Even after an op-ed in USA Today and a strong exposition of his position in last night’s debate, Rick Perry still draws heat for his characterization of Social Security as a “monstrous lie.” A new CNN/ORC poll, for example, reveals that 72 percent of registered voters say Perry’s description of the program is “inaccurate,” while just 27 percent say it is “truthful.” More of the breakdown from WSJ’s Washington Wire:
The survey also shows that 59 percent of tea party supporters disagree with Mr. Perry’s characterization.
Still, 55 percent of those polled say there’s a serious problem with Social Security that will require major changes.
The R/D/I breakdown and methodology weren’t provided and the poll has a margin of error of three percentage points. A poll conducted by TheStreet.com shows a little more than 76 percent disagree that SS is a Ponzi scheme, while about 24 percent say it is. That poll is skewed by the perspective of the website which draws a certain left-leaning readers, but does on some level corroborate the results of the CNN poll. Still, as the Washington Wire points out, much of the kerfuffle about Social Security has as much to do with the language Perry chooses to use than his actual views on the program.
It’s worth noting that his rivals’ attacks on Mr. Perry are just as much about his word choice as his suggestion in his 2010 book “Fed Up” that Social Security violates the U.S. Constitution.
The Texas governor has said there should be a national conversation about Social Security, and that he wouldn’t alter benefits for those currently receiving the benefit or those who are nearing retirement.
If it’s a national conversation Rick Perry wanted, it’s a national conversation he’s getting. The extensive talk of entitlement reform at last night’s debate was long overdue — but, as positive as that development is, it still doesn’t go far enough. Wolf Blitzer managed to make every candidate say what he or she would do to reform the Medicare prescription drug program — but, by and large, candidates still shy away from discussing Medicare reform. And, unfortunately, that program breaks the bank, as well. Just as cutting waste, fraud and abuse won’t balance the budget, so reforming Social Security alone won’t, either. As Herman Cain said last night, it doesn’t matter what we call these entitlement programs, it just matters that we understand they’re broken — and start talking solutions. This guy tried, remember? It’s time to try again.