Politics

Chris Matthews’ Social Security admission: ‘It is a Ponzi scheme’

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Betcha didn’t see this one coming.

On MSNBC’s Thursday broadcast of “Hardball,” host Chris Matthews committed the mortal sin — he nearly parroted the theory that mortified so many of the network’s hosts and guests throughout the day. Matthews called Social Security “a Ponzi scheme” the day after Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry doubled down on his previous statements echoing that sentiment in the Republican debate  (h/t Matt Lewis)

Matthews first put forth what he thought Social Security was originally intended to be: “You pay for it while you work. When you retired and have no other form of income, this will help you out. In fact, a lot were impoverished in the old days without Social Security. It’s a great anti-poverty program. But then people started to live past 65. Even the great Franklin Roosevelt didn’t make it to 65. In those days, if you made it to 65, you were lucky. You got a few bucks on Social Security.” (RELATED: Has Chris Matthews lost his mind?)

Then he put forth what it has become: “Today, lots of people fortunately make it past 65,” he said. “They live into their 80s and 90s. They’re still getting checks. The system doesn’t work that way anymore. It’s not as healthy as it once was. So, how does a Republican deal with the fact it is a Ponzi scheme in the sense that the money that’s paid out every day is coming from people who have paid in that day. It’s not being made somewhere.”

Todd Harris, Matthews’ guest and a Republican strategist agreed. “That’s absolutely right,” Harris said. “And you will never get back the amount of money that you paid into it under its current structures.”

“Certainly, poor people did pretty well,” Matthews replied. “That’s the idea.”