NCPA Launches Groundbreaking Social Security Ad Campaign

Unprecedented Public Education Television Initiative to Kick Off During Debates

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 27) -- The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) today announced the launch of a commercial television advertising campaign to educate the general public about the benefits of personal investment in Social Security reform. It is believed to be the first national public education advertising initiative ever created for a think tank.

"The ads highlight the difference choice and control can make on the average American's retirement security," said John C. Goodman, president of the NCPA. "Viewers will be able to see for themselves differences between the current system and one using personal accounts."

The ad campaign, which will begin on September 30 and air through the presidential debates, is designed to lead viewers to the NCPA's online Social Security calculator (, an educational tool designed to show average Americans how they would benefit personally if given choice and control over retirement security:

  • How much they will be required to pay into the Social Security program and how much they can expect to receive in return.
  • What their rate of return will be from Social Security.
  • How high the required payroll tax rate will be to pay their retirement benefits.
  • The benefit they could have received if the money had been invested privately.

The NCPA Social Security calculator allows Web site visitors to choose their occupation from a list of more than 500, then input their age, sex and last year's salary. The calculator computes expected taxes and benefits under the current system and how much could have accumulated had even a portion of their tax dollars been invested privately. The following examples are representative:

  • A 27-year-old high school math teacher can expect to receive only $1,556 or 55 cents in benefits for every dollar she pays in Social Security taxes. Investing in stocks and bonds, her benefit would be $3,770-$2.42 per dollar of Social Security benefits.
  • A 30-year-old construction worker can expect to receive only 32 cents in benefits per dollar invested in Social Security, a monthly benefit of $1,353. Had he invested privately the benefit would be $5,661-$4.18 for every dollar of Social Security benefits.
  • The expected monthly benefit for a 40-year-old computer programmer is $1,515 or a return of 35 cents for every dollar invested. With investment in stocks and bonds, the benefit rises to $5,684-$3.75 per dollar of Social Security benefits.

"When I spoke of Social Security reform back in the 80s, I was told that I was ahead of my time and people weren't ready," said Governor Pete du Pont, former governor of Delaware and the NCPA's policy chairman. "It is clearly the right time for this education effort, because the American people are ready to have personal control over their retirement security."