Perry Worries That "Washington Insiders" Will Destroy the Monstrous Lie of a Ponzi Scheme

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 13 2011 12:01 PM

Perry Worries That "Washington Insiders" Will Destroy the Monstrous Lie of a Ponzi Scheme

Rick Perry debuts a new ad for Iowa, dishing out shame for "Washington insiders [who] are bankrupting Social Security."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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It was three short months ago that Perry was chastised for calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme," and got to respond to critics at the Simi Valley GOP debate.

Well, I think any of us that want to go back and change 70 years of what's been going on in this country is probably going to have a difficult time. And rather than spending a lot of time talking about what those folks were doing back in the '30s and the '40s, it's a nice intellectual conversation, but the fact is we have got to be focussed on how we're going to change this program.
And people who are on Social Security today, men and women who are receiving those benefits today, are individuals at my age that are in line pretty quick to get them, they don't need to worry about anything. But I think the Republican candidates are talking about ways to transition this program, and it is a monstrous lie.
It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you're paying into a program that's going to be there. Anybody that's for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it's not right.

This is the paradox I tried to explain after talking to Republicans last week, gaming out their reasons for opposing an extended payroll tax holiday. Republicans, generally, want Social Security reform. Perry, specifically, wants to phase out Social Security as a transfer payment system. But just as Ryan plan defenders described voucherization as "saving Medicare" -- no one else is trying to save it! -- Perry wants to shift the Social Security cutting onus onto Democrats. This would have been easier if Democrats had actually agreed to deep cuts and reforms that raised the retirement age, but because they didn't, it just sounds odd.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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