This past weekend, conservative activists and Tea Party groups gathered in Chicago for the Right Nation 2010 convention. Among those who attended was former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the chairman of one of the original Tea Party groups, FreedomWorks.
During the event, ThinkProgress sat down with Armey at a blogger’s roundtable. No sooner than we took our seats did Armey come out guns-blazing against Social Security. He called it a “corrupt government practice” that steals people’s money “under false pretenses.” He went on to call Social Security a “Ponzi scheme”:
ARMEY: The government uses the concept of a trust fund to take your money under false pretenses. For years, I wrote about and talked about and taught about what I call ‘corrupt government practices,’ because they’re always so quick to talk about corruption. One of the corrupt government practices is stealing your money under false pretenses. I’ll give you a to wit: social security. When they had the Alan Greenspan commission, they knowingly raised payroll taxes more than what was necessary to meet the flow of output. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go Ponzi scheme. They knew very well that the extra $250 billion would be spent on their social schemes.
Though Tea Party candidates continue to flail on whether or not they would like to privatize Social Security, Tea Party groups like FreedomWorks mince no words about what their plan is for the hugely-successful social safety net. In a Politico interview, Armey said that if he could do one thing as president of the United States, he would make “all government programs…voluntary.” However, the American public remains adamantly opposed to this plan, with two of every three Americans uncomfortable with the idea of privatizing Social Security.
Joan McCarter at Daily Kos points out that the Republican Senate nominee in Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, is airing TV ads calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”