Darling of the Tea Party, Texas governor Rick Perry, says the states should decide whether to opt out of Social Security.
From the CNN ParkerSpitzer Show:
Texas Governor Rick Perry says the idea of letting states opt out of Social Security is worthy of discussion.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
Rick Perry: Let’s talk about it, but let’s not put it over there and say, “we can’t talk about that—that’s the third rail of politics”. I don’t believe that that’s wise and thoughtful.
Eliot Spitzer: You’ll forgive me if I’m going to push you a little on this. You’ve been the governor of the great state of Texas for a decade now
RP: Ten years
ES: A decade now, you’ve run social welfare programs, saying, “let’s make it part of the discussion” is fine, but begs for the follow up: are you for it. You’ve studied this question. You have a book here complaining about government obligations.
RP: I’m for having, I’m for pushing…
ES: Yes or no, do you want to raise the retirement age?
RP: I’m on with two very bright, capable commentators having this discussion with the American people. I don’t put in that book “Fed Up” that I have all the answers, but I think we ought to have this conversation…
ES: But you’ve got to have an answer. I don’t expect anybody to have all the answers, but you’ve got to have an answer. So, having a conversation isn’t an answer. Having a conversation is a political punt. What is the answer? What is the answer? Will you raise the retirement age or not?
Kathleen Parker: I have no control over him.
RP: Well, I’m not going to be the President of the United States, but I’m going to be engaged in…
ES: No, but you’ve been the governor for ten years and you’ve written a book harshly criticizing…
RP: Well, last time I checked…
ES: Harshly critical of federal policies…
RP: Here’s what I think would be a very wise thing. In 1981, Matagorda, Brazoria, and Galveston Counties all opted out of the Social Security program for their employees. Today, their program is very, very well-funded and there is no question about whether it’s going to be funded in the out years. It’s there. That’s an option out there.
ES: So, you want to let people opt out?
RP: I think, let the states decide if that’s what’s best for their cities.
ES: So the states will let people opt out of Social Security.
RP: They should, I think it’s a discussion…
ES: I haven’t seen anybody propose that before because that’s going to be…
RP: Well, we just laid that on the table so let’s talk about it.
ES: OK, so that’s your plan?
RP: That’s not my plan, Eliot.
ES: But, governor, I’m trying to get you, look, you’ve written a book…
RP: I know, you’re trying to get me in a corner and I don’t corner very good. What I’m trying to do is have a discussion with the people of this country on an issue…
KP: I think that’s a brand-new idea. Nobody has said that before.
ES: That’s because it doesn’t work.
RP: That nobody, nobody is willing to talk about.
ES: No, no, here is the problem I have, the Tea Party, and we’ve had everybody from Dick Armey to Richard Viguerie, folks who have been leading this movement, dodging and dancing, unable to give a single answer about what they actually support. Having a conversation is to push it someplace else.
ES: I want to know if there’s an answer. Will you: raise the retirement age? Are you saying you want private accounts? You can say it, we’ll disagree, but at least it’s an answer.
ES: OK. So.
RP: I think all of those are legitimate options out there, but let the states decide. Don’t force us from Washington, DC to say, “here is the size of tube socks that you’re gonna wear down in Texas. Put ‘em on.”
Tea party politicians are all the same; they want to rip government apart, but haven’t the faintest idea what to put in its place. These people are solely career politicians with no compassion for, or understanding of, ordinary people. Many of them are politically illiterate.
I particularly liked the quote of Perry’s: “you’re trying to get me in a corner and I don’t corner very good.”
Is he, perhaps, comparing himself to a clapped-out ’57 Edsel?
 “Perry: Let states decide Social Security” CNN, November 4th 2010
Filed under: Gubernatorial garbage