LTC Comment:  Is Atlas Shrugging?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


LTC Comments:  The Ides of March.  What better time for ominous tidings and a scary movie?  Details after the ***news.***

*** SO, WHAT DO YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT CLASS?  Steve Monroe is the Managing Editor of several highly regarded LTC provider-side industry newsletters.  He pulls no punches in this one-minute video.  Steve once told me that his top-of-the line LTC insurance policy, purchased at an early age, costs him less that a cup of Starbucks coffee per day. *** 

*** CLASS TESTIMONY.  Milliman actuary Al Schmitz will testify on the CLASS Act before the germane House committee on March 17 at 9:30AM EDT.  Details here.  For more information on the CLASS Act, see the American Academy of Actuaries' FAQ on the program:  "Break a leg," Al. ***

*** NOT TO PUT TOO FINE A POINT ON IT, but "The U.S. Medicare program improperly spent more than $3 million in 2007 and 2008 to buy Pfizer Inc. (PFE)'s Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for senior citizens, government investigators said."  Your tax dollars at work.  Story here. ***


LTC Comment:  Ayn Rand's philosophical mystery novel Atlas Shrugged was first published in 1957.  It's been a best seller ever since.  But never a movie.  Until now.

On tax day, April 15, 2011, Part I of a three-part Atlas Shrugged series finally finds its way to the silver screen.  Watch the trailer here and a clip here.  (Be patient as it may take awhile for these clips to load.)

Why should you care?  The novel and now the movie reveal uncanny parallels with today's political and economic situation.  To see what I mean, read Steve Moore's January 9, 2009 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled "'Atlas Shrugged':  From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years."  It's one of the most-read opinion pieces in the Journalís history.

Moore says:  "Many of us who know Rand's work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that 'Atlas Shrugged' parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit."

He then compares the novel's "Anti-Greed Act," "Equalization of Opportunity Act" and "Anti Dog-Eat-Dog Act" with our real life "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act," the "Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act," and the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan."  Nowadays, you could add the CLASS Act, to the list.

Will our economy crash and burn as in the book?  Will our producers give up and disappear?  Can any society survive following the principle "from each according to his ability to each according to his need?"  Won't need always overwhelm ability?  Does need have a lien on ability?  Whose life is it anyway?  These are a few of the questions Atlas Shrugged (the book or the movie) invites you to ponder.

Don't assume the Atlas Shrugged:  Part I movie will be in a theatre near you.  Why not?  To find out, watch this interview with John Stossel titled "Why Hollywood Was Against the 'Atlas Shrugged' Film."  If you want to see the movie, you may have to "Demand It" which you can do at this website where you can also subscribe to the "Atlas newsletter" and keep up on late-breaking developments.  So far, only a handful of states and cities have booked the Atlas Shrugged film.  Check them out here.

For more information about the movie and the philosophy behind it, go here.  Read the Atlas Society Founder and Executive Director David Kelley's review of the film here.  Kelley says:  "For over half a century, Rand's novel has been a lightning rod for controversy. It has attracted millions of devoted fans-and legions of hostile critics. A poor adaptation could be ignored by both sides. This adaptation can't be ignored. It is way too good. It is going to turbocharge the debate over Rand's vision of capitalism as a moral ideal. Whether you love the novel or hate it, Atlas Shrugged Part I is a must-see film."

Want an "Atlas Shrugged" lapel pin?  Need a "Who is John Galt?" T-shirt?  How about a movie poster?  Find them and more at the official merchandise site here.

Finally, a personal anecdote.  In 1994, I shared a cab in Manhattan with entrepreneur John Aglialoro.  Two years before, he had purchased the movie rights to Atlas Shrugged for a million dollars.  Fascinated, I've followed his progress ever since.  Several draft scripts and false starts ensued, including near misses with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie potentially starring with major studio backing.  Last spring, with only weeks remaining before his option ran out, Aglialoro took on the project personally, finding, hiring, and directing the artistic people to bring the film to completion.  It's an heroic story seemingly right out of an Ayn Rand novel. 

So, whatever it takes, wherever I need to go, I'll be there on opening day to view this movie.  Hope to see you there.