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Ayn Rand’s "Atlas Shrugged": Novel or Prophecy?

10.01.2009 (11:56 pm) – Filed under: Business,Finance,Politics,Society ::

Stephen Moore writes that the central themes of Ayn Rand’s massive book are playing out even now in Washington D.C. as an incompetent government hurries to create massive new legislative programs to dole out ever greater amounts of money to mis-run businesses, all under the guise of keeping the American economy healthy.

The current economic strategy is right out of “Atlas Shrugged”: The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you. That’s the justification for the $2 trillion of subsidies doled out already to keep afloat distressed insurance companies, banks, Wall Street investment houses, and auto companies — while standing next in line for their share of the booty are real-estate developers, the steel industry, chemical companies, airlines, ethanol producers, construction firms and even catfish farmers. With each successive bailout to “calm the markets,” another trillion of national wealth is subsequently lost. Yet, as “Atlas” grimly foretold, we now treat the incompetent who wreck their companies as victims, while those resourceful business owners who manage to make a profit are portrayed as recipients of illegitimate “windfalls.”

Predictably, the left end of the discussion at Memeorandum is aghast at Moore’s temerity in pointing out the obvious.  Witness KTK’s anti-Rand diatribe at Leaning Left in which future generations of heroic regulators will save America by keeping the individualists and capitalists in line and forcing them to pay for the do-nothings’ “robust social services” that the Obama administration was elected to implement.

Yet Washington does in fact create many of our financial and social problems through its legislation, does in fact attempt to solve those problems with even more all-encompassing legislation and regulation, and does in fact confiscate massive amounts of money from successful Americans with the intent of redistributing it to those unable to earn it for themselves.

Moreover, the Congress consistently disguises in these destructive activities by branding their legislation with soothing code names such as “No Child Left Behind” and the new “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan”, a plan so bloated and massive that the Obama administration has been forced to admit that it will leave the enormous deficits of the fiscally irresponsible Bush administration in its dust in order to implement the left’s next New Deal – this before Mr. Obama has even had a chance to sit down in his new chair in the Oval Office.

KTK says:

…the economy isn’t collapsing because of the GI Bill, Medicare, the interstate highway system, or FDIC insurance for bank deposits. Those are among the few parts of the economy that worked rightly…

For one thing, the economy isn’t collapsing at all – it’s belatedly adjusting home and stock values to something closer to actuality.  This after years of Americans living in a financial fairy tale in which everyone, regardless of race, creed, color, or ability to repay loans, deserved to own their own home and spend indiscriminately on credit cards they never should have been issued.

But what entitlementists on the left never, ever dare acknowledge is that it is their “robust social services” like MediCare and Social Security that will ultimately destroy the American economy if they are allowed to.  The tens of trillions of unfunded – and unfundable – obligations these programs call for are the centerpiece of liberal social engineering.  They are also the rocks upon which the great ship America will founder unless we steer hard away from them.

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