From the Boston Globe:
But in a bold-yet-folksy way, the Texan also put his own spin on an array of questions from a crowd of more than 150.
Asked about how the country copes with the growing cost of Social Security and other entitlement programs, Perry said political leaders had to show “courage” especially in dealing with Social Security, which he labeled a “Ponzi scheme.”
He said: “I can promise you, my 27-year-old son, Social Security, under the program that we have today, will not be there.”
Perry, himself 61, pledged to back a base level of support for needy retirees, but he said calling the current retirement system a Ponzi scheme – in which contributions from one group is to pay immediate benefits to another group – is the first step in deciding how to alter it.
“I’m not afraid of having that conversation,” the governor said. “Do I have a plan yet to lay out and say here it is in black and white? I don’t. But I can promise you … these challenges are not overcomable, at all. We are Americans and we will find the way to do it.”
Perry tread more carefully around another issue that riled the party base for another Texas governor who ran for president, George W. Bush.
Perry said that before deciding how to deal with immigrants already illegally in the country, United States needed to secure its border with Mexico both to block new illegals and also to tamp down on drug-related violence.
Texas already spends $152 million on its own on that effort, he said, and the state’s governor called for both up to 1,000 National Guard troops and the non-lethal use of unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol and monitor the 1,200-mile-long Texas-Mexico border.
“You can secure it, and the way you do it is you put boots on the ground – substantial number of boots on the ground,” he said.
As for using aircraft such as Predator drones, Perry noted many unarmed aircraft are already flown in the area each day as practice for the Air Force pilots who will guide them overseas.
“Why not be flying those missions and using that real-time information to help our law enforcement?” Perry said. “Because if we will commit to that, I will suggest to you that we will be able to drive the drug cartels away from that border.”
Elsewhere on national security, Perry outlined a hawkish doctrine: “If you try to hurt the United States, we will come defeat you,” he said.
On budget issues, Perry said he supported a balanced-budget amendment “to clearly say, if it’s not coming in, we’re not going to spend it.”
More immediately, he pledged a series of executive orders to reduce government spending and regulation, as well as to halt implementation of the federal universal health care law enacted by President Obama.