Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) — like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) — walked back his endorsement of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) charge that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” today, telling NPR that he won’t use the term again. While many Republicans have been uncomfortable or outright hostile to Perry’s hyperbolic and false characterization of the popular federal program, Daniels lent it support last week, saying the only problem was that Perry was “too frank.”
But when NPR host Diane Rehm challenged Daniels on the claim his morning, the popular governor relented, acknowledging that the characterization was “trite” and perhaps “too casual”:
REHM: But you agreed with [Perry]. You called it a “Ponzi scheme” as well.
DANIELS: Well, I said that’s a place to start. But again, people of every persuasion have used that — maybe it’s too casual an allusion. [...]
REHM: To use that word signals that it is fraudulent and it’s not fraudulent.
DANIELS: Well, you know, I’ll be careful not use it again.
But that commitment makes Daniels’ newly published book, which is why we went on Rehm’s show in the first place, already out of date. In it, “he doesn’t say the exact words ‘Ponzi scheme,’ but only because he’s more verbose than that,” Politico reported. “This whole setup is enough to give Mr. Ponzi a bad name — or a legitimate job,” Daniels wrote in the book.
Daniels joins House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who also recently flip-flopped on whether Social Security is a “ponzi scheme,” saying, “It’s not the word I would choose to describe” the program.