Rick Perry’s limited, modified honesty

Perry’s op-ed on Social Security, boldly headed “I am going to be honest with the American people,” calls boldly for “a conversation” on Social Security without actually being bold or honest enough to contribute anything to that conversation but some predictable talking points.

Perry’s op-ed on Social Security, boldly headed “I am going to be honest with the American people,” calls boldly for “a conversation” on Social Security without actually being bold or honest enough to contribute anything to that conversation but some predictable talking points.

Gov. Perry never says whether he thinks that Social Security is Constitutional. In his book Fed Up – which is campaign is desperately trying to shove down the Memory Hole – he writes that the program was established “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government.” If that’s right, then why is Perry talking about fixing it rather than getting rid of it? Doesn’t his oath (as Governor) to uphold the Constitution mean anything to him?

Mr. Perry also never says what he’d actually do “so today’s beneficiaries and tomorrow’s retirees really can count on Social Security for the long haul. Note that there are precisely two options: increase revenues or cut payouts. Which is it, Governor?

Footnotes

1. Actually, of course, there are three options: we could also increase the rate of economic growth so that paying benefits to future retirees will put less of a strain on future fiscal balances. But that’s something the people trying to scare younger workers with “Ponzi scheme” talk would prefer not to mention.

2. Not clear whether Perry’s ghost-writers are lying or just unclear on the concept, but the idea that if the program isn’t shored up it will only be able to pay out 76% of currently planned benefits in 2037 is not in any way equivalent to the idea that “investors” in Social Security have lost “24% of their money.”