Two years ago Ray LaHood (Transportation Secretary) brought this idea up and now it’s seeing more light of day. With the Randian name Transportation Opportunities Act (TOA) they plan to tax how many miles we drive by installing an Orwellian-type electronic device in our cars.
1984 meets Atlas Shrugged all in one fell swoop.
Of course this is in addition to the national gas tax (average) of $.495 that we are already paying.
Take a look a these PDF maps (H/T Mark Levin’s website), here and here, to see how much you are now paying in state and federal taxes per gallon of gas. And those taxes won’t ever go away; they will be added to the VMT (vehicle mileage tax) that this regime wants to impose on us with this new TOA.
No one, it seems has considered how this will impact employment, or lack thereof. Take for instance the number of people who will stay home rather than take a family vacation. The impact on communities and states that rely on tourist dollars will surely feel it. And lets see — how will this impact state and national parks that rely on tourism dollars. Fewer people will be hired and more people will be laid off or not replaced should they have to quit their jobs.
Then there’s the more sinister side of this: controlling our movement and restricting relocation to other states. People are easier to control if they can’t move around much. Make it more expensive to travel and people do (and already have) cut back. That means less money spent in the retail sector, as well – again, a job killer.
This gives me a headache. This man and his regime HAVE GOT TO GO in 2012 or we are doomed.
My card carrying capitalist son Michael and I went to see Atlas Shrugged last night. I went in with fairly low expectations and came out feeling like I’d gotten my money’s worth and then some.
I’d waffled for the last 2 days on whether I’d make the 100 mile trip to Las Vegas or not. First I was going and probably alone. Then I wasn’t going. Yes, I’d go. Then, nah, I’d wait for the DVD. And finally, I decided to go and take my son with me. His weekend (his days off) are Thursday and Friday, so I’d hoped that he had no plans tonight after work and he had none. I knew that he’d like this movie even though he’d never read the book and really didn’t have a clear idea what it was going to be about. On our way to the movie, I gave Michael a quick synopsis.
The reviews that I’d read by the so-called professionals who review movies, panned it. The dialog was contrived, they said, although it was pretty much verbatim Ayn Rand. They criticized the low budget effects and scenes. Yadda yadda yadda: elite critiques from the nose in the air “professionals.”
Honestly, I rarely go by what these guys call good or bad. They don’t live in the same world that I do so they have no basis to make judgements for me.
Early yesterday I wandered over to BigHollywood and read the reader comments to John Nolte’s blog about the movie. (Had I not done so I wouldn’t have known that Andrew Breitbart was an extra in the Reardon’s anniversary party scene. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, watch for him – he’s there standing with 3 other men by a small stairway with a lamp post on it.) But the readers are the critics that I’m going to trust. Hands down, they liked the movie. And when I read 3 different posters comment that the audience applauded at the end, I’d read enough and the plan was set that I was going to see this movie after all. Really, how many movies have you seen lately that the audience applauded when it was over?
We went to the 9:30pm show because Michael doesn’t get off work until 8:30. The theater was half to 2/3 full and to my happy amazement, they were all young people.
As far as the movie goes, I’ve seen lots worse out of the mega Hollywood studios (I walked out of Independence Day- it so sucked.) And for a low budget movie, it was damned well done. And they were pretty faithful to the book. I didn’t find the dialog goofy (again, I walked out of Independence Day) but then I’ve read and listened to the book so I knew what to expect. The movie never dragged. The director and producers laid down the foundation for the next 2 episodes very well and ended with a great cliffhanger. When the DVD is released, I’ll be buying it.
John Galt is the mysterious hero lurking in the background in Ayn Rand’s infamous novel, Atlas Shrugged. He is the industrialist who went into hiding and led a strike of producers fed up with the physical and moral encroachment from a government of moral supremacists who rationalized theft with childish notions of fairness but no conception of the actual production of wealth. That synopsis should also explain why Atlas Shrugged, first published in 1957, is having a very strong resurgence in popularity.
I meet with two different groups of independent business owners focused in the southeast and their perception of current business conditions is almost unanimous. They are angry. They face conflicting and unclear regulations, and a near certainty of increasing taxes . They are impatient. Many are not profitable and are unable and unwilling to tolerate customers who cannot pay, employees who do not think, banks without judgment, and a government that despises their efforts to create wealth and jobs.
Unlike John Galt, they have not abandoned their factories and homes and headed to Colorado, but they have reduced expenses, laid off workers, and rejected growth because of the added risk. They have conserved cash because banks are not willing to lend and government is too willing to take.
Elected official have won their positions from the popular vote, but they have neglected the other votes.
We vote with our wallets. We do not want to buy what they want to sell. We will not invest if taxes on investment returns are too high. We will not start and expand businesses if you tax and regulate them into money losers.
We vote with our feet. We leave high tax states and moves to low tax states. Company close plants in unreceptive countries and move to receptive countries. We exit highly regulated industries and move capital into businesses with more certainty and flexibility.
But we also vote with our hearts. With government pay double that of the private sector, with a torrent of legislation killing small businesses, with crony capitalism replacing main street capitalism, and with an endless and clear stream of propaganda from the bully pulpit, the message is clear- the private sector is for suckers. Starting businesses, creating new products, jobs, and funding schools, hospitals and the arts are all good things and our government is making it increasingly harder to accomplish. This is why corporations are sitting on top of trillions of dollars in cash. Because of the insanity currently posing as legislation and policy, their hearts are not in it.
They have ‘gone Galt’. They have dropped out of the producer ranks, not totally like Ayn Rand’s hero, but in parts. They work less, retire early, and conserve resources because they do not trust their government.
I found John Galt in the mirror and I found John Galts sharing their fears and frustrations around the tables at meeting rooms and restaurants. They are dropping out in whatever little ways they can.
The first time I read this book was over 7 years ago. I could see the relevance even then. I’ve gone back to it twice since Obama became president. This is a well done over-view of the book and Rands message:
“It was like Ayn Rand had seen the future.”
“Many eerie parallels that we see today.”
Equalization of Opportunity Law – sounds like right out of the current Congress, doesn’t it?
“Sales of the book spikes when government scares us.”
“When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.” –author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982)
When Jane (my daughter) went off to college, it was to UNLV which was only 60 miles from home. Therefore, she was able to come home often and usually with a large laundry basket, too. She grew up in a conservative household. Her father was a small business owner (of a newspaper) and employed up to 60 people. He is a rare journalist – a NON liberal.
We could see the liberal education at UNLV start creeping into her thought process. But we were still able to exert our influence because she came home often. It was scary to see the changes that the statist professors were having on her mindset. But somewhere in all that, she picked up Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and read it – all nearly 1200 pages of it. I can almost guarantee that not one of her professors suggested she read it nor was it on the reading list for any of her classes.
Then she read The Fountainhead and Anthem.
I remember one weekend she came home from college and said “Mom, you have to read this book!” waving Atlas Shrugged at me. It was a paperback, in 6pt font and thick as a brick. Yea, okay. One day I will.
And of course, never did. 6 point font? 1200 pages? You’ve got to be kidding me!
But then one day, a couple of years later, I found it on tape in a bookstore. I listened to it going back and forth to work and while I cleaned house and did laundry. I fell asleep at night listening to it. It was fabulous and enlightening and as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. It’s a celebration of freedom and capitalism. It was so good that I went out and bought the book.
I’ve read or listened to it now, 3 times.
The amazing thing about this is that Ayn Rand and her books are anti everything that Jane’s college professors were, and are still today, teaching. Jane discovered this book on her own and understood the message without Cliff notes or a college discussion class. And she came out of college with little liberal damage… Thank God!
“I keep thinking of what they told us in school about the sun losing energy, growing colder each year. I remember wondering, then, what it would be like in the last days of the earth. I think it would be … like this. Growing colder and things stopping.”
“I never believed that story. I thought by the time the sun was exhausted men would find a substitute.”
“You did? Funny. I thought that, too.”
This exchange between Dagny Taggert and Hank Reardon in Atlas Shrugged crystallizes Rand’s whole image of Man as an individual. Ayn Rand had the highest regard for Man and for his inventiveness, his ingenuity, his ability to overcome and invent his way out of anything and everything, even to the snuffing out of the sun.
Atlas Shrugged sweeps the reader into its own world of larger-than-life characters—including the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy and the great industrialist who doesn’t know that he is working for his own destruction. The story is a mystery about a man [John Galt] who said that he would stop the motor of the world—and did. Society disintegrates, food shortages spark riots, factories shutdown by the hundreds. Is this man a vicious destroyer—or the greatest of liberators? What is the motor of the world? What is required to restart it? AynRand.org
Its uplifting message of Mans ability to strive for and secure his own freedom is a universal message of all mankind, no matter his country or his station in life. His natural tendency to be a producer and keep the fruits of his production is the core desire of all men. Atlas Shrugged speaks simply to all.
It’s no wonder that Atlas Shrugged (original title was The Strike) is #1 in readers choice best novels of all time (Random House) and makes many other top 100 best novel lists.
Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.
Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moralpurpose of his life.
The ideal political-economic system is laissez-fairecapitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.
It’s impossible for any thinking person to find argument with the bulk of her philosophy. And it fits perfectly and logically with the Founders vision of a civil society and a government of laws.
It’s no wonder that she chose to leave collectivist Russia (post bolshevik revolution) and make her home in capitalist America.
In the words of Charles Krauthammer – and I paraphrase – Brown is the man who made a national campaign out of this MA senatorial race by telling everyone that he was the one who could stop the health care machine in Washington.
John Galt- the man with the secret to stop the world’s machine.