Posts Tagged ‘ponzi scheme’
September 16th, 2011 at 6:23 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Ponzi Schemes
Posted by Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

September 12th, 2011 at 4:02 pm
Perry’s Ponzi Scheme Comment Not Hurting Him

Byron York breaks down a CNN poll showing that Republican voters 65 and older (i.e. eligible to receive Social Security) favor Texas Governor Rick Perry for president more than any other GOP candidate.

This flies in the face of the current criticism of Perry’s widely discussed comment at last week’s debate that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme.”  As far as I can tell, no one has yet shown that Perry is incorrect since in both Social Security and a Ponzi scheme the money from later investors (or taxpayers) goes to benefit earlier investors (or taxpayers).

If anything, Perry should be applauded for speaking the kind of tax-and-spend truths necessary to get a handle on the nation’s fiscal problems so we can begin to fix them.

Admittedly, there is one noticeable difference between the programs that Cato’s Michael Tanner explains perfectly:

Of course, Social Security and Ponzi schemes are not perfectly analogous. Ponzi, after all, had to rely on what people were willing to voluntarily invest with him. Once he couldn’t convince enough new investors to join his scheme, it collapsed. Social Security, on the other hand, can rely on the power of the government to tax. As the shrinking number of workers paying into the system makes it harder to continue to sustain benefits, the government can just force young people to pay even more into the system.

In fact, Social Security taxes have been raised some 40 times since the program began. The initial Social Security tax was 2 percent (split between the employer and employee), capped at $3,000 of earnings. That made for a maximum tax of $60. Today, the tax is 12.4 percent, capped at $106,800, for a maximum tax of $13,234. Even adjusting for inflation, that represents more than an 800 percent increase.

In addition, at least until the final collapse of his scheme, Ponzi was more or less obligated to pay his early investors what he promised them. With Social Security, on the other hand, Congress is always able to change or cut those benefits in order to keep the scheme going.