The CNN/Tea Party debate got started with a feisty exchange over Social Security, specifically what Texas Gov. Rick Perry thinks about the entitelement program and what the candidates think about Perry's views on the entitelment program.
“The people who are on Social Security today need to understand something: slam dunk guarantee, that program is going to be in place for those," Perry said.
He then went on to insist that the program needs to be reformed for younger workers and that Perry's description of it isn't all that unusual.
"It’s been called a ponzi scheme by many others before me," Perry said.
In fact, economist Alex Taborrok blogged on Sunday some examples of well-known, respected economists that have described Social Security as a ponzi scheme in the past.
For instance, Nobel Prize Winner Milton Friedman wrote a 1999 article about Social Security called "The Biggest Ponzi Scheme on Earth."
Even liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman used the terminology in 1996, writing, "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)."
Romney apperaed to concede that Perry's use of the phrase "Ponzi scheme" was not original.
"There are a lot of very bright people that agree with you," Romney said, then adding that he wasn't one of them.