Free Markets, Free People

Romney, Perry, front-runners, Social Security and “Ponzi Schemes”

So, Tim Pawlenty endorses Mitt Romney.  But Republican voters think Rick Perry probably has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama.  Byron York gives us the lowdown:

In a new CNN poll that finds Perry at the front of the Republican pack, the Texas governor’s lead among GOP voters age 65 and older is actually bigger than his lead among younger voters. Fifty-two percent of respondents over 65 say Perry is their choice for president, versus just 21 percent who choose Romney.  In the overall numbers, Perry leads Romney 32 percent to 21 percent, with Ron Paul following at 13 percent, Bachmann and Gingrich at seven percent each, Herman Cain at six percent, and Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum at two percent each.

Republican voters over 65 also believe Perry has the best chance of defeating President Obama in next year’s general election.  Perry leads Romney 58 percent to 22 percent among older voters on that question.

Of course, Republican votes over 65 are a key demographic which one might believe would be most put off by Perry’s “Ponzi scheme” meme concerning Social Security, right?  But, as York points out, that doesn’t seem to be the case:

Breaking down the age results in different categories, Perry leads Romney by 24 percent to 19 percent among GOP voters under 50.  Among GOP voters 50 and older, Perry leads Romney by 41 percent to 22 percent.

The results seem likely to encourage Perry to stick with his "Ponzi scheme" critique of Social Security.  At the same time, though, Perry might choose to gradually walk away from those incendiary words while leaving his essential assessment of Social Security unchanged.  In a new op-ed in USA Today, for example, Perry writes that "Americans deserve a frank and honest discussion of the dire financial challenges facing" Social Security.  But he doesn’t use the words "Ponzi scheme."  As for the critics, especially Romney, the results could cut two ways.  They might make Romney and others dial back the criticism a bit, on the grounds that it’s not working among the voters most personally interested in Social Security.  Or the results might actually encourage the critics to attack Perry more, on the grounds that voters don’t know enough about the "Ponzi scheme" issue and might change their opinion of Perry if they did.  The poll results published by CNN poll do not cover the Social Security issue specifically.

Good analysis.  And that sets up tonight’s debate in Tampa.  Will Rick Perry walk away from the “Ponzi scheme” meme and transition to a more general “frank and honest” discussion?  Apparently it resonated, which means that voters understand the intent of Perry’s words – that is to highlight the dire trouble Social Security is in.

Obviously what his opponents will do is try to frame that as extremely as possible – Perry wants to do away with Social Security.  Democrats aren’t the only ones who play that sort of game.  And that’s why York holds out the possibility, given the USA Today piece, that Perry is going to walk away from the description but still pursue the point.

The first place we’ll get to see if that’s true or not is in tonight’s debate as it is sure to be a major subject:

The controversy is sure to erupt at tonight’s Republican debate in Tampa.  In Florida over the weekend, the Romney campaign distributed a flier hitting Perry hard on Social Security, saying the Texas governor is "reckless and wrong on Social Security."  The headline of the flier is "Two candidates: Only one will protect what’s important to you," and the last line of the flier is "Rick Perry: How can we trust anyone who wants to kill Social Security?"  After attacks like that, Perry will undoubtedly be in the mood to hit back on the debate stage.

Of course, I’ve always said that if I was ever a Republican candidate facing Mitt Romney, I’d answer every question he ever ask of me with a one word answer.



Twitter: @McQandO

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

20 Responses to Romney, Perry, front-runners, Social Security and “Ponzi Schemes”

  • Romney is dead to me over his demagoguery of this.
    Perry has shown remarkable strategic sense here, IMNHO.

  • Tim Russert:Everyone knows Social Security, as it’s constructed, is not going to be in the same place it’s going to be for the next generation, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives.”
    Chris Matthews: “It’s a bad Ponzi scheme, at this point.”
    Tim Russert: “Yes.”

    SOme people are saying that Rick Perry has walked back the “Ponzi scheme” meme in today’s USA Today ?  .. but exactly here ?
    A “Ponzi scheme” is not financially sound and sustainable for the long term.
    Just calling it a “Ponzi scheme” doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a good purpose, I mean, who would join in any “Ponzi scheme” unless they thought there was some good to be had .. at least for themselves.
    Rick Perry’s piece in USA Today calls for a conversion of this “Ponzi scheme” into something else.

    America’s goal must be to fix Social Security by making it more financially sound and sustainable for the long term.

    • “making it more financially sound and sustainable for the long term.”
      No!  No!  he wants to kill Grandma and Grandpa!  He wants to take their houses, their cars, and turn them out on the street in the middle of December, 8 days before Christmas in a blinding snow storm!
      Anything else is backpedaling on his part!  When he said it was a Ponzi Scheme, he meant it was run by racist NAZI homophobic global warming deniers and he was going to do away with it while praying to God, paying off his big business supporters, and target shooting pictures of Mexican undocumented workers!
      /sarc off (because, I know there’s someone out there who just. won’t, get it.)

  • In this 1960 Supreme Court decision [Flemming vs. Nestor] Nestor’s denial of benefits was upheld even though he had contributed to the program for 19 years and was already receiving benefits. Under a 1954 law, Social Security benefits were denied to persons deported for, among other things, having been a member of the Communist party. Accordingly, Mr. Nestor’s benefits were terminated. He appealed the termination arguing, among other claims, that promised Social Security benefits were a contract and that Congress could not renege on that contract. In its ruling, the Court rejected this argument and established the principle that entitlement to Social Security benefits is not contractual right.

  • Bobby Jindal endorses….. Perry.

    Perry is looking like the man for now. If a candidate can’t come out and call Social Security the Ponzi scheme it is (and one that liberals have admitted it was in the recent past to boot) then we’re boned.

    This may be one of the few times that hard truths can get a fair airing from the voters.  If not, we’re beat.

  • In all fairness to Romney’s “Romneycare” what about “Perrycare” in Texas?  He signs an Executive order to put 12 year old girls in a Perry styled Head Chute and vaccinate them for STD’s?  I suspect that even though Perry says Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, a monstrous lie, and unconstitutional that won’t matter to voters, they love folks who aren’t afraid to sign executive orders to mandate STD vaccinations, run their state’s debt up to its limit, and keep Texas at a consistent 50th rank in education.  He comes off to me something between Gary Busey and Foghorn Leghorn.   

    • All of these attacks have been responded to before, but the last one is really ignorant.  Your education is going to suffer when the majority of your enrolled children are the kids of illegal immigrants who do not speak English, nor themselves have any education.
      As a resident of Texas I can say that Perry is far form perfect, but he is also someone who has moved over the years very definitely in a right ward, or shall I say, small government direction.  Noticeably and consistently.

      • I can’t find his numbers, yet.  But mid-high 40’s in SAT scores doesn’t make me feel proud.
        Yet there are other issues not being examined, how much do we spend, versus how well they do, what the student body is, etc.

        Easy to toss around 50th.  I see no proof, yet.

        • Looker, depends on which site you look but perhaps this might work.  In a op ed that Barbara Bush wrote early this year entitiled “We Can’t Afford to Cut Education” she said Texas ranks 47th in literacy, 49th in verbal SAT scores, and 46th in math scores.  Of course emmigrants don’t come to Texas to finish school, they come to work, but those numbers are pretty compelling that education is a very, very low priority with Perry.  On educational ranking Texas is at or near the lowest, and per capita student spending in not near the national average. 

          • Spending = good education?
            You don’t want to go down that road.
            ” Of course emmigrants don’t come to Texas to finish school, they come to work,”
            The ones that don’t work (yet) often go to school, I mean, elementary, middle, and high school.  I’m sure my southern Texas brethren can tell you, it’s not just anglos and african americans (asians, and lately more indians and islamics).  But the hispanic population still outnumbers the other non anglo groups, at least in my part of the DFW area.
            Mom and dad may have been hecho en mexico and they may be working here, but the kids are anchor baby US citizens, and they’re going to school, here.   I can guarantee it’s happening, I’ve watched it over the 23 years I’ve been planted here.

    • 50th?

    • Monsterous lie?  Really?
      Perhaps you’d like to give it another term than Ponzi scheme – though I have to tell you up front, I think if Charles Ponzi hadn’t already had it named after him, we’d probably call it a US Congress Scheme.

      So, what would you call such a system as we now have?  And bear in mind, there is already court precident set that the government is not under obligation to any ‘contract’ with you when it comes to your Social Security checks.  What would you call such a thing?  A well run system?

  • I’m not as far along with the Perry Love as some people seem to be.  I just haven’t had the exposure to trust all the great things about him because I don’t have the context to judge the soundbites, etc..  To be honest, I feel like I’m getting a high pressure sales job. 

    And context matters because a lot of their resume comes to them whether they like it or not from their legislatures.  For example, if Perry by some twist of fate was Governor of Mass., we would have ‘Perrycare’ because it was a mandate from their legislature.  Whether he would have sabatoged the will of the legislature (a la Obama) or disowned it after the fact, we can only guess. 

  • I like Freeman’s idea of providing each individual with a trust fund when young rather than retirement benefits when old, but we had better realize that this is a significant change in the character of the social insurance system. Social Security is structured from the point of view of the recipients as if it were an ordinary retirement plan: what you get out depends on what you put in. So it does not look like a redistributionist scheme. In practice it has turned out to be strongly redistributionist, but only because of its Ponzi game aspect, in which each generation takes more out than it put in. Well, the Ponzi game will soon be over, thanks to changing demographics, so that the typical recipient henceforth will get only about as much as he or she put in (and today’s young may well get less than they put in). — Paul Krugman, December/January 1996-97 issue of Boston Review.