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Rick Perry on Social Security

Republican Governor (TX)


Solemn oath to people approaching Social Security age

Q: [To Perry]: Gov. Romney has been hammering you on your idea of turning Social Security back to the states, repeatedly. Can you explain specifically how 50 separate Social Security systems are supposed to work?

PERRY: Well, let me just say first, for those people that are on Social Security today, for those people that are approaching Social Security, they don't have anything in the world to worry about. We have made a solemn oath to the people of this country that that Social Security program in place today will be there for them. It's not the first time that Mitt has been wrong. We never said that we were going to move this back to the states. What we said was, we ought to have as one of the options that state employees and the state retirees, they being able to go off of the current system, on to one that the states would operate themselves.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Let state employees opt out of Social Security

Q: Can you explain specifically how 50 separate Social Security systems are supposed to work?

PERRY: We never said that we were going to move this back to the states. What we said was, we ought to have as one of the options that state employees and the state retirees, they being able to go off of the current system, on to one that the states would operate themselves. As a matter of fact, in Massachusetts, Romney's home state, almost 96% of the people who are on that program, retirees and state people, are off of the Social Security program. So having that option out there to have the states--Louisiana does it, almost every state has their state employees and the retirees that are options to go off of Social Security. That makes sense. It's an option that we should have.

ROMNEY: Well, that's different than what the governor put in his book just six months ago, and what you said in your interviews following the book.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Slam-dunk guarantee to preserve Social Security for elders

Q: You've said in the past Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, an absolute failure, unconstitutional, but today you wrote an article in USA Today saying it must be saved and reformed, very different tone. Why?

PERRY: First off, the people who are on Social Security today need to understand something. Slam-dunk guaranteed, that program is going to be there in place for those. Those individuals that are moving towards being on Social Security, that program's going to be there for them when they arrive there. But the idea that we have not had the courage to stand up and look Americans in the face, young mid-career professionals or kids that are my children's age and look them in the eye and say, listen, this is a broken system. It has been called a Ponzi scheme by many people long before me. But no one's had the courage to stand up and say, here is how we're going to reform it.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Social Security was unconstitutional, but don't take it away

ROMNEY: In writing his book, Governor Perry pointed out that in his view that Social Security is unconstitutional, that this is not something the federal government ought to be involved in, that instead it should be given back to the states. The real question is, does Governor Perry continue to believe that Social Security should not be a federal program, that it's unconstitutional and it should be returned to the states or is he going to retreat from that view?

PERRY: If what you're trying to say is that back in the '30s and the '40s that the federal government made all the right decision, I disagree with you. And it's time for us to get back to the constitution and a program that's been there 70 or 80 years, obviously we're not going to take that program away. But for people to stand up and support what they did in the '30s or what they're doing in the 2010s is not appropriate for America.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

We need conversation about Social Security run by states

ROMNEY: Do you still believe that Social Security should be ended as a federal program--as you did six months ago when your book came out--and returned to the states or do you want to retreat from that?

PERRY: I think we ought to have a conversation.

ROMNEY: We're having that right now, governor. We're running for president.

PERRY: The issue is, are there ways to move the states into Social Security for state employees or for retirees? We did in the state of Texas back in the 1980s. I think those types of thoughtful conversations with America, rather than trying to scare seniors like you're doing and other people, it's time to have a legitimate conversation in this country about how to fix that program where it's not bankrupt and our children actually know that there's going to be a retirement program there for them.

ROMNEY: Suggesting that Social Security should no longer be a federal program and returned to the states and unconstitutional is frightening to seniors.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

It's a monstrous lie that young people will get benefits

Q: In your book "Fed Up", you call Social Security the best example of a program that "violently tossed aside any respect for states' rights." Was Social Security wrong from the beginning?

PERRY: Well, rather than spending a lot of time talking about the '30s and the '40s, it's a nice intellectual conversation, but the fact is we have got to be focused on how we're going to change this program. People who are on Social Security today, men and women who are receiving those benefits today, and 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.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Cannot keep the Social Security status quo

ROMNEY: [To Perry]: The issue in the book "Fed Up," Governor, is you say that by any measure, Social Security is a failure. Our nominee has to be someone who isn't committed to abolishing Social Security, but who is committed to saving Social Security.

PERRY: We're about fixing things. You can either have reasons or you can have results. And the American people expect us to put results in place. You cannot keep the status quo in place and not call it anything other than a Ponzi scheme. It is. That is what it is. Americans know that, and regardless of what anyone says, oh, it's not--and that's provocative language--maybe it's time to have some provocative language in this country and say things like, let's get America working again and do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

FactCheck: Softened "fraud" rhetoric in current campaign

Rick Perry 1.0 thought Social Security was a "disease" inflicted on the population by the federal government. Rick Perry 2.0 thinks Social Security deserves being saved "for generations to come." Mitt Romney said in the debate, "In writing his book, Gov. Perry pointed out that in his view that Social Security is unconstitutional, that this is not something the federal government ought to be involved in."

THE FACTS: Perry indeed roundly criticized Social Security in his book, but not quite to the point of calling it unconstitutional. Perry branded the program the "best example" of the "fraud" and "bad disease" spread by Washington in Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

Perry now has abandoned such rhetoric, adopting the conventional Republican view in a USA Today column Monday that its finances must be made whole to protect current and imminent retirees and make it viable for "generations to come."

Source: MSNBC FactCheck on 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA , Sep 7, 2011

We are fed up with system teetering on bankruptcy

We are fed up with being overtaxed and overregulated.

We are fed up with a federal government that has the arrogance to preach to us about how to live our lives.

We are fed up with a federal government that pledged $200 billion to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

We are fed up with a self-interested Congress that spends its time earmarking over 9,000 pet projects in 2010 worth over $16 billion.

We are fed up that Social Security and Medicare teeter on the verge of bankruptcy, amassing unfathomable liabilities for future generations, that the federal government refuses to admit it, and that there is no leadership in Washington to do anything about it.

But perhaps most of all we are fed up because deep down we know how great America has always been, how many great things the people have done in spite of their government, and how great the nation can be in the future if government will just get out of the way.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 5-7 , Nov 15, 2010

New Deal inventions violently toss aside federalism

The vaunted New Deal did not bring the country out of the Great Depression. Its numerous programs never died, and like a bad disease, they have spread. Certain of these programs massively altered the relationship between Americans and their government with respect to critical aspect of our lives, violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles of federalism and limited government.

By far the best example of this is Social Security. A New Deal invention, it was clearly intended to be a permanent fixture of the entitlement state FDR was constructing. Private pensions were largely solvent and performing, despite the Depression. Even though the Social Security Act was passed in 1935, the fact that no retirement benefits would be paid until 1942 contradicts any notion that it was directed at an emergency. Moreover, retirement benefits were not payable until age 62, when the life expectancy at the time was only 60. And FDR beat back a popular proposal for a private pension.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 48-49 , Nov 15, 2010

Trust Fund is an unsustainable Ponzi scheme

By far the most alarming problem is the looming implosion of New Deal and Great Society entitlement programs. The combined liabilities for Social Security and Medicare amount to $106 trillion.

Aren't you wondering about the Social Security Trust Fund you've heard so much about? The term "trust fund" leads one to believe that there is a stockpile of assets that can be drawn on to pay benefits. Not so. This trust fund id an elaborate illusion cooked up by government magicians. While it is true that there is an accumulated ACCOUNTING surplus in this amount, the surplus exists only in a "bookkeeping sense."

Ponzi schemes are illegal in this country for a reason. They are fraudulent systems designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 58-61 , Nov 15, 2010

Maintain long-term solvency of Social Security and Medicare.

adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

With the first federal budget surplus in a generation and estimates of non-Social Security surpluses ranging from $750 billion to $1.9 trillion over the next decade, the issue is whether Congress and the President will agree to dedicate a portion of the projected surplus to tax cuts and, if so, what the impacts on states might be.

NGAís Position

NGA opposes reductions from current discretionary spending levels or changes that could risk the long-term solvency of the nationís Social Security and Medicare systems. NGA supports provisions to ensure reduced barriers to state and local capital finance through tax-exempt bonds and to ensure maximum flexibility in setting and maintaining state retirement plans and programs.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA16 on Aug 1, 2001

2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Social Security: Rick Perry on other issues:

TX Senatorial:
John Cornyn

2011 Special Elections:
CA-36:Jane Harman(D)
CA-36:Janice Hahn(D)
NV-2:Dean Heller(R)
NY-9:Anthony Weiner(D)
NY-26:Chris Lee(R)
NY-26:Kathleen Hochul(D)
Retiring 2012:
CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
TX-14:Ron Paul(R)
Running for Mayor:
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Running for Governor:
IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
WA-8:Dave Reichert(R)
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HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
UT-3:Jason Chaffetz(R)
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in 112th Congress:

AL-7:Terri Sewell
CA-33:Karen Bass
DE-0:John Carney
FL-17:Frederica Wilson
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LA-2:Cedric Richmond
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MI-13:Hansen Clarke
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AL-2:Martha Roby
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CO-3:Scott Tipton
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FL-12:Dennis Ross
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FL-22:Allen West
FL-24:Sandy Adams
FL-25:David Rivera
FL-5:Rich Nugent
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GA-2:Mike Keown
GA-7:Rob Woodall
GA-8:Austin Scott
ID-1:Raul Labrador
IL-8:Joe Walsh
IL-10:Bob Dold
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IL-14:Randy Hultgren
IL-17:Bobby Schilling
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IN-9:Todd Young
KS-1:Tim Huelskamp
KS-3:Kevin Yoder
KS-5:Mike Pompeo
LA-3:Jeff Landry
MD-1:Andy Harris
MI-1:Dan Benishek
MI-2:Bill Huizenga
MI-3:Justin Amash
MI-7:Tim Walberg
MN-8:Chip Cravaack
MO-4:Vicky Hartzler
MO-7:Billy Long
MS-1:Alan Nunnelee
MS-4:Steven Palazzo
GOP Freshmen
in 111th Congress:

NC-2:Renee Ellmers
ND-0:Rick Berg
NH-2:Charlie Bass
NH-1:Frank Guinta
NJ-3:Jon Runyan
NM-2:Steve Pearce
NV-3:Joe Heck
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NY-19:Nan Hayworth
NY-20:Chris Gibson
NY-24:Richard Hanna
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OH-1:Steve Chabot
OH-15:Steve Stivers
OH-16:Jim Renacci
OH-18:Bob Gibbs
OH-6:Bill Johnson
OK-5:James Lankford
PA-10:Tom Marino
PA-11:Lou Barletta
PA-3:Mike Kelly
PA-7:Patrick Meehan
PA-8:Mike Fitzpatrick
SC-1:Tim Scott
SC-3:Jeff Duncan
SC-4:Trey Gowdy
SC-5:Mick Mulvaney
SD-0:Kristi Noem
TN-3:Chuck Fleischmann
TN-4:Scott DesJarlais
TN-6:Diane Black
TN-8:Stephen Fincher
TX-17:Bill Flores
TX-23:Quico Canseco
TX-27:Blake Farenthold
VA-2:Scott Rigell
VA-5:Robert Hurt
VA-9:Morgan Griffith
WA-3:Jaime Herrera
WI-7:Sean Duffy
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Page last updated: Nov 05, 2011