(The Hill) — The Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee on Tuesday drew fire from the Democrats for backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”

Social Security fits the technical definition of a Ponzi scheme, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told conservative Laura Ingraham on her radio show.

“It’s not a criminal enterprise, but it’s a pay-as-you-go system, where earlier investors — or say, taxpayers — get a positive rate of return, and the most recent investors — or taxpayers — get a negative rate of return,” he said. “That is how those schemes work.”

Perry’s description of the Social Security as a “Ponzi sceheme” has been attacked by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Perry’s leading challenger for the GOP presidential nomination. Romney criticized Perry for scaring seniors and wanting to abolish the program, warning that the Republican nominee needs to work to reform the program.