Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has made it quite clear that he believes Social Security is an unconstitutional “Ponzi scheme.” In his book Fed Up!, Perry writes that Social Security is “by far the best example” of a program “violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles.” Today, at the Iowa State Fair, Perry responded to a question from Politico’s Ben Smith by saying that he thinks one of the ways to deal with his vehement objections to Social Security is to simply send the program to the states and let them figure out what to do with it:
I’m for having a conversation with the country about how we find some solutions to have programs that are going to be sustainable. And I think having the states doing it is one of the ways. I’m not saying it’s the only way.
Perry has said before that he wants to give states the option of allowing workers to opt out of Social Security. “So the states will let people opt out of Social Security?” asked CNN’s Eliot Spitzer. “They should,” Perry replied. But as ThinkProgress’ Ian Millhiser has pointed out, making Social Security a state program is simply economically impossible:
A workable plan to allow states to opt out of Social Security would require draconian provisions, such as a mandate that everyone must retire in the same state that they worked and paid taxes in. Otherwise, workers who are too young to receive Social Security benefits would move to an opt-out state to avoid paying Social Security taxes — and then promptly move to a state with Social Security benefits the moment they became eligible. Eventually, the entire system would collapse under the weight of too many Social Security beneficiaries who had not paid into the system.
Of course, having Social Security collapse in spectacular fashion may be just the outcome that Perry has in mind.