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Perry Sticking to His Guns on Social Security Perry Sticking to His Guns on Social Security

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Politics / Campaign 2012

Perry Sticking to His Guns on Social Security

Republican presidential hopeful and Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks during the Republican Presidential Candidates debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library September 7, 2011 in Simi Valley, California. Eight Republican candidates are debating to define the party's nominee to take on US President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.    AFP PHOTO/ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)(ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

photo of Olga Belogolova
September 12, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t shying away from the Social Security fight. In fact, he’s facing it head on.

Though his comments calling the popular program a “Ponzi scheme” have unleashed a slew of criticism from all sides, Perry has continued to defend his comments, even penning an op-ed in USA Today on Monday explaining his line of thinking.

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“Americans deserve a frank and honest discussion of the dire financial challenges facing the nearly 80-year-old program,” he wrote, saying that the program needs to be reformed to make it “financially viable” for younger workers.

(RELATED: Why Perry's Social Security Argument Could Help Him)

Just ahead of the next GOP presidential debate, co-hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express in Florida on Monday night, Perry used his op-ed to expand on the explosive exchange he shared with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the Reagan Library last week.

“By 2037, retirees will only get roughly 76 cents back for every dollar that is put into Social Security unless reforms are implemented,” he wrote.

“Imagine how long a traditional retirement or investment plan could survive if it projected investors would lose 24% of their money?”

Despite his controversial rhetoric on the popular government program, the Texas Republican continues to lead among his fellow Republicans.

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll released on Monday morning, 30 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents support Perry. Romney, who on Monday received the backing of former candidate Tim Pawlenty, comes in at 18 percent.

WATCH Bill Maher had a colorful way of describing Perry's commitment to the "Ponzi scheme" line on "The Tonight Show" Friday (at 1:00):

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