Rick Perry’s Slightly New Groove On Social Security Secession

August 15, 2011 9:31 a.m.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) made a lot of hay last year with his contention that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and his suggestion that states should be allowed to abandon it for their own senior support systems before it’s too late.

Less than a week after Perry announced his White House bid however, he’s tempering that last idea a bit.“I’m for having a conversation with the country about how we find some solutions,” Perry told Politico Monday. “Having the states doing it is one of the ways.”

In the past, Perry has said something similar — but he definitely put more emphasis on blowing up Social Security, an idea that polls show is http://www.theroot.com/buzz/nbcwsj-poll-americans-oppose-gop-spending-cuts“>deeply unpopular, even among Republicans.

On the now-defunct Parker-Spitzer show last November, Perry and host Eliot Spitzer got into it over what to do about Social Security. Much of the focus was on letting “the states decide” if the current Social Security system is “what’s best” for them.

But Perry also said he’d be willing to talk about raising the retirement age or privatizing the program through what Spitzer called “private accounts.”

“I think all of those are legitimate options out there, but let the states decide,” Perry told Spitzer. “Don’t force us from Washington, DC to say, ‘here is the size of tube socks that you’re gonna wear down in Texas. Put ’em on.'”

So the message is basically the same: Perry is ready to make big, fundamental changes to Social Security, and he’s prepared to hand responsibility for the program to the individual states. But whereas he was a champion of the state takeover method while he was the governor of Texas who adamantly denied he was running for president, Perry has now downgraded that option to just one of many given that he’s taken the call to lead the nation.

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