Rick Perry recently said Social Security was a ponzi scheme. His exact words on the situation were, “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.” According to Perry, the system is a flaw because one generation is paying for the benefits of the older generation? Yea… that’s how Social Security works. Now, there are inklings of truth in Perry’s statement because under the current system (if not reformed) this generation of payers are not going to experience anywhere near the same amount of benefits as the current retirees (statistics can be seen in the hyper-linked blog mentioned later). Reasons why future benefactors might not see their money returned are because people are living longer, we are not dealing with our revenue problem and all the Baby Boomers are retiring. But that doesn’t mean Social Security is fraudulent. That just means that as we progress as a society, we’re going to have to reform things. If people are living longer, that also means that there are more healthier, younger generations in America. But with 50% of America’s youth unemployed, there in itself lies another problem: How do we fund this program?
Bloomberg put out a great piece of contextual journalism that described the flaws in Perry’s claim. It’s difficult to tell what Perry meant exactly and like most things in life is left up to careful interpretation. I know there is this thought-process in America where people believe that because Social Security is actually paying its benefactors more than the revenue it’s bringing in, Social Security is tainted and cannot be fixed. Social Security must be eliminated. That’s a ridiculous claim because there are too many people that depend on this program to put food on their table. According to Bloomberg, economists favor a mixture of benefit cuts and revenue increases. That seems fairly reasonable…
Why do we as Americans just look at the end result and not at the full context that led to a problem? Why after less than one year in office was Obama being blamed for the country’s economic woes without a single, influential, economic bill passed and in effect? Why does such a large segment of the United States think that the spending from the recent Obama administration caused this recession? Why do people think George Bush’s administration caused the recession? Why do people think that because a program or idea isn’t functioning correctly that it means that we should do away with completely (here’s a blog with some good information and a bit of a different perspective)? If this thought were to prevail, this country would be nothing. There would literally be no program, business, bureaucracy, group or even government left in the U.S. We would be living in anarchy.
Fraud, lies and ponzi schemes are as American as apple pie, narcissism, rock and roll and drugs. A ponzi scheme would require an unsuspecting population with money to invest and put their money into a pool where they would get 100 percent in returns as opposed to Social Security where workers get single-digits returns. Saying that Social Security needs to be retooled for the years ahead is one thing, but to call it a ponzi scheme is just pandering to the anti-government patriots who call on their elected officials—of the government—to push for an agenda that benefits them at the cost of many others.
I mean, even Michelle Bachmann is starting to back-pedal on what many in the GOP think is a failed program. Michelle Bachmann being the more reasonable one? This statement is coming from the woman who said the census of 2010 might be used by the Obama Administration to round-up Americans in internments camps. It’s crazy to see politicians being reasonable in a time where extreme values prevail and are fostered. It’s a start though.