Ayn Rand Influence Makes Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney the Go Backwards Team

Paul Ryan, after having flip-flopped (sound familiar?) on the influence of Ayn Rand on his life, can ultimately not deny his old words: "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." So there. It is established. He may claim to reject her philosophy, but his policies correlate with her infatuation of pursuing one's own self-interest no matter the cost. Indeed, much of Rand's philosophy contained within her famous Atlas Shrugged makes the case that following one's self interest is moral. In essence, Rand instilled a sense of minimalist government, supply-side economics, and tax-cutting that Ryan adopted as evidenced by his budget plan

Along the line, Ryan open fondness for Rand caused problems. Being a Catholic, Ryan later rejected Rand mainly on the grounds that she was an atheist, as if being an atheist makes one incapable of governing. He remained fond of Rand's political and economic theory, which largely dismisses weaker members of society similarly to Social Darwinism; Rand called those less-fit, "takers," those more-fit, "makers."

Ryan's father died when Ryan was 16, and his mother received Social Security benefits, which may highlight an interesting contradiction in Paul Ryan's worldview: how can one be so opposed to a government program that in fact sustained him at a young age. If the current Paul Ryan saw himself as a child, would he really call his mother "weak" or a "taker" for wanting to support her child and relying on the government to do so? Or, according to strict anarchist Randian ideals, this mother and family simply be weaker, and thus undeserving of any help they do not generate themselves. Rand championed "rational self-interest," integrity, productivity, and pride as the primary philosophical virtues. The single-mother family does not fall within this domain.

Ryan's call to further trim taxes is sure to attract applause from fiscal conservatives everywhere, especially this guy! However, the supply-sider's theory that cutting back on the corporate tax rate and personal income tax brackets will bring America's economy back to the promised land is fallible. Since tax rates were lopped in half under Reagan, poverty has steadily increased, even when the economy grows and the jobless rate ticks down. Ironically, Ryan's budget strays from limited government and fiscal austerity by continuing oil and gas subsidies for the most profitable companies of the recession--to the tune of $40 billion. It makes Ryan look like another politician that doesn't stand for austere fiscal measures, but one who stands for enriching the rich even more. Ryan's budget also favors increasing military spending 20% in 2013. This once again proves that Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the Republican Party do no support small government; just small government rhetoric.

Paul Ryan's Ayn Rand-inspired approach to the budget may be a bit over the top, but it nonetheless  brings the issue of the annual deficit and America's dismal accountability to the forefront of politics. Hopefully both sides of the aisle can begin a serious discourse about what will be cut, and what will not, and what to do about taxes. Compromise will be an integral component to this process, indeed making compromise one of the key attributes for those running for office this fall.  

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Grant Ferowich

Grant studies at Wake Forest, where he majors in philosophy and economics.

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