Republican Rick Perry, whose book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington was published just nine-months ago, and who has been promoting the $21.99 tome at book signings and on his presidential campaign trail since he announced nine days ago, now is claiming the concepts he espoused in the book aren’t his real views. Or, something like that.
The book, which bears a foreword by his Republican presidential opponent Newt Gingrich, is, as Think Progress writes, “a 240-page ode to tentherism, which argues that everything from child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to Medicare violates the Constitution.”
“Fed Up is not some 20-year-old graduate school thesis that Perry wrote before he served in elected office. It is a substantial, nationally published manifesto that Perry was proudly signing at book tours just a few months ago. Indeed, as recently as last Monday, Perry was on the campaign trail citing Fed Up for the unusual proposition that ‘I don’t think the federal government has a role in your children’s education’,” Think Progress notes.
Perry, in a Newsweek interview last year given to promote Fed Up! said,
“I don’t think our founding fathers when they were putting the term “general welfare” in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care. What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that. From my perspective, the states could substantially better operate those programs if that’s what those states decided to do.”
“Whether it’s Social Security, whether it’s Medicaid, whether it’s Medicare. You’ve got $115 trillion worth of unfunded liability in those three. They’re bankrupt. They’re a Ponzi scheme. I challenge anybody to stand up and defend the Social Security program that we have today — and particularly defend it to a 27-year-old young man who’s just gotten married and is trying to get his life headed in the right direction economically. I happen to think that the Progressive movement was the beginning of the deterioration of our Constitution from the standpoint of it being abused and misused to do things that Congress wanted to do, and/or the Supreme Court wanted to implement. The New Deal was the launching pad for the Washington largesse as we know it today. And I think we should have a legitimate, honest, national discussion about Washington’s continuing to spend money we don’t have on programs that we don’t need.”
But The Wall Street Journal reports,
Texas Gov. Rick Perry used to be pretty frank when it came to the country’s Social Security system. In his fiery anti-Washington book, “Fed Up!”, published last fall when he had no plans to run for president, Mr. Perry called the program, which turned 76 on Monday, “a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal.”
He suggested the program’s creation violated the Constitution. The program was put in place, “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government,” he wrote, comparing the program to a “bad disease” that has continued to spread. Instead of “a retirement system that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme,” he wrote, he would prefer a system that “will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement.”
But since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views. His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program.”
And they add,
In an interview, Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry’s “Fed Up!” could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, “is a look back, not a path forward.” It was written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto,” Mr. Sullivan said.
The campaign’s disavowal of “Fed Up!” is itself very new. On Sunday evening, at Mr. Perry’s first campaign stop in Iowa, a questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country’s rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: “Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it.”
In the book, Mr. Perry dings politicians who don’t have the courage to take on Social Security. So what is his position now? “The governor wants to see the benefits for existing retirees and those close to Social Security be strongly protected,” Mr. Sullivan said. Beyond that, “he believes a full review and discussion of entitlement reforms need to be had, aimed at seeing that programs like Social Security and Medicare are fiscally responsible and actuarially sound.”
The Huffington Post adds,
In fact, Social Security is decades away from running out of money, and would remain solvent for the next 75 years if all earnings were subject to the payroll tax and the base was retained for benefit calculations, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Freshman Reps. Young, Heck and Ribble have also compared Social Security to a Ponzi scheme, arguing it should be phased out over time.
“I envision a shift in how that system works so that by the time you get there you’re not only responsible for your own but we’ve made tax law available to help you be responsible for your own, and that the government can’t take that money from you and give it to somebody else,” Ribble said at a candidate forum last November. “That is in fact a Ponzi scheme.”
Heck, meanwhile, called Social Security a “pyramid scheme” at a forum in May. He then backtracked, issuing a flier saying he “chose [his] words poorly,” the Las Vegas Sun later reported.
Young told supporters in June that the government had been raiding the coffers of Social Security.
“Social Security, as so many of you know, is a Ponzi scheme,” Young said at an event. “We pay our payroll taxes, it says it’s going to Social Security. ‘Oh, I must have an account up in Washington that has my name on it.’ I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, they’ve been raiding that for years.”
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