Biden discounts Perry's 'Ponzi scheme' remark on Social Security
September 12th, 2011
11:27 AM ET
7 years ago

Biden discounts Perry's 'Ponzi scheme' remark on Social Security

(CNN) - Responding to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's labeling of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme," Vice President Joe Biden said in a CNN interview the governor needed to check his facts.

"He should go back and find out who Ponzi was," Biden told CNN's John King in an exclusive interview to air Monday night. "It was an individual in a different deal, but no it's not a Ponzi scheme. It is secure through 2036 and to fix is not hard."

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Perry made the comment in his first GOP presidential debate Wednesday in California, saying it's a "monstrous lie" to tell younger generations that they will benefit from the system when they retire. He'd previously devoted a passage in his book, "Fed Up," to Social Security, criticizing the system and calling it a "Ponzi scheme."

It has since fueled a fire among the Republican presidential hopefuls, with many of them coming out against Perry's comment and trying to position themselves as pro-Social Security candidates.

Watch the full interview with Biden on Monday at 7 p.m. ET on CNN's "John King, USA."

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Rick Perry • Social Security • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. SuperD

    Whatever your position is on this. Perry speaks the truth. If you were 25 years old, would YOU want to really pay into this?

    Not only is it a Ponzi scheme, it's WORSE, in a Ponzi scheme, you don't have to participate, you can pass on it. But Social Security, you are REQUIRED to participate. Big Difference there people.

    Social Security must be reformed, I support the Chilean model, it seems to work. If you don't know what that is, google it.

    September 12, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Bill from GA

    To have a civilized human for Vice-President is a real treat. I kinda missed that for 8 years or so.

    September 12, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Dan in Chitown

    The Republicans keep pushing this "No Nothing" attitude. Keep with the flashy terms that they do not know how to define.... "Ponzi scheme", "Socialism", "Job Creation". Sounds good, so go with it....

    September 12, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Biden is smart. Keep your distance and let the Republicans bicker it out.

    September 12, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Dan in Chitown

    Super D – Your definition of a Ponzi Scheme is the same as what your local bank does. They take your deposits and pay out others who are withdrawing money. It is not a Ponzi Scheme just because your exact dollars do not go into a safe until you withdraw them. The No Nothings like to twist definitions around. A Ponzi Scheme is when you actively deceive new depositors by taking their money and paying out old depositors profits that they have not earned.

    September 12, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. JimmmyTheKnife

    Perry is correct on this one. The fact that the system isn't self-sustaining and that those on the front-end of particaption will be winners and those at the back-end will lose, falls right in line with Ponzi. Those who aren't willing to admit this fact also fail to help solve the issue by their denial.

    September 12, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. lgny

    Calling it a "Ponzi scheme" is pure scare mongering.

    Yes, it needs adjustments to remain solvent into the long term future, but that's a far cry from bankrupt.

    His remark is equivalent to your doctor saying you need to have your arm amputated because of a deep cut. If treated promptly, there's no need for the amputation. If ignored indefinitely, you could lose the arm - but only a negligent person would ignore it for that long.

    September 12, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. Bill from GA

    Social Security's life has been extended at least twice (once under Regan) by altering the age of entry and increasing the rates. American's want and need this.

    The repugs should tell us what it will take to fix it and GIVE US A CHOICE.

    And any change to Cost Of Living increases should be matched to COL increases for Congress, and all government workers. THEY SHOULD ALL BE THE SAME!!!

    Congress has gotten hikes when Seniors did not.

    September 12, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. GrogInOhio

    IF Rick Perry wins the Republican nomination, it will be the classic case of poor and middle class voters voting against their own economic interests. We'll see how it works out.

    September 12, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. The Elephant in The Room

    By it`s nature it IS NOT a Ponzi scheme.

    But after having been depleted by Deficit incurring Republicans to fund the Industrial/ Military Complex for DECADES, it finds itself short of money to meet obligations. Put the blame where it belongs lackadasical, gullible citizens voting in incompetent Republican managers more interested in"spin" than substance.

    Yes people are living longer than planned, so we can attribute this to poor actuaries too but the bigger hit is from misappropration of funds.

    OK Mr. Perry, since you seem to ADMIT the money was stolen, how do we get it back? How do we keep Social Security going so that seniors continue to get benefits and today`s 40-somethings [who`ve paid-in for 25 years already] don`t get screwed?

    Raise taxes on the more affluent, that`s how! Just admit it! They got a free ride when Republicans were raiding the Social Security piggy bank. Now they have to give it back.

    Perry, you`ve either got to execute Social Security [and not get elected] or piss of Grover & the Teavangelists and raise taxes to unlever the "Ponzi Scheme" as you`ve termed it.

    September 12, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Dan from Tx

    If we are to do away with SS then I want ALL my money I've paid back in NOW.
    Otherwise the politicians are doing noting ore than buying the elderly vote with MY MONEY.

    As the Chilean system, half of Chileans have no pension coverage, and of those who do, 40 percent find it hard to reach the minimum level. But, hey.... you're always free to move to Chile!

    September 12, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    JimmmyTheKnife wrote:
    Perry is correct on this one. The fact that the system isn't self-sustaining and that those on the front-end of particaption will be winners and those at the back-end will lose, falls right in line with Ponzi. Those who aren't willing to admit this fact also fail to help solve the issue by their denial.
    Wrong. The system ran surpluses for decades. It was a Republican named Reagan who finally succeeded in finding a way to spend the surpluses, and tinker with the rates to eliminate the surpluses.

    The SSI system was designed to succeed, which it did. Republicans have been trying to get rid of it through a "starve the beast" policy since the days of Reagan, where it reached new heights.

    September 12, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Voice of Reason

    What?? You mean Perry was just spouting sensationalist nonsense to keep the cameras rolling, and that whatever was spewing out of his mouth was sompletely unencumbered by truth or rational thought?? I am Shocked.

    Next you'll tell me that Bachmann can't really live up to the $2 gas remark, or that we're not really returning to the gold standard...

    September 12, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Baby Boomer

    I agree with the poster who says " If we are to do away with SS then I want ALL my money I've paid back in NOW."
    I've been paying into SS since I was 16 years old. I'm 55 now. So I want 39 years of contributions back. See how ridiculous that sounds. Perry's a nut.

    September 12, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. DAK

    I find it hard to believe that anyone would ever vote for Rick Perry, the guy who wants to disband the United States into fifty little countries then taked Federal money for any reason he can come up with. If I were the president, I would cut off all funding for any Republican-led state unless the Governor admitted on national TV that they took money from the SAME GOVERNMENT THEY CONSTANTLY CRY AND WHINE ABOUT. I would call every single one of them out and make them defend their positions and their statements before the voters.

    September 12, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Elaine

    I think that candidates should be people of conviction, but not rigid ideology. If someone wants to be president of the United States, they should appear reasonable ,discreet, and understanding of the concerns of all Americans.Rick Perry's inflammatory language on Social Security and other government programs makes him sound like he is playing to Archie Bunker.I am an Obama supporter, and will be voting for him in the next election because I think that he would be the overall best choice for the country; but as Republicans go, I would rather see Mitt Romney as their nominee because , if the president were to lose, I think that he appears more reasonable.

    September 12, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. badcyclist


    People are not required to pay into Social Security. It depends on your job and employer. Many state and city employees, for example, do not pay into Social Security.

    And Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme– that is a stupid argument by a stupid man designed to appeal to stupid people.

    September 12, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    Seeing as how it's objective fact that Parry is full of feces when he calls SS a "Ponzi Scheme"'s not even remotely arguable when you start listing the programmatic traits of SS and a "Ponzi Scheme" side by side...I'm wondering: where is CNN's article explaining it for the benefit of the public discourse and the keystone democratic value of having an informed voting public? Hmmm? Where?

    Or is it just that much easier to ramp up the ad revenue by pretending Parry's "opinion" is somehow legitimate enough to merit discussion as opposed to debunking?

    September 12, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Pam

    The only changes needed for Social Security is to remove it from the federal budget. It was a mistake for Reagan to move it when he was President. Must have been part of that 'trickle-down economics' philisophy he had – start cutting in the middle and it will trickle down to the poor
    And if the government cannot guarantee that I will receive it when I retire, then quit taking it out of my paychecks!
    I pay for Social Security – it is not a hand-out! – and I fully expect to get it.

    September 12, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Conservatives are liars, who simply wish to steal your wealth.

    Get rid of Social Security: Conservatives will not tell you why SSI was created in the first place. SSI was created during the Great Depression because so many people had lost their life savings to the robber barons of Wall Street. The government said, "Invest with us. We are not out to get rich by swindling you out of your money."

    Get rid of Medicare: Conservatives will not tell you why we have Medicare in the first place. It is because as people aged, health insurers would deny coverage to people, drop people, or flat out decline to offer seniors any health insurance at all. The government said, "Insure with us. We are not out to get rich by swindling you out of your money."

    Liberals are fascists: Republicans will not tell you that most fascist governments have mainly one branch, a military. No social programs to protect its' people, just a military to "secure" its' people.

    September 12, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Any body who listins to Perry should have there heads examined. The Perry wants you to beleave that SS is a Ponzi scheme so young people will buy into this. He will convince them that they can keep there tax money,then the system won't have enough money to payout existing benifits. Republicans like him then can use the money to give more tax breaks to the rich and oil companies,and the young people end up with nothing when they get old but a dream.

    September 12, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    Unfortunately, there is a segment in society who would vote for Perry no matter what he says or does about SS only to get Obama out of "their" WH. Afterwards, expect the country to return to it's original self interests.

    September 12, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. tom

    dems. want it both ways throw old people off the cliff in wheel chairs. biden social good for 50 yrs.

    September 12, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. RINO Bil

    Perry probably believes that Ponzi is that character from "Happy Days."

    September 12, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. FM

    I can't wait to watch him (Perry) tonight during the debate. He warned earlier that he needs to be frank to people. Am pretty sure he will be coming with other terms or explanations which will annoy people. I do think he has a problem of filtering words to use and not to!

    September 12, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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