Ayn Rand, Hypocrite?
Legendary opponent of “welfare state” received Social Security and probably Medicare

By Patia Stephens

Critics of Social Security and Medicare frequently invoke the words and ideals of author and philosopher Ayn Rand, one of the fiercest critics of federal insurance programs. But a little-known fact is that Ayn Rand herself collected Social Security. She may also have received Medicare benefits.

An interview recently surfaced that was conducted in 1998 by the Ayn Rand Institute with a social worker who says she helped Rand and her husband, Frank O’Connor, sign up for Social Security and Medicare in 1974.

Federal records obtained through a Freedom of Information act request confirm the Social Security benefits. A similar FOI request was unable to either prove or disprove the Medicare claim.

Between December 1974 and her death in March 1982, Rand collected a total of $11,002 in monthly Social Security payments. O’Connor received $2,943 between December 1974 and his death in November 1979.



Bob Carson's picture
Bob Carson 8 years 29 weeks ago

Amazing! They push an entire idealogy predicated on the notion that government shouldn't be helping people, but then they turnaround and accept the same government programs they condemn.

Randy95023's picture
Randy95023 8 years 29 weeks ago

I wish someone would confront the "Tea Partiers" with the same issue. Many of them are in their 60's and older and I'd be willing to bet that most of those older members receive Social Security and their Medicare quite happily. I'm 53 and a former Republican/Libertarian for many years. My mother and step-father are proud members of the Tea Party and have Fox "News" on 24 hours a day. My mother is a retired Civil Servant who receives about $3,000 a month from her Union Pension and my Step-Father is retired Air Force who receives a small pension plus VA medical benefits for life. They both also receive Social Security Checks. They both were, and are totally dependant on the "Government Money" they so despise. Out of love and respect for my Mom I don't openly confront them about this incredible hypocrisy and amazed that they are both blind to it. As for Ayn Rand she made a bundle off her books and lived a life fortunate enough to avoid AFDC, Food Stamps, etc. (I would assume, anyway). Had she not been so blessed financially she probably would have never been such a staunch Libertarian. As for Social Security and Medicare she probably would have dismissed this hypocrisy by stating that she was just trying to get back "some of the money the Government stole from her". When he reaches retirement I'll bet the multi-millionaire, Rush Limbaugh will take his Social Security and Medicare quite greedily and offer a similar excuse for the hypocrisy. There's no use trying to use simple logic with a wind bag, know-it-all Conservative like Limbaugh. Hypocrisy doesn't bother people who lack a conscience...

Peace, Randy

johnrocks's picture
johnrocks 8 years 29 weeks ago

Anyone who does a smigent of investigation should realize that both Social Security and Medicare "contributions" are mandatory for the vast majority of us and that we are automatically enrolled into Medicare Part A at the age of 65 with very few exceptionshttp://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10043.html#part5

Anyone that thinks this is hypocritical when force is involved ,doesn't have the sense of the Scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz.

mtdon's picture
mtdon 8 years 29 weeks ago

people shouldn't be surprised by this ann rand info.... the same thing occurs w/ the Tea Party - they are against all benefits to the people... but find no hypocrisy w/ themselves taking those very same benefits......

they deserve it while You don't - that the basic tenant

as such - it's Not welfare when they accept it - it's only welfare when someone else takes it.....

hence no problem w/ the state fund payments to every single Alaskan - where they worked a lick or not - the closet thing to socialism in america....

The Debater's picture
The Debater 8 years 29 weeks ago

What am I missing here? The government confiscates way more than $15,000 from this lady and her husband, but she's a hypocrit for wanting it back?

It's kind of funny that recovering your own money is now considered government assistance or welfare. I suppose any of you who get a tax refund each year are now welfare recipients as well.

The giant ponzi scheme known as social security needs to end. They still put private citizens in jail for doing things the federal government gets away with. But hey, at least it feels good to rob hard working Americans.......

Jkirk3279's picture
Jkirk3279 8 years 29 weeks ago

You obviously don't understand what a Ponzi Scheme is.

In a Ponzi Scheme, the early investors get paid profits from the investments of those who come later.

The last suckers get burned as the money is gone.

Social Security, however, is a Tontine.

People pay in. Some die before reaching 65, and thus don't withdraw from the fund - they don't need living expenses.

Thus those who do reach 65 have more money available than they paid in, including interest on the total.

The Fund, properly managed, never goes dry.

And if it weren't for the "Cap" set at $106,000 on SS income, the Fund would gigantic instead of merely TWO TRILLION DOLLARS.

Randy95023's picture
Randy95023 8 years 29 weeks ago

Social Security IS the largest Ponzi Scheme ever, but the difference is there are armed men (the IRS) who will MAKE future generations pay. This pyramid will never end so long as the Nation makes it mandatory. People who want to privatize it are too late. It should have been partially privatized from the beginning, with 1/2 of the money going into the Social Security general fund and the other half going into a 401K or IRA type fund. The payments at retirement age would have been bigger and it would have allowed the families of someone who died after only being retired for a year or two to leave about $150K to their children/grandchildren, etc. We are WAY too far into the game to do that now and just keep paying into it and pray you have a long life to get some of it back. Social Security has really helped a lot of people in its current form and isn't so burdensome tax wise to really hurt anyone. Could it have been designed better? Of course! Show me any gov't program that couldn't have been designed better. Sure beats what we had in 1929, which was nothing...

Peace, Randy

mtdon's picture
mtdon 8 years 29 weeks ago

If Social Security is a ponzi scheme then so is every other Pension plan, medical insurance, car insurance, life insurance, rainy day governement fund, etc

anything that brings in money and pays it out at some future time would be a ponzi scheme?

And the answer is to allow massive poverty? To force the elderly to live in their cars?

What if they didn't make enough money for retirement - what if they were defrauded by some crooked bankster?

Tough S#*t for them is your answer?

What if someone had a bad run of luck?

Should we also NOT allow the wealthy to start numerous companies and then if things go bad for them NOT allow the company to go bankrupt - but instead take the losses out of the personal estate fo the business owner?

I bet the free market people don't want that one - pain and loss is only for the poor - the rich are above that - they should be allowed their crooked business dealings -

in fact the true Ponzi schemes are ALL corporations- corporations are only created as a tax avoidance scheme and to limit losses and liability.....

The poor and middle class are forced to eat their losses but the wealthy?

Hey whatever they want!

And the libertarians are in large part in la-la land.... notice their answer is the Courts will save everyone - when the courts are appointed by the powerful and protect the powerful against the poor..... creating the very government they profess to be against.... the rubber does not meet the road.......

I knew someone who had a song stolen by HBO - HBO 1st said they were going to pay for the song and then had a staff musician simply copy it - when the person said "hey that's copywrite infridgement" - HBO said "SUE ME - I'll bury you with 1000 boxes of Discovery and tie you up in court for the next 10 years - we have 10,000 attorneys that will BANKRUPT you and your attorney - so you accept this token payment of less than 10% of the 1st agreed upon amount"

remember the golden rule- those w/ the gold make the rules - the rest need not apply.....

sodisenchanted's picture
sodisenchanted 8 years 10 weeks ago

Ayn Rander's are like Turkeys voting for Thanksgiving.

The thing that amazes me is how few people understand how Social Security Disability and Medicaid work and how difficult it is to get them even if you deserve them. Republicans put it out there like you can walk in any Social Security office and get SSI and Disabilty and all sorts of stuff. That is not true.

I worked and paid in for 32 years, then became disabled about 10 years ago. I applied for benefits and was denied because my husband made too much money. I didn't worry about it because he did make good money and we had good insurance but 10 years later that has ll changed. He has no job and we have no money and no insurance but I am still disabled with prescription bills that would run better than $1000,00 per month if I could afford them all. We have sold our house and all our vehicles and everything that's worth more than about $10.00, but guess what? I don't qualify for SSI or Medicaid because it's been too long since I worked. I paid in all those years but I haven't worked in the last 3 so it's too bad for me. That's Federal law, too.

My husband and I are in our 50's, we are both sick and he can't find a job, and we qualify for nothing. Tell me again how the gov't just hands this money out to everyone whether they deserve it or not. I can only hope all of you who feel that way wind up in my situation so you will know the truth and you can stop being a bunch of turkeys voting for Thanksgiving.

If that makes me a bad person I accept the karma.

Calperson's picture
Calperson 8 years 8 weeks ago

So, say you are walking down the street and a thief runs by and snatches your purse containing all of your money.

Why on Earth are you a hypocrite for trying to get it back ????

OMO's picture
OMO 8 years 8 weeks ago

What comment are you referring to? Who is saying you are a hypocrite for trying to get it back?

You'd be lucky to get your money back from a thief. If the thief is caught with the money, you might have a chance of getting it back. With regard to social security, the money is spent before SSA gets it. The money you've earned is recorded on paper, but the funds are spent before the paperwork reaches SSA. The IRS collects the money and they deposit it in any Federal Reserve Bank.

JamieJamie's picture
JamieJamie 7 years 19 weeks ago

Rand said it's consistent with her philosophy to recoup the money that was taken by force. She certainly paid more than enough in taxes to cover it. If she's forced to use other services the government provides like roads, police and defence then why is medicare of limits?

Priscilla Gleason's picture
Priscilla Gleason 7 years 1 week ago

My question is how much did Ann Rand and her husband pay into Social Security and medicare? If they were forced to pay into something they did not believe in would it be wrong for them to get out what they paid? If it were more than that then your argument would make sense. Otherwise wouldn't they just be collecting money they had already earned?

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