.

Acknowledge risks: Many of your listeners will not have a lot of financial education or
investment experience, but they know that markets have risk—and nothing is guaranteed.
They believe investments can grow over time, but they also know they can lose their
investments. They don’t trust someone who tells them differently.

Say it the way they can hear it: Your audience will reject some turns of phrase because of
the connotations and associations. The responses are not universal, but they are much less
personal than you might imagine.

Why refer to it as Social Security at all. Why not just change the whole name of the system first then get rid of it.

In other words:

Dumb it down...

A little more...