Texas Gov. Rick Perry is being criticized for his comments during the Republican debate, calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." Is this criticism being leveled at Perry because he is the front-runner?
If anything, Perry was being kind. When the pipe dream of retirement and medical security provided by the national government was first sold to the American people, it was quite a different creature than the monster it is becoming.
In those innocent early days, 16 workers contributed to the system to support one participant. It didn't seem too bad at that rate. We have already arrived at the point where just three workers are supporting one recipient, and that will soon become just two workers for each recipient.
As the nearly 80 million baby boomers enter those golden years at the rate of 10,000 per day, the system will crumble into a heap of garbage, and we will either have to turn over every dollar generated in our economy to the government to pay for entitlements, or we will have to default on our promise to pay, leaving tens of millions of expectant Americans in the streets and without medical care. Those baby boomers are reaching their early 60s at this point, if that tells you how close we are to the meltdown.
So is there any difference between a Ponzi scheme and Social Security? Very little. At least in a Ponzi scheme the investor had a choice to either invest or not, but with Social Security, people are forced to invest in it through their mandatory payroll tax. When you retire you will have to rely on the next generation of workers to pay the taxes that will eventually finance your benefits.
Any system that floats benefits to the top of the pyramid that are accumulated from workers at the bottom is a Ponzi scheme with or without the illegality. The federal government has already spent all the money that was set aside in the Social Security Trust Fund, thus leaving us nothing but IOUs from the Treasury Department.
The current system is nothing more than a welfare program, funded by current taxes. It is doomed to die a violent death if not pared down and tamed immediately. Every month that passes without fixing these problems renders the cures exponentially more difficult to implement. Unchecked, the problem will outgrow our economy and our ability to help those who retire with the expectation of being taken care of by our tax system. Social Security and government-provided health care is one of the biggest lies ever told.
Now comes Utah Gov. Gary Herbert decrying that Perry's statement was a "dumb thing" and Mitt Romney telling us that Perry is un-electable because he had the moral courage to call a spade a spade. Well maybe straight talk is what we need more of, not mealy-mouthed politicians telling us that we all just need to get along. The people of the United States are adult enough to hear that kind of talk, and we don't need politicians to "dumb it down for us," since most Americans are a lot smarter than those we elect.
Herbert considers himself a conservative in principle and moderate in tone. He then goes on to call Perry "a swashbuckler Texan." I think most Americans would agree that we would rather have a swashbuckler or a gunslinger than that element of the Republican Party that just wants to get along. Maybe it's time to drop the politically correct talk, get down to business and stop trying to feed the electorate pabulum instead of steak.
William Edward Skokos, is a conservative political activist, author of "Return to Common Sense" and CEO of Standard American Oil Company.
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