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Ron Paul, Social Security opponent, acknowledges he receives benefits

June 20, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • "I would preserve Social Security as best I can, but we want to get off," said Texas Rep. Ron Paul, seen at a February event.
"I would preserve Social Security as best I can, but we want to get off,"… (Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images )

WASHINGTON – Ron Paul, a staunch opponent of federal welfare programs, acknowledged Wednesday that he receives Social Security checks, shortly after advocating that younger generations opt out of the program.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Paul was asked by Huffington Post’s Sam Stein whether he should set an example for younger Americans and opt out of the program entirely. Paul, refusing the notion, compared the program to other common goods such as the post office.

“Just as I use the post office, I use government highways, I use the banks, I use the federal reserve system, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work to remove this in the same way on Social Security,” the Texas congressman said. “In the same way with Social Security, I am trying to make a transition.

“I want young people to opt out of Social Security, but my goal isn’t to cut,” Paul said moments before.

Paul later clarified his remarks, saying: “I would preserve Social Security as best I can, but we want to get off.” He said he pays more into the system than he receives.

Paul, whose never-say-die presidential campaigns have made him a darling in libertarian circles and won over a loyal base of supporters, has persistently claimed that Social Security is unconstitutional, and has advocated a slow end to the program, though he has said that he would not end it were he elected president. Instead, Paul has proposed that younger Americans should have the choice to opt out of a system that he described as “on its last legs” during a tea party debate in 2011.

Though his 2012 presidential campaign, which he has said will be his last, ended in defeat to GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Paul’s supporters hope that with a reported 200-delegate-bloc, the congressman’s opinions on issues such as Social Security can be heard during the Republican party’s national convention in August.

Watch Stein and Paul's conversation below.

morgan.little@latimes.com

@mlittledc

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