Hiding In Plain Sight - Paul Ryan's Plan To Privatize SS

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In one of the books I read about the Reagan White House, there was an anecdote that, when the report issued by the Iran-contra investigation painted Reagan in a very, very bad light (even though he wasn't indicted), it presented White House advisors with a real public relations problem. Their solution was to release an executive summary downplaying the findings, since they knew reporters are typically too lazy to read the entire report. (It worked.)

Which reminds me of this. A writer for America, the Catholic weekly, decided to transcribe the rest of Paul Ryan's 2005 speech at the Atlas Society (which was conveniently shortened on their website), and guess what he came up with? Ryan's stated objective to privatize Social Security and Medicare! Or, as Ryan put it, to convert them from “collectivism” to believers in a “capitalistic individualistic” philosophy. Gee, you have to wonder why the Atlas Society left that out of the transcript. Maybe because they love the idea of a sleeper agent in the White House?

This isn’t from a secret video, it's from the untranscribed portion of Ryan’s 2005 speech at the Atlas Society’s “Celebration of Ayn Rand.”  It fits well with the Romney video because it makes clear that middle class entitlements, “so called defined benefit programs” such as Social Security and Medicare ARE an explicit strategic target because they are collectivistic, socialistic and foster dependency.

This is the event where Ryan stated that Rand was the “one thinker” who is the “reason I got involved in public service;” and that Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are “required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”  Statements he would latter dismiss as “urban legends.”

The speech has been hidden in plain sight on the Atlas Society website, which offers only apartial transcript.  This omits several revealing passages that illuminate Ryan’s philosophy as it relates to policy priorities.

It is impossible to summarize these statements without sounding like a breathless conspiracy theorist.  Here’s what Ryan says.  Don’t trust my bullets.  Read the transcript.  Don’t trust my transcript, listen to the audio on the Atlas Society site.

  • Ryan describes Social Security and Medicare as “collectivist” and “socialistic.”
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      • Ryan’s strategic plan:  privatize Social Security and Medicare in order to convert people from “collectivism” to believers in a “capitalistic individualistic” philosophy.  So that there will be “more people on our team” who “won’t listen to” Democrats.

     

      • Ryan’s acceptance of Pinochet’s Secretary of Social Security José Piñera’s similar program of Social Security privatization as a “moral revolution” that made Marxists into capitalists who started to read the Chilean equivalent of the Wall Street Journal.  Ryan is overheard, “Yeah”  “That’s right.”

    For Ryan “defined benefit” programs such as Social Security and Medicare are problems in themselves.  This isn’t something he saves for gatherings of the Ayn Rand Society, such concerns about “dependency” are scattered throughout his Path to Prosperity—again hidden in plain sight.  This transcript doesn’t so much reveal a secret, as highlight a clear theme in his policy rationale that is always present, but in more public settings subordinated to his prophecies of fiscal apocalypse.  Thus, it is no surprise his budget cuts the safety net and radically reshapes Medicare first and addresses the deficit later.

    In the published transcript Ryan states that like Rand, he views all political and policy questions as battles between individualism and collectivism.

    (2:38) In almost every fight we are involved in here, on Capitol Hill, whether it’s an amendment vote that I’ll take later on this afternoon, or a big piece of policy we’re putting through our Ways and Means Committee, it is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict: individualism vs. collectivism.

    This philosophy leaves no room for Catholic notions of Government in service to the common good, there is no room for a social conception of the human person.  Rejection of Rand’s atheism notwithstanding, Ryan’s policies are based on a political philosophy completely at odds with the principles of Catholic Social Doctrine.  “Prudence” is an insufficient measure of his proposals and the threat this philosophy poses to the Catholic faithful.

    I wonder who's going to defend this. Hmm.

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