Dumb Fighting: Social Security is NOT a ponzi scheme

by lestro

So at the debate the other night Rick Perry repeatedly called Social Security a “ponzi scheme.”

He didn’t say it was like a ponzi scheme or that it resembled a ponzi scheme.  He said it is ponzi scheme.  Twice.

Perry: ”[I]t is a monstrous lie. It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there.

and:

Perry: You cannot keep the status quo in place and not call it anything other than a Ponzi scheme. It is. … [T]hat’s provocative language — maybe it’s time to have some provocative language in this country.

It’s a political choice, of course, but what it means is that either he is Dumb or he thinks we are Dumb.  Either way, he is wrong and frankly, saying such a thing is not only a lie, it’s a damn dirty lie and the type of thing that only a world-class Asshole would say with a straight face.  Because Social Security, though flawed, works.  It does what it is supposed to do.

But the Dumb hate that because it ruins their whole “government is the problem” vibe.

Yes, it is a system in which the payments are used to help beneficiaries other than the people paying, giving it a structure that from 30,000 feet looks remarkably similar to a ponzi scheme, but that does not make it a ponzi scheme.  The difference is in things like transparency, the lack of someone stealing the profits, the continuing mechanism of taxes to provide benefits, and most importantly, it is not criminal and it is not a fraud.

But despite the fact that a simple google search will reveal the difference – and a Factcheck piece that also points it out (and uses reality to debunk the idea that Social Security will simply disappear anytime soon), many on the right have tried to seize on this like the “death tax” and have started repeating it on Facebook.

After all, as Reagan said, “facts are stupid things.”

And, as you know, I refuse to suffer the Dumb and have dedicated myself to combatting it by calling it out.  So I try to first politely explain that no, that is a lie told by a Dumb person trying to make you sound Dumb and/or vote against your best interests by scaring you.

That rarely works and inevitably, the Dumb rise up and try to defend it.  So then I further explain the differences, which are very real and important.  But again, they usually continue to jump up and down and fling their poo.  So I have worked up the following analogy which seems to have ended every single of one these discussions because it is so simple and clear no one has been able to respond to it.  Feel free to use it:

An Akita is a dog that looks like a wolf.  But no matter how much it LOOKS like a wolf, especially from a distance, it is still a dog.  It is a subtle difference but an important one. Social Security is not a ponzi scheme in exactly the same way an Akita is not a wolf.

Now go forth and fight the Dumb.

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