Secret Ryan Transcript: Social Security and Medicare are the Target
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 a partial 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.”
- Ryan’s strategic plan: privatize Social Security and Medicare in order to convert people from “collectivism” to believers in a “individualist capitalist” 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 battle 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.
Transcription of portions of talk not transcribed on site taken from audio link provided on site. These are a good faith effort to transcribe the speech. http://www.atlassociety.org/ele/blog/2012/04/30/paul-ryan-and-ayn-rands-ideas-hot-seat-again
(:00) Introduction by Ed Hudgins, director of advocacy for The Atlas Society
Congressman Ryan was born in the community of Janesville, Wisconsin. He is a fourth– fifth generation native of Wisconsin. And he is currently serving his fourth term as a member of the U.S. Congress. He is best known, I’m happy to say, as one of the leaders in the fight to reform Social Security by allowing for the expanded use of individual retirement accounts. Now I don't know whether you use the privatization word. We here have no problem with that, but sometimes you have to do a bit of a soft sell up there because many members of congress are not quite as far thinking as Congressman Ryan.
(3:53) But when you look at the fight that we’re in here in Capital Hill, it’s a tough fight. It’s a very important fight. But we need more people on our side to fight this fight. That is why there is no more fight that is more obvious between the differences of these two conflicts than Social Security. Social Security right now is a collectivist system, it’s a welfare transfer system…..
And what’s important is if we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing social security … [Ryan laughs. Ed Hudgins overheard “personalizing”] personalizing social security … [laughter, applause] think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society, they will be an owner and a participant of our free enterprise system, of our capitalist system. I would like to have more people on our team who are owners and believers in the individualist capitalist system than on the other side, and if every worker in this country becomes an owner of real wealth, of seeing the fruits of their labor come and materialize for their benefit, then that’s that many more people in America who are not going to listen to likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class warfare-breathing demagogues.
And so what we have coming now in the beginning of this century is a fight. If you take a look at if we ran government on autopilot—and CBO just came out with a really good report on this—and do nothing, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will grow so fast and consume so much that the government will consume twenty-six percent of our national economy, twenty-six percent of our GDP. Historically speak government in this country runs at about eighteen percent of GDP. We will consume twenty-six percent of GDP if we do nothing.
So you have to understand that all they have to do is stop us from succeeding. Autopilot will get them where they want to go. Autopilot will bring more government, more collectivism, more centralized government. If we do not succeed in switching these programs, in reforming these programs from what some people call a defined benefit system, to a defined contribution system– from switching these programs—and this is where I’m talking about health care, as well—from a third party or socialist based system to an individually owned, individually prefunded, individually directed system.
We can do this. We are on offence on a lot of these ideas. I was the principle author of the Health Savings Account law, which was an amendment I brought to the floor and passed in the Medicare bill in the last session of congress. Health Savings Accounts, personal accounts for Social Securities, these are the things that put us on offence, that get the– the individual back in the game and break the back of this collectivist philosophy that really pervades, you know, ninety percent of the thinking around here in this town.
(7:32) I think if we win a few of these right now—moving health care to a consumer based, individualist system, moving Social Security to an individually preowned, prefunded retirement system—just those two right there will do so much to change the dynamics in this society– will do so much to bring more people onto the side of demanding for accountability and individualism and transparency in government than anything else we can do. So we’re trying to focus on big-ticket items to win these things.
Q&A session, observation by Ed Hudgins:
(15:05) By the way, I just want to add real quickly, and I know the Congressman has I’m sure said this. [General Augusto Pinochet’s Secretary of Labor and Social Security] José Piñera, who helped privatize Social Security in Chile, who also was by the way an Ayn Rand fan. José points out the moral revolution that occurs with privatization, that is, people in Chile, you know, who thought of themselves as Marxist suddenly feel that they are owners of property [Ryan “Yeah”] and, you know, they literally get up and they start reading the Chilean equivalent of the Wall Street Journal [Ryan overheard “That’s right”]. I saw this in my own father, who was a teamster, a truck driver, and close to his retirement he started putting money into individual retirement accounts. And so whenever I’d go over and visit him, he’d basically be saying, “Ed, look how my stocks are doing” [Ryan overheard laughing, “That’s great”]. I’d say, “Dad I can’t believe it, you sound like more of a capitalist than I do.” It creates a moral revolution of people who actually own property. And Congressman Ryan knows that. And I think that’s one of the importance of this kind of movement is that we really change not only the economic dynamics but the moral dynamics.
*corrected typo in bullet points