Facing criticism from other candidates during last night's GOP presidential debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry rehashed his stance on Social Security, the program he called a "Ponzi scheme" onstage at another televised candidate forum last week.
"First off, the people who are on Social Security today need to understand something. Slam-dunk guaranteed, that program is going to be there in place for those," Perry said. "It has been called a 'Ponzi scheme' by many people long before me. But no one's had the courage to stand up and say, here is how we're going to reform it."
But while Perry stood by his critique that the program is bankrupt, he has condemned the concept of Social Security and Medicare more forcefully in the past. In a speech in December at the American Legislative Exchange Council's National Policy Summit (video above), Perry called those programs instances of "excess and overreach" that violate constitutional limitations on the federal government:
The New Deal's legacy is a glut of federal programs ... Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. It is a Ponzi scheme on the [scale] that would make Bernie Madoff look like an amateur. You know, unfortunately the New Deal and its beloved programs have essentially become the third rail of American politics. You know, anyone who even thinks about criticizing one of those programs will be evaporated by the criticism particularly of those on the left.
Layered on that foundation of excess and overreach, then came along President Johnson and his Great Society, and it further eroded our Founding Fathers' boundaries that they had put on the federal government. Medicare, Medicaid. When you add Social Security to that, it is 106 trillion dollars of unfunded liability and not one dime put back to pay for it.
Video credit: ThinkProgress