The foolish, Social Security, Tea Party, Ponzi-Scheme myth

The evidence says Governor Rick Perry of Texas started this myth in 2011, and an old friend I have known for almost sixty years swallowed what Perry said and thinks that Social Security [SS] is a Ponzi Scheme.

And nothing short of God appearing, who then tells him he’s wrong, is going to change that old friend’s opinion, because he heard it from his favorite guru, Dennis Prager, a conservative radio talk show host, and—the proof—in 2011, soon after Perry said it during a televised debate, Prager referred to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme.  – Maverick Philosopher

I think this old friend of mine is one of the fools that Abraham Lincoln talks about in his famous quote: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Knowing that this old fool will probably never change his mind—unless God intervenes—I want to appeal to anyone who doesn’t have a mind like a concrete wall and  who is willing to listen to the evidence that SS is not a Ponzi Scheme.

Hear Governor Rick Perry make his claim, and hear Governor Romney disagree.

First, I turned to  “Social Security isn’t a savings plan or an investment scheme; it’s an Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program intended to ensure that Americans are guaranteed a minimum monthly payment in their non-working years. As with all insurance programs, some people will eventually receive less than they paid in, and others will receive more.”

Next, I found this at Forbes: No, Governor Perry, Social Security Is Not ‘A Ponzi Scheme’

Forbes Magazine explained why Perry was wrong—“It is underfunded and badly needs to be modernized but even if Washington does nothing, young people will receive three-quarters of their promised benefits.”

Forbes continues, “Perry is, of course, pandering to the hard core conservatives for whom the Ponzi scheme line is akin to theological text. … There is no evidence that it is true, but it sounds so good it would be a shame to stop saying it.”

And, why is SS in trouble? The Gateway Pundit explains, “For most of its 75-year history, the program had paid its own way through a dedicated stream of payroll taxes, even generating huge surpluses for the past two decades. But in 2010, under the strain of a recession that caused tax revenue to plummet, the cost of benefits outstripped tax collections for the first time since the early 1980s.”

In addition, if we want to fix SS, MPR News says, “If lawmakers are serious about getting federal spending under control … relatively small tax increases and benefit reductions for future recipients could shore up Social Security for the foreseeable future.”

If you run into another fool like my old friend, you now know how the myth started and the facts that prove the myth wrong. But don’t expect a fool to change his mind regardless of the evidence.

By the way, SS was in trouble in the early 1980s, and guess who fixed it back then? President Reagan. It seems that nothing works perfect forever and little fixes are occasionally necessary just like a car will eventually need a tune up.


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

IBPA Frankfurt International Bookfair

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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18 responses to “The foolish, Social Security, Tea Party, Ponzi-Scheme myth”

  1. I understand. And until a law was passed that made the Social Security fund part of general funds and our government went and SPENT the money, it was FINE. This stuff totally pisses me off.

    1. From what I’ve read, if elected Tea Party representatives in Congress would stop saying NO to everything, a simple fix would make a course correction for SS.

      1. Yup. It wouldn’t take much. I understand we get the government we deserve, but I didn’t vote for those morons.

      2. The majority gets the government they deserve. The rest of us, who don’t vote with the majority, are victims. However, in the case of G. W. Bush vs. Al Gore, even the majority was a victim, because Bush lost the majority vote but won through the Electoral College.

      3. I know. I try not to think about it. It depresses me.

      4. For me, it is hopeful thinking that one day we’ll get a decent president and a Congressional majority to support that president.

      5. If Clinton had kept his fly zipped, we would have had one. And I had great hopes for Obama … but he seems to have fallen off the rails and has never had congressional support. I hope, but I no longer expect anything

      6. True about Clinton. He should have known better. His presidency wasn’t during the era of FDR or JFK—two presidents who cheated on their wives often but the media ignored what they did. I’ve read that even George Washington had a lover.

        James Garfield (Republican): As a Congressman, Garfield was involved in at least two sexual affairs that his wife, Lucretia, either found out about on her own, or that Garfield admitted at some point.

        Woodrow Wilson (Democrat): Because of the professorial way that Woodrow Wilson carried himself and the priestly manner in which he seemed to speak to others, many are surprised to find out that Wilson was a very sentimental man who found himself involved in a passionate love affair with a woman in Bermuda during his first marriage.

        Warren G. Harding (Republican) made Bill Clinton look like Jimmy Carter. Harding had several affairs, including one with, Carrie Phillips, the wife of one of his best friends.

        FDR had several extramarital affairs, but the affair which nearly ruined his career took place when he was President Wilson’s Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

        I don’t have time to list all of the affairs JFK had.

        On more than one occasion, LBJ told his presidential aides, “I’ve had more women by accident than Kennedy had on purpose.”

        Clinton is like JFK. No time to go into detail, because Clinton had so many women.

        However, I blame the Clinton scandals on the far right. They ignored his ability to lead and focused on his cheating sex life. Imagine what would have happened during World War II if that had happened to FDR. Maybe the far right would have caused the U.S. to lose the war by taking FDR’s mind off of his job. I’ve read that in Europe, especially France, the people looked at the Clinton sex scandals with horror wondering what was wrong with throe Americans who kept fanning the flames. It seems the French are more pragmatic and don’t judge a leaders ability to lead from his or her sex life.

        Clinton’s real mistake was when he lied under oath about his affair with the intern and then played word games. I’m sure that the far right new his personality profile well enough to predict what he would do. After all, all politicians like—some more than others.

        As for Obama, he rode into the White House on a wave of politically correctness with little in the way of a voting record to reveal his political thinking. I think the voters thought because he was black, he would be an honest president and usher in a new era of politics. How wrong we were. Few suspected he was a neo-liberal out of the University of Chicago with a hidden agenda to turn over public sectors of the country to corporations so they could turn a profit off the taxpayer.

      7. I agree with all of that. But Clinton — I met him a couple of times — was a smart, media-savvy guy. He had to know he was going to get nailed. I thought he owed it to US, the folks who voted for him, to keep it zipped and do his job. I was very disappointed in his lack of common sense. This ISN’T the old days and presidents/pols can’t get away with that shit anymore.

        As for Obama, Garry and I were both worried he didn’t have sufficient experience or personal clout to get the job done. I have my own theory about him. I don’t think it was a hidden agenda. I think he had to make a LOT of deals with a LOT of people to get anything passed — because we were right. He DIDN’T have experience or influence, so he had to sell himself to get anything done … and now those chickens are coming home to roost.

        These young guys don’t know what they are getting themselves into. They haven’t fought in the trenches and they don’t get it, the whole political process, the deals, the trades, the connections. So they start out with great intentions, but they can’t follow through.

      8. If the TV series House of Cards is anywhere close to what goes on, for sure, Obama was not ready.

      9. I am sure he wasn’t ready. Not that anyone is ready for the job … no matter what you think, it’s apparently a lot worse. But he was so green … so ridiculously full of plans that had no chance of success. He did better than I expected, considering his inexperience and the opposition, but now that he’s a lame duck, he’s just folded his hand and let the machine take over. And all that flapping are the chickens winging their way home to the roost.

      10. And it doesn’t help that we have a Congress that has just enough members who were elected by tea party people who refuse to compromise on anything. I think the tea party would like to drag the country into the dark ages to punish everyone else for not joining them.

      11. Sigh. Every country seems to have a faction like this. It reminds me of Spencer Tracy’s (Clarence Darrow’s) speech in “Inherit the Wind.” It has always been this way.

      12. Yes, and these lunatics are better organized because of the internet. They are finding the other lunatics they would have never met before and supporting each other in their extremism.

      13. Garry seems to think it’s lucky they have the Internet as a place to blow off steam or they’d probably be blowing up buildings. All those years as a reporter have given him a high degree of practical cynicism.

      14. I’m not sure if the internet is a place for them to blow off steam. If we look at cyber bullies, trolls, they have formed tribes scattered all over the country and/or world who gather together as a band to attack helpless victims on the internet. Last year, I fought a flame war with one/or two of these tribes and when I managed to get hold of IP addresses and ping them, they were all over the world but worked together to attack me as the spread lies and posted false reviews of books they never read.

        Without the Internet these psychopaths would mostly work alone in their local area of influence close to where they live, and most of them are cowards so they probably become closet psychopaths afraid to torment everyone around them for fear that everyone else will then turn on them.

        But on the Internet, they are anonymous.

        I think the same thing works for tea party people. They band together by finding each other on tea party internet forums and support each other.

      15. Both may be true, you know? There are a lot of people on places like Facebook who use it as a place to rant. To literally blow off steam. I even know some of them. It gives them a safety valve where they can spew their poisonous nonsense.

        Then there are the more lethal morons, like the ones who attacked you … or for that matter, have attacked me twice, in different venues. I have no idea why they do it, either. Why you or I? I don’t get it.

        All I did was (a) review a book and (b) post some pictures on a photo forum. Not exactly incendiary. I often think this kind of attack is random … they pick someone and see how much trouble they can cause. They think it’s fun. Maybe without the Internet they wouldn’t be attacking you — or me — but I bet they’d be attacking someone, somewhere, probably from the shadows or back. Or torturing animals.

        You don’t have to be brave to attack a helpless victim, even in person.

      16. Both may be true—I think that is the best answer, because I use the internet to blow off steam too.

        Without the Internet, they would get into management where they can torment their subordinates.

        Internet trolls have actually been studied and written about on psychology sites. I’ve read several very good posts about mental illness on reputable sites and a few papers that are available online through universities. I haven’t read one paper that is flattering to these dysfunctional individuals that get their kicks from tormenting other people.

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