Mitt Romney

Guess who else thinks Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?

The bruhaha over Rick Perry’s comments that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme have taken a backseat to the remembrance of 9/11 and the Redskins’ first win in about 90 years, but let’s fan the flames a bit. Thanks to the erudite Don Boudreaux over at Cafe Hayek, it has come to my attention that a highly visible economist at one of the nation’s largest papers agrees with Gov. Perry’s assertion:

Social Security is structured from the point of view of the recipients as if it were an ordinary retirement plan: what you get out depends on what you put in. So it does not look like a redistributionist scheme. In practice it has turned out to be strongly redistributionist, but only because of its Ponzi game aspect, in which each generation takes more out than it put in. Well, the Ponzi game will soon be over, thanks to changing demographics, so that the typical recipient henceforth will get only about as much as he or she put in (and today’s young may well get less than they put in).

And yes, you’ve probably guessed it: it’s Paul Krugman. And yes, you’ve probably guessed it, but the above emphasis is mine.

The essay was written in the December 1996/January 1997 edition of the Boston Review, as a response to Richard Freeman’s suggestions on fixing inequality. I profess to not having read Freeman’s work entirely, though mostly it was more of the same “we need to take the wealth from the top 20% and give it to the bottom 20%” nonsense.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

GOP hopefuls will square off tonight for the second time in a week, this time at a debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express in Tampa, Florida. We’re likely to see fireworks similar to what we saw on Thursday. Rick Perry, who is considered to be the frontrunner, will no doubt be a target again by Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Michele Bachmann join the parade. President Barack Obama is sure to take criticism, and rightly so, over his latest stimulus gimmick.

Before we dive into the power rankings, here is a look at the latest polling in the race.

Rick Perry (even): Perry has become a punching bag for other candidates near the front of the race. Romney is knocking him over Social Security, Paul is taking him to task for being a former Democrat that backed Al Gore and supported HillaryCare and a pro-Bachmann group plans to run ads against him over immigration. Polls indicate that he is still the frontrunner, but he needs to improve in debates and hope at the ramp up attacks don’t stick.

ICYMI: GOP debate at the Reagan Library

In case you weren’t able to catch it last night, here is the full video of the Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. You’ll notice that the debate was centered around Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, not surprising since the race is largely between the two of them right now.

While Perry and Romney sparred and the former also took heat for laying the blueprint for ObamaCare, they came out of the debate OK. This was also Jon Huntsman’s best debate performance, to the point that I’d say he was a winner (and I’m not a fan of the guy, though his tax reform plan is very good). And as much I hate to say it, Ron Paul came off very bad last night; not that he is a good debater anyway. Michele Bachmann, who was barely noticed, and everyone else were just window dressing.

You can read a fact-check of the debate here.

LIVE BLOG: GOP Presidential Candidate Debate

Eight of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination will square off tonight at the Reagan Library in California. It’s Rick Perry’s first formal debate since joining the field of candidates. All eyes will be on him as he tries to live up to the hype.

What to watch for:

The debate, organized by Politico and NBC News, will begin at 8pm. We’ll begin chatting here around 7pm.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

We’ve got a shake up in the power rankings this week. With all the polls that have come out in the last week showing Rick Perry really on the way up and Mitt Romney falling back, it doesn’t make much sense keep Romney at the top of the pack. There are different scenarios being talked about now due to the GOP primary calendar still not entirely into place. With that said, a new AP shows that more Republicans are satisfied with the field of candidates and it’s becoming clearer that should Sarah Palin run and win the nomination, that it would be nothing short of a disaster for the GOP.

Rick Perry (up): I hinted last week that it was only a matter of time before Perry overtook Romney in our weekly update. In addition to the Rasmussen poll released nearly two weeks ago showing Perry with a double-digit lead in the race for the GOP nomination, Gallup and Public Policy Polling have released numbers showing similar results. Perry is the frontrunner at this point. If he keeps this momentum and wins Iowa and South Carolina early next year, Perry will be the likely nominee.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

The race for the GOP nomination for president has really heated up, but there are rumblings that Rep. Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin may be preparing to jump in, candidacies that would dramatically shake up the field. But at least right now, it seems like this is a three way race for the nomination between Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Polls seem to bear out that conclusion as well, though no one seems to really be the frontrunner.

Here is a look at the current power rankings in the GOP field (and yes, we’ve excluded Thad McCotter on purpose):

Mitt Romney (down): If there was ever a question that Romney was on shaky ground as the frontrunner in the GOP field, it has been answered with Rick Perry. That being said, only one poll shows Romney down to Perry; so it’s far too early to say that that Romney has no path to the nomination. Romney still has plenty of arguments for Republicans to get behind him, including that he is the only candidate in the field that really challenges President Obama. However, the worst thing that could happen to Romney would be a Paul Ryan candidacy.

The Strategy of Hating One

The following was submitted by Nick Nottleman, a reader and concerned American.

The 2000 Presidential Election pitted George W. Bush against then Vice President Al Gore.  Ralph Nader from the Green Party received 2.74 % of the popular vote and no other candidate received more than .5% of the popular vote.  But the two main characters in this play were George W. Bush and Al Gore.  Or were they?

While the Internet bubble was definitely bursting, the country was for the most part in decent shape.  The military had been downsized considerably and for the first time in many years, there was a surplus in the Federal Budget.  The Story’s villain was “The Clinton” and his sidekick, the “Blue Gobbler.” There to report it all, the likes of Rush Limbaugh and several reporters at Fox News.

In the 2012 election, the same strategy seems to be being deployed.  An article at the Daily Caller quotes a Rasmussen poll:

A generic Republican presidential candidate would beat Barack Obama by a five-point margin if the election were held today, according to a poll released Tuesday by Rasmussen.

The as-yet-unnamed Republican candidate leads Obama 47 percent to 42 percent. This is the fourth consecutive week that Rasmussen’s polling has found a generic Republican candidate with a lead.

And Rasmussen is not alone.

Wait a second… you mean to say anyone with an (R) behind their name beats President Obama?

OK…. WHY?

Because the general consensus being built is that any Republican would be a better president.  On a semi-sane day, I might actually agree with that premise, but I prefer life out on the fringe.  You know, where things like realizing THAT IS EXACTLY HOW WE ENDED UP WITH George W. Bush happens!

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

So what do we make of the Republican field after the Ames Straw Poll? It’s a good question, but there are a couple of factors that need to play out; including decisions by Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom could change the face of the race.

I’ve been waiting for Ames to come and go since I anticipated the landscape to change, and it did with Tim Pawlenty’s exit (though I expected Rick Santorum to be out the door first) so I could give some power rankings for the candidates; something I hope to do at least every two weeks from now until the end.

Mitt Romney (even): As far as it goes, Romney is the guy to beat right now. Yes, he is going to have some problems to contend, including continued hits on RomneyCare and frequent position changes. He is, however, the establishment’s candidate. Romney also needs to be careful what he says on the trail, at least limit his points to easily explainable soundbytes. In other words, don’t say “corporations are people,” an accurate statement, but needs explaining to make sense.

Rick Perry (up): I’ve already touched on Perry’s campaign today, so I’ll be brief here. Electability in a general election are a question, but there is little doubt that Perry brings a formidable challenge to Romney’s bid for the presidency.

Michele Bachmann wins the Ames Straw Poll

The results are in from the Ames Straw Poll, where several thousand Republicans cast ballots for their favorite GOP candidate. The results may be somewhat surprising given how in the run up to the poll many observers seemed to be writing it off and debating whether it meant anything since Ron Paul seemed to be poised for a strong showing and Mitt Romney had not paid much attention to Iowa.

Well, he had a strong showing, but finished 152 votes behind Michele Bachmann, an Iowa native, in arguably the most important event in the GOP race thus far.

  • Michele Bachmann: 28.55% (4823 votes)
  • Ron Paul: 27.65% (4671 votes)
  • Tim Pawlenty: 13.57% (2293 votes)
  • Rick Santorum: 9.81% (1657 votes)
  • Herman Cain: 8.62% (1456 votes)
  • Rick Perry: 3.62% (718 votes) write-in
  • Mitt Romney: 3.36% (567 votes)
  • Newt Gingrich: 2.28% (385 votes)
  • Jon Huntsman: 0.41% (69 votes)
  • Thad McCotter: 0.21% (35 votes)
  • Other: 0.96% (162 votes)

The results are obviously good news for Bachmann. Paul’s showing was still very strong, despite finishing second. Pawlenty built off of a better debate performance on Thursday to finish third. Santorum finished ahead of Cain, who is effectively a non-factor in the race at this point.

Replacing one war-happy President with another?

I’m often told by conservatives that in 2012, they would support literally anyone but Obama.  The basic suggestion is that Obama is so terrible, that a sack of oats would do a better job (Oats/Barley 2012!).  By not pledging my undying support for whomever the GOP nominates, then, I am in effect endorsing Obama.  Of course, many of these conservatives would change their tune if it were Ron Paul against Obama, but that’s not the important fact here.  What matters is the idea that any of the primary candidates would be better than the incumbent.

One of these wannabes is Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota.  While governor, Pawlenty established a fairly decent record.  There are a number of things that make him preferable in my eyes to his principle opponent, Mitt Romney.  Leaving aside his often infuriating pandering to social conservatives, Pawlenty, at least up to this point, has been one of the few mainstream candidates that I could find myself able to support.

But some comments he made on Tuesday have caused me to seriously question this position.  In speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, Pawlenty continued what has become a very alarming tendency to embrace the same reckless hawkishness that many conservatives have found themselves criticizing in Obama.  Perhaps the most troubling quote from the speech is the suggestion that he would only consult Congress as a “courtesy” when engaging in war overseas.  This is a position that makes him even more dangerous than Bush or Obama.


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