Posts Tagged ‘Rick Perry’
To highlight the problems facing Social Security, Texas Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is pointing to three Texas counties that decades ago opted out of Social Security by creating personal retirement accounts. Now, 30 years on, county workers in those three jurisdictions retire with more money and have better death and disability supplemental benefits. And those three counties—unlike almost all others in the United States—face no long-term unfunded pension liabilities.
Since 1981 and 1982, workers in Galveston, Matagorda and Brazoria Counties have seen their retirement savings grow every year, even during the Great Recession. The so-called Alternate Plan of these three counties doesn’t follow the traditional defined-benefit or defined-contribution model. Employee and employer contributions are actively managed by a financial planner—in this case, First Financial Benefits, Inc., of Houston, which originated the plan in 1980 and has managed it since its adoption. I call it a “banking model.”As with Social Security, employees contribute 6.2% of their income, with the county matching the contribution (or, as in Galveston, providing a slightly larger share). Once the county makes its contribution, its financial obligation is done—that’s why there are no long-term unfunded liabilities. The contributions are pooled, like bank deposits, and top-rated financial institutions bid on the money. Those institutions guarantee an interest rate won’t go below a base level and her when the market does the last decade, the accrued between 3.75% and 5.75% every year, with the average around 5%. The 1990s often saw even higher interest rates, of 6.5%-7%. When the market goes up, employees make more—and when the market goes down, employees still make something. But not all money goes into employees’ retirement accounts. When financial planner Rick Gornto devised the Alternate Plan in 1980, he wanted it to be a complete substitute for Social Security. And Social Security isn’t just a retirement fund: It’s also social insurance that provides a death benefit ($255), survivors’ insurance, and a disability benefit.
Part of the employer contribution in the Alternate Plan goes toward a term life insurance policy that pays four times the employee’s salary tax-free, up to a maximum of $215,000. That’s nearly 850 times Social Security’s death benefit.
If a worker participating in Social Security dies before retirement, he loses his contribution (though part of that money might go to surviving children or a spouse who didn’t work). But a worker in the Alternate Plan owns his account, so the entire account belongs to his estate. There is also a disability benefit that pays immediately upon injury, rather than waiting six months plus other restrictions, as under Social Security.
Those who retire under the Texas counties’ Alternate Plan do much better than those on Social Security. According to First Financial’s calculations, based on 40 years of contributions:
• A lower-middle income worker
making about $26,000 at retirement would get about $1,007 a month under Social Security, but $1,826 under the Alternate Plan.
- • A middle-income worker making $51,200 would get about $1,540 monthly from Social Security, but $3,600 from the banking model.
- • And a high-income worker who maxed out on his Social Security contribution every year would receive about $2,500 a month from Social Security versus $5,000 to $6,000 a month from the Alternate Plan.
The Alternate Plan has demonstrated over 30 years that personal retirement accounts work, with many retirees making more than twice what they would under Social Security. As Galveston County Judge Mark Henry says, “The plan works great. Anyone who spends a few minutes understanding the plan becomes a huge proponent.” Judge Henry says that out of 1,350 county employees, only five have chosen not to participate.
The Alternate Plan could be adopted today by the six million public employees in the U.S.—roughly 25% of the total—who are part of state and local government retirement plans that are outside of Social Security (and are facing serious unfunded liability problems). Unfortunately this option is available only to those six million public employees, since in 1983 Congress barred all-others from leaving Social Security.
If Congress overrides this provision, however, the Alternate Plan could be a model for reforming Social Security nationally. After all, it provides all the social-insurance benefits of Social Security while avoiding the unfunded liabilities that are crippling the program and the economy.
If the presidential candidates, including President Obama, stop bickering about who wants to “save” or “destroy” Social Security and begin debating reform constructively, examining the Alternate Plan would be a good place to start.
Mr. Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas.
Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrives at Trump Tower in New York Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, for a meeting with real estate developer Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Is Donald Trump getting ready to endorse Rick Perry for president? Could a Perry/Trump pizza summit be just around the corner? Is Rick Perry courting Trump as a VP candidate?
Those are just some of the questions we’re asking after we spotted Perry and Trump walking out of Trump Towers early Wednesday evening in New York City. It’s unclear why the two were together and neither one (not surprisingly) responded to on-site questions about their meeting. But what is clear is that they were there — and so were we:
Here’s a roundup of what some are saying about the meeting.
The business mogul-turned-reality TV star has a 4 p.m. ET meeting with Perry at Trump Tower in New York City, Trump’s spokesman, Michael Cohen, confirmed to CBS News/National Journal. According to Cohen, Perry requested the meeting.
“It’s obviously about the presidency,” Cohen said. “Everyone wants Mr. Trump’s support.“ A Perry spokesman confirmed that the Texas governor ”is having dinner with the Donald” and said the meeting would focus on jobs.
After briefly considering — and then dropping — plans to run himself for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump has met with several of the party’s White House contenders or potential contenders, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Sarah Palin. In May, Trump treated Palin to pizza at La Famiglia in Times Square. Cohen said this time around, Trump will take Perry to a higher-end restaurant on Central Park West.
One twist to the story: Cohen said that while Trump is reviewing his endorsement options, “he’s still not out of” the race himself.
But after Perry meets with Trump at his Trump Tower abode on Fifth Avenue, the two will head out to dinner. Not to of-the-people La Famiglia Pizzeria as Trump did with Sarah Palin in June. Nope. The Republican Party powerhouses will roll across town to the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Columbus Circle for dinner at ultra-chic Jean Georges.
That dining detail was dropped by Trump when we chatted Tuesday. I gave the reality-television star a call to discuss Monday’s Republican presidential candidates debate in Florida. “Very interesting,” is how Trump described the Tea Party debate. He also noted that some of the candidates exhibited “a lot of anxiety.” He was no doubt alluding to candidates struggling to break out of the shadow of Perry and Mitt Romney.
The 2012 frontrunner was in the Big Apple for fundraisers as well as a high-profile meeting with the publicity-seeking host of “The Apprentice.”
Trump briefly flirted with the idea of running for the GOP nomination earlier this year, hammering President Barack Obama on charges that he may have not been born in the country, before bowing out.
“I think he’s a very impressive guy,” Trump said of Perry in a recent interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “I think he’s very ready. He’s been governor of Texas for a long time. Texas has done very well … He’s a tough guy. He’s a smart guy.”
CBS News reported that the meeting took place at Trump Tower in New York City at the request of Perry.
Don’t be alarmed, that faint popping noise you hear is the heads of nearby lefties exploding.
(NY Times) — In an interview with Time magazine, Gov. Rick Perry showed that he had no intention of softening the cactus-thorned rhetoric he developed during his decades in Texas politics, notably repeating his characterization of President Obama’s policies as “socialist.” From the TIME interview: Now that you’ve been in the race for while, do you feel pressure to temper some of your rhetoric, like calling the Obama administration socialist? No, I still believe they are socialist. Their policies prove that almost daily. Look, when all the answers emanate from Washington D.C., one size fits all, whether it’s education policy or whether it’s healthcare policy, that is, on its face, socialism.
Don’t be alarmed, that faint popping noise you hear is the heads of nearby lefties exploding.
(NY Times) — In an interview with Time magazine, Gov. Rick Perry showed that he had no intention of softening the cactus-thorned rhetoric he developed during his decades in Texas politics, notably repeating his characterization of President Obama’s policies as “socialist.”
“Look, when all the answers emanate from Washington, D.C., one size fits all, whether it’s education policy or whether it’s health care policy, that is, on its face, socialism,” Mr. Perry told Time’s Richard Stengel and Mark Halperin.
In 2009, Mr. Perry told a Republican group in Texas that the Obama administration is “hell bent on taking America towards a socialist country.” This year, as he faces charges from his rivals for the Republican nomination that his positions are too extreme to win the general election, Mr. Perry said he will not change the way he speaks to appeal to the nation as a whole.
He also refused to back down from his characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”
“American citizens are just tired of this political correctness and politicians who are tiptoeing around important issues,” he said. “They want a decisive leader.”
om the TIME interview:
Now that you’ve been in the race for while, do you feel pressure to temper some of your rhetoric, like calling the Obama administration socialist?
No, I still believe they are socialist. Their policies prove that almost daily. Look, when all the answers emanate from Washington D.C., one size fits all, whether it’s education policy or whether it’s healthcare policy, that is, on its face, socialism.
“President Obama’s call for nearly a half-trillion dollars in more government stimulus when America has more than $14 trillion in debt is guided by his mistaken belief that we can spend our way to prosperity,” Perry said in a written statement Thursday night. “America needs jobs, smaller government, less spending and a president with the courage to offer more than yet another speech.”
Speaking before a joint session of Congress, Obama proposed a five-part package that would cut taxes for small businesses, expand payroll tax cuts for workers, extend unemployment benefits for the jobless and spend $100 billion on transportation projects.
Obama said the American Jobs Act “will not add to the deficit,” and asked members of Congress to increase the $1.5 trillion in savings they are charged with finding by Christmas to cover the full cost of his new plan.
“Like the president’s earlier $800 billion stimulus program, this proposal offers little hope for millions of Americans who have lost jobs on his watch, and taxpayers who are rightly concerned that their children will inherit a mountain of debt,” Perry said.
AUSTIN, Texas – I believe Governor Rick Perry would be dynamite (which means “great” in Texas) as President of the United States. Having served approaching two decades in the Texas House, I have worked with Rick Perry during his service as Agriculture Commissioner, Lt. Governor and Governor of the State of Texas, and have come to appreciate his style of leadership, responsiveness to constituents, and character.
He has consistently presented an open door to this representative from rural East Texas. More than once, he has been willing to listen to my ideas, and then as a result of his endorsement and personal involvement, rules were changed, laws were instituted and funding was made available that benefited my constituents and all of Texas.
Many times he opposed more powerful individuals and groups who could provide him much more financial support and power than could the “common folk.” These common folk were the good people of Texas who depended only on his integrity to simply do the right thing.
Governor Perry is in no way perfect. He has made errors. As we say in Texas, the only person who was perfect was crucified a couple of thousand years ago.
With that being said, after a quarter century in politics, Rick Perry’s record shines better than most. Of course he was once a Democrat and Republicans may criticize him for that.
However, the Governor is not the only Texan, who after entering into public service, experienced the Democratic Party’s dramatic shift away from principles consistent with rural, conservative values, and chose to do something about it — He became a Republican.
I was the first Republican from East Texas to enter the Texas House and remained the Republican with the most Democratic district in the Texas Legislature for three sessions. Many times folks in Republican circles are quite taken aback when I do not raise my hand when asked, “Who has always voted in a Republican primary?”
Fact is, as recently as a couple of decades ago, we had no Republican primary in my part of rural Texas.
Thus, Governor Perry, who entered state politics farther back than me, was courageous enough to take a stand early on and join other statesmen like Ronald Reagan and Phil Gramm in acknowledging that the Democratic Party had left their conservative beliefs behind.
Much has been criticized of Governor Perry’s initial support for the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC). As President of the Conservative Coalition of the Texas Legislature, I was deeply involved in that entire process. My rural district was directly in the path of the TTC and the project was largely viewed by my constituents as an abuse of the governmental power of eminent domain.
Truth is, the TTC started as a expansion on the I-35 corridor. The plan was added to legislation by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) as a new “branch” of highway that ran from south Texas to the north right through my district. TXDOT presented facts that upon the completion of the Panama Canal expansion many of the trading freighters, which currently only serve the West Coast, would be able to bring their cargo to Texas ports.
It was anticipated that this would place a tremendous burden on the current highway system as it heads north. However, the flawed TXDOT presentation of the plan and threats to private land ownership were not handled well. Citizens throughout Texas were insulted by the methods of potential property seizure, foreign control of Texas properties and other abuses.
It was wrong, and when presented with the will of Texas citizens, Governor Perry put a stop to it.
While driving my daughter back to begin a new semester at Baylor University, I received a call from the Governor’s office requesting that I invite a group of my fellow Texas Conservative Coalition legislators to his office to meet with him and TXDOT leadership. The following week several of us met with Governor Perry and the TXDOT Commissioner and Executive Director to share the frustration and opposition of our constituents across the state to the TTC.
After a lengthy meeting, Governor Perry did something that has made me respect him as I have no other leader which I have observed or served alongside. He sat back in his chair, gave our arguments thought and said, “Tell your constituents you talked to the Governor, and the Trans-Texas Corridor is no more.”
To this day, the handful of legislators in attendance at that meeting have respected Rick Perry–a man who was confident, honest, and exhibited absolute integrity to his citizens. He often does not receive the proper recognition and credit he deserves for his decisive response to the will of Texas citizens against the TTC. When presented with their objections and opposition, he brought a halt to the ill-conceived TTC.
This is in stark contrast to our current President who sees the destructive results of his policies and has no intention of admitting fault or changing course, but instead blames everyone else for his errors in judgment.
From his action to end the TTC to his signature on legislation to protect the rights of coastal property owners struggling to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of a hurricane, Rick Perry has responded to Texan landowners’ concerns about private property rights. I was one of those 125 landowners who faced a loss of property to be determined by a governmental agency’s assessment of where grass grew before and after a hurricane.
I applauded Governor Perry as he stood with the Texas House and Senate (and eventually the Texas Supreme Court) against some very vocal opposition to sign into law Rep. Hamilton’s bill preventing a potential land grab by the state. In this past session, Governor Perry declared eminent domain reform legislation an emergency item and saw it all the way through the legislative process until he signed it into law, strengthening the rights and protections of private property owners across Texas.
If ever there was a day we needed a leader in this country who does not place his pride and ego ahead of what is proven to be the will of the people and in their best interest…this is the day. A real leader who puts what is best for his citizens ahead of personal pride and opinions is what America needs.
Governor Perry stood against the temptation to use two of the worst hurricanes in Texas history to increase taxes and unnecessarily increase the burden on Texas families and businesses. He led by proposing to utilize the Obama stimulus funding for one time expenditures only (ie. to address hurricane damages), and avoid the creation or expansion of programs that future Texans would have to fund.
Handing out the bacon would have been the response of many politicians who were given the opportunity to appropriate billions of federal dollars, but Rick Perry did not choose that course, and even refused federal money that had strings attached for future state spending obligations. He proved to be a leader who thought first of the impact to taxpayers in the future above the opportunity to start more government programs.
The single accomplishment that earns more of my respect for Rick Perry than any other is that he has vetoed more bills than any other Texas governor (and not because of how long he has served). As a legislator, I realize how hard and expensive it is to get a bill passed. From one committee to another to the House floor to Senate committees, to Senate floor and back to the House again–passage of any piece of legislation is a long, costly road with a great investment of money, time, expertise, and reputation.
Governor Perry has vetoed a particular bill of mine that I still believe was extremely important, and to this day, I respectfully disagree with him. Yet, his individual courage and strength to stand alone on principle against the majority of the Legislature and powerful, rich special interest groups who can turn political contributions on and off proves the character of this man and that is why I want him in the White House.
I can give example after example of times when Governor Rick Perry stood on the side of “the little guy” over government expansion. There are many paths to more financial support and more power that are achieved with much less effort than standing with the common man over the rich and powerful. As Representative of a poor, rural district I can tell you Governor Perry has stood for us and what was best for Texans many times.
As I mentioned at the start of my comments, Perry isn’t perfect, but unlike many politicians, he is brave enough to stand firm when he believes he is right, and courageous enough to admit when he is wrong. There can be no doubt that Texas under Governor Perry’s leadership has done something right over the past decade, as we are undoubtedly the leader in jobs and business opportunities in the Free World.
Texas has seen an increase of 1 million new jobs during Rick Perry’s tenure as governor, while the rest of the nation has seen a loss of 2.5 million jobs, and over 70% of our job creation is in the vibrant and growing private sector of Texas. That stewardship is sorely needed in D.C.
The quote from President Harry Truman, “the buck stops here,” is true of any great leader. Governor Perry has proven that when the buck stops at whatever desk he is sitting, there’s a heap more good than bad.
Our nation would be well-served to have a leader like Rick Perry as our President, a man who has proven his ability to successfully foster a job-creating economy while reining in government growth, as well as someone who has learned from past errors and demonstrated the genuine desire to be responsive to the people he represents.