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Bruce Hagen, Bismarck, Published August 29 2012

Letter: Ryan’s philosophy needs scrutiny

Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, I think voters should know a little bit about Ryan’s political philosophy.

Ryan himself summed it up just a few years ago: “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”

And who was Rand? She was a 20th-century philosopher who proclaimed that the needs and wants of the individual are above all else. She despised and belittled the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Her influence on Ryan is fully evident in the federal budget Ryan proposed as chairman of the House Budget Committee. This budget, supported by Rick Berg and John Hoeven, proposed trillions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and eventually ends most federal government programs that benefit middle- and lower-income Americans. Under Ryan’s plan, things like school lunch, college Pell grants, farm support and veterans’ programs would wither and die.

Fortunately, the public is getting a quick education on Rand and what she stood for – which has forced Ryan to recently say that she has had no influence on his policies whatsoever. But the proof is in the pudding.

No matter how hard he tries, Ryan cannot escape the fact that his political worldview has been shaped by a person who held a belief system that was entirely contrary to the beliefs of most Americans.

Hagen is a former North Dakota PSC commissioner.