This past Monday Dick Morris argued on Sean Hannity’s radio program that Rick Perry made a mistake when he called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Morris believes Perry must “walk back” the statement or it will damage him in a general election.
No doubt Obama and his fawning media cronies will try to portray any conservative Republican opponent as anti-Social Security. It’s a classic in the Left’s playbook, long in tooth, hoary, and false, but facing moral and ideologically bankruptcy, lies and smears are all the Left has…left.
Dirt can work, and when you’ve got Paul Krugman and his ilk, you’ve got the bigtime dirtbags it takes to shovel big dirt.
Yet…yet I’m not so sure Morris is right, not in the 2012 campaign. Hannity expressed this opinion, as have others. I also strongly suspect this may be the election where the old lies fail and the old dirt doesn’t stick, and in the election’s aftermath Social Security’s problems will finally be addressed.
American voters are increasingly sophisticated and knowledgeable. The old lefty rhetorical prestidigitation and chicken in every pot routines don’t work as well as they once did. The internet exposes the schtick 24/7. Fox News and conservative talk radio have done their bit as well, which is why the Left despises them. The Left’s dirt, lies and fearmongering about Social Security are countered with facts.
Okay–knowledgeable Americans know Social Security isn’t a pure Ponzi scheme (as Dick Morris noted, Ponzi couldn’t mint money), but it is definitely not fiscally sound. For decades payroll taxes have not gone into dedicated retirement funds. Instead, the political class has perpetrated a swindle of sorts and used those taxes as general revenue. Now economic decline and demographics have combined to expose the Beltway game. The base of the pyramid which supplies the income stream is shrinking and the upper tier, as Baby Boomers approach retirement, is expanding. We’ve fewer workers to fund the program, thanks to economic mismanagement and an aging population. To argue otherwise is dishonest. It’s the numbers, stupid. Ponzi scheme? Swindle? Fraud? All are species of calculated dishonesty, with filching someone else’s wealth the end result.
The deeper issue is maintaining societal security. Social Security reform is a component of tax reform and government restructuring, with the goals of energizing entrepreneurs, encouraging business expansion and jobs growth, and creating wealth. Strengthening America’s economy is the only way to insure Social Security’s continued existence, the only honest way. As the poverty rate increases, as chronic nine percent unemployment becomes Obama’s statistical norm, I suspect the public is ready to hear that message, and vote for fiscally responsible representatives who will implement reform.