NPR logo Social Security's Star Trek Posters: Why?


Social Security's Star Trek Posters: Why?

Star Trek Social Security
Robert Smith/NPR

I was in a congressman's office waiting for an interview the other day when a staffer walked in.

"Free food upstairs," he said. "Financial literacy day."

I popped in and found a buffet of pulled-pork sandwiches and a bunch of federal agencies giving away free swag.

At the Social Security table, they had posters with George Takei, from Star Trek, and Patty Duke, from some show before my time.

The posters are part of a Social Security ad campaign — which seems odd on its face, given that Social Security is a mandatory program.

A woman at the Social Security booth told me the government wants to encourage Baby Boomers to do all their paperwork online, which saves the government money. Hence the ad campaign starring two Boomer icons.

Other swag on offer:

Fed Pen
Robert Smith

The Federal Reserve had coloring books and pens that light up a big dollar sign when you write.

The IRS kept a somber, black-draped table and offered cheap pens. No one stopped by.

The FDIC had little magnets pushing their podcasts. Who knew Planet Money was competing with the FDIC?