ThinkProgress filed this report from the GOP presidential debate in Tampa, Florida.
Though Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) picked up the support of Bobby Jindal yesterday, the Louisiana governor was unwilling to endorse Perry’s tough talk on Social Security, despite repeated questions from reporters after the Republican presidential debate.
In his book Fed Up!, published in November 2010, Perry called Social Security unconstitutional, a claim he stood by after a question from ThinkProgress last month. Since that time, Perry has repeatedly called the retirement program a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie.”
Following yesterday’s debate in Florida, Jindal spoke with the press about Perry’s performance. However, as reporters asked Jindal whether he agreed with Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, the Louisiana governor ducked the question, repeatedly saying, “call it whatever you want” and “I don’t care what you call it.” When ThinkProgress asked Jindal if he agrees that Social Security is unconstitutional, he again demurred.
REPORTER: Is Social Security a Ponzi scheme?
JINDAL: Look, call it whatever you want. What was clear to me today was that when you listen to all the different candidates, they essentially agree with Gov. Perry’s position. [...]
REPORTER: Do you agree with that characterization that it’s a Ponzi scheme?
JINDAL: Look, I don’t care what you call it. What’s important is that if we don’t do anything it will not continue to be sustainable for younger workers. [...] Call it whatever you want, the bottom line is it’s not sustainable, it needs to be fixed. Look, people in Texas talk differently from people in Louisiana. They have a different accent, they use all kinds of different words. It doesn’t matter what you call it, what’s most important is the substantive point he was making.
KEYES: Do you think he’s right that it’s unconstitutional?
JINDAL: Look, bottom line on Social Security, I think you heard everybody agree with the governor tonight that it needs to be kept and preserved for the seniors in the system that are approaching retirement, but it also needs to be reformed and improved for younger workers.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has proposed a progressive solution to ensure Social Security’s solvency for the next 75 years: simply lift the payroll tax cap.