Monday, August 29, 2011

Perry, Ponzi and the Kinsleyan Gaffe

You may not agree with liberal pundit Michael Kinsley about much, but he did provide a useful service in defining the oft-used word "gaffe." A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.

I'm not personally convinced that Rick Perry is the politician we need to replace Barack Obama, but Perry is providing a useful service right now, by offering a gaffe about the nature of Social Security:

"It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they're working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie," Perry said. "It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can't do that to them."
This is 100% true. There is no way that the Social Security system, as it stands currently, will provide anything approaching the benefits that current seniors receive to anyone younger than 50. There simply won't be enough people paying into the system to sustain it. This is a simple matter of demographics.

Personally, I expect that I'll get something out of my years of "contributions" to the system, but it will either be:

(a) much later than the age of 62, or 65. If I'm lucky, it will be 70; or
(b) I'll get full benefits paid in dollars that have the valuation of a Turkish lira.

It's quite likely the real answer will be both (a) and (b).

As the Politico article eagerly explains, telling the truth about Social Security could hurt Perry's campaign, especially in places like Florida. That's fine. We need to have the conversation anyway. And if it's truly a gaffe (second meaning -- a mistake) to have the conversation, we're well and truly screwed.

1 comment:

Gramps Toolshed said...

Look, if it weren't so dangerous to our country, I would almost like to see what the Dems would do if we didn't clean up this problem. Once they ran out of money, and people stopped loaning them more, what would they say?? Whoops?!?! Sorry?!?! Shucks?!?!