Perry releases op-ed on Social Security, honesty
September 12th, 2011
04:20 PM ET
3 years ago

Perry releases op-ed on Social Security, honesty

Washington (CNN) - Presidential hopeful Rick Perry set the stage for Monday's "Tea Party Republican Debate" by releasing an opinion-editorial that broadly defines his position on social security.

"We must have a frank, honest national conversation about fixing Social Security to protect benefits for those at or near retirement while keeping faith with younger generations, who are being asked to pay," stated the USA Today op-ed.

Perry, the governor of Texas, has made waves in the past for calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." Perry doubled down on at Wednesday's Reagan Library debate, repeating his "Ponzi scheme" charge while also calling Social Security a "failure."

In response, a number of other GOP hopefuls made statements supporting the program. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, called his position "reckless" and "wrong."

The op-ed does not use the word "Ponzi scheme," but with Perry trying to stress the honesty needed to address Social Security, the words "frank" (three times) and "honest" (four times) are peppered throughout the piece.

"The first step to fixing a problem is honestly admitting there is a problem," the op-ed stated. "America's goal must be to fix Social Security by making it more financially sound and sustainable for the long term. But Americans deserve a frank and honest discussion of the dire financial challenges facing the nearly 80-year-old program."

Perry, along with seven other GOP hopefuls, will be on stage tonight at CNN's "Tea Party Republican Debate."

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Lenmsith

    Social Security can be fixed. Don't use the taxes to offset the general budget. Vice President Gore was laughed at when he said his plan was to put the funds in "Lock Box". Nothing funny about it. It should be used for future payments. The maxium could easily be raised from $106,000 to some number maybe $300,000 this year and in two or three years to $500,000. There should be a lower cutoff for the business share. The COLA can be improved upon and in fact, it never occured to me that my payment would be increased. My retirement payment is never increased. I needed to save for my retirement, because I always was taught that SS was a cushion and not a retirement fund. Lots can be done, but this insane Perry probably doesn't even understand it. And, don't privatize it, because if you do the fees will all go the managers and it will not grow.

    September 12, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Jack

    No one - NO ONE - has ever said there is no problem with Social Security. Everyone admits we need to get it fixed. Only Perry has called it a Ponzi scheme. Is that what he means by a "frank and honest" discussion? He must think we're all fools. Perry does not want a discussion. He said it is a fraud. End of discussion–for him, at least. The rest of us will go on discussing ways to fix it.

    September 12, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Chas in Iowa

    Sicial Security is a self funded program that is currently solvent for 25 years. If the rich would have to pay into social security as the rest of us do it would be solvent for 75 years without changing a thing. Now which young people are going to loose out?

    September 12, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Chaos

    Notice how he left out the most important part... What he wants to do.

    September 12, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. pn

    Damage control.

    September 12, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Hammerer

    Honesty?
    No one in Washington knows what the word means.

    September 12, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. NC

    Social Security ha enough money until 2036. If politicans try to fix it the money will be gone in 6 months.

    September 12, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    Too late to walk back your comments Mr. Yeehaw. The probvlem with Social Security is that these fascists republicans keep nitpicking away at it as if it's their personal piggy bank. KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF THE PIGGY BANK!!!!

    September 12, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. As GM goes, so goes the country...Unions/Democrats killed GM, now they are killing the country

    >Sicial Security is a self funded program that is currently solvent for 25 years.

    Haven't done any research have you? It is already paying out more than it takes in. The thieving federal government will have to start printing money, borrow money, or raise taxes to repay the over $2 TRILLION it "borrowed"/stole from the trust fund.

    >If the rich would have to pay into social security as the rest of us do it would be solvent for 75 years without changing a >thing. Now which young people are going to loose out?

    Everybody pays into the fund and should get the same payouts. The "rich" already pay into the fund. Why do you think some people should be funding others' retirement? You and the Democrats want to turn EVERY program into a social welfare program.

    September 12, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. kakaraka

    Perry does not believe in social security in the first place. He calls the system, a ponzi sheme, a fraud. How can you make a conversation on something you don't believe and want to get rid of? Typical republican, say dumb thing and say another thing later when the damage is getting hot. No Perry, you can't fool the American people. You don't believe in social security and want it to be dismantle. Period. Stand by your word like a man.

    September 12, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    If HE was Honest about social security he would be saying that if we do not do anything at all to social security it is fully funded until 2034, how's that for honesty?!? If you want to extend it farther, much farther, then just remove the $106k cap on social security, very simple but that would mean a so-called small tax increase to the rich and the GOP certainly won't do that! Here's even a better way to extend social security beyond 2034. Make the Congress participate in social security instead of their cushy retirement plan. I bet the system would be improved in record time. All of the GOPers are such hypocrites and liars.

    September 12, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Patrick from Minnesota

    As GM goes, so goes the country...Unions/Democrats killed GM, now they are killing the country, just more conspiracies. If you really want to be taken seriously on this forum, include more than just your factless rants and stupid theses.

    September 12, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. AZ DEM

    He's right that SS needs to be reformed and I belive SOME form of privitization should be offered to those brave enough to attempt that. However he knows that being the candidate who is aiming to dismantle SS is NOT a winning position and his advisors have clearly told him as much. If he wins the nomination over Romney he will be a formiddable candidate but won't be Obama in 2012 about 60% sure of it now that hes shown the country his true colors.

    September 12, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Wayne

    Rick Perry the so called straight shooter is RUNNING AWAY FROM HIS FORMER POSITION. Rick Perry said social security is a ponzi scheme, that the 70 year old program that millions have benefited from amounts to a crime. Now, if he truly believes it to be a crime then it's not something that he believes should be fixed. It's something he believes should be eliminated entirely.

    He is backpedaling because he is at least smart enough to know that he cannot win the election with his current position on the program. The question is, will the media and his political opponents chain him to his position of Social Security being a criminal program or will they let him gradually move away from his unacceptable, unelectable position to something slightly more reasonable?????

    September 12, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    The way to "fix" Social Security is to raise the FICA income limit from the current $106,00 to $250,000.

    You know, stop coddling the rich and make them pay their fair share.

    September 12, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. DAK

    RP doesn't want to fix it as in make it better, he wants to fix it as in abolish it. He only changed his tune when he saw how the other GOP contenders were getting ready to eat his lunch. Better think long and hard about voting any Republican into office... as much as they back-pedal and change their tune, say something silly and when called out for it, say you didn't mean it the way it sounded. Sorry, but Rick Perry himself said it was a Ponzi scheme so now he wants to make us think he wants to fix it? Hahahaha. The GOP wants NOTHING but for Obama to be a one-term president. NOTHING else matters and they will say ANYTHING to accomplish that end. They will lie, cheat. steal, ruin this country for generations yet to come... ANYTHING as long as they get back in control. Power is all they care about... not you, not me, not the young or the old, the poor of the non-whites... they only care about power and since money is power, they only care about the wealthy.

    September 12, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    OK, Parry, let's be honest about President Obama's Stimulus bill:

    You were against it (like a good little Repub gov), until you decided to use part of is to refurbish the Texas Governor's mansion.

    (Do a quick Internet search if you don't believe me ...)

    September 12, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. "The GOP biggest deception is getting the Poor and Middle class to believe they are out to help them"

    LOL...can someone say back peddling? I mean seriously, fixing it has always been the charge by all politicians when it comes to SS, but none of them want to touch it and no one ever will. Why because when you pay into something you expect to get something back and as those who are getting now die off and another set come on it is an endless cycle!! The politician that even thinks about cutting it or fixing the problem will have hell to pay by those currently, receiving it and those on the verge, so he can go sit down some where!!!

    September 12, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Shortened version: "Ummm, yeah, all that stuff I said in the book was either (a) how I really feel or (b) just self-serving, nihilistic pandering from a guy who is changing his position moment to moment depending on what is currently the most expedient position to pretend I hold in order to get what I want."

    September 12, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. G

    "Hi, we're Bank of America. We'll take care of you and we'll take care of social security".

    September 12, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Rus

    I'm surprised people get so offended by calling SS a ponzi scheme honestly, if you look at the textbook definition of a ponzi scheme, it's exactly set up like one. Just because the government is running it and legalizing it, and it's become so large and important to so many doesn't change the fact that it fits the definition of the ponzi scheme perfectly.

    The only way to save SS is to turn it into a welfare program, which many on the left and right don't want to do. I would personally rather have the opportunity to opt out, or a public-option for a 401k like members of congress have, to go into federally managed mutual funds. I should have the option for my SS money to go into the same retirement my members of Congress have, shouldn't I?

    But, that would be personal accounts, we can't have that, but we wanted the same thing in health care a few years ago, didn't why? What's different now?

    September 12, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    As GM goes yada yada yada: Why don't YOU do some research? Here are some FACTS:

    "The last 5 Trustees Reports have indicated that Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds would become exhausted between 2036 and 2041 under the intermediate set of economic and demographic assumptions provided in each report. If no legislative change is enacted, scheduled tax revenues will be sufficient to pay only about three fourths of the scheduled benefits after trust fund exhaustion. Many policymakers have developed proposals and options to address this long-range solvency problem."

    Also, "the rich" don't pay into the SS fund; after $106,000, you don't pay a dime in FICA – that's a 7.5% increase in your take-home pay.

    September 12, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Wayne

    This Op-Ed is an in artful attempt by Perry to walk back his unacceptable, unelectable position of Social Security being a ponzi scheme. Why not just say "I was joking about it being a ponzi shceme ok. Its not a ponzi scheme. I want to fix it..I was just kidding..LOL...let me off the hook please. I need your money and your votes."

    September 12, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. NB

    It is true that today's working generation is essentially paying for retirees. All the money that retirees put in earlier is gone – spent on Govt projects. The problem is going to get worse as the ratio of retirees to workers will increase as boomers retire. In that sense it is a ponzi scheme. That in essence is what he is saying and what the others are denying. We have to credit him for that. Whether he has a solution is a different question – I suspect as a Republican he will want more reduction in entitlement as opposed to Democrats who will want tax increases plus less entitlement reduction.

    September 12, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. AlaskaPalin

    Now that we have his word that he will not end it but strengthen it, we can now move on.

    September 12, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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