Newsmax.com reports: “Republican voters are split on whether Rick Perry’s hardline views on Social Security make him a better choice for president or a worse one. One-in-five say they are more likely to vote for the Texas governor because of his opinion that the Social Security system is no better than a Ponzi scheme, USA Today reports. But the same number say they would be less likely to mark their ballot for him, according to a Gallup Poll sponsored by the paper. The one thing the GOP voters are united on is that by a majority of more than two-to-one, they believe his position on Social Security would hurt him in a general election.”
I suppose this means that most Americans believe that Social Security (and Medicare) will keep spewing out freebies forever. Yet poll after poll shows that most Americans believe no such thing. So what gives?
It’s called faith. Faith is the proposition that just because something isn’t rationally true, or rationally possible, there’s no reason not to believe in it anyway. That’s the case with Social Security and Medicare. With these programs, which Americans still claim only require “fixing,” hope springs eternal. Perry’s comments about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme step on those beliefs.
Note that this poll is talking about Republican voters. Independent and Democratic voters won’t even consider a candidate who dares suggest that Social Security or Medicare are in any fundamental way fiscally unsound or unsustainable. But even most Republicans have a hard time accepting what Rick Perry is saying. Of course, they should relax. Rick Perry, being a career politician, probably doesn’t believe it when he says Social Security is unsustainable. Or, if he’s a rare career politician who actually does believe it, he’s going to stop admitting it from here on out. The more serious a candidate for President he becomes, the less he’ll be able and willing to acknowledge what he knows to be the truth.
By now, nearly everyone knows that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable. These programs are the main reason that the budget deficit and national debt are growing faster than even sophisticated computers can record. This isn’t going to change, even if we ever get that elusive economic recovery. These programs are not Ponzi schemes so much as attempts to redistribute wealth by making the masses dependent on them. Using coercion to make people dependent on you? That’s worse than a Ponzi scheme. It’s the stuff of Tony Soprano and the Mafia.
Obama is presiding over the worst economy since the Great Depression. The economy has worsened under his watch, and it has worsened as a direct result of his policies of massive government spending. This would seem to set the table for a candidate whose ideology is the opposite of Obama’s socialism, or at least that of a garden-variety conservative such as Rick Perry. Yet as it stands, Rick Perry probably cannot win against Obama. Why? Because, despite his forthcoming protests to the contrary, he dared to question the very rationality of America’s sacred cow welfare state. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will not let any of us forget it, either.
The rational answer to Social Security and Medicare is neither to obliterate them overnight, nor to keep them going. The government forced the majority of the population to both be invested in and dependent on these welfare state programs. It’s only fair and reasonable that those currently dependent be given back what they were forced to pay into it. None of this changes the fact that these programs were unjust in the first place. If you doubt this, then consider the billions of dollars going to people who paid far less (or even nothing) into these programs than they will receive in benefits.
Again, more Americans than not understand at least some of this. But most of them don’t want to hear it. This psychological process is called evasion. Evasion can be summed up by the statement, “Don’t tell me. I’d rather not know.” That’s where most Americans stand on Social Security and Medicare, the two programs that dominate the federal budget and are essentially destroying our government and our currency.
Not wanting to know what’s plainly in front of you is not healthy. It’s not rational, and it’s not practical. In the months ahead, Rick Perry will probably back away from his honest statements about the dishonest nature of Social Security, gleefully egged on by an evasive media establishment, not to mention Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But he’s not doing himself or the rest of us any favors. The facts remain facts either way. Social Security and Medicare, programs which cost trillions of dollars, are going to disappear in the zero-growth economy that Obama is fostering. Even if Rick Perry becomes President and manages to enable some economic growth, Medicare and Social Security cannot possibly keep up with the demand and entitlement eligibility yet to come. Anyone who even glances at the numbers knows this.
The issue over Social Security isn’t one of knowledge. It’s an issue of wanting to know — or preferring not to know.
Faith cannot alter facts. Wishes will not make anything so. The reason America is in the fiscal, moral and economic mess that ails us is because of the welfare state. The welfare state means, most of all, the sacred cows of Social Security and Medicare. Until Americans accept that a free market is the only alternative to these programs, nothing is going to change.
I, for one, would love it if Rick Perry came out and stood by his views. We need a President who tells Americans, “Grow up. Let go of your delusions. These programs are going away, whether I say so or not. Start planning for a future without them now.”
Unfortunately, conservative candidates like Rick Perry advocate faith above reason. They spend their time telling Americans to pray and go to church, first and foremost. But why should Americans turn to religion? Most Americans have succumbed to the religion of government. They believe in government delivering the impossible, even though government can’t even deliver most of the possible. One way or another, most Americans still hope that some politician will rescue them from the fiscal and moral contradictions of the welfare state.
This is why so many Americans are angry, at both liberals and conservatives. It’s the rage of a child who cannot get what he wants, merely because he wants it. Growing up is hard, indeed.