Businessmen Who Are Actually Going John Galt: Their Stories

Businessmen Who Are Actually Going John Galt: Their Stories

The reason Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged has struck such a chord since Obama got into office is because people can see so much of the book in Obama’s approach to governance. The open encouragement of envy, the demonization of success, the attacks on business….they all fit in with the book.

Well now, we’re starting to see the same result as the book: Businessmen giving up. Businessmen like Ronnie Bryant,

I was at a public hearing in an inner-city Birmingham neighborhood for various government officials to get public input on some local environmental issues.

…But Ronnie Bryant wasn’t there to talk about that particular mine. As a mine operator in a nearby area, he was attending the meeting to listen to what residents and government officials were saying. He listened to close to two hours of people trashing companies of all types and blaming pollution for random cases of cancer in their families. Several speakers clearly believe that all of the cancer and other deaths they see in their families and communities must be caused by pollution. Why? Who knows? Maybe just because it makes for an emotional story to blame big bad business. It’s hard to say.

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After Bryant listened to all of the business-bashing, he finally stood to speak. He sounded a little bit shellshocked, a little bit angry – and a lot frustrated.

My name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator…. I’ve been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people…. [pause] Nearly every day without fail – I have a different perspective – men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just … you know … what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I don’t know. I mean, I see these guys – I see them with tears in their eyes – looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.

But, he’s just one man, right?

Well, here’s the fascinating thing: The comments sections is absolutely bursting with other businessmen saying similar things. It is the Internet, so take any individual story with a grain of salt, but I think there’s a lot to be learned from reading what some of these job producing business owners and their relatives have to say.

My dad closed his business after 30 years of operation because of the environmental theocracy. He wasn’t huge-just employed 6 uneducated, otherwise-unskilled workers. He wasn’t polluting — in fact, he was awarded a U.S. patent for a waste-free plating system. But the government bureaucrats need someone to pursue to justify their own existence, and slapped him with a lawsuit demanding mounds of paperwork, fines for not previously keeping paperwork they way they liked (fines: $25k/day by statute), environmental impact statements, etc. He shut down. He now owns nothing. He spends his days plays golf, with his model trains, and with his grandchildren. His only income is now Social Security. His quote: “These government parasites spent years hounding and harassing me. I’ll parasite off them for awhile and see how they like it.”

Heat Seeker
The Atlas Shrugged effect is almost certain occurring, big time.

I have a small (but successful) business. I could use some help: I worked 422 days straight, without a single day off. However, I am not going to hire anyone. Friends of mine were recently sued in a class action suit because they did not give their waitresses (the have 5 large restaurants) sufficient uninterrupted break time (as required by California law). It will cost them millions in legal fees and settlement costs. We’ve all had bad bosses: when we had one, we quit. No big deal. Now, being a bad boss gets you sued. I’m not going to risk losing what I have by taking on an employee who can ruin me over something as stupid as break time….

My parents have owned a small business for 18 years. They have six employees and in that time have always provided health insurance. Until two years ago, they paid 100% of the premium. Then they asked them to contribute 10% of the premium – all but one employee acted like this was hugely unfair. This year, because of the new requirements of the Obamacare bill, premiums went up 600 percent. That’s not a type – many others in the franchise saw their rates go up even more. My parents could not sustain this and so they dropped coverage and instead contribute $500/month toward the individual health care plan or savings account of the employee’s choice. Then they go home and see themselves villified by politicians who themselves have never had to meet a payroll.

Consider us shrugging. We are closing a 20 year medical practice. Go to the lawyers when you are sick. Have fun. The hardest part is leaving our loyal employees high and dry, but we can’t work anymore in Obama’s medical climate.

Lee W. Dodson
I’m with Bryant. I’m a California building contractor who has been assaulted by a building inspector and frozen out of business by Building and Safety to cover his butt and to punish me for filing charges. I employed 20 employees at one time with a weekly payroll of $15K+.

I let them all go. They weren’t the problem, the city and all its little bureaus were. In the hills, where I build, it can take 2.5 years to get a permit.

I’m 66 and refuse to file for Soc Sec because I expected the antics our President pulled 2 weeks ago.

Do I want to be in business? Hell, yes. Do I want to spend 38% in taxes and fees to build a house and put up with city creeps to boot? Hell, no.

I love business, but I hate idiots who think authority is theirs alone.

Why do it?

We shut down our small (30 barrels/day) oil production company in 2003 because the state of California insisted we had too much boron (1.1 parts per million where the official limit was 1.0 ppm) in the water coming out of our wells. The wells produced 98% water and 2% oil. The excess water was put into ponds where it evaporated. Meanwhile, water from the same aquifer containing the same level of boron, but which didn’t happen to have any oil accompanying it, was used by farmers to irrigate their crops. We decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. Leave it in the ground.

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