When Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Social Security a Ponzi scheme during a recent GOP presidential debate, many renewed calls for such extreme rhetoric to be banished.
However, Perry later defended his frank language in a USA Today op-ed article, but spent most of the piece attacking the program's flaws.
Perry called for Social Security to become more financially sound and sustainable long term and outlined the problems: By 2037 retirees will only get roughly 76 cents back for every dollar that is put into Social Security. It's not until further down that he says, For too long, politicians have been afraid to speak honestly about Social Security. We must have the guts to talk about its financial condition.
Perry Still Playing to Base With 'Ponzi' ?
The op-ed shows a marked difference from when Perry first employed the Ponzi scheme comparison in his book Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington. Criticizing New Deal initiatives as being like a disease, according to the Washington Post, Perry called Social Security by far the best example. Social Security is something we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now, he said.
This new stance may win more support from a base that seems to agree with his stance but is hesitant to use his language about the extremely popular program.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., agreed with Perry's point, while skirting the use of Ponzi scheme, at a luncheon Thursday, according to Politico. I think that the point the governor is trying to make is the math doesn't lie and the numbers don't add up. Rep. Cantor added I agree that what we need to be focused on the fact that people are expecting the government to live up to its promises.
Former-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said there's no need to frighten or throw under the bus our esteemed elders, when asked if Perry should continue to refer to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme according to Politico. But she defended his message saying, what Rick Perry was trying to say I believe is that there needs to be reform. Status quo is not acceptable because these programs are insolvent.
Even USA Today's editorial board, which wrote an editorial opposing Perry's language, agreed that Social Security is facing problems. Yes, Social Security has major funding problems...to that extent, Perry has a point. The board goes on to call Congress negligent in making necessary adjustments.
But Former-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Perry's stance dooms him in a general election. On Sean Hannity's radio show after the debate, according to The Wall Street Journal, Romney said If we nominate someone who the Democrats can correctly characterize as being opposed to Social Security, we would be obliterated as a party.
However Ray Sullivan, Perry's communication director, said the type of language Perry uses actually helps his election potential. Your traditional mealy-mouthed candidates and incumbents aren't what voters want or respect anymore, Sullivan told The Wall Street Journal.