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September 15, 2011 07:15 PM UTC

Jumping on Perry's "Ponzi Scheme" Grenade

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Los Angeles Times reports:

[Mitt] Romney, speaking at a gated adult community in the Phoenix suburbs, reiterated his attack on Perry’s claim that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and that it ought to be handled by the states instead of the federal government.

“Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme,” the former Massachusetts governor told hundreds of seniors gathered in Sun Lakes. “Social Security has worked for 75 years pretty darn well. You guys are not taking advantage of Social Security. You contributed to it; it’s a savings plan, a pension plan. There are no bad guys in Social Security, so I don’t call it a Ponzi scheme.”

Romney said Perry’s suggestion that the plan shift to the states was unmanageable because people move and live in multiple states, and he feared that state legislators would raid the funds when facing financial difficulties. He said that the program did need to be reformed for younger workers, and that raising the retirement age was among the options he would consider.

“I will save Social Security financially and as a federal program,” said Romney, who was interrupted with applause.

They call proposals to cut, privatize, or otherwise substantially alter Social Security “touching the third rail” of politics, and for a good reason–attacks on Social Security inevitably raise questions from the millions of Americans who either rely on the program in retirement, know someone who does, or for some silly reason hope to themselves someday. After Texas Gov. and new GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Perry doubled down on his characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” in recent debates, opponent Mitt Romney saw an opening to attack Perry in defense of Social Security–and is vigorously taking it.

Obviously, this represents a major breach between two popular candidates, and opens the door to infighting within the GOP on the issue–well illustrated in a recent interview of RNC chairman Reince Priebus, forced to defend Perry in a situation where he clearly didn’t want to.

Well folks, in today’s arch-conservative Colorado Springs Gazette, editor Wayne Laugesen bets the farm in defense of Perry: “Social Security is the essence of a Ponzi scheme–possibly history’s most exploitative Ponzi scheme [Pols emphasis]–and it cannot be sustained.” Instead of simply acknowledging a difference of opinion within the party, the Gazette chose to get out in front of Perry’s controversial talking point with a flamethrower.

Perry says thanks, but we would soften this message a little before delivery to Grandma.


11 thoughts on “Jumping on Perry’s “Ponzi Scheme” Grenade

  1. Both Romney and Perry are having a bad week.  Yesterday, Romney was trying to justify the MA healthcare mandate as affecting only 8% of MA’s population, whereas Obama’s plan (with the same mandate) affects 100% of the US population.  Nice try, Willard.

    And, Perry’s defects are only just beginning to be exposed.

    I don’t think any of the current GOP candidates can beat Obama, even given his own problems.  

    What scares me is a Jeb Bush candidacy.  I think he would be formidable.  To those that say another Bush can’t win, I note that the GOP already has two Bush-type candidates.  Romney reminds me of Papa Bush, only with lots more flip-flops and insincerity.  Perry is W on Red Bull or acid, take your pick.  Jeb is the smart and popular one.  I still think the GOP brokers will essentially demand that he run in 2012, and that he might see a clear opening for himself.

    1. though when I posted such a couple of weeks ago I got at least one reply about folks being infested with ‘Bush fatigue’. I hope he doesn’t ever run but he would be far more electable than any of the twits that are chasing a nomination currently

      1. When I saw Neil Bush frequently when I worked for one of the developers he was in cahoots with him while looting Silverado for a billion dollar loss to the taxpayers. (The seizure of Silverado should have happened sooner but was delayed until after the 1988 election so Bush I could be elected).

        Why elect yet another member of the Bush Crime Family?  

    2. I doubt any of the defects or gaffs matter this early. I think they are only about as much a deficit as the Bush name (if not less). I think that any Republican save for the ‘unfriendly’ bunch like Ron Paul and Bachmann could potentially beat Obama because the economy sucks. Right, wrong, otherwise, people tend to vote against incumbents when the economy is bad.

      However, things are still very far in advance, and if the economy improves or the Republicans manage to have a really bad couple of weeks when people are paying attention in this month next year, then Obama keeps office. If they manage to just not screw up and the expected flood of “Tea Party” money comes in to do hit ads and things are as bad or worse this time next year, Obama loses.

      1. Yes, it’s early.  But, it’s possible both Perry and Romney will soon look so ridiculous that the opening will be too enticing.

        Chuck Todd thinks that if Perry is nominated, a third party candidacy would emerge.  Who knows?  I just know that the prospect of Jeb Bush gives me the cold sweats.

  2. That millions agree with Perry, and millions more want to see serious reform to Social Security like Romney. Their opinions are not that far apart, though the liberal media is trying to make it look otherwise.

    Campaign sharp elbows are nothing to panic about. Isn’t that what you said when Romanoff was biting at Bennet’s ankles?

    1. Less than 1/3 of them agree with Perry, and it remains solidly the third rail of politics once you get into specifics.

      The sad part is that 1/3 of the population does agree with Perry.  It’s a complete lie; as the Economist notes, a Ponzi scheme will fail (and quickly) at latest when it reaches 100% of the population; Social Security has reached virtually 100% of the population for decades now and is fundamentally sound absent the small bump of Baby Boomer payments and the threat of lunatic Republicans trying to pull the plug on it.

    2. it needs to be made unlawful to raid SS trust fund for other needs, do as Al Gore suggested, put it in a “lockbox”

      The ceiling on earnings taxable needs to be raised or eliminated. I favor eliminataion

      The age of eligibility should be subject to adjustment every 10 years or so. It might go down, it might go up depending on actuarial data

      Means test. Howard Hughes received SS. Those earning $1M, from ANY source, should be ruled ineligible

      1. to fund other government programs.  Then ArapaGOP and other low information R hacks tell us oh wow look here, social security is almost bankrupt and thus is an inefficient big government program, so we need to eliminate it !

        Its like robbing someone and then telling them they’re poor because they’re stupid. Irony.

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