Former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Senate, called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" at a recent public event.
Appearing at a Tea Party-hosted Republican candidate forum on Tuesday, Norton was asked to name federal programs that she thought were unconstitutional, under the scope of the federal government's enumerated powers, and also whether it was constitutionally permissible for the government to run the Social Security program as it exists now, with the government controlling the money.
"The federal government is fundamentally out of control," Norton answered. "They are seizing control of things like car companies, banks, insurance companies. They're encroaching in areas of education, of the EPA and its endangerment finding, circumventing the rule of law, circumventing legislative processes. They are absolutely out of control. With regard to Social Security, it has turned into a Ponzi scheme. The money that people pay into it should be there for when they are ready to retire."
We asked Norton press secretary Nate Strauch whether the candidate stood by her description, which seemed to imply that there was something crooked about Social Security. "She didn't imply that there was anything crooked about it. She said it's set up the same way a Ponzi scheme is," said Strauch, "which is new investors being used to pay old investors until the money runs out, and of course that's what's happening."
In the TPM Poll Average, Norton currently has a lead of 45.3%-38.0% over incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who was appointed to the seat in January 2009.
Here's the video, recorded by a Colorado Democratic Party tracker: