Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Atlas Mooched

Ayn Rand
The truth is usually inconvenient for someone...

In December it was revealed through a number of FOI requests that Ayn Rand and her husband both collected Social Security and very likely, Medicare benefits until their deaths.

The world is abuzz today with articles on Paul Ryan due to his official SOTU rebuttal last night. It is common knowledge that Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is his favorite book and he requires all his staff to read it. As he states it "is the reason I got involved in public service.

Fair enough, even the Siren read it in her school days. However, I liked "The Fountainhead" much more.

Anyhoo...Not just Eddie Munster likes Rand, Ron Johnson has also claimed to be a fan too. But it is inescapably ironic that Ryan's muse would have "delivered" herself to such "gradual enslavement" as Medicare and Social Security. Especially as Ryan is himself is closely associated with Social Security privatization.

Ms. Rand was a heavy smoker (two packs a day) and vehemently denied that smoking was a deadly addiction. She died of lung cancer, a sad and expensive way to die. Like many people with catastrophic illnesses, Ms. Rand would have been financially wiped out by her medical expenses and so she chose to receive what she might have characterized herself as state welfare.

Since Ms. Rand did pay in to the Social Security system. Many point out there is no conflict between her ideology and her actions...she was forced to pay.  However, she was not. Rand was a Russian immigrant, she chose to come to the U.S. and that's part of the deal isn't it? Medicare on the other hand is a different matter.

Through her body of work it is clear that anyone who takes or receives help is weak and inferior. Perhaps this is why even though I enjoyed her books, ultimately I have always disagreed with her. My mind keeps returning to clips of people on TV and in the paper talking about not wanting to pay - especially for those who have failed to care for themselves and therefore become a burden to the rest of us.

Would Ms. Rand's two pack a day habit and inevitable lung cancer qualify as that kind of burdensome person?

Of course, the Siren believes the moral to the story is that Social Security and Medicare did for Ayn Rand what they were supposed to do: create a safety net so that the elderly and infirm are not thrown out into the street. What will Paul Ryan's plans for Social Security and Medicare do for those of us not lucky enough to be Ayn Rand?

Read a good article on the subject HERE.