Sunday, August 28, 2011

We Voters Reap What We Sow

There's an article in the Houston Chronicle on Rick Perry and his position on Social Security.

"It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. 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," Perry said. "It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can't do that to them."

What's difficult to discern here is whether Rick Perry or the people he was addressing understand how the Social Security program works or what a Ponzi scheme actually is and how there's no similarity between the two. Rare is the politician who will mention that raising the ceiling that the payroll tax applies to would easily solve the solvency problem with Social Security.

About 10 days ago, Rick Perry had this to say about evolution.

"It’s a theory that’s out there,” Perry told the child. “It’s got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both creationism and evolution."

First of all, despite all the efforts to do otherwise, Texas does not teach creationism. Secondly, Rick Perry either doesn't understand evolution--it's not something to believe "in" as you would a faith system by the way--or does and won't say so. If he doesn't think evolution is a fact then sadly he's not alone in that regard.

Richard Dawkins does good job of explaining why the theory of evolution is so threatening to some people. Within his explanation he makes what I think is an important point about the Republican party.

Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.

Ouch. I think Dawkins is incorrect about one point. Just like all the other candidates, Perry does meet the qualifications for the job. He's a natural born citizen and he's over age 35. Nothing in the Constitution says you have to be educated, open minded, or possess any other quality one would find desirable in the leader of the greatest country in the world.

The problem is not entirely with the candidates.


Tobias said...

Let me start out by saying I think Perry is just another politician telling people what they want to hear.

I do take issue with the idea that social security is not a ponzi scheme. With rosey growth projections, changing the way the CPI is calculated, increasing the retirement age and eliminating the cutoff for high wage earners I might get a check when I retire in 2040 (or 2050). I'm not holding my breath. I don't think either of our children will receive any old age money.

Tobias said...

On social security ponzinomics.–-all’s-well

And this–-“if-youre-under-47-bend-over”

Granted we are mostly stupid enough to get exactly what we deserve, but I think the limit to how far we can kick the can down the is much less than we think.

Hank Greer said...


You'll notice that the CBO report is based on current law and doesn't take into account the possibility of raising the ceiling the payroll tax applies to. In the second link, the proposed changes also do not include raising the ceiling.

I updated my post to include a link I forgot on the subject.

Hank Greer said...

Oops. Never mind. The link is there after all.