AYN RAND DISCIPLE: Our Entitlement Programs Are 'Morally Bankrupt' And 'Theft'

The U.S. entitlement programs, namely Social Security and Medicare, aren’t just financially bankrupt, they’re “morally bankrupt.” They’re also funded by money stolen from hard-working, responsible Americans.

That’s the conclusion of Yaron Brook, the president of the Ayn Rand Institute.

The author of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and other books, Ayn Rand is famous for espousing free markets and self-reliance. Yaron Brook, a former finance professor, shares these beliefs.

Brook believes that our society should eliminate social programs so we encourage citizens to stand up and take responsibility for themselves. He also argues that Social Security and Medicare are “theft” because the money to pay for them is stolen from those who don’t believe in or need the programs.

The entitlement programs were created by elected representatives, of course—representatives who could presumably eliminate them if citizens decided they no longer wanted them. So I asked Brook whether the money to pay for the military, police, and other government programs is also stolen.

Brook said no. There is a role for government in our society, he says—protecting the people from crooks and outside attacks—so the money is being put to proper use.

But if the money for Social Security is being stolen from citizens who don’t believe in it, why isn’t the money to pay for the military also being stolen from pacifists who don’t believe in war?

Because, says Brook, the collection and spending of the latter money is in everyone’s interests and is therefore justified.

Hmmm. Social Security certainly has its problems, as does the United States as a whole. But it seems inconsistent to suggest that some money collected and spent by the government is “stolen,” while other money isn’t.

The question about how much emphasis our society should place on self-reliance is a different one. Many Americans still abhor the idea of Social Security, along with minimum wages, Medicare, and other programs designed to extend the wealth and benefits of America to as many Americans as possible.

Who’s right on this one? Weigh in below.

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