Romney’s spin over his epic flip flop fail on Social Security tonight ought to be priceless

Posted by: ST on September 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Andrew C. McCarthy pegs it:

Mitt Romney’s demagoguing of Rick Perry for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme is just mind-boggling. Let’s put aside for a moment Stanley’s invaluable column on the home-page today, demonstrating that, for nearly half a century, reputable commentators across the ideological spectrum have referred to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme due to the undeniable fact that its structure is — and has always been — unsustainable. The fact is that, just last year, Romney himself compared social security to a fraudulent criminal enterprise.

As John McCormack recounts at TWS:

[I]n his book “No Apology: The Case For American Greatness”, which was published just last year, Romney compared those managing Social Security to criminals, saying:??

“Let’s look at what would happen if someone in the private sector did a similar thing. Suppose two grandparents created a trust fund, appointed a bank as trustee, and instructed the bank to invest the proceeds of the trust fund so as to provide for their grandchildren’s education. Suppose further that the bank used the proceeds for its own purposes, so that when the grandchildren turned eighteen, there was no money for them to go to college. What would happen to the bankers responsible for misusing the money? They would go to jail. But what has happened to the people responsible for the looming bankruptcy of Social Security? They keep returning to Congress every two years.” [Emphasis in McCormack’s post.] 

Social Security is a Ponzi scheme — only worse, because Ponzi schemes are voluntary and Social Security is compulsory. Moreover, the Washington politicians who have promoted and maintained Social Security well knowing that it is a swindle — and well knowing that there is no “trust fund” because they have raided it — are the same Washington politicians who have prescribed federal sentencing guidelines that (a) impose life sentences on swindlers like Bernie Madoff for comparatively modest frauds, and (b) enhance the jail term of every fraud convict if his conduct — e.g., the raiding of a trust fund by a trustee — has violated a fiduciary duty he owed to his victims.


Until five minutes ago, Romney used this system would be deemed criminal if someone in the private sector tried to pull it off. Now, he calls Perry “reckless” for saying it is criminal. I hope someone asks him what changed his mind.

Tonight’s CNN “Tea Party Republican debate” – which starts at 8 ET – would be a great place to for that question to be asked, especially because Romney, sadly, is not the only GOP hopeful flip-flopping and demagoguing Perry’s Social Security stance right now (I’m talking to you, Congresswoman Michele  Bachmann).  Over to you,  Governor Perry. 

Perry, BTW, has a good piece explaining his “Ponzi scheme” position on Social Security here.   Hot Air’s Tina Korbe has an excellent analysis of the “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme” dust-up here.

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10 Responses to “Romney’s spin over his epic flip flop fail on Social Security tonight ought to be priceless”


  1. Rich says:

    The candidates need to clarify that Social Security is broken and that it needs to be fixed and roughly how. Without clarification, all the candidates have done is hand Pres. Obama a huge talking point about SS being a ponzi scheme and they “WILL” imply, or just say, that Republicans will end it (which isn’t true) and make Grandma eat dog food. Calling SS a ponzi scheme is stupid without clarifying that it needs to be fixed without just ending it. Ponzi is getting all of the press.

  2. Dennis D says:

    Ponzi schemes always leave someone holding the bag. With Social Security we know the US Govt will somehow make good on the promises made to those who paid into it. So its not a Ponzi Scheme.

  3. Paul says:

    Rick Perry did not do well in last nights debate…

  4. bill glass says:

    Socsecurity is the worst kind of scheme because you have no choice…it’s been a total ripoff from day one and that’s a fact.

  5. omapian says:

    Every politician should know that the media can, and will, deliberately mangle metaphors to manipulate public opinion. The social security debate makes this point well.
    The forceful taking of one person’s income is not stealing, which should be a crime, but is simply a tax when taken by government. Giving a benefit to someone to influence their conduct would be the crime of bribery, but not when government gives money taken from taxpayers’ to other people to influence their vote.
    Social Security is not a crime because there is no legal prohibition against agents of government taking from those who are working and giving to those who are not. Since it is not a crime, Social Security is not a Ponzi Scheme. The media attempts to shift the debate to the meaning of the words ‘is.a.Ponzi.Schem.’ The facts – whether government can continue to ‘collect’ taxes at the same rate and still provide similar payments to future generations – deserve critical analysis. But the media is content with putting that off for another day.

  6. Greg says:

    Social Security IS structured like a ponzi scheme. Older ‘investors’ receive money from newer ‘investors’. As long as new investors are continually added, older investors continue to get paid. The problem with SS is back in the ’30’s when it was implemented they never anticipated the baby boom after WWII. Now, there are more baby boomers retiring than young people entering the workforce to fund the SS ‘trust fund’. Add to that the dismal economy and high unemployment rates and that exacerbates the problem. Consider also the over 50 million abortions since the 1970’s and you wipe out a whole generation of young people who would have helped pick up the tab.
    During the debt debate a couple of months ago our Blessed Leader Obama the Great let the cat out of the bag: Unless we continue to borrow more money we can’t guarantee SS checks will go out. In other words, there aren’t enough young people IN AMERICA to fund it, we have to rely on the young people IN CHINA to fund it.
    There’s a lot of talk now, especially between Republican presidential candidates, regarding an option for young people to get out of SS in favor of personal retirement accounts. This would have been a viable option 15 years ago when we were still running a surplus. The window has closed on that. It’s too late. You can’t remove potentially millions of ‘investors’ when you’re already borrowing money to make up the shortfall.
    The only option to ‘save’ social security is to get America working again. There aren’t enough rich people you can tax enough to raise the needed revenue.
    Every Senator and House Representative who fought Social Security Reform for the past 20 years needs to be ousted.

  7. Carlos says:

    Not only the ones who fought reform, Greg, but the ones who stood silently by or the ones who gave a small, squeaky voice to reform (like GW) but gave up after the first sign of opposition.

    So, in effect, nearly every politician who has been elected in the last twenty years is guilty. Matter of fact, I would be hard-pressed to name one who either didn’t fight reform or who didn’t just stand by and watch the demagogues destroy the system by refusing to acknowledge its inherent structural faults.

    I’m no math whiz, but even a dumb country boy like me can tell when 4 plus 4 doesn’t add up to fifty trillion.

  8. Lorica says:

    One of my biggest problems with Romney is that he flip flops like a John Kerry out of water. It must be something about people who spend alot of time in MA. Anyway, Mitt has flip flopped on so much over his last couple of runs, that I wonder if I am watching a movie sequal about John McCain’s 2008 run.

    I hope that Mitt does not get the nomination, I am getting tired of holding my nose to vote.

    With that being said, I am not a big fan of Gov. Perry. There is just something about him that is bothersome to me. He just seems to slick, of course so does Romney. – Lorica

  9. Carlos says:

    Actually, Lorica, Mitt and Rick are really identical twin brothers that look different, separated at birth, with Rick being sent to the south and Mitt to the east.

    They are both darlings of the RNC (Mitt more than Rick, but he’s had more time to endear himself to the deaf tin ear country-clubbers), and each has their own special agendas that fly in the face of both conservative “ideology” and Republican base philosophy.

    And they are both bigger government advocates, which is not only anti-freedom but straight-up socialist.

    I, like you, would vote for either against Obhammud, but probably with a gas mask on because of the stench.