Reality, What a Concept


Reflection on Rep. Ryan, his idol Ayn Rand and the American state from TPM Reader MM

We all know that Paul Ryan worships at the altar of Ayn Rand. We know that Ayn Rand spent years railing against collectivism and parasites who live off the state. Many are aware that Ryan collected Social Security Survivor’s benefits upon the death of his father. But do people know that when Rand was diagnosed with lung cancer, she applied for and began receiving Social Security/Medicare under her husband’s name O’Connor? (See Anne Heller’s Rand biography Ayn Rand and the World She Made.)

Ryan can talk empowerment and choice all he wants. The bottom line is this, ownership requires the capacity to meet the responsibilities of ownership. Illness diminishes that capacity considerably. I have heard it said that a full 30% of those on Medicare suffer from varying degrees of cognitive deficits. The responsibility of ownership Ryan proposes will inevitably fall on children or other family members. These adult children will then be torn between the responsibilities to their parents and the responsibilities to their own children. And those without children or other family members will be forced to rely on case managers, senior advocates and other social service personnel, whose salaries the Republicans will no doubt refuse to fund.

Paul Ryan demonstrates an alarming lack of understanding of how real lives are lived. His assessment of the human condition is as distorted as his budget projections.

[TPM Reader MM]
Oncology Social Worker


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of