Politics

Cyberspace March

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Just a few months ago, it seemed as if genuine Social Security reform--including at least a partial privatization of the retirement system--was inevitable. Then came Monicagate.

In an attempt to keep Social Security on legislators' radar screens, and to demonstrate how cyberspace can be used in political advocacy, reformers have launched "The Billion Byte March," a Web site that allows those who log on to e-mail the White House and members of Congress and demand changes in the Social Security system.

The brainchild of two groups, Economic Security 2000 Action and Third Millennium, the Billion Byte March has also received bipartisan backing in Congress: Its honorary co-chairs are Sens. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), Chuck Robb (D-Va.), and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), and Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), and Charlie Stenholm (D-Texas), each of whom planned to appear at a rally on Capitol Hill in mid-October. The elected officials and the advocacy groups agree on a set of basic principles, which are listed on the Web site, including an insistence that any reforms of Social Security must allow individuals to invest at least a portion of their payroll taxes in private savings accounts.

National Co-Chair Hillary Beard, who is also executive director of Economic Security 2000 Action, says the leaders of the "march" hope to send between 250,000 and 1 million e-mail messages to Congress and the White House on a single day around the time the president delivers the State of the Union address in late January.