WASHINGTON -- Republican Governors Association Chairman Rick Perry (R-Tex.) was grilled on Fox News Sunday about his views on health care, the auto bailout and job creation, as he insisted -- often despite facts presented to him by host Chris Wallace -- that the federal government programs were failing and Texas had the answers.
Perry, like many other Republicans, wants to repeal federal health care reform. But Texas leads the nation in uninsured residents at a staggering 25 percent. On Fox News Sunday, Perry blamed the high uninsured rate on the "strings" attached to federal dollars going to Texas from the Medicaid program.
"As a matter of fact, that is one of our strong points, is block granting," said Perry. "We can create a better and more expansive health care insurance coverage -- and obviously the delivery of health care -- to more people, without all of those federal strings attached."
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, however, has cautioned against the approach Perry is advocating, writing, "reducing federal payments for Medicaid relative to currently projected amounts would probably require states to provide less extensive coverage, or to pay a larger share of the program's total costs, than would be the case under current law."
"Do the things you're supposed to do, like securing our border, like delivering the mail -- preferably on time and on Saturdays -- before you get involved in things that the Constitution doesn't say one word about, like health care," replied Perry.
Wallace followed Perry's logic and asked if he therefore believed the federal government should end Medicare and Medicaid, and send all the money to the states instead. "What I'm saying is between Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, there's $106 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and not one dime saved to pay for them," replied Perry, not directly answering the question.
Perry also refused to say if he would end Social Security, once again comparing it to a Ponzi scheme. When Wallace pointed out that it wasn't set up to be a nefarious program but has changed because of the nation's evolving demographics, Perry replied, "It probably is a program that even makes Mr. Ponzi feel pretty bad if he were still alive."
On the auto bailout, despite GM going public last week and sending billions of dollars back to taxpayers, Perry still insisted that it wasn't successful and said the federal government shouldn't be involved in private sector growth. Strangely, he then went into an answer about how Texas, in the past decade, created 850,000 net new jobs.