Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday that he still believes in the views put forth in his book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, despite attempts from his presidential campaign to distance itself from the 9-month-old book.
“I haven’t backed off anything in my book,” Perry said during a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa in response to a question by ThinkProgress reporter Scott Keyes. “Read the book again, get it right. Next question.”
In the book, the Texas governor blasted the expansion of the federal government and criticized programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He attacked social welfare programs as “fraudulent systems designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end.”
Perry also called Social Security “a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal,” which was implemented “at the expense of respect for the Constitution.”
“This unsustainable fiscal insanity is the true legacy of Social Security and the New Deal,” he wrote.
But his communications director, Ray Sullivan, told the Wall Street Journal that the book is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on Social Security, describing the book as “a look back, not a path forward.” He added that the book was “not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto.”
Perry now wants Social Security benefits for existing retirees and those close to retirement to be strongly protected, according to Sullivan, but the governor also seeks to reform the program to insure it is fiscally responsible.
Spokesman Mark Miner also distanced Perry from his book’s proposal to repeal the 16th Amendment or replace the current tax code with a flat tax in response to a query by The Washington Post.
“The 16th Amendment instituting a federal income tax starting at one percent has exploded into onerous, complex and confusing tax rates and rules for American workers over the last century… We can’t undo more than 70 years of progressive taxation and worsening debt obligations overnight,” Miner said in an email.
The book is also critical of the the 17th Amendment, which established the election of senators by popular vote instead of by state legislatures.