Rick Perry Calls Social Security A “Ponzi Scheme”
“I’m not afraid to have that conversation,” says the Texas governor in dismissing the fiscal sustainability of America’s largest entitlement program. And I must say that the comment is a little shocking.
Once upon a time the fiscal problems with entitlement programs like Social Security was kryptonite for presidential candidates, but Perry seems to have the courage to plunge into that issue head-on. I’ve got to say that I’m impressed.
Asked about how the country copes with the growing cost of Social Security and other entitlement programs, Perry said political leaders had to show “courage” especially in dealing with Social Security, which he labeled a “Ponzi scheme.”
He said: “I can promise you, my 27-year-old son, Social Security, under the program that we have today, will not be there.”
Perry, himself 61, pledged to back a base level of support for needy retirees, but he said calling the current retirement system a Ponzi scheme – in which contributions from one group is to pay immediate benefits to another group – is the first step in deciding how to alter it.
“I’m not afraid of having that conversation,” the governor said. “Do I have a plan yet to lay out and say here it is in black and white? I don’t. But I can promise you … these challenges are not overcomable, at all. We are Americans and we will find the way to do it.”
Perry needs to be careful about making comments like this without being ready to talk specifics about what specific reforms he’d implement. The left will tear him apart if he doesn’t, and even conservatives will be skeptical until they see a plan.
But even talking about this takes cojones. That said, President George W. Bush ran on privatizing Social Security in 2000 and attempted to implement reforms once elected. He failed. Maybe Perry can succeed.
Certainly the reality of the Social Security trust fund, an accounting gimmick that is really just $2.6 trillion in debt the government owes itself, has begun to sink in with the public. The Democrat fear-mongering about “pushing granny off a cliff” may not get the sort of traction it did in the past.Tags: election 2012, rick perry, social security