Someone in Massachussetts Has Been Reading Atlas Shrugged

How else could they have gotten the idea for the hospital unification plan, except by modeling it after the steel and railroad plans in Ayn Rands novel.

The Massachussetts plan:

In hopes of bringing down the state's skyrocketing health care costs"”which are currently growing about 8 percent faster than the state's GDP"”the Massachusetts Senate is reportedly considering a bill that, among other things, would "require hospitals in better financial shape to put money back into the health care system to lower premiums." At first glance, this might sound like an easy way to bring down prices: Cut into provider profits to bring down insurance premiums. And the AP article doesn't provide much in the way of detail about how the provision would work, so it could be basically harmless. But it looks to me like the Senate is pushing for a system in which hospitals that set prices and contain costs successfully enough to find solid financial footing subsidize those that don't. Does this strike anyone else as an odd way to attempt to curb costs?

From the Atlas Society, describing a scene from Atlas Shrugged:

In one scene government dictators explain to steel magnate Hank Rearden how they intend to save his industry as a whole"”read his incompetent competitor"”through a Steel Unification Plan. All income from steel producers will be placed into a common pool and distributed to manufacturers based on how many furnaces each company owns. Follow the math here for a moment as an incredulous Rearden explains their own plan to them:

"Orren Boyle's Associated Steel owns 60 open-hearth furnaces, one-third of them standing idle and the rest producing an average of 300 tons of steel per furnace per day. I own 20 open-hearth furnaces, working at capacity, producing 750 tons of Rearden Metal per furnace per day. So we own 80 "˜pooled' furnaces with a "˜pooled' output of 27,000 tons, which makes an average of 337.5 tons per furnace. Each day of the year, I producing 15,000 tons, will be paid for 6,750 tons. Boyle, producing 12,000 tons, will be paid for 20,250 tons"¦ Now how long do you expect me to last under your plan?"

Rearden can't believe that these bureaucrats actually believe such nonsense. And their only answers are "In times of national peril, it's your duty to serve" and "You must make certain sacrifices to the public welfare" and "You'll manage."


  1. Everyman:

    Have you taken a look at what the feds are doing to the nation's fishing industry? It will look familiar, featuring as it does "catch shares" and at least a halving of the existing fishing fleet. And all based on the same kind of computer modeling that brought us Man Made Global Warming.

  2. Fred:

    Remember Obama told Joe the Plumber he intended to "spread the wealth" around.

    Socialists love spreading other people's wealth around.

  3. Tim:

    Sadly, this is where we are heading.

  4. Dr. T:

    I find it frightening that a Russian emigre could write a dystopic novel about the USA sixty-three years ago that accurately describes the state of our nation today. Her novel was meant as a warning, but obviously almost no one heeded it.

  5. tomw:

    I read Rand's work when I was in grade school, and even then, never having had any edjumucashun in 'economics', I understood how evil the bureaucrats were, how ignorant, how greedy to fill their own pockets and damn the consequences to their constituents and the country. That was then.
    Nothing has changed, and, as a matter of fact, the latest incarnation of 'congress' and the executive have taken things to a further extreme.
    L'l Abner was right. We have met the enenmy and it is US.
    Sad to say, those that did not vote for this disaster are destined to suffer the consequences of it puerile activity.

  6. CT_Yankee:

    To be fair, the government had already made it illegal to go bankrupt or go out of business long before the meeting, so Rearden would not be worried about his company's survival. Perhaps Obama could pass a law making it illegal for hospitals to go out of business or declare bankrupsy. That would stop the growth of unemployed medical staff...

    Besides, they had just seized all his assets, and with no capitol to buy raw materials and meet payrole, Rearden would not be producing anything for long. Then, under the new plan, the modest output of Orren Boyle’s Associated Steel would be subsidizing Rearden's vacant steel mill.