The Randian way

Passage of the GOP’s tax-cut bill to further enrich the wealthy has immensely pleased House Speaker Paul Ryan, an Ayn Rand disciple. Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” captivated Ryan as a young man. He internalized Rand’s philosophy of objectivism, which glorifies selfishness as a virtue and elevates individualism into an unquestioned faith. Rand’s overarching theme of contempt for the collective good, especially for the state as a mechanism for ensuring equality, engendered Ryan’s fixation on eviscerating government programs.

So Ryan and his like-minded colleagues are using the deficit-exploding tax bill as their excuse to push “entitlement” reform — dismantling Social Security and Medicare. Republicans misapply the term “entitlement” to the aforementioned social insurance policies, the costs of which Americans cover through payroll taxes during their working careers. And retirees continue to pay a monthly premium for Medicare. Democrats favor reasonable modifications to both programs to ensure their long-term viability.

In future deliberations on tax reform, Republicans will channel the late Ayn Rand and again craft legislation to make the rich richer at the expense of the middle class, the elderly and the poor. That’s the greed-worshipping, Randian way, which GOP members increasingly choose to follow.

Marie Arvette

Medford

Neighbor's comments not news

Was it news to print an awful statement made by a neighbor about Charmaine’s mental state? I knew Charmaine as a good friend who was sweet, loving, and hard-working. She always made me feel special. But my comments aren’t news, either. They are opinion. You should be ashamed for printing that meaningless opinion of a heartless neighbor. Rebecca Golden should be ashamed, too.

Jerry Kenefick

Ashland

Vote yes on 101

Did you see the Special Election Voter's Pamphlet in the holiday mail and note the opportunity to vote Jan. 23 or before for Measure 101? Vote to save our expanded Oregon Health Plan, protecting coverage for many seniors, 400,000 children and other low-income people: 1 in 4 Oregonians stand to benefit. Under Measure 101, revenue from charging large health care institutions small transaction fees will allow Oregon to qualify for federal matching funds and provide Expanded OHP.

Do you know a disabled person who qualifies for coverage under our Expanded Oregon Health Plan? I know one who has struggled for years in the legal pipeline to prove disability and who may still be years away from federal benefits. That person is just one of the 1 in 4 Oregonians who will thank you when you join Sen. Alan DeBoer and Rep. Pam Marsh in proclaiming yes on 101.

Brenda B. Gould

Ashland