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BLITZER'S BLOG: Perry proposing major Social Security changes
October 26th, 2011
03:35 PM ET

BLITZER'S BLOG: Perry proposing major Social Security changes

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) – You have to give Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry at least some credit for putting major changes in Social Security on the table. Most politicians don’t even want to touch this subject, especially because older Americans love their Social Security benefits, and older Americans vote in much higher percentages than younger Americans.

Perry is proposing very significant changes. For example, he wants to raise the retirement eligibility age.

“We ought to work to raise the retirement age for younger workers – on a gradual basis – to reflect the longer life span of today’s Americans,” he says. “I will work with Congress to determine the right formula, beginning at the right age. But this is common sense, and it can help save Social Security for future generations.”

He also wants to create an option to privatize Social Security.

“I am not naïve,” he said in South Carolina on Tuesday when he announced his plan. “I know this idea will be attacked.”

As you will recall, former President George W. Bush tried to privatize Social Security. Congress rejected that.

Perry insists “investment in Social Security is so small it is like an interest-bearing savings account. Over the long term, the markets generate a much higher yield.”

He also says people are smart enough to look out for themselves.

“The liberals think the American people cannot be trusted to safeguard even a portion of their own retirement dollars,” he says. “It is time to end the nanny state and empower our people to exercise greater control over their money.”

Perry goes one step further. He says state and local governments should be allowed to “opt out of Social Security and instead allow their employees to pay solely into state and locally run retirement programs. This has been done around the country, with better results. We ought to allow it again.”

Those are all pretty dramatic changes. Let’s see how voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida respond.

RELATED: Details of Perry's tax plan

Post by:
Filed under: 2012 election • Republicans • Rick Perry • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Mark Rizk

    Governor Perry what is your strategy to win the nomination of the Republican Party, and if you do win what is your strategy to win over Independents in the general election to defeat Obama? If you should win the nomination how will you reassure Independents that you should be the next President of the United States of America?

    December 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  2. Thinks2010s

    I can see it now. Tens of millions of people put money into private or state run retirement accounts. Wall Street plays fast and loose with their money. Retirement accounts collapse. The U.S. government ends up bailing them out once again kicking the can down the road while leaving Wall Street in tact. Also, Perry and the Republicans raise the retirement age while dismantling MediCare and Medicaid and while the cost of private healthcare and healthcare insurance continue to rise putting it out of reach of more and more Americans. Life expectancy in the U.S. (land of the so-called "world's best healthcare") drops. Fewer people live to retire or retire to ill to enjoy the fruits of their life's labors. The only ones who really come out ahead are Wall Street and the politicians they purchased.

    October 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  3. gord

    tell congrees to pay back the 2,5 trillion that was stolen

    October 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  4. Marilyn

    Yes, give Rick Perry some credit for wanting to address the concern for Social Security. He has made a few good points, but his ideology isn’t totally correct. From my perspective, rising the retirement age from 65 to 67 isn’t such a bad idea. He wants to privatize Social Security. There are states already bankrupt, so what will this prove in the long scheme of things. No doubt there are “people smart enough to look out for themselves” and some aren’t. This is only half true because not every individual has paid enough into Social Security to earn a significant amount to ensure that their basic needs will be met.

    This is why President Obama has put the American Jobs Acts before our representatives and the American people. His plan will put millions of Americans back to work and for many employed for the very first time. There are individual’s that have never worked a day in their lives because a spouse has provided for them and now their finances are depleted for whatever reasons. This is only one reason an individual might not have enough monetary security for investing into their future well-being.

    Rick Perry stated that “local governments should be allowed to ‘opt out of Social Security’ and instead allow their employees to pay solely into state and locally run retirement programs.’” The same with Health Care Reform, it offers each state to “opt in or out, “so why is it so imperative to repeal Health Care Reform?

    October 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  5. Lance Franklin

    I can see where Govenor Perry is coming from.
    I would be for raising the Social Security age if it keeps the social security program solvent.
    Most people will not like it, but you have to do what is right or the social security trust will soon be broke.
    I do not have to worry about this as I am 65+, but understand why some people would object to the raising of the social security age.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  6. ThinkAgain

    “I am not naïve,” he said in South Carolina on Tuesday when he announced his plan. “I know this idea will be attacked.”

    Yes, because it's an idiotic idea. Privatizing SS will result in giving even more money to the gambling addicts on Wall Street who have demonstrated that they only care about their own short-term gain, and to hell with their investors' money.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • max

      Really? I dont work on wall street and i would love to be able to control my ss investment. i dont see a downside for me at all. even if my investments were limited to government bonds and government insured accounts i would double my rate of return.

      feel free to continue getting ripped off because you arent smart enough to handle it. i can handle it and im tired of being screwed by the government.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  7. DTM4U2

    What about Ron Pauls excellent plan to cut military spending and bring the troops home? He would cut 1 Trillion in his first year and not touch SS or Medicare? By cutting the the military and wasteful departments. Now there is a story. Why not ask that?

    October 27, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  8. TJ

    So many people bashing this idea. Look, the truth is Social Security is not sustainable in it's current format. Something needs to be done, and since he is a potential future leader of this country, you should at least applaud Perry's effort in trying to come up with a solution. Democrats know that a huge chunk of their supporters are the elderly that rely on Social Security, so they will bash any plan that deals with changing the current system – even if it won't affect anyone over the age of 50. The most responsible thing to do is for the elderly who are currently on Social Security to support making changes that won't directly affect them, but will help ensure that their children and grandchildren will be able to receive at least some of the benefits that they currently enjoy.

    October 27, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  9. Greg56

    Perry is running toward the far right for cover. The problem for Perry is that we now have seen him up close and realize he is a total idiot. He and Bachmann have been fallen hard in the GOP primary, showing the Tea Party is fringe politics. Romney has the GOP nomination locked up and will be a solid opponent for Obama.

    October 27, 2011 at 7:19 am |
  10. pappyg

    As a 15 times certified grandparent (now great grand) who receives a social security check every month, me an my peer group have become pawns in financially water boarding our own grandchildren. Senator Tom Coburn in his own words: – Here's you chance to put main street back on its feet, and put politicians back in their place:

    October 27, 2011 at 5:57 am |
  11. MaryM

    Perry sure likes touching that "third rail"..Is he that desperate?

    October 27, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  12. Griff

    "Wanna make a bet?? Obama will be out, and Romney will be in; wether Romney is C-in-C or not. If the Democrats lead with Obama, they've already lost the race!"

    October 26, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  13. Mike in Honolulu

    Rick, Just how many new jobs are you going to create to make it possible for people to retire later? There are a lot of younger folks out there fresh out of college or straight out of high school waiting for jobs that we old timers will not vacate because we are not financially ready to retire or too afraid or not confiident of the current and future economy to retire. Politicians always can talk a good story about the sweeping changes they'll make for us, and almost never fully examine the consequences of their actions. That proposal to require later retirement will require an enormous number of new "person-years" of new work for people to perform. What kind of work will that be Rick? Where will they work Rick? Who will have all of that extra money to pay them Rick? Are you going to print it Rick?

    Do you hear me Rick?

    October 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  14. soandso

    Let's try to remember that the official name for "Social Security" is OASDI (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability INSURANCE). It was never intended to be the greatest investment possible, but rather to set a somewhat modest floor under people who experience financial disaster (yes, that was intended to include living past one's ability to care for one's own financial needs) . If you have known a young family whose "breadwinner" died and that family began to get some kind of government help, that was OASDI money–assuming that breadwinner had paid in. Also people who become disabled (often after fighting the bureaucrats for many years) may also receive OASDI money, based on the fact that he/she had paid in to OASDI.

    Some options rarely mentioned (thanks, Larry, for broaching the topic) include applying the OASDI "tax" to an individual's ENTIRE earned income (meaning the rich would pay on all their income, just as the rest of us do) could increase the money in the OASDI fund. It seems harder to say, but with it being somewhat the "norm" that two-adult households with kids are also two-earner households, maybe the amount of time such a family would receive "Survivors" benefits could be lowered.

    Maybe we could depend on some kind of test of "ability to earn" (not a particular age, or an all-or-nothing measure of disability, or the ability of a surviving spouse to earn financial support for children) as at least a partial measure of how much should be awarded in a particular case. REMEMBER it is called INSURANCE. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.

    October 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  15. Griff

    "Strawberry fields without a transistor, would have sounded like ?? Without a switch!

    October 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  16. Frank Kline

    Perry is dead wrong for all the reasons stated in other comments. Here's my plan on fixing Social Security.

    1. Raise the $106,000 cap. If you work, you pay into the system regardless of how much you make. Millionaires will not feel the deduction, but it will pump billions into the system. Off set the extra deductions by sevely raising the cap on much you can put into your 401K. The millionaires would then be able to off set their deduction by the 401K tax saving.
    2. Make it federal law that the congress cannot touch the money in the system for any reason of than a clear and direct national emergency such as a DECLARED war.
    Raise the retirement age for those that are currently 25 to a maximum of 69 before full benefits.

    This would keep SS solvent for the next 50 years. Simple but true!

    October 26, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  17. aswoc

    to put it simply,this guy should be selling used cars,not running for president. "Slick Rick"

    October 26, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  18. Jim

    Another one...and another one?

    OMG!! Perry is really pulling out all the stops to revive his campaign. He is, however, NOt doing the best thing that would help him. I suggest that he simply pursue a crash course in basic debating strategies. This certainly would elevate his chances of winning. Nothing else will.

    This is simply another step in making his point that he's only looking out for the top 1% of the population. Our seniors really need to pool together and vote against the republicans. This will certainly be a vote against privatization of social security.

    He's already adopted the birther issue in his attempt at reviving his campaign, but this is the last nail in it's casket. When will he realize that this is just stupidity at it's WORST. The sad thing is that Perry is not much wiser than Trump. My gut feeling is that Trump really want Perry to lose the primary and is stoking this fire in a subtle way to get Perry to fan the flames.

    Why doesn't he use Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Cain, Santorum, Bachmann or even Romney? I bet he select the most stupid candidate to manipulate, and that's Perry. Perry is the only one Trump thinks will fall for this stupidity.

    Doesn't Trump have anything more uplifting to talk about? oh! what a stupidity!

    October 26, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • John in Colorado

      We have already had experience in privatizing the pensions that most workers had prior to the mad rush to 401K plans. Most workers had a federally-insured pension plan. Then Reagan and the Republicans changed conditions so that most companies dumped their pension plans and moved all the money into 401Ks. The problem is that all this money was in stocks and things like mutual funds. The Money Managers on Wall Street had a boon with this. They could charge management fees. While the economy was doing well during the Clinton years and companies were matching employee contributions, 401K plans were hard to beat. But look what has happened after "W" and his people started managing the economy. People's nest eggs started cratering. Trillions in worker savings were lost due to gross mismanagement by Wall Street. This was not that long ago. And now the GOP has the temerity to propose that this be done with Social Security Benefits. They've got to be out of their ever lovin' minds. I wouldn't trust a Wall Street Money Manager to tie my shoes. A classroom of elementary school children threw darts at a listing of stocks and did better investing in those than the DOW. Does that tell us anything. It tells me that Money Managers are at best incompetent and at worst, they are thieves and criminals who have not yet met justice.

      October 26, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  19. Bill

    Perrry, like most wealthy Americans has no clue ,how many or for what reasons, large numbers of people only have social security to survive on..Textiles and Manufacturing did away with untold numbers of employees, most with no severence pay, in order for the greedy owners to outsource their jobs to foreign countries and reap enormous profits for themselves, and also depressed the American economy. ..Most salaries in these areas are too low to live onand to be able to save anything. I had as great career and retirement savings until a physical problem forced me to retire on social security disability. It took 3 years to be approcved and it that lenght of time, I had to use my retirement savings to live on...When I did start receiving benefits I had to learn to live on an amount below the poverty line. I was forced to sell my home and move into govt subsidized housing. So as you can see, many people, through no fault of their own, only have social security to live on. Perry go ahead and throw another bag of money to the rich. They sure need and deserve it.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • loraine

      Yes, talk to some near retirees who have had their 401k accounts absconded by Wall Street! Thank God for Social Security and other public service retirement programs that we have paid into for years. Hands off Social Security, Perry!

      October 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  20. Rick in AZ

    Politicians focus on the retirement aspect of SS. If one is able to "opt" out of SS then that means there are no disability or survivors benefits for them. Someone needs to ask these people running for office about how they would address this issue.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  21. Rich

    I think Perry will find more opposition to this idea then people screaming way to go!. Older people are reluctant to change especially once they have what Perry is wanting to change. It is not hard when your younger to agree to such ideas but once your drawing Social Security it is a hard sell no mater how good it sounds.

    Perry would be better off keeping his ideas to himself. He can always ram something through like the democrats did once he gains control of the Whitehouse. All they need to do is get control of the Senate.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  22. Chris

    One consequence of raising the retirement age is that more jobs in total will be required or else unemployment will go up.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • charlesf

      older Americans have a hard enough time now securing jobs, and those on jobs are complaining that companies are trying to get rid of them by cutting hours and phasing them out to avoid giving them full retirement. Even thier children are finding it hard to find full time employment. aATaheir hours are being cut too even now.the gas that they need to get to work sometimes is more expensive than thier salaaries. One family member applied for parttime work at a major retail chain, working only one day aweek.! its crazy out there

      October 26, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
      • Zehra

        As far as I know, if you return to aivcte service, your retirement benefits will be suspended. When you complete your aivcte service, then your retirement benefits will be reinstated and just might increase as a result of your additional service.

        October 11, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  23. Thom Richer

    Another Fat Cat, non-worker with a secure future till his demise fixing blame on and using retirees and potential retirees as a means of gaining political power and protecting the wealthy and Corporate America. Raise the retirement age because we live longer? Who says? Can he or anyone guarantee that? Not likely. This lame and feeble concept will not solve or even improve one iota of America's economic woes. SS is a marvelous and much needed program. Stop the use of its money for other than it was intended and it would not be an issue for would be presidents or congressmen to feed on. Pay monies only to retirees or those disabled workers and not to dependents, non-citizens, Congressional pet projects, etc. The monies paid into the SS program was to be earmarked for retirement benefits for aged workers...demand it be earmarked again. Who in the hell can count on having a job past 65 years of age? Young workers cannot even find permanent work let alone one that pays a living wage. Wake up Perry. That comment is as scary and stupid as the one you made about debating in the presidential debates. You and those like you do really not get it and never will.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    October 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  24. Henry Miller

    "Mr. Perry, the American people absolutely are not wise nor thrifty enough to save for their own retirement."

    That's their problem, not society's.

    People were getting old a long time before the Nanny State came along to protect them from their own irresponsibility and improvidence.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • HenryB

      Hello fellow Henry,

      What gives with these talking points that you Republicans/Libertarians throw out there: Nanny State? Is that the latest buzz words since "job creators" doesn't work anymore?

      I have no problem with Americans making their own investment choices with the understanding that, if they make the wrong choices, and have no retirement, they get nothing from society like food stamps, welfare, and emergency room visits. The problem is that society would never allow this to happen.

      Before I sign on to anything like that I want people who currently draw SS to consider giving it up. Let's all share the pain.

      October 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • charlesf

      A nany state? are you for real? dont you know that thousands of our sons and daughters have lost their lives in wars have come from the very families who you consider 'nanystate' recipients? Yet we spent billions of dollars on a war under Bush that nobody paid for., and Americans are working hardere than ever before for measly salaries that pay those in government. you must be kidding!!!

      October 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  25. Mack Johnson

    So Perry is proposing dramatic changes to SS. What dramatic changes? There are simply no change that Perry is now "proposing" that has not been surfaced by other politicians in the past. SS reform and fixing is a politician created crisis that the GOP has been trying to foster forever through outright lies and deception. Rick Perry is out there calling it a Ponzi scheme and being unconstitutional. SS is a trust fund and would not need fixing if politicians did not raid the fund of $30-50 billion per year for the past many years. SS does not contribute to the deficit!!! What is amazing is how the GOP can continue to mislead a per cent of the American citizenry by suggesting that SS "is broke" and there will be no funds when you are ready to collect your benefits. GOPers would rather you serve the privatization deity so that their Wall Street buddies can legally steal the funds until the next recession/depression appears.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  26. rosestool

    no, i wont give Perry a credit for putting Social Security topic on the table if the only options he gives are raising the retirement age and privatizing.
    we are also so very lucky that Bush's proposal of privatizing SS was rejected by Congress, because it was his very policies that lead to what we now call a "lost decade".
    how do you imagine an average Joe would be able to grow his SS investment when he could not even figure out that floating rate mortgage is bad for him.
    this so called "privatization" will only lead to majority of our seniors to end up in a poor house.
    with all due respect to you Mr. Blitzer I have to say that you too became much detached from reality an average American is facing today if you even suggesting to give Perry a credit for something like this.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  27. Tom

    I am an advisor. The S&P averaged less than a 1% return over the last 10 years. It lost 30% in 2001 & 02 and 36%in 08. Do you really want your social security money in this type of volatile enviroment. Over 70% of the population have never consulted an advisor. Most just leave their money in their 401k's and watch it ride the rollercoaster. From my experience most people do not know how to make wise investments. Just saying

    October 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Maryo

      You may very well be right – but it's not just about being "wise". It's also about being educated and there are no classes in school that educate people about credit and investing. And there are some people who unfortunately don't "pack the gear" to understand. I'm a college graduate and I've tried to learn a lot but the stock market mystifies me. And between being employed full-time and a single mom (a widow, for the bozos out there who want to be judgmental), it's hard to take the time to be a serious investor.

      October 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  28. Henry Miller

    "To suggest that SS is an entitlement makes me crazy."

    To the extent that, on average, people get more out of SS than they put into it, including the employer "contribution" and interest earned, it is and entitlement. Most people don't pay anywhere near enough into SS to cover the benefits they receive.

    "And to think that all American's are responsible enough to put aside money for retirement is nonsense. Most people would simply spend it out of necessity or lifestyle desires."

    That's not my problem. It's not the responsibility of society to protect people from the consequences of their own stupidity.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  29. Craig

    How can he say “The liberals think the American people cannot be trusted to safeguard even a portion of their own retirement dollars?” Most of us have 401(k) accounts, and we make investment decisions to the best of out abilities, but when I get a statement that shows investment losses of $73K in one quarter, it's comforting to know that all my eggs aren't in one basket and I should have a Social Security check to rely on as well.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  30. doug

    Yes, lets raise the retirement age. At the same time, lets find some companies that will hire older workers. If you are 60 today, the chances of getting a well paying job that utilizes your skills are some where between slim and none.

    His other comment is that people will do the right thing and take care of them selves. And our example of that would be the banks?

    October 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  31. pat

    The full retirement age was raised to 68 a number of years ago. What age do you want 100. You can make Social Security solvent for the next 1000 years by changing just one thing. For most people who DEAL in stocks or commodie trading is their INCOME. So why aren't they required to pay FICA tax on that income; as well as those phony stock options that corporate bigshots are paid in? When they cash them in, that makes them a capitol gain, which is not subject to Social Security Tax, therefore both the corporations and the big shots don't pay FICA TAX. AND THAT ALONE CHEATS SOCIAL SECURITY OF 13% {BOTH COMPANY SHARE AND INDIVUALS SHARE} of their TRUE income. But wait, we're taking about Rick Perry's plan, of coure we would't want to implament some thing that would cost him and his buddies [ READ FINANCERS] money and would keep Social Security and Medicare solvent for many years!

    October 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  32. Nathan

    Privatization of social security; hopefully it doesn't look like my 401k right now. I also wonder why these candidates even bother talking about SS privatization; they should just say they want to stop the taxing it and remove the SSA as the middle man if they are serious. I'm personally not for privatization; however, if your going to allow people to do what they want with that money stop trying to sell it to the masses by keeping the SSA intact just stop taxing and eliminate that office.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  33. Samuel

    I have no problem with changing SS. Because, young people who have not paid into SS have a misunderstanding of who it is suppose to work ! I have been paying into SS 35 years. And now we want to change it because it will not be around for younger Americans. Hint: They have to get a job first and then pay into it. Also, the government borrowed the money ! And call it broke.

    I agree increase the age. But, there need to be a "grandfather" clause for those how have been paying into it. Or we will die before we reach the age to rcvd SS. And the people behind us who have not paid into SS for the lenght of time that we have live to collect.

    You are supose to pay into it and be covered. Not be unemployed and then get money ! Also, people are getting diability from the gov. This is another problem !!

    October 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  34. GaryB

    Actually, we already have a couple of privatized retirement programs in America. They're called 401Ks and IRAs. A guy like Perry who married well and has been a government employee all his life probably doesn't know about these things, but they're out there. Social Security basically just provides the bare minimum for most people, providing a safety net should thier private retirement plans go south (as happened to so many people during the Wall Street crash of Bush's second term). Take away that safety net, and there would be a lot of retired folks today who would stnading in soup kitchen lines.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  35. James

    Mr Perry believes that privatization of Social Security will benefit everyone. Just like those who invest in 401k's or 402B's and the like, the account is subject to the stock market's fluctuations. In this down economy, many have lost hard earned money in those accounts. What Mr Perry should be offering is some other means to invest both Social Security dollars as well as other retirement dollas. Tax law, investment law, and investment policy severely limit where and how someone can use that money. Most people have little choice but to continue to feed the giant corporations our money. If money is worth its most today, why must be keep giving it to corporations and waiting for a lesser return in the future when that cash is worth less? Change the system. Also, why not modify campaign finance so that less money is needlessly wasted. And finally, why not reduce the pay and benefits of Congress. Force Congress to pay for health care like the rest of the US. Let their constituents decide if they warrant a pay raise. End Congressional benefits when they leave office, instead of granting benefits for life. That alone would save millions.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  36. linda

    We seniors love our social security because we have had huge chunks of our paychecks paying into the system for decades. To suggest that SS is an entitlement makes me crazy. And to think that all American's are responsible enough to put aside money for retirement is nonsense. Most people would simply spend it out of necessity or lifestyle desires. I also have a problem with increasing the retirement age. It may be fine for someone who takes the train to work and sits behind a desk all day. But my husband was a commercial carpenter. To think that he could still be doing that kind of work at age 70 is not reasonable.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • HenryB

      Yup, agree completely.

      October 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  37. Ed Churchill

    "Perry insists “investment in Social Security is so small it is like an interest-bearing savings account. Over the long-term, the markets generate a much higher yield.”"

    One look at the recession and market instabilities today, and you can see how naive, dumb and ignorant this idea is. I wonder how much the Rich would BENEFIT? other than the fund manager?

    October 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  38. Sam Barber

    Perry wrote "I know this idea will be attacked," and he is right...for good reason. Most Americans know almost nothing about how to choose stock market options and how to wisely oversee these types of investments. But Governor Goodhair knows this pressuring Social Security into a Wall-Street investment plan, Americans would then gamble their savings on wall-street. Remember 2007-2008, everyone? That will happen again someday. How would Governor Goodhair insure Social Security Solvency while allowing individuals, cities...even STATES to "opt out"? He can't, because it would be impossible. Perry knows that Americans are notorious for not looking below the surface of any political claim, and he is hoping that this tactic will work again. I am hoping that the American people have gotten a bit smarter since 2000.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  39. Lisa

    The most common sense – and I really do not understand why there is an issue with it – is to raise the retirement age. We are living longer so why not raise it to 70? If 50 is the new 30, 70 (or even 75) ought to be the new 60. Both sides should be able to agree on this and it ought to be happening now.

    As to privatization, it all sounds so good .... until the market drops. Now those approaching retirement are kinda, well, screwed. See those affected when their 401ks took a hit as a result of the 2007-2008 meltdown. Is the Fed going to insure those investments? And if so, we're right back to Social Security.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  40. Tom CA

    "As you will recall, former President George W. Bush tried to privatize Social Security. Congress rejected that."

    Its a good thing too. Look what happend to the stock market in the last 4 months of the bush presidency. If SS had be privatised at the time more than half of the nations elderly would be homeless right now.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  41. worktolive

    Mr. Perry, the American people absolutely are not wise nor thrifty enough to save for their own retirement. I do agree with raising the retirement age but not to the point that most people will die before receiving one penny of the money they paid into the system. If the federal government would just end SSI and keep it's cotton picking hands OUT of Social Security it would probably have been in alot better shape than it is now, don't you think?

    October 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Bill

      It sounds like accordng to you, people who need SSI aren't worthy enough to get a helping hand.....So you can rationalize, in some warped way, denying Americans enough money so they can eat. I truly hope that you are not a citizen of the United states who has the right to vote.

      October 26, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  42. Bill

    Raising the age for social security, might sound like a good idea unless you are over sixty five. Old people are worst than lepers when it comes on getting a job. Try and prove you are not being discriminated. The other option, privatising social security was George Bush idea. That plan would have been a bonanza for Wall Street and a disaster for contributors. Just ask the people on 401 plan. Don't have an answer to the problem, but these two options are not the ones.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  43. Jose

    Yes, the markets yield much higher gains than what SS is getting from simple interest; however, do we really want to expose all that money to the risks associated with world markets? The U.S. and Eurozone have been on the verge of default. I believe the retirement age should be raised for Social Security Benefits to kick in. Better management is the key here. Yes, the American People should be more empowered, but not everybody can manage their finances on their own.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  44. Bill

    sounds like a good idea to me. I'm 60, and I wouldn't mind seeing the age moved to 67 or 68 for full benefits

    October 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  45. JJC

    Could you imagine would would have happened had Bush been able to privatize social security? When the markets tanked so would peoples social security. For people trying to retire the stock market crushed their IRA's. At least their social security was not in the same market. Republicans seem to want to get a hold of social security so their banking buddies can make a killing off of screwing the usual.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  46. james

    Rick perry was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, so he has no need for social security. It's easy for him to hack away at the only safety net people have to retire on. If Americans allow politicans like him to destroy the only financial help they will ever get, then they deserve what they get.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  47. Jim

    Sure, that's why 50% of those over 50 have $25K or less in retirement savings and think they will be living fine once they retire. I'm sorry but there is a significant number of people that simply can't handle their own retirement. For that matter there are a lot of people out there that can't balance a checkbook. Argue all you want but the number of overdrafts out there proves the point extremely well.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  48. JR

    How much of Perry's millions are managed by himself and how much by a professional manager and is that because Perry "cannot be trusted to safeguard even a portion of their own retirement dollars,"

    October 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  49. ART

    I was once all for privatizing social security but then I saw the other side of the market you know when I lost 80% of my IRA and theres no way in hell i'd go for that, unless there was some fund which could limit losses

    October 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  50. common sense

    “The liberals think the American people cannot be trusted to safeguard even a portion of their own retirement dollars,” he says. “It is time to end the nanny state and empower our people to exercise greater control over their money.”

    Yes they can and do through their 401K. HOWEVER, I would like him to post just how well he has done! I am willing to bet he is a big loser other than what he has been paid off. Whoops, I forgot hw works for the state and is getting a better pension than the rest of us.

    If people believe this is going to help them, they are into another major fleecing.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  51. SFDR

    The unfortunate fact is that people do not know how to manage their money so I do not agree with Perry at all. It's the very reason Social Security was created. Given the chance most people would find themselves in financial ruin- and then turn to the Government for help. At the very least Social Security (which we all pay into) lessens the future possibility of burden-particularly for those who have a hard time saving.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  52. BD70

    Neither are new ideas. The upping retirement age for the younger generations is not all the bad. Privatizing social security? I am sure Wall Street would love to get their hands on that money......SS would be gone by the year 2020. Bad idea....great program..guaranteed money each month to take and squander. No thanks.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  53. Huh?

    "opt out of Social Security and instead allow their employees to pay solely into state and locally run retirement programs. This has been done around the country, with better results. We ought to allow it again.”

    A strangely reasonable idea. It works in Canada, Norway, Chile... why not here.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  54. Kimo

    He's pandering.The idea that the average American can invest their money wisely (and have money to invest) is laughable. Then, of course, there is always the possibility that Wall Street will concoct some insane financial instrument that will crash and cause all of our investments to plummet. Oh yeah, they already did that and millions of Americans lost their retirement funds.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  55. Jay

    Private S.S. accounts is a great idea. I have made money in the market throughout the economic troubles – why? Because I have never been greedy with my investments and guess what I research the options. I don't expect to get rich overnight in the market and I don't buy and sell the flavor of the week. Have I lost money in the market – hell yeah but overall I have made money. I agree I don't need Congress or the President being my nanny when it comes to MY money. I don't like Rick Perry and I hope he doesn't get elected but on this issue the man is 100% Correct.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  56. Mark

    Measures such as raising the retirement age are possible – but pushing for privatization is a typical old pander to the myth that all things private are good. I've worked in the private sector all my life – trying to argue the private sector does all things better is ridiculous. I would never vote for Perry but I will give him due credit for touching one of the sacred third rails of American politics – I'm just as curious if he gets zapped by it.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  57. LetsBeCivil

    I think Perry is wrong. I don't think most Americans know enough (or care enough to know) about the stock market to get through retirement without running out of money. Personally I'm happy this is basically being done for me so I don't screw it up. Do I think it needs to be fixed and/or managed better? Yes. Do I want to do that? No.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  58. Dickford

    Same tired old methods to "fix" Social Security...for the same tired old "reasons". Don't fix what ain't broke! Yes, the 'nanny state' IS vitally necessary for all too many people: History proves that. Our abysmal individual savings record proves that. If Social Security requires more funding, simply raise the withholding rates...NOT the retirement age. We've done it before. Nothing prevents ANY individual from saving/investing for their own addition to SS. But, most do not. Raise the retirement age? Great reward for living longer: Work longer! I'm (NOT) impressed...

    October 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  59. Frank

    People of the United States of America,Wolf B. and President Obama,
    It never ceases to amaze the that all the Politian's in Washington and the one's trying to get into Washington want Major Changes to Social Security.They probably will never need to rely on S.S. because 1st the marjority are Millionairs that will not need S.S. and 2nd they will all receive fantastic government pensions.How about this simple plan;why not hold all the tax money that comes in for S.S. be used only for S.S. benifits and not used for other BS government programs like sendind condoms to Africa to prevent AIDS.Americans need to understand that S.S. is really a ponzi scheme because the U.S.Government takes the S.S. tax money and uses it on other Government programs.Just like the U.S. Postal Service has 5 Billion Dollars a year taken by the government S.S. falls victims to Congressional Spending Vampires.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  60. tony

    Hey... I'm all for changes to Social Security... like the Feds paying Social Security back all the money that was taken from it for other uses. It seems politicians are either ignorant or have a very bad case of short term memory loss. When Unions do this its called 'stealing retirement funds' and punishable by law. When the Feds do it its called 'borrowing.' My understanding of borrowing is ... you've got to pay it back. Of course many politicians don't understand this because if they want something they just buy it. The rest of us have to borrow and pay back... with interest. Boy... are we stupid or what??

    October 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  61. excitizen

    "He also wants to create an option to privatize Social Security." Privatize SS so that it becomes a for-profit entity and see how that works for you. I can see it now – fees for this and fees for that – charges for this and that – conditions to meet, etc. Private enterprises exist for one reason and one reason only – to make a profit. That's fine if you're talking about a business, but where are the profits (fees and charges) going to come from with privatized SS? Yep, you got it – your pocket! NOW, LETS SEE YOUR JOBS INITIATIVES GOP!

    October 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  62. MCP

    Sounds like a good plan to me. I am 64 and and have been working for 38 years at the same job and cannot afford to retire because the government has given Social Security to illegals and others who won't work. Wish I had control of my money when I first started working and maybe big government wouldn't have taken some of it for themselves. It was never intended to be used for anything except Social Security benefits and for people who put into it all these years.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • v_mag

      MCP, this doesn't make any sense at all. You have to have a valid social security number to get social security, and an illegal alien can't get a valid SS number, so they can't collect. (They may have a bogus SS number, in which case they're paying in but will never receive a dime back.) Also, you have to pay into SS to get SS, so people who don't work can't get SS. Even if they did, why would that prevent you from retiring? You get an amount of SS that depends on when you retire and how much you paid in. It has nothing to do with what anybody else gets or doesn't get.

      Quit laying the blame on somebody else who has nothing to do with it. The blame for SS problems goes on the politicians who stole from the fund.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  63. James klimaski

    Privatizing Social Security will not put more money in the pot, but rather it will put these funds at risk. Ask the people who have seen the 401K sink lower over the horizon. Privatization is nothing more than attempt by the Wall Street bankers to get hold of that Trust Fund and skim off their transaction fees and prop up their risky investments. The only people in favor of privatization are the bankers, their shills in Congress, fools and crooks. Some people fit under all those categories.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  64. NeoCon

    Are you kidding me? Using the state-run retirement finds as the model for the future? Unlike SS, which is fully funded (at least as of now), state retirement funds are chronically underfunded (it is easier to balance a budget by not putting the promised money into the retirement system. Here in Virginia, our GOP Gov even claimed he had a 'surplus', but not mentioning that he had failed to fork over the $$ to state retirement system.)

    SS has a long-term funding issue that can be easily corrected. The Tea-Baggers want to turn that into a near-term crisis by stopping the flow of $$ into the system.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  65. Maryo

    So many governments – state, local, and federal – have already pushed their employees INTO Social Security because they don't want to have to deal with providing a pension plan. Many of those who haven't are under crippling pension plans they are trying to get rid of as quickly as they can. I worked at Social Security for many years and you would be surprised at how many middle class people have nothing but Social Security after having taken care of their children AND their parents!! If it isn't mandatory, it won't work.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  66. Chandra

    During my full time job years I tried to save for retirement over a period of 20 years. As soon as I had a couple of thousands a major expense or emergency occured in the family and I was forced to get money out of it. When I retired, whatever I had saved was good for 22 months!

    October 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  67. Farrok ............

    I will not vote for anyone who tries to destroy Social Security by privatization so their Well Street friend's can have a party it's money or any other manipulation that takes the system away from the People of America in any fashion or form...........

    Don't give the workers' money to the Top 1% to play and gamble with, do you really believe you can play dice with the devil and win and come away with more than you started with? This man who run for Office is a shill for the 1% of Americans that want it all and you in economic bondage, a modern slave!

    October 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  68. v_mag

    The "nanny state", Rick? What country do you live in? "Nanny state" implies that the citizens are cared for by the government, which is far from the case in America. You are certainly not referring to Texas, which has the most people with no health insurance and provides so little in the way of social services.

    The only thing I can imagine that you might be referring to is the fact that the government falls all over itself giving welfare to the rich and corporations. They are the true recipients of governmental care and concern.

    You want to raise the retirement age for working folks, but have you thought about those "people" known as corporations who live forever and enjoy the benefits of government largesse throughout eternity? Let's look at cutting benefits for the rich and corporations who have, for far too long, suckled at the government teat, leaving nothing for those who work.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  69. Ken

    Privatizing SS only puts more money into the stock market. The criminals who run/game that system will use it to further eliminate the middle class of this country. Perry in just another sounding piece for the plutocracy that has infected this country. Just like the 401K Ponzi Scheme that has been thrust on Americans (you know, the one where corporations eliminated retirement funding in favor of the employee putting his/her own money into the stock market for the criminals to mismanage/steal), so goes the same with privatizing SS. BTW......a linear curve can be attributed to the rise in CEO salaries in comparison to the 401K Ponzi Scheme that is now a generally accepted part of working for corporate America.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  70. Glenn in Vt.


    My problem with privatization is this. I am not a sophisticated investor and a certain level of trust is required between the individual and the investment managers. Without serious protections for the average American, what guarantee do we have that the investment bankers will not cook up the next version of credit default swaps and bankrupt the funds that we have been banking on for retirement.

    Or is this another arrangement where we give them money, they profit, we lose and the taxpayer (us) bails out the funds we were supposed to have for retirement. Oh by the way, when the next crash occurs, we will be bailing out retirement funds at fire sale prices.

    In the long run although it is small consolation, we can vote out untrustworthy members of congress and we can voice our will at the ballot box, but we can't recover money squandered by crooked bankers and no one in Congress has the will to speak for us.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  71. CZBEAR

    As one who gets Social Security, I can only suggest to Perry and the rest of his cronies to try surviving on what we get. We put in all our working years non-voluntarily and then the politicians think they know best. Of course they have cushy retirements so they don't have to worry. They make me and millions of others sick.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  72. Trey

    If you privatize a portion you cannot tell me when i can/cannot take it. If I take the risks in the Stock Market and make a significant amount (enough to retire on) don't tell me when I can/can't take it. Also, don't confiscate it for the greater good, I had better be able to leave it to my kids. I take the risk, I reap the reward. If I lose the money, then I am out. Eitherway, it is my money not some money grubbing politicians to distribute as he sees fit.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  73. chill

    The fact is Rick that many people are not smart enough to look out for their own retirement. And many investors get burned when they think they have done the smart thing. SS is meant as a backstop that is safe and secure. Raising the age may be a necessary thing to do, or at least one of the options. And most people who have the means can in fact set up their own private IRAs and such where they can direct their money for retirement. But if it all goes belly up, they at elast have Social Security to fall back on. Or maybe you'd rather see armies of elderly living in cardbaord boxes eating cat food, eh?

    October 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  74. Little Tin God

    Privatize Social Security? Does anyone remember what happened in 2008 when the market lost 50% of it's value? Does anyone remember that most people had their 401K retirements nearly wiped out? I know lots of people that would have retired, but after the market crash had to keep working. Why do Republicans think that privatization of everything is such a damn good idea?

    October 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  75. Larry L

    I'm from Texas and wouldn't trust this state to manage my pension funds. I wonder how the very poorest states, like Mississippi or West Virginia, would fare when the only income they had for retirement accounts came from the poor people in the state?

    Why doesn't anybody recommend removing the income cap (about $106,000/year) on deductions for Social Security contributions? If the wealthy had to pay in to Social Security for all of the money they actually earn wouldn't that fix the shortfall?

    What about trusting the financial markets and the banking system with these accounts? If our money had been in the market in 2008 how would that have worked out? Republicans would dearly love to hand over the money invested in Socfial Security to the same people who brought us the housing crisis. Republicans are the lap-dogs for the fat cats in the banking and investment industry and will trash the Social Security system if given the opportunity.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Darla E.

      I totally agree. Especially when Rick Perry would like to deregulate big business. Look what happened to all those people who had money in 401k and other retirement investments in 2008. I could probably count on my own judgement but trust anyone else – no way!

      October 27, 2011 at 11:13 am |

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