You’ve probably read by now Mitt Romney adviser Stuart Stevens’ gleeful email to Ben Smith – and might I add that there is something unseemly about an ostensible Republican using Politico for what is essentially an internal debate? – crowing over Governor Rick Perry’s rather sensible observation that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme:
He has lost. No federal candidate has ever won on the Perry program to kill Social Security. Never has. never will.
A few things: first off, note that what Perry said is not what Romney had his minion accuse Perry of saying. Just to get that out of the way. Second – and much more importantly – federal candidates can in fact say in public that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and still win elections. Just ask Senator Ron Johnson (R, WI):
For those without access to video, it’s Senator Johnson’s reply to then-Senator Russ Feingold’s – remember him? – ‘accusation’ that Johnson thought Social Security was a Ponzi scheme. Johnson forthrightly responded by calmly stating that he had said it, that he meant it, and that Social Security was a Ponzi scheme. Ron Johnson went on to win his Wisconsin Senate race, leaving Russ Feingold to muse on the unique perils of accusing somebody of believing in something that the accused doesn’t actually mind having made more widely known. Which is something that Romney should contemplate, himself.
Recommendations, going forward: primarily, that Mitt Romney needs his staff to do better research, frankly. It would have been the work of five minutes to discover that a Republican Senator (surely that counts as a ‘federal candidate’) successfully campaigned on the eminently sensible point that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme; that they did not reflects a certain weakness in the Romney campaign’s infrastructure. In fact… if Mitt Romney feels the need for an independent consultant to help with improving his research staff, he is more than welcome to get in touch with me via the RedState contact form.
Mind you, this offer is not being offered pro bono: I assume that if Romney can afford to keep Stuart Stevens on his payroll then Romney must have money to burn.
PS: I am ostensibly going to be at retirement age in 2035. I do not expect Social Security to last that long. That means that I am not expecting to see a dime back from all the money that I’ve put into the system thus far. Until circumstances convince me that I’m wrong in those expectations, I am perfectly comfortable in calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Because from my point of view – and from the point of view of a lot of people my age and younger – it frankly is.