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Ryan Vowed To Privatize Social Security And Medicare In Forgotten Speech

Memo Pad

Ryan Vowed To Privatize Social Security And Medicare In Forgotten Speech


As the Republican presidential campaign attempts to move on from the secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney addressing a private fundraiser in Florida, an obscure recording of Paul Ryan reveals that the Republican vice presidential nominee likewise preaches a different vision when the media isn’t watching.

The audio recording, recently rediscovered by Vincent Miller of  America Magazine, is a speech delivered by Ryan to the objectivist Atlas Society in 2005. (It can be found on the Atlas Society’s website.) While the speech has been cited for containing Ryan’s declaration that Ayn Rand was the reason he got into public service, closer scrutiny shows that Rand is also the inspiration for Ryan’s policy decisions.

“It’s so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand’s vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are,” Ryan told the Atlas Society crowd.

“The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it,” he later adds, “is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”

Ryan went on to explain how he and his fellow Randians can “break the back of this collectivist philosophy that really pervades, you know, 90 percent of the thinking” in Washington. The first step is to “focus on big-ticket items,” such as Social Security.

According to Ryan, Social Security is a “collectivist,” “welfare-transfer system,” that Congress can only fix by transitioning it to “an individually pre-owned, pre-funded retirement system.” In other words, by privatizing it.

If Social Security is “personalized,” as Ryan put it (to knowing laughter from the audience), then “every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist,” which will create “that many more people in America who are not going to listen to the likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class warfare-breathing demagogues.”

Given all of this rhetoric, it’s no surprise that Ryan has tried to put his plan into action on multiple occasions. As Talking Points Memo’s Sahil Kapur explains, in 2004 Ryan and Republican Senator John Sununu co-sponsored legislation that introduced private accounts in such a financially irresponsible way that even the Bush administration opposed it.

Ryan tried to privatize Social Security again in 2010, as part of his “Roadmap for America’s Future.” As Paul Van de Water, a Social Security expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities told Kapur, Ryan’s plan “would have made deep cuts in guaranteed Social Security benefits and impaired the program’s solvency by diverting a large portion of payroll taxes into private accounts that would primarily benefit high earners.”

Neither measure succeeded, and Romney has not even hinted at any plan to privatize Social Security. Given that Ryan views every fight as a battle between individualism and collectivism, however, there can be little doubt that he’d still promote privatization in a Romney-Ryan administration.

Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

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  1. Lynda September 20, 2012

    Which Ryan are we suppose to believe? The one who says all staff must read her insipid novels to obtain enlightenment, or the one who tossed the old gal undere the bus? Take your pick as they both suck.

    1. TheSkalawag929 September 21, 2012

      I pick.


  2. robert September 21, 2012

    OMG! This is the perfect definition of insanity creating its own reality! Privatization of all of America’s safety nets places it at risk of billionaires, industries, corporations, Wall Street, and Super PACs to regulate our lives, the LET THEM DIE concept of the Republican/Tea Party, that “pull yourself up by your boot straps” mentality. Ofcourse we know that very few of them did that, but pulled themselves up by grants, subsidies, tax breaks, and tax payers’ money. It’s frightening that these monsters are even that close to the White House. We need to make sure they never make it on November 6th, and move on to vote them out of the House. Get them all out or make them accountable for their actions.

  3. karinursula September 21, 2012

    Wow Mr Ryan, have you paid the SS back to the Government you received after your Father died? The arrogance of Ryan is overwhelming.

  4. DownriverDem September 21, 2012

    Why is it then that we keep hearing that seniors vote repub? The seniors I know would never vote repub. What is it these seniors don’t get? Are they racist? I don’t get it.

    1. Dominick Vila September 21, 2012

      The GOP has launched a scare campaign in states where seniors constitute a large percentage of the population accusing President Obama of destroying MEDICARE, and cite the $716B reduction in future spending as an example. Many seniors believe the $716B is an actual cut of the current budget (which is an impossibility since the MEDICARE annual budget is less than that), they have also been led to believe that the cuts affects their benefits, which they do not since those cuts are the result of more effective oversight over service provider claims and elimination of duplication brought about by ACA. The GOP cynically scared and misled some of our most vulnerable citizens to get their votes…while planning to dismantle MEDICARE and privatize Social Security!

      1. Ed September 21, 2012

        like the NAZI Party that they love so well, the GOP considers FEAR a potent weapon.

    2. Warren Nicholson September 21, 2012

      “Are they racist?” 000000000000000000 YES

    3. Disgusted_In_Alabama October 3, 2012

      I know lots of seniors who are apparently dumb enough to vote against their own self interests rather than vote for that Black man – only they don’t use the phrase Black man.

  5. Dick Robbins September 21, 2012

    An offical, in Australia, warned the world that the GOP/Tea party are a threat to Global Economy.
    Any party that would, deliberately, allow their own nation credit rating to be down graded just for political spite is dangerious to the entire globe.

  6. Dominick Vila September 21, 2012

    The same people that refer to programs that help the middle class and the poor as socialist collectivism are the same ones that don’t hesitate to support further accumulation of wealth by the elite. I guess a transition to an oligarchy is far more acceptable to the GOP than a system that allows the middle class and the poor to be independent and get the care we need after we retire. One of the most offensive claims made by the GOP is to call SS and MEDICARE welfare. Not only do we pay FICA throughout our entire professional lives, we continue paying MEDICARE fees after we retire!

  7. nowwhat.. September 21, 2012

    Who gives a flying fuck what that bitch ayn thinks anywayys REALLY

  8. jcbsdriver September 21, 2012

    Paul Ryan is a sham, wrapped up in hipocracy, lying in bed with an elitist.

    I sincerly hope that this all catches up with him, leaves him broken and ashamed and he will crawl back to Wisconsin and stay there. If the people of Wisconsin like him, please put him in your state house and keep him out of the nation’s house.

    Thank You!

  9. Justin Napolitano September 21, 2012

    First, it is impossible to get rid of Medicare because insurance companies do not want to insure people that are, due to their age, likely to get sick and need treatment. They are willing to offer supplemental insurance because they have a very limited cost exposure. But if they had to foot the whole bill, insurance for the elderly would be unaffordable.

  10. Ed September 21, 2012

    Individualism vs. collectivism. = Anarchy vs. A Nation!

  11. soul68 October 12, 2012

    So he wants to stop requiring people to pay into the government retirement plan, and force people to pay into a private retirement plan. If he was really for individualism, he’d just say let people keep that part of their income and let them do with it as they please.


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