After walking back from some of his more controversial claims last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was back to his normal, tough-talking self this weekend, once again referring to Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”In Iowa Saturday, Perry reasserted the claim, first made in his 2010 treatise Fed Up!, that the federal retirement program is a “monstrous lie” perpetuated by Washington on the American public.
“It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people,” Perry told voters at a campaign event. “The idea that they’re working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie.”
He added that he wasn’t proposing changing the program for current recipients or those near retirement, but said there should be a national discussion about potential changes to the entitlement program, including raising the retirement age or establishing an income threshold.
“Does Warren Buffett need to get Social Security? Maybe not,” Perry said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
As Perry faces the increased media scrutiny of a presidential campaign, his campaign staffers have tried to reassure voters that the Texas Republican does not want to dismantle the federal social safety net by putting some daylight between the candidate and his anti-Washington screed. Perry’s campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan told the WSJ last week that Fed Up! is “not in any way…a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto.”
Perry, however, seems to feel differently. When asked by a reporter in Des Moines Saturday whether he was backing off of the positions in Fed Up!, Perry replied: “I haven’t backed off anything in my book. So read the book again and get it right.”