Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We Are Atlas

Going Galt. I've written about it, without actually calling it that. Michelle Malkin has written about it extensively and has been covering a largely growing movement that is rising among American Achievers that consider themselves to be doing just what the name of the movement implies: Going Galt.

In my post from March 3rd, I discussed the story, now well covered, reported on by ABC News of Dr. Sharon Poczatek, a dentist who is planning to scale back her Denver-based practice for the purpose of reducing her taxable income to come in under Barack Obama's fabled $250,000 mark. She is the prime example, offering the prime reasoning behind the phenomenon of Going Galt:

"The motivation for a lot of people like me – dentists, entrepreneurs, lawyers – is that the more you work the more money you make," said Poczatek. "But if I'm going to be working just to give it back to the government -- it's de-motivating and demoralizing."

After I wrote that post on March 3rd, I received two very interesting comments, one from someone calling themself inkdrinker, and the other from someone name Jesse. The first commenter, inkdrinker, was kind enough to point out that Dr. Poczatek, the ABC columnist, and myself were all too damn stupid to understand how tax brackets work. I responded by saying I understand the brackets perfectly well, and was well within my rights to oversimplify at times to make a point. Jesse responded by doing the math on Dr. Poczatek's tax figures, determining that she was only saving herself $2,100 in taxes.

Now, I would be hard pressed to believe that these two kindly and ever-so-cordial commenters were anything but leftists, since the entire point of the discussion flew by them like a beer can past Nick Oseransky, so I really feel like the idea of Going Galt needs to be explained, if only for their two sakes alone.

The initial fact of the matter is that those of us conisdered right-of-center, whether we be Conservatives or Libertarians or what have you, establish for ourselves a personal moral code of ethics by which we live our lives. Wherever we may disagree on social issues, we are 100% in lockstep on one very clean and simple idea: whosoever perfoms a task of value shall be compensated for it fairly for what the market will bear, and that compensation rightly belongs to him.

What these two poorly-if-at-all educated folks failed to recognize in my previous post, and am sure that they, like all leftists, continue to either misunderstand or flat out deny the truth of, is that those of us that are achievers could care less about the taxes themselves. This is not to say that we don't feel it in the pocketbook, we do. But the fact of the matter is that We the People Achievers are the ones providing the government with its real incoming revenue, as opposed to the fake stuff they're printing up or trying to borrow every day. We the Achievers are the only source of income the government has. And the simple truth is that We the Achievers would simply like to know that what we worked hard to earn, what the government took from us by force, is being used wisely.

We like to know that the government is using our money for police and fire departments and protecting the rule of law. We do not particularly like to know that the government is taking our money and using it to house people that choose not to work. And we absolutely loathe the idea of the government taking our money and giving it away, not only to people who chose not to work, but chose to risk money they never had to buy things they could never afford.

The bailouts are despicable. And they are funded not only by the tax dollars We the Achievers have had taken from us, but also must now be funded by our children, whom we will raise to be Achievers as well, and their children, who will also be Achievers. It is a dim future indeed for those of us who produce, to have the fruits of our labors taken from us, and given to those who do nothing, or worse, destroy.

So we come to the root of the matter. Just what is the point of all the work we're doing? We love it! Our work, our goals, our achievments are what we strive for and what brings us joy. The money we earn from doing so represents a moral exchange of gratitude from the people we achieve things for. For the government to step into the picture, render the barrel of a gun unto our temples, take what we have earned, and arbitrarily hand it out to those who are failures, is the epitome of immorality.

Do you see, inkdrinker?

Do you understand, Jesse?

It's never been about the money. It's always been about the principle.

We have achieved. We have succeeded. We have earned what is ours. And we refuse to allow the fruits of our labors to be stolen on someone else's behalf. So if the easiest way to make sure this filthy government cannot grow any further, cannot take any more, cannot continue to stab at the very heart pumping its own lifeblood, is to just stop, then we will. In the words of John Galt:

Do not attempt to find us. We do not choose to be found. Do not cry that it is our duty to serve you. We do not recognize such duty. Do not cry that you need us. We do not consider need a claim. Do not cry that you own us. You don't. Do not beg us to return. We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.

We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's own happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.

There is a difference between our strike and all those you've practiced for centuries: our strike consists, not of making demands, but of granting them. We are evil, according to your morality. We have chosen not to harm you any longer. We are useless, according to your economics. We have chosn not to exploit you any longer. We are dangerous and to be shackled, according to your politics. We have chosen not to endanger you, nor to wear your shackles any longer. We are only an illusion, according to your philosophy. We have chosen not to blind you any longer and have left you free to face reality - the reality you wanted, the world as you see it now, a world without mind.

We have granted you everything you demanded of us, we who had always been the givers, but have only now understood it. We have no demands to present to you , no terms to bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you.

We are Atlas, and we are shrugging.


  1. Okay, so let me see if I understand this correctly. You are willing to sacrifice your higher income just so you can stick it to the man? Do I have that right?

    I don't know how this makes any sense. I want to make over $250,000! Who gives a frack what I pay in taxes for gosh sakes! What that money can do for me and my family far out weighs the tax penalties. My God people, get real!

    You are so hell bent on making sure the dead beat poor don't get your hard earned money that you're cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    This is a very sad statement of where our society is.

  2. You are correct on all counts, except for your reasoning that I am wrong.

    It is a sad statement about where our society is that our money is being stolen and given away to people who do nothing.

  3. If this helps clarify for Debbie a bit more - one of my favorite passages from Atlas Shrugged: "If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase to make money. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created." I would add to that but work calls.

  4. You are willing to sacrifice your higher income just so you can stick it to the man? Do I have that right?

    No Debbie, you don't it right. I'm willing to limit my income to $249,999 to keep a higher percent of the fruits of my labor and let the deadbeats that don't want to work and those that aren't willing to keep a commitment agreed to in a mortgage find a liberal willing to pay their way. I hear Sarandon has a lot of money, let her pay your mortgage.

  5. Tax rates are marginal, so your earning $249,999 (instead of $250,000) makes no difference whatsoever to your tax burden. I guess I should have known better than to think a libertarian Randite would actually understand the tax system they do nothing but complain about.

  6. Oh my.... Futuremaster just made exactly the same mistake that Mr. Kroenke was already correcting! It's an example to make a point, not a mathematical way to keep more money! Listen, if somebody works REALLY hard to make $250,000 a year, but sees more and more of it going away, working less hard and earning $200,000 a year looks really appealing. It's the law of diminishing returns. Saying that you won't be saving money by earning $249,999 misses that point that you won't be losing as much either. It's not simply the take home that makes a difference, it's looking at the total and deciding whether or not the free time you're losing is worth the effort for that lowered return.

  7. Paul,
    There is another way to go John Galt: Since we are not the idealized characters in a novel, but rather real people dealing with a real situation, I personally don't find intentional looting to be such a bad idea. In other words, I am one of those people who has a good job, good credit, and I'm current on all my bills. But I'm also $60,000 "under water" on my interest-only mortgage. The only reason that I'm still paying for it is that I made a personal commitment to the lender. It was a contract, and honor insists that I, well, honor it. But I've been considering research into my lender. If they have taken stimulus money, then they have taken money directly from me without my permission. THAT - though perhaps not legally, but to my personal moral code - is theft, and a breach of contract. If I find this is the case, I may just quit paying. What, exactly to I have to lose? Credit be damned, I'll rent until I've saved enough... I'm really just renting from them right now. I hate the stimulus bill and everything it represents, but If I collect every single dollar of it that I can, maybe I can hurry the collapse of the whole house of cards!