Social Security

Rick Perry's Underwhelming Radicalism



Does Texas Governor and GOP presidential contender Rick Perry want to dismantle the federal entitlement system? The Daily Beast's Andrew Romano reports on the governor's vision for a scaled back, state-driven entitlement system:

Perry believes, for example, that the national Social Security system, which he calls a "failure" that "we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now," should be scrapped and that each state should be allowed to create, or not create, its own pension system. "I would suggest a legitimate conversation about let[ting] the states keep their money and implement the programs," he says.

Perry also includes Medicare in his list of programs "the states could substantially better operate," suggesting that each governor should be "given the freedom from the federal government to come up with his own innovative ways [of] working with his legislature to deliver his own health-care innovations to his citizens."

And Perry thinks TARP was a total mistake—along with all subsequent efforts to backstop or stimulate the economy. Instead, he prefers an entirely laissez-faire approach to job-destroying financial crises. "I think you allow the market to work its way through it," he says. "I don't understand why the TARP bill exists. Let the processes find their way."

No Social Security. No federal health-care program for seniors. And no Beltway involvement—at all—during a crash or recession. 

So that's what Rick Perry reportedly says. But would he follow through on this vision if given the chance? It's obviously not possible to know in advance what choices he'd make if elected president. But Perry has come out in favor of fundamental changes in entitlements before, as governor. And in that case, his talk was far tougher than his walk.

Last year, as states came to grips with the Medicaid expansion required under the health care overhaul, Perry was one of the most vocal proponents of a radical response: pulling states out of Medicaid entirely. He talked up the notion for a long time, saying that opting out was a "good idea" and all but overtly threatening to stop Texas's participation in the system.

But in the end, he didn't make any real effort to remove his state from the program. Instead, he agreed to cuts in the state's Medicaid provider reimbursements and signed a budget that left $4.8 billion in expected Medicaid expenses unfunded. That's not what the program's defenders would've liked—but it's not exactly the more radical move he implicitly threatened either. 

How long will it take for Perry to back down from his previous comments about Social Security and Medicare? No need to guess. It's already starting to happen: As of today, Perry is carefully shaving the rough edges off his criticism of Social Security. 

NEXT: Grace-Marie Turner On Why Obamacare is Wrong for America

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  1. I’d be OK with marginal reform of entitlements — even Ron Paul wouldn’t be able to cut them wholesale (and if he did, his successor, President Bipartisan, would just restore them the next day).

    If Perry managed to reform entitlements and not get us into any wars, I’d consider him a successful President.

  2. So if I live in Wisconsin and begin to participate in a state run pension system, what happens when I move to Georgia. And the Washington state? And the North Dakota?

    Seems unworkably cumbersome.

    1. Two “the”s should be “then”s. Can you find them?

      1. Correcting uneditable comments….

        Pip’s Puzzle is a worthless asshole.

    2. Yeah I wouldn’t give it too much thought. It’s never going to happen.

      1. No Congress will ever allow the Soc Sec ponzi scheme to get scrapped. It too effective as a political hammer. How would they scare old people to vote for them if there are no benefits to cut.

        1. The Scourge Of Saggy Pants.

          1. The Scourge Of Saggy Pants.

            Everyone knows pants should start at the ribcage! Damn punks.

            1. That is mostly diet and exercise related. Older guys who eat too many carbs and dont work out tend to lose their butts and develop pot bellies. So they end up relying on their stomachs to hold up their pants, rather than relying on their butts. So the waistline moves up about 5 or 6 inches.

              1. Almost up to the armpits

          2. Lookin like a fool with your pants on the ground

        2. “Your social security check’s late! Stuff cost more than it used to! Young people use curse words!”

          1. You forgot all those damn squirrels in the yard!

            1. “I’ve got to find a way to escape the horrible ravages of youth. Suddenly I’m going to the bathroom like clockwork every three hours. And those jerks at Social Security stopped sending me checks. Now I have to pay them!”

              1. Well, I think this can all be worked out. However, you may have to metaphorically make a deal with the devil. And by “devil”, I mean Robot Devil. And by “metaphorically”, I mean get your coat.

              2. Face it, Farnsworth, you’re over the hill. It’s time to leave science to the 120-year-olds.

        3. Agreed. Ive said many times before it’s impossible to unravel a Ponzi scheme painlessly–someone is always left holding the bag, e.g. paying for current beneficiaries but they will not get any money out of the scheme themselves. More than any other reason, that is why SS/Medicare will never be eliminated. Just won’t happen. Either the program will collapse or they will stop pretending that it is a pre planned retirement program and recognize it for what it is–a welfare program–and that translates to means testing, raising the retirement age, etc

        4. We ignore politics most of the time.

    3. I agree, it’s unworkable. Not that he’s serious about it anyway. He reminds me of Romney and Obama–all empty suits.

      1. oh, Obama has SOMETHING in his suit!

    4. Yup, because the three 401k accounts and one IRA I have right now are unworkably cumbersome. It’s just too goshdarned difficult for my feeble brain.

      I mean, a simple method to cash it out and roll over into your next work place doesn’t exist and Congress surely can’t make that little detail happen.

  3. I watched Thursdays debate yesterday. Even though Santorum is an insufferable prick I would probaby take any of them over Obama. Same with Perry, Palin or Christie.

    1. Obviously Johnson would be in that list but I don’t think he’s getting invited to the party. Not enough room in the tent.

    2. I would probaby take any of them over Obama. Same with Perry, Palin or Christie.

      I want Obama to lose simply because the taste of left wing tears is so very sweet…

      but aside from that I do not know if Obama surrounded by a republican house and senate is any worse then republican Oval office house and senate, and if 2001 to 2006 is any indication it might be better if Obama stays there.

    3. Exactly! If for no other reason, to have a chance at rescinding Obamacare and to get our yearly deficits back down to ~$400B

  4. As of today, Perry is carefully shaving the rough edges off his criticism of Social Security.

    Well, duh. He wants to be elected.

  5. Sounds like it’s time for someone to release their book Myth of the Maverick II: Electric Boogaloo.

    1. “Out From Under Bush” by Rick Perry

      1. You know who else inherited an economy from George Bush?

        1. Bill Clinton?

        2. Jeb Bush’s trust fund manager?

  6. From the Daily Beast comments (just one sample from a sumptuous array of stupid):

    Do you really want state government controlling your pension? Thank-you, but I’ll take my chances with the feds.

    OH. I forgot that controlling your own retirement savings isn’t an option. Carry on, then.

    1. I used to comment at TDB all the time. Since Newsweek took over it’s gotten worse. Much worse. I don’t even bother anymore. Nothing but Team Red/Blue flag waving. If I want to be that depressed, I’ll go blow all of my money on crack, or something.

  7. Rick Perry’s Underwhelming

    Full stop.

  8. Rick Perry is the very model of a modern major so-con kleptocrat. If he’s ever done or said anything that wasn’t out of the So-Con Bible or the Manual for Corpocrats, I am not aware of it.

    1. What about shooting that coyote? Was that from the SoCon Bible? I know it wasn’t from the Corpocrat Manual.

      1. Guns ‘n’ hunting are in the apocrypha to the So-Con Bible. The Book of Bitter Clinging, I believe.

    2. At this point, I’m left with feeling that the best we can hope for is a strong Tea Party contingent in the House coupled with a wishy-washy Romney-bot in the Oval Office.

      1. Yep. It’d be far from perfect, but much better than, say, 2009.

        1. Oh ye of little faith.

          Do not underestimate Ron Paul and the Tea Party effect. A huge % of Americans are disenfranchised by the whole Team Red/Team Blue thing, and RP will become more appealing the more he is labelled “fringe” by the media. Especially when his views on the Fed, shrinking government and his (mostly) tolerant social views are made.

          Trust me, more people are gonna be voting by their wallet and will be more willing to take a flyer on a non-traditional anti-statist candidate, whether they’re a lefty or a righty.

          1. As someone who caucused for Ron Paul in 2008 and will again in 2012, Ron is not going to be the Republican candidate next year.

            But yes a powerful Tea Party movement can certainly influence the make-up and behavior of the house.

            So the best scenario I far as I can tell is:

            1) Obama is not president
            2) The Democrats narrowly hold the Senate
            3) A vibrant Tea Party movement pushes the House toward wholesale spending cuts
            4) The So-Con coalition is pushed into the background by economic concerns

            Hence, a weak Romney-bot with a vigorous Tea Party movement in the House. A couple more Rand Pauls in the Senate would be nice, but I don’t want to ask for too many Christmas gifts.

            1. I don’t think #2 can happen. I’ll be surprised if Nelson holds his seat in FL, and who, exactly is going to bring out the TEAM BLUE voters in other purple states? I don’t want TEAM RED to have full control of all 3 houses, but I doubt it can be avoided b/t Reid and Obama being two of the worst major league politicians to ever get off a back bench.

              1. The worst possible outcome right now would be Bachmann or Perry with the republicans taking both the house and the senate — So-Con heaven on earth.

                1. Bachmann would actually balance the budget….

                  So she is marginally better then Perry.

                  In all honesty aside from Johnson and Paul she is the best candidate on the shrinking the size of the government…at least economically.

                2. The worst possible outcome right now would be Bachmann or Perry with the republicans taking both the house and the senate — So-Con heaven on earth.

                  I do not care about a SoCon President, just as long as Tea Party types run the House.

            2. 2) The Democrats narrowly hold the Senate


              Not going to happen anywhere close to the nearest neighboring 1000 trillion alternative universes.

            3. Yeah, I think it you can get some more libertarian leaning non-war machine folks in congress you start having a better shot at a decent presidential contender. But that is not 2012.

  9. Radicalism? I first misread it as racism. Sigh.

  10. Someone please tell me that’s not his real hair. I would be less disturbed by seeing a wig that looked like that, than if someone actually had real hair like that.

    1. Don’t mock Perry’s hair. The hair will ensure you suffer consequences for doing so.

    2. Are you implying he visited the Blago school of beauty?

    3. It’s real, and it’s spectacular.

    4. Are you kidding? He feeds it strippers and raw meat to keep it that virile. Its been known to taunt opponents. Romney’s hair pales in comparison.

      1. You call that nice hair?

  11. Is this now going to be a daily post in Hit and Run? Make predictions that a politician probably won’t be able to live up to his rhetoric?

    1. Yes, except for anybody covered under the “Ron Paul Exemption.”

  12. Perry was Texas state chairman for Gore’s presidential campaign in 1988.

  13. I guess I’d vote for any of these people over dipshit. But I would like to see Ron Paul given a term to see if what he says he stands for is workable. I know it will not happen. As a result, I think we’re in for rough times ahead any way it shakes down.

    1. Ron Paul couldn’t even get a mention in today’s lead editorial in the wsj. They freaking mention Jon Huntsman, 69 straw poll votes, but fail to say a word about Paul, 4671 votes.

      1. Freedom is not newsworthy.

        1. I was mistaken. The editorial does mention Paul, in a sentence saying he has no chance to win the nomination.

          1. It’s so persistent, I am really beginning to think conspiracy versus incompentence.

            1. Paul doesn’t give a shit about giving them access. The one thing they hate is the idea of being closed out.

      2. They freaking mention Jon Huntsman, 69 straw poll votes, but fail to say a word about Paul, 4671 votes.

        I am thinking a super secret organization is keeping Paul out for the news with the specific purpose of getting his supporters riled up.

        Tell me i am wrong.

        1. You’re wrong.

          There’s nothing secret about it!

          It could be worse. How do you think poor… um… what’s his name? Um, Gary something feels.

  14. …the First Amendment, wonderful as it is, isn’t the key text here. Rather, it is Article Six?not some later amendment, but the original text of the Constitution itself. It states: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” No, ever, any.

    Well, this is pretty emphatic language, too: “Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”

    I’m pretty sure I can find examples of laws abridging the freedom of all of those.

  15. should be scrapped and that each state should be allowed to create, or not create, its own pension system.

    That seems pretty friggen radical to me…

  16. But in the end, he didn’t make any real effort to remove his state from the program.

    I like how a Texas’s weak governorship is used against Perry when it can but when it can be shown as a valid excuse is entirely ignored.

  17. A little math will tell you that a retired couple with $385,000 in savings is well off but not rich, especially if you’re like me and must largely depend on savings for retirement. If that number includes the value of your house, forget about retiring.

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