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National Grange: Paperless Washington

By Burton Eller, National Grange Legislative Director

  MARCH 18, 2018 --

It’s not shocking that politics in Washington, D.C. are often detached from the real-world needs of Americans outside the Beltway.  There’s a campaign by federal agencies to quietly force citizens to go paperless before they’re ready.  Never mind that the digital divide is real.  Never mind that 40 percent of seniors do not even use a computer, or that over 23 million rural and small town citizens lack Broadband access.

The Social Security Administration stopped mailing earnings statements forcing workers to enter sensitive data online to see their earnings, all the while hoping they’re on the right site.  Now the Securities and Exchange Commission wants to allow mutual funds to force e-delivery of fund performance reports, potentially exposing unsuspecting shareholders to scammers.  These examples run on and on.

The digital transition of our economy will not be reversed, yet we need to ensure that government facilitates it without forcing it on millions of Americans who may not be equipped to manage it.  Citizens should be able to retain the choice of managing their affairs in a way that makes sense to them.  That means allowing folks to automatically keep their paper preferences and opt-in to electronic delivery if they want to, not the other way around.  That’s the Grange message in Washington.

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