National Dialogue

The National Dialogue is the center of the online interaction facilitated by this Website. You can participate in any of five online forums which will be opened in successive weeks and will host a set of parallel public discussion. The first forum will serve to introduce the subject of Social Security reform. It will begin as people are first discovering this Website and will continue as long as interest warrants.

The other four forums will be structured around Roundtables of legislators, policy experts and issue advocates. These distinguished guests will mingle with the public audience in focused discussions of specific issues, as described below.

You are invited to take part in each of the five online forums. Don't be shy about expressing your views, commenting upon things that seem important or that need clarification and advocating those positions which you feel your elected representatives should know about.

Express your views, too, in response to survey questions. We will be posting surveys throughout the course of the Dialogue to gauge public opinion and prompt further discussion.

Network Democracy begins with your public voice. Please study the resource materials available on this site and elsewhere, and express yourself clearly and convincingly.

To contribute to the online forums you must register with a valid e-mail address. A single registration suffices for all the discussions that form the National Dialogue. Detailed information on how to participate in the electronic discussion is located in the Project Information section of the Website.

Topics for the Online Forums

  • Introduction and a Discussion of Values. (April 19 - June 4) What fundamental values underlie the Social Security system? Is there a public consensus on these values? Can such a consensus provide a starting point for the public discussion of Social Security reform?
    View the discussion archive.

  • Why Reform Now? (April 26 - May 7) What are the future needs of the Social Security system? Are reforms required now to meet those needs? What are the benefits of early action? Can changes be phased in?
    View the discussion archive.

  • Options for Reform (May 3 - May 14) What are the possibilities for reforming the current system? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
    View the discussion archive.

  • Investing in Stocks (May 17 - May 28) Can income for the Social Security Trust Fund be increased by investing a portion of the Fund in the stock market? What are the risks and costs? What are the options for private sector investments? Should investments be handled through a government program or as individually managed accounts?
    View the discussion archive.

  • Women and Minorities (May 24 - June 4) Does Social Security have special significance for women and for members of minority groups? How do the options for social security reform affect women and minorities? What are the special considerations and needs of women and minorities?
    View the discussion archive.

  • Current Legislative Proposals (May 24 - June 4) Members of Congress who are introducing proposals on Social Security reform have been invited to participate in this online forum.
    View the discussion archive.

Thanks for your participation and your help. Use the buttons below to explore other areas of the National Dialogue Website.

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