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Mitt Romney's 6 Social Security questions for Rick Perry

From a press release:

BOSTON, MA – In advance of Thursday’s debate in Orlando, the Romney for President campaign released a series of questions for Governor Rick Perry about his proposal to “let the states [decide] how to run the pensions.” Questions about Perry’s proposal to return Social Security to the states have so far gone unanswered.    


“This election is about choices and voters – and voters will have the opportunity to choose between Mitt Romney, who wants to fix and strengthen Social Security for the next generation, and Rick Perry, who wants to dismantle it. Voters are now learning more about Rick Perry’s position on Social Security and find it troubling that he has refused to answer questions on what the Social Security program would look like at the state level, as Rick Perry suggests. Governor Perry has the opportunity to clarify his proposal while he is in Florida – a state with an extraordinarily high number of retirees and near retirees,” said Gail Gitcho, Romney Communications Director.


Six Questions for Rick Perry on Returning Social Security to the States


  1. Constitutionality: Perry has asserted that a federally run Social Security program is unconstitutional.  If this remains his position, it suggests that the program must be devolved to the states notwithstanding the advisability of such an approach. The first question in understanding Perry’s approach must be whether he believes there is no choice but to devolve or, alternatively, if he believes it is the right policy solution.


  1. Unfunded Liabilities: Devolving the program to the states does not address underlying fiscal challenges. Where a single program once faced possible insolvency, there would now be fifty. How would Perry suggest a state such as Texas address this challenge? Should it raise taxes, reduce benefits, or pursue other types of reform?


  1. Trust Fund Accounting: What would happen to the Trust Fund that accrued while the system was in surplus? Interest payments from the fund and draw-down on the principal are crucial funding streams for the national system that are unavailable to the states. How would those funds be equitably allocated to the states?


  1. Mobility: How would a state-by-state system accommodate the enormous number of Americans who move across state lines during their lives, and especially as retirement nears? Would each state be responsible for supporting its current disabled and elderly population on its current payroll? Would funds paid into the system in one state follow a resident to another state later in life? 


  1. State Obligations: Would states be free to forego a pension program altogether? If so, what if any provision would be made for the disabled and elderly in that state? Or would they be expected to move to other states with more generous benefits, inevitably overwhelming those systems? 


  1. Administration: Would individuals retain national Social Security numbers or would each state administer its own system? Would individuals have any guarantee that commitments made during their working life are honored in retirement? Who would pay for the added expense associated with administering fifty programs instead of one?



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I think it is obvious - and these questions make it even clearer - that Gov. Perry hasn't thought through the implications of his reactionary suggestions. What is really scary is he wasn't shooting from the hip and still made the half-baked suggestion. Who wants to see what this egomaniac does with the nuclear launch button?


Good thought out questions. I would like meaningful answer to these questions. These questions have given me reason to question the often simplistic no detail answers given in stump speeches.

Daniel Burton

Good example of Romney's knowledge of finance. As a Utah resident I will be voting for Romney for the simple reason that he turned the Utah Winter Olympics for a financial disaster to the most financially successful Olympics. I would like to see if he can do the same for the US economy as he did for the Olympics.


Perry cannot afford to address these questions. His approach would spell disaster for the working class which is why he could not win the general election!

Sobering Thought

Here's a question for Romney: Why is Massachusetts going broke over Romneycare? I guess Romney doesn't care about that since he's not governor anymore.


Sobering Thought. I believe Romney has answered critcisms about the Massachusetts health care plan. Perhaps you might like to provide some answers on Perry's behalf since he clearly does not like to address the finer points of his own policies. What is it about Perry that makes you want to see him in the Whitehouse? Mitt has a proven record of turning failed business around. He offers to do the same for the US ecconomy. Name one other candidate that has committed themsleves to an ecconomic plan to the degree Romney has. Or do you believe that the new president will somehow obtain ecconomic brilliance by virtue of his winning the election? It is a telling thing when candidates fail to present detailed plans to back up their own policies. Perry should answer Romney's criticisms in order to maintain any credibility in the race. Perry, I think you should have a conversation - begin with social security.

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