Ayn Rand & Paul Ryan: The Ultimate Idealists and Hypocrites

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Rand & Ryan: The Ultimate Idealists and Hypocrites

Sales of Ayn Rand’s most acclaimed novel, Atlas Shrugged, have more than tripled since President Obama was elected, and an increasing amount of Americans have since taken a very idealistic approach to benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The most ideological of all may be republican vice-president candidate Paul Ryan, who stated, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” Much like Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan has great ideas that sound amazing in a perfect world, but these faulty ideas often fail when implemented in reality.

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Ayn Rand opposed all forms of Welfare and benefit programs, saying the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull. Her theories regarding such programs do make sense, until one actually needs them. Ayn Rand herself, after speaking out against Medicare & Social Security her entire life, actually went against her principles and received benefits from both benefit programs under the false name Ann O’Connor. Michael Ford of Xavier University wrote, “In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.”

Ayn’s ideas concerning these benefit programs are extraordinarily similar to those of Paul Ryan. The Medicare voucher program sounds like an excellent idea, and in theory will benefit all tax payers and Medicare beneficiaries. In reality however, the voucher system will never work because Ryan, like Rand, can only see the big picture from an ideological perspective. They both refuse to account for greed, which interestingly enough is the cornerstone of capitalism. Even the richest and most idealistic people fight for free handouts.

A look at the Medicare Voucher System: The privatized Medicare voucher system, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would require Seniors to pay approximately 35% of their median income to private health insurance companies. Furthermore, the increase in voucher payments does not keep up with health care inflation, so this percentage will likely increase to 44% by the year 2030. The CBO also states the higher cost of privatization will be offset by lower utilization rates stemming from better utilization management. This essentially means health insurance companies will have better control over what healthcare procedures seniors have access to, and which providers they can visit. Bottom line is Medicare beneficiaries will pay more to receive fewer benefits.

People love to say they love Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand, and for good reason. Ideals are an important part of character, and people who have strong ones show great strength and determination. I’m afraid, however, at the end of the day (or election) people are greedy and in reality choose the path that is in their best self-interest.