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Atlas Shrugged: Is American Business Going on Strike?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
The U.S. economy is crumbling. Businesses are collapsing in record numbers. The real unemployment rate approaches 15% (or higher). 45 million Americans are on food stamps. Over 10.8 million Americans are on the Disability rolls. Tax revenues are down dramatically. All this while Obama has added thousands of new IRS agents, added over 60,000 new mandates, rules and regulations, turned the National Labor Relations Board over to radical union hacks, passed rules to satisfy radical extremist environmentalists, and chooses to target, demonize, and punish the wealthy.
Coincidence? Or are these tragic situations related?

Everything happening today under Obama resembles the storyline of Ayn Rand’s famous book Atlas Shrugged. Rand prophesized a country dominated by socialists, Marxists and statists, where looters, free loaders and poverty promoters live off the productive class. To rationalize and justify the theft of the money and assets of business owners, the looter class demonizes the wealthy. Sound familiar?

The central plot of Atlas Shrugged is that in response to being demonized, over-taxed, over-regulated, and punished for success, America’s business owners go on strike-- dropping off the grid, and refusing to risk their hard-earned capital and work long hours away from their families in order to support those unwilling to put in the same blood, sweat and tears. Because of that storyline, the original proposed title of the book was actually “The Strike.”

The business class went on strike to teach us that civilization cannot survive when people are slaves to government. That without a productive class of innovative business owners willing to risk their own money to start businesses, there are no jobs and no taxes to pay for government. Author Ayn Rand believed if you demonized and punished the wealthy, you would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Jobs would disappear forever. In Obama’s America, fiction is becoming fact.


The lesson of Atlas Shrugged is that without the $250,000 income earners paying into Social Security, there are no pensions for the poor and lower middle class. Without the wealthy owners of million-dollar mansions paying $25,000 annual property tax bills, there is no funding for public schools. Without the wealthy paying into Medicare, there is no “free” healthcare for the elderly. Without capitalists motivated by profit, there are no discoveries to eradicate polio, or create miraculous cancer and AIDS drugs. Without capitalists motivated by profit, there are no jobs, period! That is what happens when the producers of society go on strike to protect themselves from the looters.

Ayn Rand was warning the looters that there are consequences to their overzealous actions. She was warning that if the productive classes felt used, ripped off, and taken for granted, they would go on strike -- stop working, retire early, go underground, or move to places where achievement is celebrated and they feel appreciated.

The latest U.S. Census proves Ayn Rand right. Under Obama the wealthy are striking, voting with their feet. They are moving to low-tax red states in droves, escaping from high-tax blue states where they are being demonized and punished. Over 1,000,000 citizens escaped from high-tax New York in the past decade. Over 1.3 million escaped from high-tax California in the past decade. California’s state tax authority recently reported that the number of Californians earning $500K per year (or more) dropped by almost 40%. California has lost over 440,000 high tech jobs. Over $1 trillion dollars has transferred from New York to zero tax Texas.


The Census provides evidence that Obama’s tax and spend philosophy is a dismal failure, an economic disaster killing jobs. It should come as no surprise that about two million FEWER Americans are working than before Obama’s stimulus. That over 5 million Americans have joined the Disability rolls since Obama became President. That the Disability rolls are growing twice as fast as the job rolls. That food stamp use is up 70% under Obama.

The high tech revolution has killed the progressive tax-and-spend dream. Because of the Internet, email, texting, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, iPhones and iPads, business owners can now run their business from anywhere. As a result, they are choosing to move to places where taxes are lower and the atmosphere is friendly to business. The latest census shows that the fastest growing states are all low tax or no tax states that are friendly to business: Nevada, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, Washington, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia.

Meanwhile the states they escaped from are all big tax, big spend, big union states: California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Michigan. Taxpayers, business owners, and retirees with assets are all fleeing the states being run like Obama is running the nation.


Obama and his socialist cabal should be afraid, very afraid. If Obama is re-elected, these valuable job producers and taxpayers of society won't be changing states anymore, they'll be changing countries. They'll pick up and leave America altogether. There is a big world out there begging them to come. Places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Monte Carlo, Costa Rica, Panama, Bahamas, and Cayman Islands are low-tax havens that appreciate business owners and their sacrifices. They welcome wealthy ex-patriots. They celebrate individual achievement. They reward instead of punish business owners and financial risk-takers.

Even Canada is now a destination of choice for Americans searching for economic freedom. Under Obama the U.S. has dropped to number 10 on the Economic Freedom List, while Canada is now number 6. Frightening.

I am just one small businessman, but because of my background as a former Vice Presidential nominee and Tea Party Libertarian-conservative media personality, I have heard from thousands of business owners- who all have the same message. They are thinking of leaving America, or they are visiting other countries right now to decide where to go, or they are making preparations to leave in case Obama is re-elected. Just as Ayn Rand predicted, business owners are going on strike. Permanently.


As my blue collar butcher father once told me, "I'd love to hate rich people, but no poor person has ever given me a job."

Atlas is shrugging. Ayn Rand is saying "I told you so." The Strike is on.

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