Among Rick Perry’s most unusual ideas, taken from his recent book, Fed Up, are these (paraphrased from this summary by Matt Yglesias):
1. Social Security is evil. According to Perry, Social Security is “by far the best example” of a program “violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles.” (page 48)
2. Medicare Is Too Expensive, but Perry opposes every known method of making it more cost-effective. Both establishing Medicare in 1965 and expanding it to include prescription drugs in 2003 are examples of “an irresponsible culture of spending in Washington” (page 63), but establishing “‘councils of experts’ and panels of various sorts” to assess the cost effectiveness of different Medicare-eligible treatments is a “frightening” “scheme” that “undermines freedom” and can be fairly labeled “death panels” (page 81). What, one wonders, does Perry propose to do?
3. All Bank Regulation Is Unconstitutional: Criticizing the Security and Exchange Commission’s rulemaking process under the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, Perry asserts that “if the Constitution were shown the appropriate respect, Washington regulation writers wouldn’t have to worry about underrepresented views, because they wouldn’t have control over them in the first place” (page 94).
4. Consumer Financial Protection Is Unconstitutional: He contends that all federal financial regulation is illegitimate, listing the SEC on page 44 as part of a “federal alphabet soup” in which “undemocratic unelected Washington bureaucrats” are “now (dubiously) empowered to dictate their own preferences to the American people.”
5. Almost Everything Is Unconstitutional: He regrets the existence of jurisprudence construing the Commerce Clause to permit “federal laws regulating the environment, regulating guns, protecting civil rights, establishing the massive programs and Medicare and Medicaid, creating national minimum wage laws, [and] establishing national labor laws.” Perry makes a partial exception for laws barring racial discrimination which he says fulfill “the intent behind the passage of the Reconstruction Era amendments.” (page 51)
6. Al Gore Is Part Of A Conspiracy To Deny The Existence Of Global Cooling: Jokes that the Social Security Trust Fund “must be somewhere in Al Gore’s lockbox, right next to his notes from inventing the Internet and that global cooling data he doesn’t want anyone to see” (page 60). He argues that moderates oppose curbing greenhouse gas emissions because “they know that we have been experiencing a cooling trend.” (page 92).
Perry is backpedaling, but it’s going to be difficult to distance himself from a book he wrote in 2010.