Is Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry a courageous and welcome truth teller for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme, or is he being needlessly provocative instead? Or maybe you think Perry’s Ponzi comparison is just plain wrong. I favor the truth-teller option, but the debate will surely go on.
In any case, it’s certain that Perry’s Ponzi-scheme claim is in no way original. Not only have a raft of conservatives called Social Security a Ponzi scheme over the years, quite a few very respectable liberals have done so as well. It is clearly wrong either to treat the Ponzi-scheme analogy as unprecedented or to rule it altogether out of legitimate public debate. A historical tour of the use of the Ponzi-scheme metaphor will make the point.
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