by: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND

A Critique of Rick Perry’s Positions by the LA Times

Social Security: Perry sees it as a misguided product of the New Deal. In “Fed Up!”, Perry envisions a future in which “there will be a retirement safety net that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme, but rather will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement.” In other words, he favors private accounts, a top priority of Bush’s that died in 2005 because it was unpopular with the public and went nowhere in Congress.
LA Times Criticism: There is a reason for this. Social Security is an insurance program, not a savings plan. It’s intended as a reliable, risk-free backup to private plans, which often generate higher returns but at higher risk. Replacing it with private accounts imposes more risk on everybody and presumes a level of financial expertise that many Americans don’t possess.
Thomas: Counter-Criticism: Social Security has long since ceased being an insurance program, if it ever was.  The forced savings rate of 7.5-15% per year for FICA has left a significant portion of the public without the resources (and more importantly, the motivation) to save for their own retirement.  Social Security has become a pension plan, not an insurance plan; and for most Americans it is not a backup plan, it is THE plan.  The risk (potential cost) of guaranteeing a pension for the entire retired workforce is potentially catastrophic to the entire economy.  Private pension plans are risky in an unstable economy, but the instability is a direct result of the interference of the Federal government in the Market.  The risk to individuals (which could be managed by charity, community, and family) has been transferred to the entire economy.  The resultant risk is far higher to everyone, than if the risk were managed by each individual as a partner and participant with the local support environment.

Healthcare: Like many movement conservatives, Perry is on an almost messianic quest to repeal the healthcare reform law, which he says, “is the closest this country has ever come to outright socialism.” Perry believes that the mandate for all Americans to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, that federal bureaucrats will ration care even in cases of life and death, and that the law will raise taxes, fund abortion, and worsen the deficit.
LA Times Citicism: Most of this is misleading or untrue. The law will raise some taxes, but it won’t fund abortion, nor, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will it worsen the deficit. The rationing Perry fears is already inherent in Medicare and Medicaid, and is considered more patient-friendly than the practices of most private insurers. Moreover, Perry’s proposed fixes for the healthcare system: tort reform, individual (rather than employer-sponsored) health insurance, portability of plans for people who move or change jobs, and would do nothing to slow the growth of healthcare costs or reduce the number of uninsured Americans.
Thomas: Counter-Criticism: The right of the Federal Government to dictate what the States do, and hence what the individual citizens do flows from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.  This Clause was intended to regulate trade and travel between the states so that there was a unity of environment on this fundamental level.  This concept was expanded to an absurd degree, and served as a de facto overriding of the 10th Amendment.  The Obamacare Healthcare legislation relies fully upon this unConstitutional interpretation of the Commerce Clause for its authority.  No further argument need be presented.  Obamacare is unConstitutional.

National defense: Although the United States spends nearly as much on defense as every other country on Earth combined, Perry thinks that’s not enough. He believes President Obama’s attempts to limit nuclear weapons are misguided because they ignore “the realities of a world full of power-hungry despots who respect us not because of our ideals but because of our strength.” He wants to reinstate funding for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.
LA Times Criticism: The missile shield was a pet project of Bush’s involving an expensive and unproved technology that generated enormous tension with Russia.
Thomas: Counter-Criticism: Evil people fear power and move in response to it.  Ideals are important, but evil does not respond to goodness.  Evil is already aware of goodness, and has rejected it, for whatever irrational justification.  The new age, Rodney King, love is all you need philosophy of life will put our nation, and the world at jeopardy if we do not stand up against evil everywhere we find it.

Politics: If you thought the Republicans in control of the House were an uncompromising bunch, they’ve got nothing on Perry. In Texas, the governor has never been known for reaching across the aisle and pressures moderate Republicans to toe the conservative line. He believes the GOP lost its congressional majority in 2006 not because of an unpopular war but because the party compromised its small-government principles.
LA Times Criticsm: Under a Perry administration, it would be Rick’s way or the highway.
Thomas: Counter-Criticism: I suspect that Rick Perry will be unwilling to compromise on principle.  And, this is the proper stand since compromise with evil is never acceptable.  A man of principle never makes a deal with the Devil for any reason.  Only a fool, a man who cannot see the cost of compromise would make such a deal.  Perry’s recognition of evil and his total rejection of it, regardless of its constituency shows that he is a man of principle, not a man of situations.