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Is Rick Perry right to call Social Security a Ponzi scheme?
September 13th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Is Rick Perry right to call Social Security a Ponzi scheme?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Rick Perry went there. The Texas governor has electrified the third rail of American politics by wading into a debate on Social Security.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know Perry has referred to the program as a "Ponzi scheme," "a monstrous lie," and a failure.

Social Security is perhaps the federal government's most popular program. Millions and millions of Americans rely on it as they reach retirement age. By calling it a Ponzi scheme, Perry is implying that the American people are being duped by a massive fraud.

And those are fighting words - which is probably why Perry is walking back his comments a bit.

In Monday night's debate, Perry said it's time to have a legitimate conversation about how to fix the federal program so it's not bankrupt. And in an op-ed he wrote Monday, there was no mention of a Ponzi scheme.

Here are the facts: Social Security is broken. The program will keep paying out 100% of benefits promised until about 2036. After that, if nothing is done, it would only be able to pay out three-quarters of benefits.

What's more, there were only 1.75 full-time private sector workers last year for each person receiving Social Security benefits.

Perry suggests a way to fix the program might be to raise the retirement age, or introduce a "means test" to limit payments to the rich. In the past, he's also advocated the privatization of Social Security.

Meanwhile, the other Republican candidates, especially Mitt Romney, sense a weakness here and are pouncing on Perry over the Social Security issue. Romney calls Perry's language "over the top."

And it seems that most Americans agree. A new CNN/ORC poll shows only 27% think Social Security is a lie and a failure. However, an overwhelming majority believes that changes are needed.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mike in Largo, Florida:
Jack, Perry is a jerk. Social Security is a live life-line for the old and not well-off. We all know how to fix it forever: Take the earning cap off F.I.C.A. But no one has the guts to propose it.

Tom in Atlanta:
Well, it’s time someone talks about the unspeakable "third rail political topic." Perry has shocked us into openly talking about this, and I give him credit for having done so. Is it a Ponzi scheme? Well, Jack, it certainly looks like a Duck, sounds like a Duck, and walks like a Duck as well.

David in Missouri:
Jack, If I may make one small correction: Social Security BECAME a Ponzi scheme. Folks, please remember we had $3 trillion in the trust fund, cash on hand. In 30 years, Congress has spent every single dime of that money that wasn’t theirs to spend. Knowing that their IOU's were bogus… So please, let’s be very clear and truthful about WHY it became a Ponzi scheme.

Brandon:
Obviously Rick Perry has spent too much time at the firing range. A Ponzi scheme is where somebody takes money from somebody else for their own personal profit. Social Security is taking a small sliver of money from the taxpayers and giving it to the seniors, the people who built this country into what it is today.

Bill in New Mexico:
Only the future will determine whether Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. When the decision was made to not have each individual's "Social Security taxes" in an individual account accumulating interest, Social Security was well on the way to becoming a Ponzi scheme. Rick Perry has a 50-50 chance of being correct!

Randy on Facebook:
Call it what you will. The bottom line is that Social Security is set to run out of money before I retire.

Posted by
Filed under: Gov. Rick Perry • Social Security
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. Frances

    Rick Perry is wrong on so many things. Calling the great program Social Security a ponzi scheme is ignorant.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  2. david

    he is a sensationalist who has no sustainable answers to our progress in 21st century..we need a new generation of leadership who doesnt worship money and powermonger as a way to making themselves happy, regurgitating the negative side effects of industrial revolution from 2 centuries ago...damn the 2 party monopoly selling out the people for the false steeple

    September 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  3. Sandra Johnson Houston tx

    Rick Perry speaks from both sides of his mouth, it depends where he is and to whom he's talking. He back paddles, he says now it's not a ponzi scheme, he would not sign another executive order for shots for little girls, lies about him creating jobs in Tx..if you go to the work sites of construction in Houston, see all the illegal immigrants that are the workers, ask him how is that possible. His friends are big business and corportations, he is the puppet and they are the puppet masters. Bachmann saw through the ponzi scheme, him Rick Perry, when she question the true reason for him issuing an executive order. He was offended he said that she thought he could be bought for 5000...not that he was offended for the idea of him being bought but only because of the dollar amount. we all know it was more than 5000.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  4. John from Alabama

    Jack: Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme, its not an entitlement program, eiither. We paid for it everytime we were paid for working. In another words, we paid into social security, so it would be a supplemental to a pension plan. The originial social security act in 1936 set up a supplement for a future pension. Social Security is the safety net, in case, the pension goes south. The problem is Congress over the years used it as a piggy bank for the government. Governor Rick Perry is wrong, and does not deserve to lead this nation. He needs to go back to Texas and put out the fires. A regular Dumbo!!

    September 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  5. Eric - Houston

    Given that Social Security has been sold to the public as each of us essentially saving for our future and given how the excess contributions has been misused by the government for purposes not intended, the definition of "Ponzi Scheme" fits pretty well. Certainly clearer and more accurate than much many of our other politicians say, but then many statements deemed "politically incorrect" are.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  6. Kent - Iowa City, Iowa

    Only in the sense that politicians looted the Social Security trust fund and left it in a state that only way that it can pay back the people who put the money into in the first place is to use the money of the people who are now putting money into it for their retirement.

    Here's how congress can fix Social Security. Make good on all those I.O.U.'s they gave it when they used it to fund their pet projects. Talk about defaulting on the government debt, Social Security is a prime example.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  7. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    He can call it whatever he likes, from a politician's lips it sure doesn't make it so.

    I payed the max yearly amount in social security almost my entire working years, I will surely receive (Lord willing) much more than I put in, as will most people. That is not a ponzi scheme.

    I long for the principle in the Gore/Bush debates where no party would touch the "locked box" as social security is well and will last. As I said, from the lips of politicians.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  8. James

    (Denver) A Ponzi scheme implies an intent to defraud. There is no intention of that sort in the establishment of social security. It arises from a sentiment of charity and concern for the well-being of our fellow citizens. Like many good intentions, it has paved a road leading to a less than desirable end. We cannot forsake our current seniors who will not survive without the checks this program has led them to expect. We can, however, begin to pave a more sustainable road for the younger generation, slowly decreasing the expectation of governmental dependence with responsible investment and that old term Thoreau used: Self-Reliance. This will not disallow the normal, humane charity of those who will voluntarily assist future seniors in need. And "voluntary" means freely given. Not taxed without option. And we can, in this transition to self-reliance, remove hundreds of billions of dollars a year from our deficit. How did this ever become uncommon sense?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  9. Dale

    Is Social Security Congress Ponzi scheme, piggy bank yes.

    I am curious, how many of you out there really know what the government general fund really is, take social security out of the general fund, isolate Social Security completely from Congress now.

    If this is not done Congress Ponzi scheme will continue, Congress will continue to spend Social Security income that comes into the general fund.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  10. Randy

    No. A ponzi scheme is when the losing party in a deal loses everything, like when we give corporations and big business huge tax giveaways to be "job creators" and we instead get outsourcing, record unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, and RECORD wealth concentration at the top and for corporations. Perry uses just another example of right wing word play that fool the masses of illiterate Americans who have no idea why their republican votes in the last thirty years have resulted in a big fat goose egg for their personal income.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  11. Rex in Portland, Oregon

    Yes, he is wrong.

    There is no definition of Ponzi scheme that does not include "fraudulent", and to call a scheme by that name infers that the scheme is fraudulent. SS does not lend itself to overzealous investors and the subsequent fluctuations of return caused by sometimes crooked managers and "the smartest people in the room". The labeling of SS as a Ponzi scheme is libelous, dangerous, and self serving, and is a scare tactic designed to allow Wall Street to get their greedy hands on those billions of dollars. Repair the SS system, tweak it so that it works, but please keep it out of Perry's hands. Well. . . .

    It could well be that Perry is not in cahoots with the monied people and dollar czars and that his remarks are made out of pure stupidity, but that is an open question.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  12. Mickie from California

    Rick Perry can call Social Security anything he wants. What is far more important to understand is what he would do to Social Security- eliminate it, reform it, or fund it or what. Republicans are spending a lot of time putting down each other and President Obama without being specific about what really matters to most of us out there and that is "SHOW US YOUR PLAN" to make the necessary changes in our economy. We're all tired of generalities and back-stabbing.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Jk from Minnesota

    No he's not and he's showing his ignorance. Social Security was set up in a way that those currently in the work force pay for those who are no longer working and drawing on the funds they've paid in. A Ponzi Scheme only benefits a few who actually start the scheme. The way the large corporations are outsourcing American jobs is causing the biggest problem with the funding mechanism for social security – that's where the big problem lies, Jack. I guess this math is over the governor's head.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  14. Brad, Portland, OR

    Perry's clueless.

    If Social Security is totally unchanged, it will continue to pay full benefits until 2036. After that, it'll pay 80% of current benefits indefinitely.

    And if we want to fix Social Security for the next 75 years without reducing those generous $1,100/month ($13,200/year) benefits, or making 80 year olds keep digging ditches because they can't retire yet, all we need to do is remove the cap from the payroll tax, so millionaires will pay payroll taxes on every dollar they make, just like you and me.

    Or me, anyway🙂.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  15. Ed

    In a very legal it has turned into a ponzi scheme. People have paid in and may never get it back.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  16. Alex in Wisconsin

    Considering that Republicans have been after the New Deal programs for the last 30 years, I think calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme is an excellent way to mobilize the young Tea Partiers of America. As long as he lets the Ponzi scheme keep paying out to the older Tea Partiers, he is in good shape to win the nomination.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  17. Tom in Desoto, TX

    We've endured Rick Perry since the last Governor left for the White House, I don't have to remind anyone what kind of job he did. It's almost impossible to tell the difference between the two men's grasp on reality.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  18. Mark Ivy, Indiana

    Is Rick Perry using the correct terminology in the strictest terms, yes. However, is his use of the term realistic in light of the American voters sensitivities on Social Security the right way to go, no. The Texas governor while standing by his connotation thinks that being right equals might is mistaken. Being right is not always the best course of action. Telling children the notion of Santa Claus is a delusion is anathema to most parents, though some do. Does the truth actually make childhood better? I think not. Sometimes, you have to choose your words carefully. Words can be powerful. Words can be hurtful and damaging even if the words in and of themselves are correct. Perry would be better served to be re-schooled in civility. If he wants to be president, he has to choose what to say and not to say. Wars are started over words. Stock markets crash over words. Words, terminology matters especially when one is president or wants to be president.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  19. barbara in nc

    Never forget what FDR said of republicans and soc. sec.

    "They will do it bigger, they will do it better, and it won't cost anything". HA!!

    They have wanted to do away with it since day ONE. Republicans lie to get into office. Once there, their "executive orders" can ruin the entire country in a matter of days and there is nothing that can be done by the House, the Senate, or the PEOPLE. Be very careful.

    As someone else said - "Read my lips - NO NEW TEXANS".

    September 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Alex in Wisconsin

    How selfish are the old folk of America? All Republicans have to do when threatening to end Medicare and Social Security is tell old folks that they won't be affected and the majority of Tea Party fossils are back on board with the plan? Perry is dead wrong about Social Security, but as long as he promises to keep social security going for people over 50, he won't lose any Tea Party support. So sad.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  21. B. J., Quincy, Il

    It has been turned into a ponzi scheme because the politiciansCan't keep their fingers out of it. It was a solid program and still could be if the politians and government programs that have dipped their fingers in it would put that money back into it. The government has callusly taken this money away from the seniors without a thought or care. Now they are trying to get us into money markets ans you see how well that goes.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  22. Bobby E. Lahmon Jackson MS

    Let's see what all the voters that receive these benefits thinks of Perry's comments of course I think he was wrong,but playing to his base he can say just about anything and get away with it ,just like the rest of the republican presidential candidates I wish at least of of the would break out of the pack and stop trying to deceive people into thinking that they are all one in the same

    September 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  23. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    Actually I'm glad he said it because it indicates his true self and creates a warning to all those planning to support him. Millions of Americans depend on Social Security as their only retirement income and doing away with it would be disastrous. Perry showed how out of touch he is with average Americans, especially seniors. Apparently he has not heard that Social Security is the third rail of American politics. Don't even think of supporting this Tea Party guy; otherwise we may have another George W. Bush on our hands (they even talk and look alike). Wake up America!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  24. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    tampa, fl Social Security only became "disposable" to our politicians since they have sucked that golden egg dry. They took all the money we taxpayers were forced to pay into the system and misspent, mismanaged, robbed blind, and exempted themselves from so that they now can claim it is a total failure. The only failure we have is our politicians having access to the funds. If they can bail out the banks, they need to bail out Social Security, or else.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  25. David in Tampa

    Jack, pardon your slip in the 2ed and next to last paragraphs using lower case p in the Texas governor's name. A slight I hardly agree with and support. Back to the issue. Back in the 80's Social Security was put into the general revenue funds enabling our polecats, oops politicians, to spend the excess, and both parties have been spending those like crazy ever since. Social Security was not and never has been broken nor is it a Ponzi Scheme. This is why we need realistic budgets and the ways and means to pay as we go even if it means raising taxes. Control costs? This will never happen with the way congress does business on behalf of those that buy their services. That is where the real Ponzi Scheme is occurring.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  26. Jef

    Jack: Perry reminds me of a "snake oil peddler" – the majority of people who have worked with him, quit, because he was such a dufus. The oil companies own Perry and he is doing exactly as he is told. In 2000, he supported Gore for president – perhaps he can get that "special lockbox", that Al Gore touted and fix Social Security that way – just a thought!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  27. Ed from Texas

    First, social Security was created in 1935 and will have a surplus until the year 1937. Second, a Presidential candidate in 2000 promised to put the Social Security funds in a "lockbox," but he was not elected.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  28. Lloyd, Penticton, Canada

    Jack S. Phogbound, sorry Gov. Perry of Texas seems to be of another era, maybe the 1800's?

    Is a Ponzi scheme illegal? Is it unconstitutional? If it is and Perry thinks that the Social Security System is a Ponzi scheme or unconstitutional, as an elected official shouldn't he be challenging it in court? Wonder what all the seniors in the United States who are surviving on Social Security will think of his rantings.

    He has indicated he is a none believer in science and thinks that everything should be decided by individuals. Is he another one who thinks all the space flights and travels were fiction and actually filmed in Hollywood?

    What is really scary to this senior Canadian is that so many Americans seem to believe all the lies espoused by Perry and other Republicans, as they continue to hold the American people hostage.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  29. J.D.

    Social Security has probably been the most popular program in the country's history and has kept millions upon millions of seniors and the disabled out of poverty. It is is not as poorly funded as Republicans want you to believe and would be 100% sound forever if the cap on contributions was lifted. But, I suppose "Ponzi" scheme is as good as anything to rev up a base that claps about the number of Texas executions Perry has presided over.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  30. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    Rick Perry needs to go back and read the definition of a Ponzi scheme. No one who receives Social Security is getting rich. If anything, they are finding it harder, and harder, to make ends meet. Instead of throwing out wild accusations (and that's ANYONE running for office) how about we hear more of what the nominees would do to fix Social Security. Let’s hear more about the means testing. How much would someone have to have in their own retirement fund to be ineligible to receive Social Security? I hear them say the age at which people can begin to receive Social Security needs to change, yet I don't hear what that age should be. I don't hear them saying that they will make sure the Congressional I.O.U.'s are honored/repaid. After all, Social Security wasn't created for Congress to raid. How come none of the nominees are talking about that?

    September 13, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  31. Ron

    I believe it was a G OP President and a GOP congress that stared taking all surplus SS and
    Moving it to the general fund. Now they don't want to pay because they have spent it all.
    Go Figure.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  32. John James

    It is a system where everyone who pays will receive something back in return. If you become disabled or die then your spouse and children will receive a little money to live on. Everyone should pay for their selves and money should not be given away to people who have never paid into the system. Government should return the billions of dollars that they have taken away from social security.
    Oak Hill, W.Va.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  33. Ed from Md

    If it is then what isn't?, insurance, retirement plans or the whole monetary system? What's he plan to do about it, Shut down social security because it gives some money back which the gov could keep if it became just another tax?

    September 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  34. Loren

    Am I right to call Perry a jerk? It's a sound bite that technically is correct, but the real problem with Social Security is payments to people who haven't paid in. As originally set-up, Social Security is an effective program. As messed up by Congress, Social Security is, as Rick Perry asserts, a Ponzi scheme.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  35. Mark from Voorhees, NJ

    Social Security was designed as a safety net to which citizens contribute throughout their lives to subsidize their assets so they might live out their years with some degree of security and dignity. It is an "entitilement "because they are entitled to it, having contributed to it. It is solvent until 2036, and would be in perpituity, if the maximum contribution level was not capped at $106,800, as pointed out by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. It is preferable to pushing seniors out to sea on an ice floe, or "privatizing" it so that people like Rick Perry can get his hands on it, like they have with medical care in this country. The only Ponzi schemes come from bankers and politicians like Rick Perry.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  36. zayyan , egypt

    open immigration is the only way that social security can work in order to compensate for population aging

    September 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  37. Kevin SD CA

    The whole government from local to federal is a Ponzi scheme! Rick Perry is just another hypocrite who is covered in the criminality of breaking laws that should be up held!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  38. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Rick Perry is right, but for the wrong reason. We all know that current taxes of those now working are funding current Social Security payments. But the system was never intended to operate that way. What happened is that the weasels in Congress ripped off the so-called individual accounts and used that money as if it was general fund money – that was against the law. As far as I’m concerned, those who took the money illegally are criminals and should go to jail. But for that reason only, it is a Ponzi scheme and will have to fail unless the best social program the government ever created is so radically altered that it no longer resembles the original system. And it does not even come close to paying 100% at present and hasn’t for some time now. Two years ago Obama ended COLAs which is slowly cutting benefits. The retirement age is rising and every other “proposed” fix for SS has been in place for decades now. And it is still in trouble.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  39. Minesh Baxi

    yes, Jack, Perry is right! Ponzi scheme simply means that there is no money in the fund and new investors pay for people who paid into the account before. Seniors receiving it feel that they should get money because they paid into it! I understand it except that just like Madoff scheme, the new investors either will get nothing or very little compared to the promise! I say make sure people who are 55 or older get it and the rest should be allowed to create personalized savings account from the money. Minesh baxi – troy, MI

    September 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  40. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    From what I understand (I did not waste an hour of my life on this debate), when questioned he could not describe what a Ponzi scheme is. By the way, capitalism is also a ponzi scheme, as it needs more investors and consumers to replace those getting paid off from the top or who otherwise cash out.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  41. Jason, Virginia

    When you allow govenment control your means as an old person, your vote has very effectively been bought by politicians who promise the most goodies. If social security is so great they should allow people to opt out. My bet is if you let people out of it tommorrow you would see how many people really want it. Im 31 and I could care less if it is abolished because I've grown up not expecting it to be there anyway.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  42. Annie, Atlanta

    He's not only implying American people are being duped, he's implying American people are engaging in illegal activity. This guy is an idiot, and with the mood of the voters in this country, and the wild swings in our votng, he could very well be elected president. Makes my skin crawl, actually.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  43. Al

    Rick Perry is wrong. A Ponzi scheme requires that monies invested be attributed to individual investors. In Social Security there is no promise of payback, monies paid in have little to do with actual benefits received. Rather payin is used to fund benefits across multiple generations. We can question the financial soundness of social security, the intergenerational equity of the program, and other features but to call it a Ponzi scheme suggests an emotional appeal unsupported by understanding of the term "Ponzi scheme".

    September 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  44. Karl in Flint

    Social Security was instituted a retirement insurance and never was a Ponzi Scheme. The only "over the top" "duping" has been by every Congress since WWII ignoring we Baby Boomers and the fact we will be retiring and not planning for it. The last couple of decades we keep hearing when it's going to run out of money, but no plan to fix it. Unless we are going to go Soylent Green and built camps for us financially challenged oldies to starve in, we need to wake up and repair the damage of decades of ignorance. Flapping their gums isn't doing it.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  45. DA SMITH Houston, Texas

    I am 70 years old and have worked for over 50 years, I have always paid my taxes, have paid social security and medicare. Perry is against everything, under his leadership we have one of the worst public system in the country. I would like to know what he did with the billions of dollars Texas recieved from the stimulus package, apparently it was not spent on fire protection or to help our children. Maybe he should take his great rainy day fund and pay back the money. Texas is a great state and a great place to live, would be a lot better with a new govenor.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  46. RickFromDetroit

    The only difference between Bernie Madoff' PONZI scheme and Wall Street in General is Wall Street legally hides their PONZI Scheme behind a Corporate Label. Wall Street Companies depend on future profits to provide returns to shareholders. The Banking Industry operates the same way with loans they issue. As long as the economy is strong there is not any problem with the various PONZI's, but when the economy tanks and there is a run on stocks this is when the PONZI is exposed.

    If you were to apply this same theory to Social Security that has a Corporate Label called the U.S. Government then you could call SSA a PONZI Scheme, but the main difference between the SSA PONZI and Wall Street is that SSA has a surplus of $2.3 trillion that they have lent to the U.S. Government by purchasing U.S. Government Bonds, which would make the PONZI Scheme the U.S. Government and not SSA. Since the Government is the the individuals borrowing from SSA then the PONZI Scheme Managers are our Elected Officials.

    Also, bailing out SSA is very simple. Remove the "Pay Into SSA" cap and require all income to be taxed by SSA and increase the Employer & Employee Payroll Tax by 1% for each. This should keep SSA available for our grand kids. If our Elected Officials spent more time on solutions for our problems and less time trying to "Pass The Buck" over who is at fault, we may accomplish something besides who will win the next election.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  47. C. Martin

    Rick Perry has no idea what he's talking about. Over one-third of elderly Americans rely ONLY on Social Security for support. Precisely what does Mr. Perry want to do with us? Perry and the other conservatives are no better than Scrooge, who said of the poor, disabled, and orphaned: "Let them die, and decrease the surplus population."

    September 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  48. Luella Lappe

    Jack, The real Ponzi scheme is the rediculous retirement program for the elected in congress. Why don't they give that up...They can afford to not get that entitlement.Luella from Iowa

    September 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  49. Bob (Houston)

    No, participation in a "ponzi" scheme is voluntary. Social Security participation is mandatory.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  50. Joel

    the problem is not so much with the system, its the people that run the system. Right now, Everything that is happening in Washington is not for the good of the people, most people / parties are working towards personal gain, the problem with the SS system is Democrats and Republicans using it for their political gains. They are not trying to fix anything but they are using it to get elected. If you look at the situation from a financial perspective and not a political one, there are multiple answers which could help (maybe not fix) but definitely help the system. You want to fix the SS system, hold politicians accountable for their actions. Look at this like this, was Clinton or Bush ever questioned for their part in the financial meltdown of the US real estate market, I mean both of them received warnings during their tenure, they both had staff members which over saw this industry AND SAID NOTHING !!!!! So much so, that Clinton's Home Ownership policy can be directly related to the housing collapse, nobody complained because nobody knew, because the details were left "under the rug" – was he ever held accountable ?

    September 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  51. Paul From Austin Texas

    Not really because it is still there and some form will be there for years to come. Social Security is long over due for an current update in full. The subject was brought up just to hide the real problems we face like declining as a world leader in general. It looks as though in the near future China an India will pass us and we will be third in everything.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  52. Bill of New Mexico

    Only the future will determine whether social security is a Ponzi scheme.

    When the decision was made to not have each individual's "social security taxes" in an individual account accumulating interest, social security was well on the way to becoming a Ponzi scheme.

    The Tea Party Dilemma:
    TPs want no taxes, but most TPs are big on the Wars and Defense.
    These goals are mutually exclusive! You can have one, but not both. Forget about entitlements with no taxes!

    I am afraid that the Tea Party is here to stay for a long, long time. There is a good chance that we will see entitlements shrinking at a big rate. Already, there have been no cost in living increases in social security. Inflation is increasing. Obama's printing of the second trillion dollars worth of funny paper money will see to that.

    In ten years visualize the dollar being worth 1/3 of what it is today with no cost in living increases in social security. For us still alive, social security will indeed be a Ponzi scheme.

    Only the future will determine if social security is a Ponzi scheme.

    I am betting that in ten years social security will be a Ponzi scheme.

    Rick Perry has a fifty-fifty chance of being correct!

    September 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  53. Dennis north carolina

    Perry is a republican, who use scare tattics and lies to get into office. I listen to the debate last nite and Perry was not the only one using lies or scare tattics. it seems that telling the truth would burn their ticket to the big dance. If this is what the republican are going to put in their ticket than we need God to bless us and save us.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  54. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Someone that is 40 years old would agree that it is since no one is taking any action to change the system and agree or not, Perry is the only one that has the courage to stand up and call it what it is. He may have lost some points in the polls but he sticks to his guns. My fear is that any one of the people on the stage becomes the next President and the Republicans are in control of the Congress. We'll accelerate becoming a two society country, haves and have nots.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  55. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    If Social Security has, in the Governor's opinion, become a Ponzi scheme, no one has to look further that the unpaid for Bush tax cuts, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan has the reasons why. Only the reversal of these policies will restore fiscal sanity to our country and preserve the sacred contract of Social Security.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  56. Brandon

    Obviously Rick Perry has spent to much time at the firing range. A ponzi scheme is where somebody takes money from somebody else for there own personal profit. Social security is taking a small sliver of money from the taxpayers and giving it to the seniors, the people who built this country into the utopian society it is today.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  57. mike halter

    Jack, Perry is a jerk. Social Security is a live life line for the old and not well off.
    We all know how to fix it forever.Take the earning cap off F.I.C.A.
    But no one has the guts to propose it.
    mike Largo FL.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  58. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: It might not be the most effective campaign strategy calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme, considering that it is the aging population who will be voting in the next election. When Wall Street stuck it to Main Street--that's a Ponzi scheme--but again, what can you expect from the political "gunslinger" from Texas! Don't most politicans run a Ponzi scheme during an election year?

    September 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  59. Rick McDaniel

    Close enough to truth to call it that. it always was that, and it relies on an ever increasing population to fund itself, which is contrary to what is best for this planet, which is to REDUCE human populations.

    Indeed, if we do not reverse the growth in human populations by 2050, we will likely pass the point of no return, to save the planet from human destruction, because..........most countries around the world are expected to have 50% population growth, or more, over the next 40 yrs.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  60. Tina Tx

    It is less of a ponzi scheme than the stock market is and yet they want Social Security to become privatized thru the stock market? I am glad that I am 57 and do not have to rely on the stock market to get me thru my golden years.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  61. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    If I may Jack make one small correction,It BECAME!! a ponzi scheme.Folks please remember we had 3 trillion dollars
    in the trust fund cash on hand.CONGRESS IN 30 YEARS HAS SPEND EVERY SINGLE DIME OF THAT MONEY THAT WAS NOT THEIRS TO SPEND.Knowing that their IOU's were bogus...................so please!! lets be very clear and truthful about WHY it became a ponzi scheme.
    David

    September 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  62. Julie from Illinois

    Whatever it is, it works very well for us.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  63. Esperanza

    Jack,

    I don't believe social security is a Ponzi scheme. Adding a no bid drug plan without paying for it well that's just an outrage.

    Esperanza
    Austin,Tx

    September 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  64. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    NO, Jack. the people that are currently receiving Social Security AND Medicare paid into it thru FICA taxes their whole working life.

    IF there is any kind of "scheme" working here, it sounds like it's Rick Perry and his rich right wing backers wanting to STEAL that FICA money to maintain tax cuts for multi-millionaires and corporations. I am amazed that so called "Tea Party" seniors would actually support this fraud.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  65. Dave

    Rick Perry is merely using the latest attack talking-point by Republicans who have been against Social Security and Medicare since day 1. Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme. Responsible parties in the media should obliterate this before half the country start believing the lie – if they don't already.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  66. Jim

    Let's see, how much more did that first participant take out than she put in?

    From Wikipedia:

    "By the time of her death, Fuller had collected $22,888.92 from Social Security monthly benefits, compared to her contributions of $24.75 to the system."

    I am wondering exactly how someone defines "Ponzi scheme", if they cannot apply such a definition to Social Security.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  67. Jack Be Humble

    No Jack. A Ponzi scheme is designed from the beginning to funnel money to the designers of the fraud. Social Security was designed by very well-meaning people, who did not take into account how medical research and healthier lifestyles could extend the ages of so many people 70 years on. At age 49.5, I am right at the point where I will get whatever congress decides to deliver in the way of a modified system; I am praying they have the wisdom to provide something for the people my age and younger who have not prepared for their senior years.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  68. Pyrot

    Social Security is a Ponzi scheme especially when you consider instead of putting away our contributions Congress spent the money. Originally Social Security was kept separate from the general funds. If the program isn't screwed up why isn't Govt pensions part of it?

    September 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  69. Shawn

    It's all semantics. Pyramid scheme/ponzi scheme – it requires more and more people paying into the system to support those getting benefits. Fraud or needing repair- it cannot be sustained as promised. Blame raiding the " lock box" by every administration since LBJ. I don't care what you call it or who you blame- unfortunately apparenty politicians do. Just fix it.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  70. Reality Check

    Yes. Any financial scheme that uses larger groups of new investors to pay out smaller groups of older investors is a classic Ponzi scheme. Without newer investors or contributors the scheme will collapse. While I am no fan of Gov. Perry he does deserve credit for publicly stating what most people in their hearts either know is true o0r refuse to accept.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  71. David Burdeaux

    Mr. Perry is EXACTLY right about calling our current Social Security system a Ponzi scheme. He is speaking the truth. If you put the particulars of SS next to a classic Ponzi scheme side by side and look on who puts money in and where money goes out it is very difficult to tell the difference between them! I personally am in the most unfortunate position in that I'm just under 50 yrs old, and been paying into the system BY LAW over my entire career, and now will be one of the group who loses the MOST with any SS reform and with the least ability to 'recover' in planning for retirement. But – the SS system as it exists today is unstainable and the longer we wait to fix it the more painful it will be for EVERYONE. The time is well past us doing something to address this problem. And while I do not agree with all of Mr. Perry's positions I think this issue he raises, and his unvarnished description, provide the right attention and focus to prod the American people to demand SS reform.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  72. MsMHS

    Of course it's a ponzi scheme - it became a ponzi scheme when the goverment started using the dollars collected every week from taxpayers' paychecks and spending that money elsewhere instead of retaining it in a fund for social security recipients. You don't have to be a republican or a democrat or a genius to figure it out. But, of course, you're such a hater of anyone who disagrees with that man in the white house that you can't see the trees because of the forest, Jack!

    September 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  73. David Sacco Darien CT

    Social Security is a great program that was created during a time when the demographics of the nation were quite favorable. The baby boom created enough young payers that could support those receiving benefits. Now as our population ages the ratio of benefit receivers to payers is rising dramatically. Combine that with the fact that the government basically looted the surplus for many years and what you should realize is that while Mr. Perry's comments are provocative they are also true.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  74. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, no one I know invests in a Ponzi scheme by governmental force... however, I've never been given the choice of opting out of paying into Social Security.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  75. Michael Watkins Oshkosh Wisconsin

    It only becomes a Ponzi scheme if Perry and his ilk have their way and do away with it altogether which Republicans are determined to do. Why don’t we allow freer immigration in order to supplant our declining demographic in order to increase the ratio. Social Security is a hot button issue that will burn the Republicans in the 2012 election.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  76. Joanne H.

    "A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee." – Yeah, I'd say he's RIGHT!

    September 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  77. Dixie AZ

    The only fraud here is Perry, and the congress/congresses who have "borrowed" from the SS fund. It's full of IOUs. Perry may be a big man in Texas, but becomes a dim bulb when he crosses the state line.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  78. Larry Hensler

    The only way to ever fix Social Security and the Healthcare situation for America is to first have all the politicians be covered under these SAME programs you and I are.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  79. USA401

    I belive SS is neccessary for the greater Nation. However, for myself I have my own retirement savings building each week which produces more money than SS would by the time I am 65. Having the option of doing one or the other is better than being forced to loose SS or have to invest in it.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  80. marybeth, massachusetts

    Jack,

    If Perry isn't careful, he's going to be competing with Romney for the title of grand flip-flopper. First he says Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, advocates eliminating it or privatizing it or turning the running of it over to the states if in a worst case scenario he isn't able to eliminate it. Now he's singing a different tune, saying that he won't eliminate it.

    Social Security works well. Yes, there are some who managed to find a way to "game" the system–you find that everywhere. So fix it so people can't scam the system, and start with the federal gov't so they can't take money out of it to pay for other pet projects, programs, and special interests. Leave it alone, use it for what it is intended–to provide a check to those of retirement age. Stop going into the cookie jar and using its funds to pay for other things. Look at where there are gaps so people who shouldn't be collecting SS can be stopped and plug those gaps.

    Perry is telling his tea party and big corporate donors what they want to hear, and I suspect that he's pulling a Romney because his handlers are starting to realize that when he is the Republican nominee the goal of ending SS won't sit well with Independents, and he needs the Independents to vote for him to win. So he'll lie, then once elected President, he'll do away with it, provided that the tea party maintains strong or stronger numbers in Congress.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  81. Gail Albers

    No, he is not right calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme. A ponzi scheme is a scam that takes in money from "investors" and then takes more from new "investors" usually double what the original "investor" paid and it keeps going expoentially until it runs itself out. The original Ponzi scheme only lasted months. Social Security is a pay as you go program, it does count on funds from the younger working force but it is a solvent program that can continue without dipping into the surplus until 2030. By just extending the cutoff from $106,000.00 to $240,000.00 like Medicare, most economists believe it would be solvent beyond the present century. Social Security keeps the elderly out of bread lines, with the end of most pension programs and the stagnation of wages people cannot save. Most people will need some security as they age.

    Gail Albers
    Woodstock, Illinois

    September 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  82. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    "... paying out 100% of benefits promised until about 2036." works for me, Jack, since I will be 80 by then. While it is true that new workers paying in to Social Security are helping to pay the benefits of current retirees, the system is NOT a fraudulent investment scheme. It is an insurance program guaranteed by the government. Simply raising the level of income taxed for Social Security will keep the program solvent well beyond 2036.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  83. Bob Griswold

    Any program that takes your money now, issues you a future promise, then turns your money over to another individual in order to fulfill a prior promise made to that person is some form of a pyramid or Ponzi scheme. The only difference between Social Security and Bernie Madoff is that the Social Security Administration is not using the money to buy yachts, cars and mansions in addition to paying off current beneficiaries. At least, I'm hoping they are not!

    Bob
    Sycamore, IL

    September 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  84. Zack Austin, Texas

    My wife and I are currently receiving Social Security. It has been a blessing during our retirement years. The "Ponzi scheme" does not relate to the system as it was formed, but the way the Federal Government has managed it by borrowing, to finance other government projects. Folks do you remember the time when business was asking Ronal Regan to dip into the empoyees retirement fund because they had more than enough to pay benefits. I remember it.

    Neither the Congress or the President have the guts to fix it.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  85. George

    Gov. Perry is being outspoken without first thinking. Trying to appear to be so hard line conservative he attacked a program that is the cornerstone of survival for many seniors (my dear mother included). A ponzi scheme is something that harms people. Social Security is the opposite. Does it need changes? You bet. But Governor, it is impossible to have a 'legitimate conversation' with someone while they are trying to be the carnival barker. Of course, that last comment was an insult to carnival barkers far and wide.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  86. Howard in Alexandria

    Here's the thing. Well-to-do folks criticizing Social Security are a dime a dozen; they don't need it! See how many middle class and impoverished Americans you can find that want to do away with Social Security. The only middle class who do support doing away with it feel that way because they aren't confident it will be there for them when they need it. Give them that confidence, and they'll change their tune.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  87. gary

    hi jack

    that's like calling yourself good looking,we know Perry's comment is a big joke and he will never win talking lies.unless you are good looking that's the only way.

    gary t clearwater fl

    September 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  88. Phyllis G. Williams

    Is Rick Perry right to call Social Security a Ponzi scheme?

    How could the money I have saved over the years with my sweat and blood
    for my retirement be a 'Ponzi scheme'? He may have got his wealth by a 'Ponzi Scheme',
    I didn't.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  89. joe

    I started paying into SS in 1993, when I was 13. I will pay into it until I die, which will likely be before I would be eligibile for benefits. In the event I live long enough to meet the cap, which I imagine will be 80 by the time my generation gets there, I am sure SS will be gone. It pays for benefits for many people for many reasons, many of which have little to do with its establishment. It is not sustainable. It is not fixable. It is nothing but a robbery held at gunpoint. A water gun, that is. Oh, wait, no I have no choice but to pay it. Ok, gunpoint.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  90. MightyFudge

    Rick Perry sure would know a Ponzi scheme when he sees one, his entire political career has been one.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  91. Eric of Reseda, CA

    Jack, by definition, Social Security is NOT a Ponzi Scheme. First, there is lack of intent. Roosevelt wasn't trying to dupe the American People when they needed their government most. Second, so far, everybody is getting paid on schedule, and not at the expense of another. Again, everybody is getting paid in full, and for another 25 years. As this may not be the case in 2036, until the Boomers fall of the chart, we need to brace ourselves. Odd feeling to know that my passing – I'm a Boomer – couldn't come soon enough for the younger generations. Better watch my back....

    September 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  92. John from Scottsdale, Az

    Not really. The trust fund has been stolen from for years, will never be paid back, and may need tweaking for future solvency. But when public sector union pension funds are underfunded by trillion of dollars, how does one call social security a PONZI scheme without including the programs that caused America's debt problems like Public sector Union Pension funds? Otherwise are we not just like Greece?

    September 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  93. lilmagothy, annapolis

    If all of the original "investors" lived forever, and if there were not an almost infinite supply of new "investors" (the birth rate and people growing up and entering the work force) then, techically, yes it could be called that. But it's not. If the government repaid the trust fund all that's it's stolen from it over the years; if longer life spans and longer working lives were taken into account; if the income limit on payroll deductions were raised; and if means testing were put in place, the system could be made viable for many more years. As has been noted by others, it would take ten minutes of serious discussion to "fix" social security – five in fixing it and five for coffee afterwards. As for privatizing it, without a government mandate to save for old age, most people wouldn't, mainly because they couldn't afford to. And we all know how Little Ricky feels about government mandates. And, yeah, let's put social security funds in the stock market. As has been noted more than once, Pick Perry is an idiot.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  94. Tim Omaggio

    First of all, I don't think Social Security is broken. After 75 years, it needs adjustments to ensure funding beyond 2036 – 25 years from now. The fact is, Social Security has been a very successful program, to say the least, for untold millions of Americans. Conservatives like Perry are typically fact challenged. They would much rather use unsubstantiated sound bites than fact based positions. It's the same logic that denies evolution and climate change. The problem is, as Mitt Romney reminded Gov. Perry, He's running for President and he should be more responsible with his comments. Leave the soundbites for the Fox Echo Chamber.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  95. Guy in NYC

    The problem with Social Security today is that is has been looted so heavily by Congress that it can no longer sustain itself.

    The money that the taxpayers pay into social security and is responsibly invested.

    The only scheme here is how Congress is going to further turn social security into another slush fund.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  96. Gregory B. Bailey

    Popular or not. Broken or not. Social Security IS a "Ponzi scheme". LIke a Ponzi scheme it relies almost totally on "investors" to collect it's money. The more "investors" it has the more solvent it is. Like all Ponzi scheme's once the investors money no longer covers the payouts promised by the crooks who started it, then it falls apart. The Democratic party and the government in general is so desperate to get more "investors" to keep the SS Ponzi scheme going that we as a nation are considering allowing millions of law breaking illegals to remain in this country simply under some bizarre theory that they will somehow contribute to the Ponzi scheme to cover the payouts to the rest of us. You have to be legally employed to be cut FICA taxes and most illegals are paid under the table. So Democrats are all for amnesty and getting these people legal as soon as possible to accomplish this. Right or wrong means nothing to these people and reality is just a concept to them. At 46 I still have some time before I retire. If they want to raise retirement age so be it. I would rather fix Social Security somehow, perhaps structuring it not so much like a Ponzi scheme for starters, than try to keep it going as it was designed in the 1930"s. This is the twenty-first century after alll.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  97. Matt

    Jack

    It is the epitome of a Ponzi scheme – more money going out in the long run than is going in. Those who were first in line will get paid and those of us who are close to retirment may or may not get what is due.

    Matt
    Rockford

    September 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  98. Missing Link

    I am Gen-X and right between the 2 biggest generations that are impacting payout and supply:
    1. Social Security is a safety net, define "rich" and allow their contributions to fund others (they don't need it)
    2. People live fuller lives longer, so raise the retirement age.
    3. Keep it from being privatized. If privatization was great, my 401k would be in better shape, not eaten away by the companies that provide the funds and services. Privatize, and everyone involved with financial planning will be more greedy and rob the workers more than they already do.
    4. Remove Social Security payouts from congress, they receive pensions and healthcare for life...whether they earned it or not.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  99. Cary

    I was more shocked by Bachman claiming that Social Security was bankrupt a couple of months back. The truth was it no longer takes in more than it pays out but it's far from bankrupt. Why doesn't the media bust the Republicans for such blatant lies? No one bothered to correct Backman and even with Perry's comment reporters question the use of the term Ponzi Scheme but not what it infers. What's happening is a repeat of the Swift Boat debacle where Kerry wouldn't dignify the claims with a response and he lost the election. The Democrats and most in the media consider the comments so ridiculous that they don't call them lies they question the wording. Keeping quiet a second time might earn us a President Perry. Not scary enough? Throw in Bachman or Palin as a running mate. Hollywood hasn't made a movie that scary since the first Alien film.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  100. Bob - Burnsville MN

    He's correct in saying that the status quo will result in people who are now in their 30's will be left with nothing. That does NOT mean the program is a fraud or a failure. In fact it has probably been one of the more effective government programs since its introduction back in the 30's. What we really need to hear (from all the candidates) is specifically what they would do to fix it. I seriously doubt that many of them have even thought about that. So much easier to throw verbal fire bombs than to offer real solutions!!

    September 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  101. Jeff in San Diego

    Changes are needed to Social Security for sure. But a Ponzi scheme insinuates that there is a person or group who enacted a scheme to bilk people for his/their own personal wealth. I would hardly call a bunch of senior citizens receiving an average of $1,700 per month the master criminals of a Ponzi scheme. Social Security was poorly designed in that it never anticipated the long-term effect of birth control and a drop in population. There simply are not enough new workers into the system to pay for the ones retiring.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  102. William

    Social security is not a ponzi scheme. It is theft .... pure and simple, by our government officials, taking money that was meant to be used to pay retirement benefits to retirees, and using it to pay for other pet programs that our leaders dreamed up in the past ..... both Democrats and Republicans are responsible. ALSO, SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM. IT WAS PAID FOR BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER TO BE USED FOR THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  103. Earl

    I have "PAID" into Social security for 50 plus years. Its my money and not a gift from the goverment. Its my money and I want it now!!!!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  104. charles johnson

    Social Security is an essential part of our social safety net! Social Security owns more than twice as much of the US dept as China. Maybe we need an independent group to manage it so that politicians will not be able to steal it. We need to remove the wage cap on contributions and require that all Americans enroll with in it no exceptions. With proper management it will be there for our children.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  105. tlobe

    In a somewhat distorted sense the current Social Security system has some features of a Ponzi scheme in that Congress with presidential complicity has been "borrowing" money from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for programs that are authorized but use borrowed money for the appropriations. Congress has no real or apparent intent to ever pay back these monies. Like the pea under the pod, the hand is normally faster than the eye and with so many hands moving shells around in the Capitol we can't possiblly follow all that tom foolery. The Tea Party is rightly calling foul, but the liberals are trying to discredit them–for exposing their soft underbellies. (I am not active in that loose-knit group,)

    September 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  106. Noel Sivertson Roswell New Mexico.

    Not at all. The government owes the Social Security Trust Fund 2.4 trillion dollars, twice as much as we owe China (1.2 trillion dollars). What has happened over the years is any surplus left in the fund after all the recipients were paid was loaned to the government. That's why Al Gore wanted the trust fund to be a 'lock box'. One solution for funding SS far into the future is to eliminate the FICA withholding ceiling. That would add more than 116 billion dollars a year to the fund.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  107. Danimal98367

    Yes, it is a Ponzi Scheme in that it is paying retirees with money collected by those of us still working. That is the very definition of a Ponzi Scheme. It will soon be exposed the same way as every Ponzi, not enough suckers paying in to satisfy the pay out. The difference is we KNOW ahead that this is the case and shrug it off. Major fixes need to happen. We already pay retirees more than they ever paid in – we will soon pay out more than we take in . . . yet none of us can remove ourselves from the charade...

    September 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  108. charles johnson

    Social Security is an essential part of our social safety net! Social Security owns more than twice as much of the US debt as China. Maybe we need an independent group to manage it so that politicians will not be able to steal it. We need to remove the wage cap on contributions and require that all Americans enroll with in it no exceptions. With proper management it will be there for our children.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  109. Fred Stein

    Social Security taxes go into the general fund, What would be the difference if you would receive a ss check or a welfare check?

    September 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  110. Ed in Kalifornia

    Will Perry mention the number of times Congress borrowed money from Social Security to pay for foreign wars, having paid not one cent of it back? Will he discontinue the 15% employer/employee contribution if elected (snicker).

    Who's the Ponzi???

    September 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  111. Michael in Seattle

    As someone who generally disagrees with Perry's ideas, I would have to say he is pretty close on this one. I am 23, and like other working citizens, lose money each paycheck to social security. As the program stands now, I doubt I will see any of that money returned. Ponzi scheme may be too strong of a term, but I do feel the sting of lost income, and without social security reform, it may only get worse.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  112. Eric in RTP

    Changes are always needed, that is why our government is based upon "living" documents. Let's not forget the underlying definition of liberal and conservative from Political Science 101. Liberals are for adjusting our laws and regulations to keep up with the times, conservatives assert that no changes are necessary, regardless of time, technology or science. Though I agree with the concept of "if it ain't broke don't fix it", it is broken and something must be done. First of all the retirement age should be raised, near terminal patients should be allowed to die (I know, Medicare issue not SS, but still, why spend 1M keeping someone alive for another month?), the income cap should be removed (flat tax from 0 to infinity), and finally the government should not be able to borrow from these funds to balance the budget.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  113. Chandler

    Everyone will say that it needs to be altered, that is a common position. Where Perry becomes radical is when he says that it should never have been started in the first place. He wrote this clearly in his book. He might try to confuse the public and make it sound as if he just wants alterations, but he is on record saying that he disagrees with the entire CONCEPT of social security. He just wants to privatize to help his corporate cronies.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  114. Jef

    Jack: Perry reminds me of a "snake oil peddler" – the majority of people who have worked with him, quit, because he was such a dufus. The oil companies own Perry and he is doing exactly as he is told. In 2000, he supported Gore for president – perhaps he can get that "special lockbox", that Al Gore touted and fix Social Security that way – just a thought!

    Jef
    Bossier City, LA

    September 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  115. Kathleen G., Twin Cities

    Social Security is a Ponzi scheme the same way Rick Perry is a Rhodes scholar – not.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  116. Richard

    A Ponzi scheme requires (malicious) intent. Perhaps Perry should call it a pyramid, requiring more and more people to join at the bottom for the top tier to be paid off. I don't think anyone can dispute that that is the Social Security model, and an unsustainable model at that!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  117. Cevin, WI

    Why does it matter that there are only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for every 1 person on social security unless the system is dependent on working people to pay for the benefits of retirees? Taxes started being collected in 1937, but benefits did not start paying out until 5 years later. The similarity to a "Ponzi Scheme" is that regardless of having put money into an account all of their lives, people could not continue to draw money out of it without working people putting money in. Otherwise, why would you point out the 1.75:1 ratio?

    September 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  118. frank

    Classic Ponzi scheme. Promise 'Investors' money you don't have, hoping and praying that more people pay in than are taking out. Once there are more people collecting than paying in, the Ponzi collapses.

    W\hen corporations do this, the officers are thrown in jail for life.

    When a politician does it, we heap praise on him.

    It needs to stop.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  119. Michael

    More empty rhetoric. Rick Perry and his cronies look at government the way squirrels look at a pecan tree. He and his backers are less interested in people's retirement than they are in how much money they can make off of social security. Why bother creating value by investing in future businesses and innovation, when the casino can remain profitable by forcing more people to put their money on the roulette table. That's the real ponzi scheme.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  120. cal usa

    But, of course Romney has made similar comments about Social Security in the past. It's another example of the pot and kettle thing.

    Incidentally, all Republicans talk about "reforming" Social Security so that we have our own individual accounts and can decide how to invest them. Do you suppose any of them have ever heard of IRA's and 401K's? What are those? Of course, last I heard, most of them are not faring well these days.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  121. Harry Wortz

    No it is not a Ponzi scheme. It's more like an insurance policy with the government hoping I don't take out anywhere near what I put in while I hope I get out of it at least what I put into it plus a little interest. The 2036 number is just a guess based upon statistics and we all know there are three kinds of lies, Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics. Know one knows for sure.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  122. Irish Rebel in Maine

    The Social Security program is no ponzi scheme it was set up more as an insurance program. Unfortunately we have been unable to keep our governments hands out of it. Perry likes to be regarded as a "cowboy" and I for one have no problem with that as long as he stays out on the prairie singing to the cows. I have seen his type before, all style and no substance. Slainte

    September 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  123. walt in wilmington, nc

    Perry hit the nail on the head last night in the debate with his rejoinder to Romney that if the private sector did with its customer's money what the federal government does with SS contributions (that are supposed to go into a 'lock-box') if would be a crime.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  124. Randy in Minnesota

    Is it like a ponzi scheme in that it does not take in enough dollars to support the payout? Yes, the system as it stands is not sustainable.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  125. James Paul Gosselin

    How is social security NOT a ponzi scheme? The government takes money out of my check every week by promising me an "entitlement" to future benefits. This entitlement however is not based on my contributions but on the future contributions of laborers who have most likely yet to enter the workforce. The money taken from me is not set aside for my future use, but is instead spent on current beneficiaries. If this is not the very definition of a ponzi scheme I don't know what is. The baby boomers are sure getting their's alright. On the backs of the young. They have made this issue the poison pill that it is, and no one else.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  126. diane dagenais turbide

    Jack,

    you write : "Here are the facts: Social Security is broken. The program will keep paying out 100% of benefits promised until about 2036. After that, if nothing is done, it would only be able to pay out three-quarters of benefits.
    What's more, there were only 1.75 full-time private sector workers last year for each person receiving Social Security benefits."

    The fact is putting people back to work is part of the solution! The other solution is to have a workforce that can compete and have jobs that pays well! So the solution is in the American Jobs Act for Congress to stop talking and do nothing and instead Pass this Bill to put the American people back to work if Congress cares about Social Security, cares about seniors for them to retire with dignity!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  127. Nofah Kingweigh

    No, Rick Perry is not correct on Social Security. The man is a dangerous tool of the wealthy, who will stop at nothing to eliminate the middle class as we know it.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  128. Gerald in Tampa, FL

    I believe we are being way too ambitious about the 2036 date Jack. Many more things can go very wrong and money which would have been there for persons like me in 2036, will be used to pay off our debt to China and unemployement benefits to an increaingly rowdy population of un-employed workers. Not what Thomas Jefferson had in mind is it?

    September 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  129. david in memphis

    I don't think it is technically a ponzi scheme unless they allow it to fail and not payout to all those who have paid in. I don't like much about Perry, but i do like that he is will to use scary language such as this. It seem the American people are only spurred to meaningful action when scared, so maybe we all need to here more language like this. Plus i find it insulting that other candidates feel that we can't handle such language. We are all adults like them and deal with drama in our lives every day. I can assure them there is nothing they can say that i can't handle. Idiots as usual!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  130. Rohn (from Lansing)

    I believe Mr. Perry made those comments to draw attention to himself but he got more than he bargained for. I do agree Social Security needs to be updated and a means test might be fair. But to call it a failure and Ponzi scheme is flat out wrong.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  131. Don

    Perry used a bit of hyperbole to make a good point. Social Security has become a sacred cow, but even sacred cows can starve.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  132. Dan-Eustis,Florida

    Rick Perry looks like a used car salesman. He is a shill for the rich, he says what they tell him to. Remove the cap on
    payroll deductions to Social Security and set a fair income level for those getting Social Security I.E no rich
    people qualify for payments, and Social Security will be around forever. Most important keep our crooked Politicians
    away from the Social Security fund.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  133. Gail, Plano TX.

    Jack: Social Security is solvent now. If President Obama is allowed to create jobs, and the unemployment rate goes down, more people will be paying into it. And Jack, it is our money! We pay into it. And so we are entitled to collect. How about reforming it this way? Millionaires and Congress do not get it! Nor do they get Medicare! Cancel their benefits! See how they like it!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  134. Terrence Cain

    No he's not Jack. Social Security was originally created to help people who lost their money in the stock markets recoup their losses so they could have financial security. Now here is what should have been done and what should be done to Social Security, and a lot of my liberal friends won't like this, but here goes. Privatize Social Security, and this is how you do that. Take all the money that the individual puts into Social Security as a tax and divert it to a bank of that individual's choosing. If you have it set that the individual puts a minimal of 5% of their annual income into this Social Security Savings Account, or S.S.S.A, with an additional 3% interest from the bank, another 3% from the Federal, and another 3% from the state you would have a substantial savings after 45 years of working steadily. This account could never be touched by anyone else but the individual, thus protecting their funds and securing their retirement. That's how it should have been set up then, and how it needs to be set up now, and yeah that's a die hard liberal from Texas who thought that up. And the bigger shocker is I'm 28, one of those youthful people the older generations look down their noses at. Ha!

    Terrence Cain
    Big Spring, TX.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  135. chasmass NYC

    Perry uses inflammatory terms and blunt language, but he's right about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme in this sense: we are taking money from investors today to pay today's obligations, but the only way that today's investors will get their payout tomorrow is if we find yet more people to pay yet more tomorrow. It is demographically impossible. And any politician who remains silent about this, i.e. almost all of them, is perpetuating a lie that's really pretty monstrous. I wouldn't vote for Perry for anything, but he's right on this topic.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  136. Alex in NJ

    Rick Perry hurt is own cause by labeling Social Security a ponzi scheme. By definition it is not a ponzi scheme. That fact however, does not mean the program works, or that it's Constitutional, or that we should keep it around. Keep it around for current seniors and those over 55. As for the rest of us, allow for tax free savings accounts. I may only be 25 but I'm old enough to know it's safer not to have the government hold my money for me.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  137. HS

    If the US Govt. will pay back the funds it has borrowers from the social security piggy bank of over $2.7 Trillions dollars to pay it's debt.we will not be having this conversation.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  138. PatSJ

    San Jose, CA: SS is no more a Ponzi scheme than a life insurance or annuity policy is a Ponzi scheme. Both have assets that are invested and both take money now and pay it out later, depend to some extent on current contributors to fund future recipients, and are backed to some extent by the federal government or other agency. The problem for SS as for the insurance company, is when the number of new enrolees gets smaller, slowing the cash flow. The answer for both is the same – start the payout later, reduce the amount of payout, increase the payment, and/or extend the number of payments.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  139. tim facto

    Jack,
    The combination of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin is the only Ponzi scheme I'm aware of right now. Only the most gullible are falling for it.
    Tim in Des Moines, Iowa

    September 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  140. KJ

    So you write an op-ed asking if Perry was right to call Social Security a Ponzi scheme, and then not ONE sentence is dedicated to explaining what a Ponzi scheme is and comparing it to Social Security. I'll do it for you, since you can't be bothered: a Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme wherein returns are paid to investors not due to any actual underlying investment in securities, bonds, or other legitimate investment vehicles, but directly from money brought in from new investors. The schemer takes a skim off the top. In the end, the last ones to put money in lose everything, because there are no assets to attach – all of the money invested has already been paid out to the schemer and the people at the top of the pyramid (who were first to invest). That is EXACTLY what Social Security is – it realies on new investments to pay out to people who were in longer, with the schemer (the goverment) taking a skim off the top. When the music stops playing – which it WILL – the last young people to have put in will get nothing in return. I have a very strong dislike for Perry, but he is 100% correct on this.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  141. WI GG

    Insurance companies of all types are the real Ponzi's! Take a close look at those weasels before playing wack-a-mole with SS.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  142. Will

    In both Ponzi schemes and Social Security, "returns" to older investors are paid from new investors' funds. The only difference is that Ponzi schemes are voluntary.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  143. Joe Spagna

    It's only a Ponzi scheme if somebody is gonna go Madoff and run off with the Trust Fund, and its billions in Treasury bonds. Is that what Rick Perry and his cronies are planning to do? Because otherwise it's just a low-cost national poverty insurance program, which has dropped the poverty rate for senior citizens by 75%.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  144. Voice of Reason

    If you can't guarantee me that I will have full social security benefits when I retire (I was born in 1971) then it is a ponzi scheme.

    I like other american taxpayers have been paying social security since I began work, and I expect the government to fix this mess and to provide payments for us in our twilight years.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  145. Al (New Albany, MS)

    The social security program was set up in good faith and with honorable intentions. I am old enough to remember both Democrate and Republican coming through each county and explaining how the money we were paying in was like insurance premiums and that it would only be used for our needs in retirement. That was before the funds were placed "on budget" and taken out for various projects, other than their initial intent. The progran IS NOT a ponzi scheme and Mr Perry is showing his lack of historical knowledge and lack of caring for the hard working tax payers that have paid, and are still paying, into the program. If he wants to do something about it, maybe he can get the social security fund taken off budget and forbid tacking the monies out for wars, assisting large businesses, etc. and then we will see how fast it might heal. If he can get the past funds paid back into the fund, that would even be better.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  146. albert

    You'd think Rick Perry would know this one: when the government does it, it's legal.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  147. james robert in greenville nc

    If it walks like a duck and smells like a duck and quacks like a duck it has got to be social security. How can it be called anything other than a Ponzi scheme? It is like going to the doctor. He reads your xrays and says, "You will not live to enjoy social secuity.......but you will live to be 90."

    September 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  148. TomInVa

    Yes, it is a Ponzi scheme, but we are stuck with it, and our children will pay for it. Fortunately it is not that hard to fix: simply admit that people live longer now than they did in 1933 and make retirement age later. This has already been done to a degree, but more is needed, and small changes make big differences in payout. As to means testing, people with higher incomes are already putting in most of the money; to then turn around and deny them benefits would be the height of hypocrisy.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  149. Jake D

    The money you get out is the money new "members" put in, with a guaranteed return. It all works until people loose faith and stop buying in, at which point the system fails, musical chair style. Yeah its a Ponzi scheme, the only difference is that we don't have the choice of not playing.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  150. Dan G.

    Yes, what else would you call it; a lock box.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  151. Doug

    I think Perry is right to make an issue out of the future viability of Social Security if the money is running out. Why not try to fix it. Also, there is nothing wrong with means testing. Folks over 65, making over 100 thousand a year,could donate their Social Security to the needy . They should count their blessings, and not be so greedy. Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  152. Anthony Plumer

    Social Security a Ponzi Scheme? That's a hoot. All the Ponzi schemes have historically and painfully during our present times, have been going on on Wall Street and in the Banking Investment World. That world and its Las Vegas mentality of gambling, is exactly why FDR and his team created a retirement program, Social Security, that would avoid the INSECURITY. Yes, sure, the Social Security Program needs to be adjusted for inflation, just like our wages, and our taxes must be adjusted to compensate for the passing of time. Everything costs more as time goes by, and this program needs to be continually adjusted and properly funded just like every other part of life. Remember though, that our government has been borrowing the surplus on Social Security, and that should stop. Al Gore was right. Social Security is too good a system to be dismantled, it should be protected and put in a Lock Box, so that the surplus stays IN the program, not borrowed for other purposes.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  153. Mitoosense Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Everything Perry has said about Social Security is true except a Ponzi zcheme. Social Security is a Rossevelt scheme to put money into the economy at the expense of taxapyers. Since becoming law 1935 Social Security has morphed into Social Surveillance tracking the citizens through banking and monopoly utilities. You can't buy sell or trade without the number. Tracking the citizen from birth to grave with long term pain and poverty as your gain

    September 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  154. Reagan80

    Better put: "Was Ponzi engaged in a Social Security scheme?"

    September 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  155. Gary

    I would like to see what specific changes all the candidates want to make to the social security system; what new age is suggested, dollar limits on income, length of time to work to be elgible for benefits, etc.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  156. Ray

    Perry is right that it is a Ponzi scheme in that it is not funded via a model that allows it to be self sustaining. Why? Because WASHINGTON has been the operator of the Ponzi scheme. Mitt was ALSO right in what he said about SS being operated as a "criminal enterprise" . It is all the same BS from the politicos. Is it a Pnzi Scheme or not? Who said what when? Is what Congress did, and continues to do criminal or is it not not....the lies and twisting go on and on. Nuance is king in Washington Speak!!!

    What I did not hear is how they are going to fix it. That got lost, as it always does in the soft shoe dance that is politics in this country.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  157. MC in TX

    Rhetoric aside, social security was originally conceived to work very much like a Ponzi scheme. Early investors get more out of it than they put in because there are more later investors than early investors. And like a Ponzi scheme they way it was originally structured (and all of the pork legislators have added onto it over the years) is unsustainable. We cannot (and should not) count on the population of youth growing faster than the retired population forever. That model is impossible (barring periodic plagues to kill of the elderly).

    Having said that, social security is a salvageable program if you scale back promised benefits and tie benefit levels to the revenue base. Truthfully the best thing social security could do would be to make it an annual payout in which - say - a third of the payout is fixed and tied to inflation, and the rest is variable and tied to the GDP. This would mostly eliminate the bickering over COLA and force retirees to manage their finances rather than living paycheck to paycheck (a dangerous mentality for retirees to have).

    September 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  158. Alaska Steve

    It is not a Ponzi Scheme. It is extortion. The baby boomers are preserving the privileges they have always had, but are taking steps to ensure that nobody gets them in the future. After all, they were the ones who voted the politicians in who borrowed from the fund and never paid it back. I am now completely convinced that I and the rest of my generation (generation X) will never see the benfit of social security. So we are arranging our own retirement funds, limiting our debt, and living within our means. Basically, we are living the way the baby boomer's parents did.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  159. Thierry

    Ponzi Schemers collect money from many new people to pay back a few old people to whom they owe the money, hopefully there are always enough new money. Social Security Program is doing just that. Therefore, it is a Ponzi Scheme. What's worse, working citizens are FORCED to pay towards the government sponsored Social Security program. This elevates our government to a new level. Please name this new level for me!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  160. Ryan in Portland, OR

    Rick Perry has proved that he is disconnected from reality and is a true politician. Sensible adjustments can be made quite easily to make Social Security solvent going forward. By using his inflammatory language Rick Perry has alienated any voters who can think sensibly. Rick Perry was wrong to call Social Security a ponzi scheme, Social Security is not fraudulent!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  161. dave in nashville

    Well Mr. Perry, which would you choose, the full faith and credit of the United States for a return on your investment, or Bernie Madoff? I don't care what you call it, it helps more people than it ever hurt.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  162. Terry

    Mr Cafferty,
    If President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress ruled by Democrats at that time, had not borrowed the money from Social Security, to pay for their "Great Society", none of this discussion would be taking place. FDR must be rolling over in his grave at what his successors have wrought.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  163. Robert

    Only an entity like the US government could pull off such smoke and mirrors as Social Security, I doubt very much it will break, just don't expect 100% of benefits to be there when you retire.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  164. Jake D

    Current and near future retirees should see significant benefits cuts. They knew there was a problem but opted to vote for people who would make no changes. They wanted to “get theirs” while they could, figuring it would blow up on my generation, ie not their problem . SS is supposed to be a contract between generations, a pact of solidarity. Well, I don’t feel solidarity, I feel screwed… so screw them right back.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  165. Evan

    I love paying into something that I probably will never get to see.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  166. Steve

    If you've got a regular pension that's paying you an amount that would be considered 'livable', then you should not be getting ANY social security payment, whther you paid in or not!! Those payments should be used for the people that never had any type of 'retirement fund' available to them! AND don't say 'It's their own fault for not saving for retirement' because there's no way some people can 'afford' to put anything away – they need it all to just live from paycheck to paycheck!!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  167. Tom Ware

    I live in Austin, Texas have for 35 years. I have never been a big Rick Perry fan, but I applaud the governor for putting Social Security on the Table . There are a multitude of items in our state and federal goverment that need repair. Social Security should be at the top of the list. This program has been broken for along time we all know it is broken and we all have known this for along time. Untill now none of our political heros has had the courage to call it what it is. A Ponzi scheme . You take money from new investors and give it as dividends to previous investors untill you paying out more than you are bringing in. The only difference is we are forced by our goverment to participate in this particular scheme. We need more in goverment that willing to force the rest of us to take long hard look at the Federal goverment and how it operates.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  168. Warren from Michigan

    They're trying to concoct a way to screw the boomers out of Social Security. Tens of millions of us have six-figure sums that we have been forced to invest in it – due to plunging house prices and declining or sagnant 401k balances, it will be a much larger part of our retirement than planned – and they want to take it and spend it on armaments.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  169. Gary L Glendening

    It's easy for someone like Governer Perry to critize sny social program, like Social Security, that is intended to help people in their retirement years. It's easy because Governer Perry has provided favors to the rich and powerful and doesn't have to worry about reitirement.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  170. sigideba

    SS is pretty much an unintentional Ponzi scheme. It just needs to be fixed. Taking money that should be held for someone else and then paying that money to a due recipient; effectively, "floating" the money is a Ponzi scheme by definition except that SS isn't intentionally defrauding anybody. It is still defrauding Americans, intentional or not. Yes, it is strong rhetoric but it's somewhat accurate.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  171. John McRae

    If social security is in any way like a ponzi scheme, it is because the American government has collected social security for years and continually turned around and invested this money in US securities, taking money from the trust fund and giving back to the government to spend on other programs. People seem to forget that in the past social security has not been considered in talks of the deficit, debt, or budget, as it is intended to be completely self sustaining. Thus the problem is not social security in and of itself, but that all the money in social security is in IOU's from the government, on which tax payers must pay interest. In short, the government has already taken the money paid into social security for other things, double taxed the citizens after taking and spending the money, and now refuses to pay it back.

    from East Lansing, Michigan

    September 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  172. anon

    lets see, does the government borrow funds from the social security program (thanks jimmy carter) in essence they rob peter to pay paul, so ya, it's a ponzi scheme...shame on government, they can't run a thing – they're cross eyed with greed. raise the age limit and eliminate any one individual making over $250M yearly!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  173. Buck Rogers

    Of course is is a Ponzi, or pyramid, scheme. Social Security isn't a retirement plan where you put your money in, it makes interest, and at a later date you pull the money you put in back out. You put money in now to pay the people who are already receiving benefits with the hope that when you are eligible to receive benefits there will be a pool of young people putting money in to pay them. By definition, that is a Ponzi, or pyramid, scheme. That only works if the pool paying into it grows enough to pay the people at the top, which is not happening.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  174. James

    A Ponzi scheme is where you are duped into thinking you will receive a benefit by contributing money. Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme, it's worse! We're not duped, we're forced to contribute money into a broken system that is supposed to provide a payout or benefit when we hit a certain age. The fact is we will not receive the benefits promised and it is a two faced lie. Let me invest MY money into a private fund of my own just like I do an IRA or 401K plan.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  175. Tim, San Diego CA

    Social Security in its present form is unsustainable. Big deal. You could make the same comment about our entire government, which is based upon the premise of always being able to borrow more. Maybe not a Ponzi scheme but unsustainable nonetheless.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  176. Robert Bulas MD

    He's not the first to refer to S.S. as a "Ponzi scheme", and while that description is not technically accurate, it is not far off. Yes, millions have benefitted from their Social Security checks. However, there will be 100 million Americans who are promised benefits by Washington, and they will never receive them down the line, given the reality of our situation. Funds have been raided through the decades by our politicians, used both for welfare and warfare. In other words, the future "Social Security" is being sacrificed for our politicians "Political Security" and without immediate major reform, this 100 million will left holding the empty bag when their time comes. That's not too far off from a Ponzi scheme. In my opinion, it is a "monstrous lie", if a politician says "you'll always have your social security".

    I'm not a Perry fan, but he's right. We need serious and honest dialogue regarding ALL of our nation's sacred cows, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Defense.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  177. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack first off Social Security was never meant to pay all your bills and support you once you retire. Unfortunately a lot of people think that it will. The government has taken money out of social security and created a lot of the problems themselves not the people receiving it. People are concerned that they are made to pay into a program that politicians keep taking out of and if they continue to do so and not pay it back it will do little for them when they retire. Perry is right to bring the issue up and despite how he worded it the reality is that it is broken and if nothing is done it will colapse.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  178. AB

    No Jack, Perry is dead wrong!! Social Security is the best public benefit program in America and is very popular with Almost all Americans who are vested into the system. Perry may have no need for Social Security, but the vast majority of Americans do in fact have a need. Perry's way to fix Social Security is to abolish it!! He thinks that the program is unconstitutional. Rick Perry committed political suicide by calling Social Security a "Ponzi Scheme". He is unelectable and will eventually flame out. For your information Jack, Social Security is not broke, but very solvent and will remain as such if Congress stops borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund and leaves it alone.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  179. Reilleyfam

    Call it what you want – worker PAY into SS and the govt is obligated to pay those who've paid in by whatever means is needed. You cant send a notice to someone every year for decades promising a set dollar amount and then not pay – we call that fraud/theft. The best course would be to end it completely for everyone 17 & under and just eat it and pay those who remain in the system. What you CANNOT do is FORCE people to pay in for 20, 30, 40 years and then with no warning eliminate or dramatically alter the deal. Same with govt pensions.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  180. Ted from Hershey, PA

    Social is ALMOST a Ponzi scheme that US steals funds from with no intent to return them, – will run out of money totally by 2036 or sooner, has not allowed for the "baby boomers", and has no guts to make it right for my kids and grand kids. We must immediately (as OBAMA says) extend the age limits gradually, and possibly slightly reduce benefits, – this is simple math (as OBAMA says)!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  181. Harold Borbridge

    There is a complete failure of anyt thoughtful process for Rick Perry... For Rick Perry he honestly and sincerely believes Social Security is a "Ponzi Scheme" ... He also honestly and sincerely believed at one time in goverment enforced medical injections for every little girl to prevent cancers... One thing you can say about Rick Perry: "He is Sincere!" - Just ask the current man, Steven Woods, being put to death in Texas today for a murder he was proven he didn't commit! ... Rick Perry sincerely believes is he doing the right things "at the moment" ... too bad our nations problems require a little more "thoughtful process" to solve...

    September 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  182. Mike in SA

    It's a freakin' Ponzi scheme. The government running Social Security and not defining it as a Ponzi scheme is like a state who has a lottery and not defining it as gambling. Of course it is!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  183. TJeff1776

    The problem with Mr. Perry of Texas is HE CAN'T BE TRUSTED to help fic SS. Too much of his observations, in his lifetime, center on destroying the system. Its so ingrained in him THAT most assuredly once in office he will set about destroying the SS system. BUT having said that- Perry is a typical Republican- the lobbying Party that represents big business. Large businesses, by law, must duplicate whatever the employee pays into the system. To say the least, this offends them. To destroy the SS system means BILLIONS retained by them. When FDR created this system in 1937, Repubs fought it tooth and nail and have ever since. FDR was one of them- and considered a TRAITOR after that. FDR's philosophy was, in his own words, "underling employees who help build a company deserve something out of the deal also". The biggies in that day, AND TODAY(and their lawyers) disagree. The massive problem is- the commoners make up a majority of the voters and "whoa" is being heard even more loudly.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  184. Max in NY

    Social security is a huge success, people are quick to forget the lessons of the past. Before it around 30% of seniors lived in poverty, and now that number is around 10%.

    A few things need to be fixed with it however:
    1) raise the retirement age
    2) raise the maximum contribution (this keeps the rich from paying more into SS)...people only pay 4.2% on up to $106k of income...so someone making $106k a year is contributing the same amount as Warren Buffet to SS.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  185. Mike in SA

    The only reason it is not a Ponzi scheme is because it is run by the government. Let's clear a few things up.

    1) The beneficiaries of a Ponzi scheme are not limited to only the current participants. Future participants can benefit as long as the investor list continues to grow. That's the problem with SS. The future investor list is shrinking.

    2) The reason a Ponzi scheme is deemed as fraud is because the person running the scheme lies to investors in an effort to affect their ability to opt out. Legally the main issue is whether the investor's decision whether or not to opt out has been affected by the organizer. The government certainly affects the investor's decision whether or not to opt out...by forcing everybody to participate whether they want to or not.

    3) The argument that it is not a Ponzi scheme because the government will just charge future "investors" more is ridiculous. If the organizer of a Ponzi scheme raises the minimum investment for later participants, it is still a Ponzi scheme. We've already raised the minimum investment more than once and we'll continue having to raise it...because it's a Ponzi scheme that can't fund itself.

    4) The Urban Institute studied the cost benefit for former and future "investors" and came to the conclusion that a single man who retired in 1980 at age 65 after earning an average wage of $43,500 would have paid about $96,000 in Social Security taxes, and probably received $203,000 in lifetime benefits. By contrast, a single man making the same average wage today and retiring in 2030 will likely pay $398,000 in lifetime taxes but receive just $336,000 in lifetime benefits — about 16% less than he paid in. "People who were first in the system got a great rate of return," says Alan Gustman, chair of the economics department at Dartmouth College. "It's the younger generation that is going to be in the most difficult position."

    September 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  186. Karen

    The ponzi scheme are the 100's and 1,000's of people that collect SS and have never paid into it or paid very little...why are legislatures exempt from paying into SS, but recieve large payouts upon retirement. There are many other professions (mostly firemena and policeman) that too are not subject to pay into SS, but yet eligible to collect (beside there own union driven cadilac benefits that they recieve upon retirement) I have had it with every politician out there. They are all self serving...

    September 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  187. Mike Wiggins

    Newport, RI

    It may be true that the Social Security fund may not be able to do the job in the future it was initially slated for. But before we blame the Social Security Administration by calling it a Ponzi scheme, let's look at all the times that money was deliberately taken out of Social Security by Congress to fund other pet projects/programs. Then the name of the scheme will change to what it REALLY is: GRAND LARCENY!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  188. G Randall

    SS is worse than a ponzi scheme. At least in a ponzi scheme, the investors had a choice: to invest or not to invest. With SS, we don't have a choice. Our money is taken from us "by law". And our political system has raped the citizens of this country by pilfering away SS funds without account. I think it is a lie too. In my annual report from SS last year, the SS administrator claimed that SS was in better shape than previously thought: SS wouldn't go broke until 2036 and wouldn't start running deficits until 2016. Just four months later it was made known that SS funds were $76 billion dollars short for the 2010 fiscal year. How could the administrator make such a statement, and just four months later the facts prove he was wrong?

    September 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  189. My V. Nguyen, San Jose, California

    Mr. Tea Party governor of the state of Texas, Social Security and Medicare are NOT Ponzi schemes. I started working when I was only 16 year old, contributing money towards Social Security and Medicare. I don’t want a Tea Party politician to mess around with these federal programs, as I am nearing time to collect the benefits.

    I will tell you what Ponzi schemes are. They are NAFTA, free trade deals, China entry into WTO, Visas for Indian workers to enter the US labor market, hiring of illegal workers, and outsourcing. All these Ponzi schemes are supported by the US Chamber of Commerce and by special interest groups which contribute to your political campaign.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  190. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    Only if we give Republicans the ability to kill Social Security by putting them into office will it ever become a Ponzi scheme. The Democrats created it for working people and have protected it from Republican attack ever since. They'll end Bush's deficit causing tax cuts for the rich and defend Social Security this time too.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  191. Paulette in Dallas

    Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme. Perry's views and ideas might fly down in Texas with his buddies but elsewhere in the country it is going over like a lead balloon. The Senior citizens worked and paid for their Social Security. It is THEIR money not the governments. Have the government pay back ALL of the monies it has borrowed from trhe Social Security Fund over the years and it will be in fine shape. Completely forget privatizing the Fund. The American people Do Not Want the Wall St. Foxes watching Their Hen House.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  192. RDriftwood

    Refusing to raise taxes on the wealthy is indefensible. The gop is blatantly corrupt and proud of it. Taking bribes, working only for the wealthy, determined to gut social security and Medicare just so the wealthy can have more tax cuts that they don't even need. The gop has declared war on the middle class, the poor, and the elderly.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  193. Evelyn Berryhill

    Let Rick perry be out of a job and let him get older and need social security than he will change his attitude about everything.

    Memphis, Tn

    September 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  194. Dan K

    Jack:
    This man is nuts to attack S/S! He has lost millions of the 50 and older voters with such a rash statement! This is from a man who threatened to secede Texas from the union! He is struck full of hoof IN mouth disease!
    The only PONZI scheme is the conservatives trying to privatize S/S! There is 3.4 TRILLION $$ in government bonds (almost 1/3 of the national debt) in the S/S fund! The interest alone on these guaranteed bonds will pay any S/S shortfall till 2026 and then the buyback (along with interest) of these bonds will fun S/S through 2068!
    The only reason Conservatives want to end S/S as we know it is to reduce the national debt by 1/3rd so they can give more tax breaks to the rich!
    Dan K Owens Cross Roads, Alabama

    September 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  195. Gus in Tempe, AZ

    Financially speaking, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme because older beneficiaries are funded by new investors. Since this is legally mandated throughout an entire country, though, the system could operate into perpetuity if managed soundly(i.e. matching revenue with benefits). However, this is impossible with political leaders who are raiding the trust fund and are loathe to lessen benefits. Politically speaking, Perry's statement could be his career's death knell.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  196. Ken Segall

    Rick Perry is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He's against raising taxes for the rich — yet he's fine with introducing a "means test" to limit Social Security payments to the rich. So even though everyone pays money into Social Security during their working lives, only the rich wouldn't get it back when they retire. In other words - he'd be raising taxes on the rich.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  197. Dave from Georgia

    No. Perry was trying to wipe out the Social Security system so that all money can be used to payoff the tax cut for riches.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  198. tom

    perry is feeding raw meat to those right-wing-nuts. he will say what they want to hear. they are radical, they have no real ideas for america, they wrap themselves in the flag and thump their bibles, trying to make everyone else dance to their music. they are dangerous and perry is their hero.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  199. NC Jeff

    What they need to do is replace and repay every nickel they stole and borrowed from the fund to pay for other things and then they must pass a law prohibiting them from ever redirecting those funds and future funds. We've all been forced to contribute to this fund for our retirements for years. Now they're saying it's broke. IT"S BROKE BECAUSE THEY BROKE IT!! Write us all a check for what we have into it and then do away with it right after you cancel out YOUR retirement funds!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  200. John C from Long Island

    Jack- Social Security is a sacrosanct pact we as a society have made with the elderly American citizens who have paid into it and, in many cases, depend upon for their very survival. Are there occational abuses? Yes, of course there are, as there would be with any program (public or private) of this size and scope. But you cannot simply throw the baby out with the bath water and destroy Social Security by either privatizing it or unfairly ammending it. If more revenue is required to fund it, how about closing some of the myriad of corporate and individual tax loopholes and earmarking the resulting capitol exclusively for Social Security? That would never happen in the current political/lobbiest dominated Washington landscape. But it would be the fairest thing to do. But we're probably gonna get Rick Perry in 2012...which means "fair" won't have anything to do with what happens.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  201. Jenna Roseville CA

    So is Rick Perry right to call Social Security a Ponzi scheme?

    Are you serious Jack?

    No he is not right. It only shows how ignorant this man is.

    The problem with Social Security is that lawmakers borrowed against it and now they refuse to pay it back by raising taxes (the revenue that should have been raised to begin with) And for all bashing, Al Gore was right. Social Security should have been placed in a "Locked Box" instead of being raided by the GOP.

    If the GOP would keep their hands off then all would be fine.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    September 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  202. CONNIE G., Chicago, IL

    No. " The Ponz" has written his political obituary by insulting millions of "consistent voters." He can't "walk-back" his gut feelings, they're valid, they're his. His Social Security belieifs are out there.He owns this insidious and nefarious comment. He has crystallized for many of us baby boomers his true, authentic persona. He's as crazy as a loon and has sped-up the presidential elimination process. No wonder Texas health care is non-existent.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  203. CA Indie

    Perry shows his total ignorance by calling Soc Sec a Ponzi scheme. As if the legislature in the 1930s knew that the population would grow so unevenly 30-50 years AFTER it became law.
    Not one politician, pundit etc has it correct; only the "bean counters" know why SS is broken...POLITICIANS!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  204. Chase Aulick

    Jack, we need a solution and no one wants to realize that if we dont some how reform social security it will collapse, thats why we need to raise the age of accepting it to a proportional level with life expectancy of today to that of the 1940's. People say that my generation, the boomlets, will be the first to live to 150, do you really expect us to retire at less than half of our life time, NO!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  205. Ron WPAFB

    Jack, it's just grandstanding, it's just to get his name out there, it's just Republican catch phrases and sound bites! It is used to get peoples attention! And it works! The American People are so easy to manipulate. How else could the tea party exist. We all know there polices are garbage and would/will do more harm than good. They play party before country and politics like a team sport on Friday Night. you win any way you can, nothing else matters.

    This so called peon scheme is what has kept America together for all these years. It gave millions hope and a reason to go on! Unlike a ponzi scheme, it was dependent on a Congress not spending all the money! remember when Al Gore wanted to portect it, do you? And the Republicans want to dissolve it, or better, allow the people to put it in the Stock Market like Bush wanted. And how many millions lost their retirements when the UNREGULATED BANKS ran the American economy off the cliff and are still doing it? Wow, that was a good idea, huh! The American people allow these snake oil salesmen to kick us in the stomach by not voting, by not paying attention, by still even after all they have done to us believe they are decent people and wouldn't do anything wrong, (Gullible), (Naive), uneducated. And left to the Republicans, education will go down to because that's how you keep a civilization under control! Like mushrooms, Jack, keep'em in the dark and feed them,....well you know.

    Jack, it's just the same old babbling rhetoric the Republican party is famous for, hell, they are doing it right now on the jobs bill, No taxes on the rich, screw the minion!!!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  206. Dr. McNinja

    It's a ponzi scheme with one important difference: no one takes a profit. No one is getting rich at the expense of others. Social Security is the "honor system" in essence. Just because there isn't a Republican somewhere getting rich off of an institution doesn't mean it's a bad thing.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  207. Lance

    If the funds collected over the years in the name of Social Security are not sitting in a designated fund, but instead have been spent on things other than Social Security – I'd say the Ponzi tag fits perfectly.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  208. Bob

    How could anyone like me living on Social Security possibly vote for Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann or any of the rest? Do I look like I have stupid written all over my face? Politicians who constantly harp about ending Social Security couldn't possibly do anything to save the program. They wouldn't lift a finger. It's clear they want the whole system to fail!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  209. Joe from Brigantine, NJ

    Perry does not understand Social security and it's structure. That is obvious. If the Government would keep their spending paws out of the trust fund then it would not be a debt on their books. Originally that was the plan. Contrary to what Rick Perry wants to believe those guys from the 1930's knew what they were doing. It's the guys that came after them who created the current mess. We do not need Perry worsening the situation.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  210. Kris

    One solution would be to remove the income cap at which social security taxes stop. This cap of course results in people under the cap paying a higher percentage of their income in tax than those who earn over the cap.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  211. Eric

    Social Security is not a "Ponzi Scheme" and is in fine shape, and can continue to function just fine for 75+ years with some minor adjustments, similar to what Reagan did in the 1980s. However, Rick Perry is correct on one thing; Assuming Republicans get to "privatize" it, their Wall Street buddies will gamble trillions away while siphoning off hundreds of billions in fees in the process and the benefits will NOT be there the young people who are paying into the system today.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  212. Beck

    Is my 401K a Ponzi Scheme as well? They are kinda similar, aren't they?

    September 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  213. Gregg (Chattanooga)

    In a Ponzi scheme, investors are promised a bigger pay-out than they've paid-in. Those higher returns come from new people seeking their own returns. If the average person pays-in over 45 years of work but gets paid-out over 15 to 20 years before they, you know, it's not a Ponzi scheme.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  214. John in Raleigh

    From Wikipedia:

    A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going.

    Yup, Social Security sounds like Ponzi Scheme.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  215. D Porter

    Jack, I think Social Security was created to care for those individuals entering their final years of life. Upon inception, seniors were only living to age 75 or 80. But now, with medical advancements, people are living past that age to 85 or 90+. This is what is bankrupting the program. Either the age needs to be increased by 5 years, or the drug companies need to start chipping in more to cover their medical advancements!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  216. Charlie

    "Here are the facts: Social Security is broken. The program will keep paying out 100% of benefits promised until about 2036. After that, if nothing is done,... "

    My car is broken. It will keep driving until about 2036. After that, if I don't change the oil or do any maintenance, it will run only 3/4 as well. My relationship is broken. It'll be pretty good until about 2036. After that, If I don't buy her any flowers in the meantime, it'll only be 3/4 as good.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  217. Mark McInerney

    Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme.
    I have given up over ten years ago on the concept of ever receiving a dime.
    It is just a TAX. Nothing more.
    Look at the truth, people.
    1.75 workers for every recipient?
    It cannot be sustained.
    As Margaret Thatcher once said, "the problem with Socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money."
    Social Security is just that, a Socialist ideal. Part of LBJ's useless "Great Society".
    Perry has it right-it is just that nobody else has enough guts to call it what it is-a Ponzi Scheme!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  218. anthony

    The only Ponzi scheme is Trickle down economics. Cut taxes and initiate two wars.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  219. Danielle (Windsor CT)

    No, it is not a Ponzi scheme. However, the problem is that instead of the cash I contributed, the Social Security piggy bank is holding a Government IOU [when Nixon or Carter, or Reagan or the Bushes took the money and used it for something else, like DOD spending]. I can't buy my groceries with that IOU.

    Face it, you've got to collect more income tax revenue to redeem those IOUs.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  220. Paul

    A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. Jack, is Social Security not the very definition of a ponzi scheme? Social Security is reliant on the premise that more people will be paying into the system than will be drawing from it. If it is not, then Bernie Madoff should not be in prison because the whole premise behind his ponzi scheme could very well be compared to that of Social Security. Rick Perry is absolutely right.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  221. Oscar Roos in North Texas

    Living in Texas I can tell the Nation that we DO NOT want Perry to be president because he has brought cronyism and the highest paid lobbiest to the Texas capitol. He works with "Sound Bites" like his calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme.

    You don't want the distruction to the middle class and selling out to big business and those with money willing to buy legislation that Perry has brought Texas.

    Voters beware.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  222. Fred In LA

    Remove the cap and SS is saved.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  223. curtis in philadelphia

    Yes Jack, because the way the US business' outsource all the jobs, sooner or later we will run out of workers in America and no one will have a job, therefore no paycheck, therefore no way to pay into Social Security. So lets privatize social security, give all the money in the trust fund to Wall Street, so the corporations can continue to outsource our jobs! God bless America!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  224. Gary in CA

    Rick Perry is right. No one wants to hear that they've been conned but it's the sad truth. Current investors money is being used to pay past investor's dividends. That's the definition of a Ponzi scheme and anyone setting up a private form of social security would go to jail. Unless they paid off the right politicians.

    Oh... guess where the Social Security Trust Fund invested? Our National Debt.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  225. Bruce in VA

    I don't think I would use that term, Ponzi scheme. But there are serious structural issues with Social Security that make it have similar characteristics to a Ponzi scheme. They are both sort of unsustainable, and with the tail end of the baby boomers heading for retirement in the next 10 to 15 years, the problem is acute. When SS first started – and I forget the exact numbers – but there were something like 135 people contributing for each recipient. Today, the number is more like 4 people contributing for each recipient, and the number if falling all the time. So, maybe some kind of means testing along with adjustment to the retirement age as our life expectancy increases is the minimum we can do.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  226. Louis

    Well, it is a heck of a scheme. I'm a senior citizen on Social Security, and Medicare as well. My medical bills exceed $15,000 a month. I have no doubt I'm getting back much, much more than I ever paid into the system. I don't think it's equitable, but that's the way it's set up; and I'm sympathetic to those young workers who fear the well may be dry when their need arises.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  227. gaucho420

    Crazy Perry is not right. He's just trying to kiss up to the GOP & Tea Party extremists, who in the end would rather return to the 19th century type rule, where no one cared for their neighbor. Most of America does not want this.

    Fixing a rather distant problem (2036 is 25 years away) by calling it a ponzi scheme, is the work of an over-excitted teenager, and certainly not how a Presidential candidate should act.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  228. Richard C.

    The bad news is that it is worse than a Ponzi scheme because we have no choice but to pay into the 'scheme.' The good news is that the system can be fixed. I'm not sure we elect people intelligent enough to do the fixing. Social security is and has been a good idea. It must be kept solvent and the fear of insolvency will keep our politicians somewhat straight.
    Malvern,PA

    September 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  229. Charlie

    Medicare, as originally designed, should be indepenent of the federal budget and self-contained. It was created as, not welfare, but a nationwide retiremement program. As with any such program, the payouts should be tied to input received. If not enough money is brought in to pay recipients, then there are only two possible solutions – reduce payouts or increase income. Denying it to even the wealthiest participants goes completely against the idea of the program.
    Here is the only common sense solutions to the problem – remove it from any connection to the federal budget (including "borrowing" from it), increase the retirement age (we live much longer now than when enacted) and increase the income cut-off amount. A combination of these last two can guarantee the solvency of the system indefinately. The solution is simple – the problem is purely politics.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  230. ray

    Biggest Ponzi ever. Makes Bernie Madoff look like a small time picker.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  231. Gigi Oregon

    Rick Perry is your typical Republican, using fear on the ignorant, ready to steal your wallet and fill his pockets with your cash. We went through the Bush years with fear tactics to spend millions, billions and possible trillions just to make the rich business leaders richer. Let's remember the words of RFD "the only fear to fear is fear it's self". Our parents and grandparents didn't hide and run during the depression and WWII they stood up, fought and built the worlds greatest nation. Let's don't let fear mongering take our country away from us. We must fight for our health, wealth and freedoms. The Social security program is probably the soundest money in the United states. And has been successful for 75 years don't be duped. He is a walking ponzi schemer in action. The Republican party would like to turn our SS money over to wall street to manage, really...HA.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  232. Pat, NC

    Well this is what I believe the SS sytem was never supposed to be a tax. It was there to fund people's reitrement. When it became a tax (done to allow the funds (tax) to be used as the government saw fit) this is when it bagan to fail. The money paid into social security belongs to the people who paid it, ie you and me, we funded it. The Feds have used it as there personal savings account and have abused it, and stolen it from the American people who paid into it. Not to mention those people who will get to draw SS from the fund that have not paid into it??? I believe that GWB was right when he said that the American people should get a choice to pay SS or put their money into a savings plan of their choice. That way if their plan loses money, it was their choice, and they are not being systematically robbed.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  233. Tim

    C'mon Caff....you are smarter than this. When SS was enacted and a benefit age of 65 was established the avg life expectancy in the US at the time was right around 63...so odds are you were already dead for two years before you saw a dime in benefits...that's not a ponzi scheme. That just blatant theft.

    Today all that's left in the "trust fund" an unmarketable securities for the value of the funds that has been taken for other uses.

    The handling of the SS funds by the Government is the same as if you bought yourself a 10K mink coat and put an IOU to yourself in your wallet and then you tell your family your overall net worth hasn't changed.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  234. Frank

    A system is certainly not a Ponzi scheme if it has been in place since the 1930s and is solvent until 2036. The program has stabilized old age for millions and millions of our fellow Americans and will continue to do so. Adjustments have been made before and can easily be done again.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  235. Carmen Moraga, CA

    It simply doesnt make sense that someone can receive more money over the course of a year in social security than they put in their whole working lifetime. People should not be LIVING off of social security. It is a crutch. People need to learn to save for retirement and if they don't, we that do save should not have to pay for it. Our government creates financial cripple people. Take something away and watch people get off their behinds and survive!

    September 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  236. Jim in Alabama

    Jack, if Social Security is a ponzi scheme, it's one that's worked well since inception. The problem is, you can't continue to rob from it and propose an opt out provision and expect it to remain solvent. BTW, the term ponzi implies dishonesty and lies and everyone knows what they pay into now and are told what they'll draw upon retirement. I have to wonder just what these Republican extremists that are attacking it have in mind that would be a better and more reliable plan for seniors and retirees? I wouldn't trust them for one second with my funds.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  237. Chris

    I am a Republican but cannot vote any candidate who disputes this program as a ponzi scheme nor for that matter who tried to block raising of the debt ceiling. Enough of this nonsense.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  238. Casey

    Jack , you bet Rick Perry is correct calling Social security a Ponzi scheme as it stands now people get money from current payers leaving nothing for them in the end, how is that NOT a Ponzi scheme. We keep saying that we want honest straight talking politicians but when we get one we call foul what gives?

    September 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  239. OrionStyles

    I would say it is an obfuscated Ponzi scheme.

    Will you get a pay out if you are a gen Xer? Sure, but there is a problem, because the government can conjure as much money as it needs in order to match some numerical value of what you are owed. The numerical amount of money is moot if its value is a fraction of the dollars you were paying in.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  240. Gkingii

    Not a ponzi scheme...a government scheme, which is lots worse. Legalized theft for wealth redistribution.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  241. Dave

    Dave
    Woodstock,CT

    The problem with S.S.I is not that it is a ponzi scheme or that people believe they pay to much for what they get, no sir Bob. The problem is the U.S government raids it whenever they have a problem.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  242. Ira Golbergg

    Social Security is NOT a ponzi scheme, it is free bank for the 535 clowns in congress to grab any time thatthey want. If they would keep their hands off Social Security would be financially sound.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  243. Mark, Clinton, Iowa

    In one sense Gov. Perry was correct – a Ponzi scheme uses money from current investors to pay older investors. That is the definition of how the Social Security system works. It is also about the only way it can work without a massive increase in contribution levels.

    The problem is when the Social Security system was originally devised, few Americans had any other pension. Now a large percentage do have one. So perhaps one fix to extend the longevity is to slightly reduce payments (say to about 75%) if an individual is covered under an employer's pension plan.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  244. jay1975

    "A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent."
    Sounds like social security to me.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  245. Craig, Atlanta GA

    Jack, the Securities and Exchange Commission defines a Ponzi Scheme as "an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors." Explain to me why Social Security does not meet that test. To make matters worse, the SS Administration periodically sends me an "account statement" purporting to show how much I have paid into the system and what my payout will be. I'll bet Bernie Madoff's investors received something similar.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  246. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Of course Social Security is a Ponzi scheme–it fits the technical definition perfectly.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  247. Bart

    The 27 percent mentioned will all vote in the republican primary for Perry. Romney, on the other hand, is flip flopping, again. That guy changes positions more often than a hooker with ADHD.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  248. jason - iowa

    Well, I guess you could say it is a ponzi scheme. But if it is, then so is the stock market. The problem with all of this is that money is supposed to be the means by which we obtain our goals in society, but instead money has become the goal. This is why people are so upset with wall street – they don't actually produce anything. Their 'job' – what they do all day – is basically trade money for more money. That doesn't accomplish anything. Social security checks, on the other hand, are used as a means to accomplish a goal – i.e. to eat.

    Welfare helps keep a lot of people, including me, out of the awkward situation of being the victim of an armed robbery. I'm pretty sure people know this already. What I find striking is that so many people would rather pay for prisons with their tax money instead of paying considerably less so that poor people would not need to do anything illegal to survive.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  249. erich2112x

    We're a country that takes care of our elderly and disabled. Why is that a Ponzi scheme? We just need to get all the fraud under control.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  250. Ron from Los Alamos, NM

    Most of us have been putting into Social Security since we started working at the age of 14 to 16. If Congress hadn't "borrowed" from this program for special projects and then found they couldn't pay it back, there wouldn't be this social Security crisis, it would still be there for our kids and their kids. So now they tell us we need to take a hit on our benefits from this instead of finding a way to reimburse Social Security from the years of misuse. The money to reimburse the program should come out of the retirement checks of every Senator and Congressman who served in the past 50 years.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  251. Gary

    Of course it is a Ponzi scheme – many people pay in and very few get anything in return. A more fair plan would be to allow everyone access to what they paid in and use in retirement years for whatever they choose. Back when the plan was introduced, the tax was only 1% of the first $3000 of income. Now that it is 13.2% (employee + employer share) up to the first $106,000 of income, it is not okay to not return some of the money to those that paid – whether they make it to 62 years old or not. If they don't live long enough to fully collect what they paid, their estate should receive the money – not someone else. So by definition, it is definitely a ponzi scheme – no doubt about it.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  252. Denny from Tacoma

    No social security is not a Ponzi scheme. It is a legitimate program but its funds have been abused and misappropriated by our politicians who just love to spend other people's money carelessly. What is amazing is that the people that got us into this mess cannot seem to be able to get us out.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  253. Amanda

    How about we start focusing on candidates who actually have a point of view and substance behind them instead of focusing on the eye and ear candy that are Perry, Romney and Bachmann?

    Rick is a snake oil salesman. He's counting on the shock value of his words to engage the electorate and get us to rally behind the "Tough Talking Texan," who tells it like it is. Well, as a Texan myself, I can tell you that Gov. Goodhair may just as well be a cardboard cutout. He says a lot but has no ideas, no solutions, and, worse, no principles. A guy like Ron Paul, however, has the ideas, has the solutions, and stands by his principles. Why aren't we paying attention to them? Heck, I'd consider Dennis Kucinich before I'd consider Rick Perry. At least the man has a backbone.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  254. Pete in Georgia

    YES, he's 99.9% right but in this left leaning politically correct world of deceit and smoke and mirrors he will be demonized................................for what ??
    For telling the truth.
    This is where America is today in the Disney World of make believe and feel good-ed-ness.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  255. Bob H. from Orlando

    Jack,

    As long as I can remember, the Republicans have been wanting to get their hands on social security. This month's flavor is Ponzi Scheme. What will Gov. Perry think of next !!!

    September 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  256. scott f

    Rick Perry is a Loose Cannon. Do you really want this Clown as President representing a Government that he says is inconsequential? Rick Perry is READY, FIRE, AIM !!! Rick is a yell leader( Cheer Leader to us guys) by trade:" Shish bom boo, no one's dumb as you"

    September 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  257. ThoughtProcess

    He's brilliant calling it that. That kind of talk put him in the spotlight. He's furthered his celebrity status among Republican Candidates and got his name all over every possible news outlet. His words may well be far stronger than the problem really is, but that's what a lot of Republican voters want to hear right now. It's brilliant. Those who hate him for it weren't likely to vote Republican anyway.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  258. R from MN

    If you want to speak to the "FACTS" don't forget to mention that to date Social Security has built up a surplus in excess of $1 TRILLION, which would mean there is more then enough money for Social Security to remain solvent well into the future and would show there is no problem with the program at all.

    The problem is you have Congress using that surplus as a piggy bank to help balance their unbalanced budgets the past few decades, and so they raided the piggy bank over and over again behind closed doors and that surplus money was spent on other things NOT related to Social Security.

    So SS as a program isn't broken. SS would be just fine right now if congress for the past few decades didn't raid the SS surplus to help pay for whatevever policies they passed but didn't want to have to worry about paying for. Why worry about raising taxes to pay for something when you can just dip into the excess in Social Security behind closed doors? This NEEDS to be up front so people clearly understand SS is in trouble in large part due to fiscal irresponsibility of Congress for decades now.

    Now that we are IN THIS MESS, we need to figure a way out so SS remains intact for future generations. But we can't start that discussion unless everyone is perfectly clear WHY we're in this mess in the first place, and that is the Congress that has no sense of fiscal responsibility whatsoever. This needs to be fixed so in the future ANY EXCESS funds that SS builds up go to cover future SS benefits (which is what those funds were intended for when they were collected). Congress should no longer have the ability to raid this SS fund anytime they want money to pay for some policy they passed without paying for it. Money collected for SS needs to be used to pay SS related benefits PERIOD. The money can't be used for anything else.

    Once this is done, we can figure out how to fix the rest of the problem. But if you don't stop the bucket from leaking, it doesn't do good to keep pouring more water into it.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  259. Cee.La

    Rick perry may have appealed to the party faithful....but for people like me, who will cross party lines, they have not helped themselves......

    September 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  260. Brandon Murray

    Everyone's reacting to the Twitter-ized sound bite of what Rick Perry said, not what he actually said. What Perry said is that it is a monstrous lie and a fraud to say that Social Security can remain UNCHANGED and viable. Which is not debatable. As Social Security currently exists, it IS like a Ponzi scheme. We young people pay into it with the promise that we'll be able to draw those funds out of it one day. But if Social Security is not overhauled, this promise is a lie and Social Security is effectively a Ponzi scheme.

    Except that those responsible for defrauding us won't be going to jail. They'll retire from Congress with a pat on the back and a hefty government pension.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  261. Mike from MI

    Definition of a Ponzi scheme: A Ponzi scheme is an operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors.

    Social Security is different from this?

    September 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  262. Ken in NC

    Social Security does not qualify by definition as a PONZI scheme. Gov Perry and Congresswoman Bachmann both, by definition does quality as a liars.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  263. Gary H. Boyd

    Not really Jack. The basic concept was to provide a way by which everyday working citizens could rely upon a source of revenue upon retirement. The "scheme" as Perry describes it, came about by virture of politicians, over time, raiding the fund for other purposes. That, and the "baby boom" following WWII, put too many retirees in line to collect with fewer folks contributing. It's what happens when political and sexual exuberance combine. America's social security program has been literally and figureatively screwed.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    September 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  264. curtune440

    Curt from New Mexico – Calling Social Security a "Ponzi" scheme is entirely inaccurate, and focusing on that term obfuscates what really went on. Over the decades, money paid into Social Security was tapped into by each version of our Government to fund "other things". It was a huge stockpile of money which was constantly eroded by each Congress, year in and year out. People liken it to "IOU"s that got dumped into an empty filing cabinet somewhere. With boomers ageing, and the numbers of revenue generating citizens declining, this is the inevitable outcome of irresponsible "leaders" over the years. Want to start making a difference in the Social Security pot? Make each Department of Government downsize by 5%, and divert that money directly back into Social Security. All of this other blabbering is simply smoke and mirrors.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  265. Dan in Aluququerque

    Rick Perry is never wrong, even when he's wrong, or called out by someone who knows better. America would be better off if he did secede (personally, not Texas). He has been preaching to the choir so far. He will not prevail in 2012 when facing the general audiencd instead of Tea Partiers.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  266. Charly in Del Mar

    I have paid for Social Security and Medicare since I was 15. It says so on my pay stub and the annual accounting I get from SSI. If this IS a Ponzi scheme, then the perp is the government who took the money and spent it elsewhere – war, oil and drug companies – all of my favorites. And don't think about raising the retirement age. Companies don't want you once you start graying. You're probably making too much money and, if you get benefits, you cost too much because of your age group. You are the first group to go in a lay off and it's impossible to prove age discrimination.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  267. Jon

    It relies on one generation to pay for the previous one. It is absolutely a Ponzi Scheme.
    The biggest arguement I hear is 'people receiving it paid in to it'. How much did they pay in? Without knowing how long you will live it is impossible to know how much you will have to pay. Do they stop paying once you reach your limit of how much you paid in? No. I believe people retiring at 65 and living until 100 are receiving more than they paid in.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  268. Deb

    Social Security has been mishandled, that is true. But ponzi scheme? Not hardly. Many elderly rely on the money they receive from social security to pay for the bare necessities of life. And I mean "bare" necessities. No one could live well on social security benefits alone. There should be an income cap so that the wealthiest don't qualify for social security, but I doubt that will ever happen either. Democrats and Republicans alike will dither about and end up doing nothing positive.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  269. wbn

    Anyone who has ever worked in the financial world knows that the way Social Security is now operated (with no real trust fund) is an example of the classic Ponzi scheme–using current contributions to pay current requirements. Many have said this before Perry. It's about time politicians of all stripes admitted it publicly–and fixed it.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  270. Frank

    Jack,
    social security isnt't a ponzi sceme per se. people choose, unwittingly or not, to enter into a ponzi scheme. social security is forced on us wether we like or not.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  271. California Jim

    Social Security is made up of two Treasury funds, namely old-Age and Survivors insurance and the Disability Insurance. Both funds are mandated to invest and said investments tend to be with U.S. Treasury bonds. The main problem is that both funds are under the main U.S. Treasury fund and therefore, may be used for political whims such as earmarks. the investment interest on both funds is protected by law. problem is the principle of each fund is dwindling towards the bottom because the principle keeps getting gouged. It is not a ponzi by legal definition of such but that said, it would not take much to become one. the BoD who oversees these two funds are political appointees including the Treasury Secretary.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  272. John

    Chris Mathews admitted it was, in essence, a ponzi scheme as did several of his liberal thinking guests. Basically any financial scheme that relies on future investors to pay current investors is a "ponzi" scheme...a pyramid scheme by another name. The only reason it's not illegal is that it's run by the government. If a private enterprise offered this type of retirement fund they would be prosecuted. There are 2 great examples of retirement funds that are self sustaining and do not operate on the SS model...check out Chile and Galveston Texas. Because, in the end, don't we really want a program that guarantees retired folks don't live in poverty? Let's not keep SS for the sake of keeping it let's put a program in place that will serve our seniors better. Call it want you want iSS is going broke and no amount of tinkering will ever fix it.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  273. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    To speak kindly of a defined real Ponzi scheme, it is mismanagement at it's most corrupt level. It is not to much of a reach to say the Social Security system has been mismanaged (a kind description also) in that wasteful and illegal use of funds have been demonstrated over the years (fraudulent payments and raids by congress et. al.) So to that extent, any debater could attack the system under a number of criminal labels. The real problem is, no effective process to stop the abuse has been proposed by the abusers !

    September 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  274. Susan

    Calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme may not be the right words but it is as in the Great Depression helping to keep unemployment high. It's an added expense to employers and they will not pay it. As it works out the employees pay all of the tax. FDR structured as it is so it would survive politically it has little to do with economics and he admitted it. It needs to be re worked to be more fair. As it stands those who make the least pay the most. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  275. dennis in pa.

    ponzi? maybe not. however anyone under 40 like myself who thinks social security will be there is living on the moon! i don't expect it to be solvent when i am able to retire. i will probably have to work until i die. perry is right and i think his ideas need to be listened too. not saying they will work but through discussion a solution might present itself.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  276. War919 in San Diego

    It saddens me to see how few people on here even know what a Ponzi scheme happens to be. Some are confusing it with a pyramid scheme and some are simply so far off base on what they think it means, that I am not even certain to what they are referring.
    In its simplest form, a Ponzi scheme is one in which many people pay into a system, based on receiving a larger share on the back end than what is paid in the front end. This is the basic formula that the insurance industry follows, along with shady investment groups. The fraud portion comes into play when there is not enough money being generated by the "fund" to cover payouts to investors, and funds from new investments are used to make those payouts.
    Technically, this is exactly what is happening with our Social Security program. The primary cause of the failure of SS is tied to Congress raiding the fund as if it was their expense money that was free and not being used for anything. That, combined with the disparity in pay scales through the years and the ratio of working citizens versus those receiving SS benefits finds us in a place where we will not have the money to continue paying out by 2036, roughly. This makes Perry's statements on point, even if the connotations of the word are not a precise fit. Sad but true; blaming the messenger who said the words is foolish. You should be blaming your representatives in Congress.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  277. ImALibertarian

    From Houston

    Rick Perry is wrong about most everything, but not this. Social Security was designed to pay when a person reached the age when the mortality tables of that time predicted you'd be either dead or soon dead. It was NEVER designed to actually bank (tangibly invest) the involuntary confiscations, but rather to be used to buy treasury bonds, which as we know (unless we live under a rock) are constantly devalued by design. Since the treasury is over 14 trillion in debt and there's no money in the SS trust fund (what a joke), the only rational conclusion is that SS represents theft and the proceeds of that theft has been stolen by criminals who are called politicians. Future SS payments will have to come from third generation theft to replace stolen proceeds of armed robbery.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  278. Jane

    I agree with Brad from Portland, Oregon. We need to remove the cap from the social security payroll tax. When I was an employer, I thought it was ridiculous that my employees who were making $20,000 or less had to pay the social security tax while once someone made $106,000 , they no longer had to pay.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  279. John

    Jack,
    Instead of asking the people this corporate backed idiotic question why not ask the politicians why when the government owes the Social Security "trust" fund $2.67 trillion or 19% of the National Debt and China $1.16 trillion so or only 8% of the national debt they dare call Social Security a ponzi scheme? We the citizens of America know where the ponzi scheme is and it is called the government trying to give their corporate backers the money that we have paid into Social Security as they try to sell the public on privatizing everything they think they can make a buck on.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm |