Better than perfect

Republican presidential candidates with former first lady Nancy Reagan before the debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif. From left: Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Nancy Reagan, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Chris Carlson / AP Photo

For the moment I’m still undecided in the presidential race. But, I have to admit that I’m enjoying Rick Perry’s participation in the 2012 presidential election. He might say things we don’t expect candidates to say but I’m tired of what Washington staffers and political strategists think is the perfect politician that never makes a wave and rarely gets anything done. With Rick Perry’s emergence as the current front runner in the national polls and several early primary states, Republicans are going to be forced to discuss solutions for Medicare and Social Security. Ever since Paul Ryan’s plan failed to pass the Senate, it has been an under-promoted issue with few Elected officials articulating the case for the changes that are needed to solve the problems quickly approaching Social Security and Medicare.

Now I will admit I wasn’t overly thrilled by Republican attempts to push Ryan’s plan with the fixes to medicare. It wasn’t that I disagreed with him; it had more to do with the fact that I didn’t believe Republicans would adequately explain their position and it would quickly become a liability. Why vote on a bill with the potential to become so controversial if you don’t intend to sell that plan to the American people?

(Since the Paul Ryan budget vote, how many forums or town halls have we had in SD that focus on Medicare and its future? Five? Ten? Twenty? To my knowledge only one, and that was held by John Thune. Few elected officials want to adequately address the questions constituents have about entitlements in a public setting.)

Well Rick Perry (with help from Ron Paul) is going to have that conversation whether anyone else likes it or not. And we should welcome it.

In the video below you can watch Chris Mathew’s and his guests on Hardball essentially agree with Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. It’s just not something they feel anyone should say if they want to get elected president. Maybe that strong desire to change the status quo is partly why I like the conversation?

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Chris Matthews of MSNBC made these statements on his television show Hardball.

?You pay for it while you work. When you retire and have no other form of income, this will help you out. In fact, a lot were impoverished in the old days without Social Security. It?s a great anti-poverty program. But then people started to live past 65. Even the great Franklin Roosevelt didn?t make it to 65. In those days, if you made it to 65, you were lucky. You got a few bucks on Social Security.?
?Today, lots of people fortunately make it past 65,? he said. ?They live into  their 80s and 90s. They?re still getting checks. The system doesn?t work that  way anymore. It?s not as healthy as it once was. So, how does a Republican deal  with the fact it is a Ponzi scheme in the sense that the money  that?s paid out every day is coming from people who have paid in that day. It?s  not being made somewhere.?

If Rick Perry is to win the nomination, he will need to be able to clearly articulate his position on Social Security. I think being blunt is a good thing, especially when it’s backed up with facts.

My guess is several DC politicians who thought Perry was looking like a good candidate have suddenly backed off and decided that it would be best not to endorse a candidate.

I would like to believe that Social Security and Medicare can be fixed by politicians in Washington coming together and getting this mess figured out, but by the way Paul Ryan was villainized for his budget and Medicare Plan that seems unlikely.

Whatever Rick Perry’s strengths and flaws as a Governor and presidential candidate, the conversation his candidacy will generate is better for the future of America than if he chose to avoid controversy and simply let our problems continue to drift so that he has a chance to get elected.

Right now I think the conversation Perry wants to have with our country makes him a better candidate.

(I mean he could be like Obama and not tell us what he wants to do until he gets to the white house)

What I want in a candidate and a president is not a perfect person but one who is honest with himself and the American people and strong enough to discuss the serious issues facing our nation. Authenticity will always trump perceived perfection.


?It?s actually an outrage that he would call it a Ponzi scheme,? said Nancy Altman, the co-chair of  the Strengthen Social Security Campaign. ?Our elected officials should be reassuring the American people that the money they pay in is a part of a trust, and that the government is going to protect that.?

How is telling voters everything will be alright good for anyone when it is not true?

National Review Online had this for us to think about.

As for whether it?s a Ponzi scheme, well, when the program was adopted, there were 17 workers for every retiree, and the average life expectancy was 58 for men and 62 for women. By 2035, there will be an estimated 2.1 workers for every retiree, and life expectancy ? even if it remains at 2011 levels (male 75, female 80) ? will still be about 18 years longer. What Perry said was the simple truth: There will be no funds for 25-year-olds to draw upon when they reach retirement age.

6 Replies to “Better than perfect”

  1. William

    Typical politicians consider telling the truth, to be a mistake. It’s about time we have an honest discussion on Social Security (and Medicare & Medicaid).

  2. Just Call Me Joe

    OK, since your last string was something about civility, I’ll resist saying something like, the Gipper’s gone, but we still have the Crypt Keeper…. Dang – it just slipped out – really….


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