Q&A Friday #102: Will Atlas Shrugged Come True?

Question: “Did you ever expect Atlas Shrugged to really come true? How additionally disturbing do you find it that entitlement and sloth seem to have replaced “The Strike” as the sleeper hold on productivity that is accelerating the looter/moocher death spiral?” — Mike_M

Answer: The actions the Bush Administration in its last days and Barack Obama since go beyond mere appalling ignorance of history to the edge of madness. What they’ve done is right out of the handbook of people like Lenin, Castro, and Chavez — and time and time again, policies of these sort have ultimately led to economic disaster — and it won’t be any different this time. Whether this country continues to prosper or goes into a long, steep decline will be determined largely by how much of Barack Obama’s agenda is stopped or rolled back.

As to the idea of “Going Galt,” I think we’ll see a bit of that, with some people simply deciding that it’s not worth it to continue to work. However, in our globalized world, unless something changes, I suspect more and more productive Americans will simply flee the country for greener pastures.

For example, although it was written before the current crisis, Tim Ferriss has an outstanding book out called 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. It’s a phenomenal book, which I like for life simplification tips, but one of the big themes is that there are actually a lot of places you can move, where you can live a fantastic lifestyle, for far less money that you’ll spend in the United States.

You’re already seeing this happen with multi-national corporations because of our excessively high taxes and if we keep piling more and more taxes on the rich, I think you’ll see more of them “run for the border” as well. I don’t think the trickle of people leaving this country has to turn into a flood, but we simply cannot continue punishing success, vilifying the most productive people, and giving an obtrusive government more power without it having a huge negative impact.

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