Why does Texas governor Rick Perry think social security is a Ponzi scheme? Is Rick Perry a genius? First, let’s take a quick look at what a Ponzi scheme is all about. A Ponzi scheme, (named after Charles Ponzi who bilked investors out of millions of dollars in the 1920’s), is a fraudulent investment scheme. In general, most of the monies in a Ponzi scheme at some point become redistributed dollars from the investors themselves, (there may actually be some basis behind the investments but the payoffs are usually not as advertised). More recently the largest known Ponzi criminal, Bernie Madoff, conned many well heeled investors by offering very consistent returns on large investments. The rub was that Bernie’s investments were not producing the returns he was advertising, so he needed to get new investors and their bank accounts involved to pay the returns he was using as a selling point. After a rather long period of time, Bernie’s scheme ran into the problem all Ponzi investments fall prey to, and that is reality and lack of enough new investment.
Rick Perry thinks that what Bernie Madoff did and what social security does are somehow similar? Bernie Madoff made off with tons of cash and enriched himself at the expense of thousands of people who lost huge sums of money. Madoff hurt charities, other helpful organizations and even Kevin Bacon. Social security by most accounts has reduced the poverty level for the elderly by 40% and is paid for by the very people who eventually benefit from the program. Yes, the program will run out of money around 2035 if no changes are made to the system, but changes will be made and the nature of the program will evolve. Social security will continue to alleviate a life of starkness for people like us in our late life if we have been unable to save enough during our working years. Ponzi tried to steal people’s money for himself while social security tries to help the elderly forever.
I apologize for not being the genius that Rick Perry must be to somehow divine that a Ponzi scheme and social security are one in the same. If we elect him, we will probably have to deal with this brand of genius in dealing with social security and I suspect many more important aspects of American life.