fresh voices from the front lines of change







Presidential candidate Rick Perry has an oped about Social Security in USA Today ludicrously titled, “I am going to be honest with the American people.”

It is ludicrous because the goal of the oped is to lie to the public and suggest he thinks Social Security should exist, by never mentioning he actually has stated Social Security never should have been allowed to be established under the Constitution.

In the oped, Perry positions himself as someone who merely wants to “fix” Social Security for future generations. He writes today, “America’s goal must be to fix Social Security by making it more financially sound and sustainable for the long term.”

This is a continuation of the lie Perry offered while campaigning in Iowa last month. The Des Moines Register reported:

“I never said it was unconstitutional,” Perry told reporters. “I look at Medicare just like I look at Social Security. They’re programs that aren’t working, and we ought to have a national conversation about it. You know, those that have said I’ve said they’re unconstitutional, I’m going to have them read the book. That’s not what I said.”

OK, let’s read the book. From the 2010 book, “Fed Up” (emphasis added):

Social Security is something we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now. Because of that, as Nobel laureate economic Milton Friedman wrote, the program “is one of those things on which the tyranny of the status quo is beginning to work its magic. Despite the controversy that surrounded its inception, it has come to be so much taken for granted that its desirability is hardly questioned any longer.” And there stands a cumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal, in stark contrast to the mythical notion of salvation to which it has wrongly been attached for too long, all at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government.

There is no other way to interpret that passage except for concluding Perry believes Social Security violates the Constitution.

And why would you trust someone to make a program “sustainable for the long term” if that person believes the program, worse than breaking the law, fundamentally violates the Constitution?

You wouldn’t. Which is why Perry has to lie about his beliefs in order to win.

A honest discussion about Social Security would be wonderful to have. But Perry is not starting one.

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