Ayn Rand and the budget battles in Congress

by Maureen Fiedler

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I have recently become acquainted with the philosophy of Ayn Rand, courtesy of remarks by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chair of the House Budget Committee. It seems that he counts himself among her disciples and likes her values.

More than that, she was become a philosophical beacon for many in the Tea Party Movement who -- like Ryan -- want draconian budget cuts (mostly affecting the poor and middle class) with nary a plan to raise any revenue, especially from the wealthy.

I note that many Catholics, and people of many faith traditions -- those concerned about social justice, have spoken out against both the Ryan Budget and the Ayn Rand philosophy which underlies it.

That’s fitting. It’s impossible to be a follower to Ayn Rand and also a follower of Jesus.

Now we are treated to the childish spectacle of Republicans walking out of the budget negotiations chaired by Vice President Joe Biden -- all because the Democrats have the temerity to suggest that removing some glaring tax loopholes like those benefiting big oil, for example, might be in order as part of a budget deal.

The Republicans, frankly, are behaving like kids having a tantrum. They want what they want, and too bad what anyone else thinks. This, of course, it not the way to create a legislative compromise, where everyone has to give a little.

What we are witnessing in the Congress and the Tea Party suggests that we need education in social justice as never before. Maybe the bishops can dust off copies of The Church in the Modern World and send them to all those on Capitol Hill who just don’t get it.

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