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Last revised: January 10, 2013

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does everyone agree that social security is a ponzi scheme? 2011-9-21

Not everyone, of course! Some people don't know what a Ponzi scheme is. Some people think "Social Security" is what you get when you use Dial Soap or the right deodorant.

Toward the end of September 2011, Politicians and media pundits--from the left and right--were saying publicly that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. That was starting, because I grew up and then some, hearing and reading that Social Security was the "third rail of politics". Politicians might be skeptical about Social Security, but politicians who sought election or re-election didn't say so. Some would say that the money was in a "lock box", that the system needed tweaking, or that they would have a commission look into assuring that it "remained sound". Many pundits didn't want to contradict their chosen politicians, so many pundits echoed their politicians of kept their mouths shut. 

So, by September 2011, who was on record, online, unconcerned about touching the "third rail"? In chronological order, they are:

Paul samuelson In newsweek (1967) 

Paul Samuelson in Newsweek (1967)

Greg Mankiw reported on 9/10/11 in his blog that Paul Samuelson wrote in 1967 about Social Security: "The beauty of social insurance is that it is actuarially unsound. ... Social Security is squarely based on what has been called 

Paul Krugman In Boston Review (circa 1/1/97) 

Noel Sheppard from the Media Research Center, writing in the WSJ, 9/15/11, quoted Krugman as referring in Boston Review (12/96-1/97) to Social Security's "Ponzi game aspect" and saying, "... the Ponzi game will soon be over, thanks to changing demographics ..." 

Ron Paul (12/25/08)

Ron Paul (R-TX), [Libertarian] Congressman, wrote in his blog on Christmas Day, 2008, that "Our Social Security system is the very definition of a Ponzi, or pyramid scheme."

Rick Perry (9/7/11)

Rick Perry (R-TX), Texas Governor, said that the Social Security system in the U.S. is a Ponzi scheme, took heat for it from Republicans, who said that it was not a viable political position, but stood by his statement at the Republican presidential candidate debate on 9/7/11, according to www.washington (" 'a monstrous lie' to 'our kids' ") and on ("You cannot keep the status quo in place and call it anything other than a Ponzi scheme.")

Chris Matthews (circa 9/10/11)

Chris Matthews, Liberal Democrat punditl, said on his show, Hardball (circa 9/10/11) that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Here are some quotes:  

Matthews: "A Ponzi scheme, by the way for most people to understand it, is ... something like a chain letter.  You ... pay the next person off with the money you just got from somebody else, but it is not making any money. "


Matthews: "So how does a Republican deal with the fact that ... it is a Ponzi scheme in the sense that the money paid out, every day, is coming from people who paid in that day. It is not being made, somewhere." 

Social Security a ponzi scheme sounds scary, but it's not all

even the NY Times sponsored a debate on Social Security as a ponzi scheme.

It's not all gloom and doom. here's black humor and doom:

Black humor, conceived by the weak about their hopeless situation is centuries--and maybe millennia--old. You'll find cartoons--and black humor--about Social Security, here and here.

does anybody else still like social security? mitt does!

Mitt Romney responded to Perry, "The issue in the book ‘Fed Up,’ governor, as you say that by any measure, Social Security is a failure -- you can’t say that to tens of millions of Americans who live on Social Security and those who have lived on it."