WASHINGTON -- Texas Governor Rick Perry put his money where his mouth is when he wrote the now-controversial 2010 book Fed Up! Our Fight To Save America. Perry promised to donate all of the proceeds from the sales to a conservative think tank founded by a major Perry donor that has led the way in Texas on the issues that Perry is now receiving criticism for embracing.
In his author's note, Perry thanks the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), which published the work. He goes on to explain his donation, writing, “To help bring the Tenth Amendment back to life in the twenty-first century, all of the author’s net proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Foundation to support the work of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies.”
The Center for Tenth Amendment Studies marks the TPPF’s entrance into the growing support for a radical rethinking of the relationship between the states and the federal government -- a position that is popular among the Tea Partiers and something that Perry embraced in his book and on the stage at Wednesday's debate.
Drawing the most attention for Perry are his comments on Social Security. In the debate he repeated previous remarks from his book and called the program a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie.” Perry called for radical changes to the safety net program, although he lacked specifics.
The Center for Tenth Amendment Studies, while not addressing Social Security in quite as strident a manner as Perry, has indicated that support for a balanced-budget amendment would force immediate changes to Social Security. Mario Loyola, the Center’s director, wrote, "The major entitlement programs -- Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which are projected to eat up all federal revenue in a matter of decades -- would have to be replaced with sustainable alternatives sooner rather than later. It would not be question of 'if,' but only of 'when,' and the answer would be 'soon.'"
After the debate, the Perry campaign circulated materials on the experience of three Texas counties that opted-out of Social Security in the late-1970s. This example of alternative retirement security plans, which made an appearance in Perry’s book, was touted as early as 1998 by TPPF when they promoted the writing of Ray Holbrook, a Galveston County official who took part in enacting a privatized retirement benefit program for his municipality.
Top Republican strategist Karl Rove stated prior to the debate that Perry's book will be his "biggest challenge" in the election and that his views on Social Security are "toxic" in both a general and Republican primary election. This prompted a dismissal of Rove by Perry in the debate.
It’s no surprise that Perry would donate his book’s proceeds to a policy center promoting the Tenth Amendment, which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Fed Up! is essentially a manifesto for conservatives that favor state supremacy over the federal government and are looking for new ways to assert that authority through the Tenth Amendment.
Perry calls for states to opt out of federal funds when they come with strings attached, to routinely bring lawsuits against the federal government on Tenth Amendment grounds, to bind together and enact policies between the states and not through the federal government, and for Congress and the states to enact a balanced-budget amendment. All of these are features of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies’ Agenda for State Action.
Rick Perry's campaign did not respond to a request for comment by The Huffington Post.