Freshly reelected Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) just isn’t ready to give up on the secession talk that made him a topic of conversation last year. Taking a national victory lap after his election to an unprecedented third term this week, Perry is out talking up his new plan to break up the union, kind of: It’s time, he says, to let states opt out of Social Security.
Last April, Perry told some Austin tea partiers that though “there’s absolutely no reason to dissolve” the union the state of Texas has been a part of for about 160 years, “if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.” Texas, he suggested, could lead the charge.
His new suggestion is not to split Texas from the other 49 states, but rather to give it the option to secede from the national pension program that has defined retirement in the country for 75 years.
“When you look at social security, it’s broke,” Perry told the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning. “My kids, 27 and 24, they know this is a Ponzi scheme.”
One way out of this mess, in Perry’s mind? Just abandon Social Security altogether and let the states handle it. Texas (of course) has already fixed Social Security’s problem, Perry says, so why should it be saddled with paying the Ponzi debts of every other sucker?
“Why is the federal government even in the pension program or the health care delivery program?” Perry asked. “Let the states do it.”
Perry is currently on a national tour touting his book Fed Up! which is focused on the many ways the federal government should, in essence, get off the backs of the 50 states. The tools of federal tyranny Perry describes would be at home at any tea party rally: In a nutshell, taxes are too high, the EPA is too nosy and the health care reform law is an existential terror.
It all goes back to the Founding Fathers, Perry says.
“They did not believe that all of us would be alike, and they really didn’t like centralized government and mandating down to these states how to act, how to look,” he told NPR.
Not surprisingly, some on the Democratic side of things are a bit skeptical of Perry’s new secession plan. On Parker-Spitzer last night, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) took Perry on over his Social Security vision.
Spitzer said Perry’s Social Security idea isn’t more widely discussed “because it doesn’t work.”
Perry says seceding from Social Security is just one of many ways the system could get fixed — he said that raising the retirement age or privatizing parts of the system are changes he could support. He responded to comparing federal obligations to a perhaps unfortunately chosen article of clothing, considering he was debating the infamous Client 9.
“I think all of those are legitimate options out there, but let the states decide,” Perry said. “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.’”
Watch Perry talk up his Social Security secession idea on Morning Joe: