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December 12, 2011 07:23 PM UTC

Is it a cheap left-wing talking point to say a Congressman declares Social Security a ponzi scheme?

  • 10 Comments
  • by: Jason Salzman

(Quote=”cheap left-wing talking point?” Okay… – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Denver Post columnist Vincent Carroll wrote last week that it’s a “cheap left-wing talking” point for Denver Rep. Joe Miklosi to point out that Rep. Mike Coffman called Social Security a “ponzi scheme.”

Carroll usually expresses himself as clearly as any columnist out there, but here he should have given us a few more details.

As it is, Carroll sounds like he’s using the “cheap left-wing-talking-point” line as a cheap right-wing talking point against Miklosi.

I mean, Carroll might have a point if Coffman had burped out the “ponzi-scheme” comment, and then said something like, “Excuse me. I didn’t mean it.”  Or even if Coffman said it just once.

But Coffman has embraced the ponzi-scheme concept not once but twice with his trademark intellectual air of certainty, first calling it “obviously” a “ponzi scheme” and then confirming his view in a second interview.

What Coffman is saying here, unless you believe Bernie Madoff is innocent, is that Social Security is a big piece of fraud, designed by the Madoffs in Washington to rip us all off.

Actually, Social Security is a government program that’s completely above board and transparent, about as different from a ponzi scheme as you can imagine. It’s been tweaked a number of times during its existence, but it remains hugely successful. It will remain solvent for 25 more years with no changes at all, and minor changes will keep it going much longer. It’s no ponzi scheme, as explained here.

Now, to be fair to Coffman, he goes on to say in interviews that he wants to reform Social Security because unless changes are made, it won’t be there for the under-55 set.

But how does this square with his view that it’s a ponzi scheme? If it’s a ponzi scheme, you’d want to get rid of it and put the perpetrators in jail.

It’s a question someone should ask Coffman, why he wants to save a ponzi scheme, because his repeated use of the phrase seems to show that part of him must really hate the program or, in the bigger picture, government itself, because Social Security represents a successful effort by the federal government to collect taxes and design programs to improve our lives.

Coffman wants to have it both ways, allegedly believing in Social Security, yet calling it–and by implication government itself–criminal.

So, it’s not a left-wing talking point for Miklosi to highlight the fact that Coffman has repeatedly called Social Security a ponzi scheme.

It’s a legitimate statement about Coffman, and it should make columnists like Carroll wonder where Coffman really stands not just on Social Security but the basic functions of government.

Comments

10 thoughts on “Is it a cheap left-wing talking point to say a Congressman declares Social Security a ponzi scheme?

    1. there is not an intent to take investor’s $ with no intent to return it. SS is simply not being funded adequately at this time for those of some age, not necessarily 55. It could be fixed for those of all ages but would require a helluva tax to do that. Coffman doesn’t have to worry anyway, he’ll be a double or triple diper by the time he is done.

      1. Just raise the cap on income taxed from the first $108,000 of income up to…whatever it turns out to be. (I’ve also seen the cap as $106,000. Whatever. It’s an arbitrary number anyway.) Now, just do it and all this moaning about SS could go away for another 50 years. It should be a non-issue, but rhe Reactionary Party wants to shove us back into the Gilded Age of Plutocracy.

        1. Raise the cap on taxed income in order to ensure the solvency of SS?  No, can’t do that.

          Like any financial program, SS can be run on a sound actuarial basis ensuring its integrity, or it can be run like a Ponzi scheme. Just like Madoff could have run his operation legitimately or like a Ponzi sceme. He choose the latter.

          This is simply a continuation of the ongoing effort by the Right initiated by the “Reagan Revolution” to void the social contract of the New Deal.  

  1. become a cheap talking point? I guess we’re only allowed to quote them when they say something we agree with.

    Or, we could just fire his sorry ass next year and elect someone else to his seat.

    I vote for Option B.  

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