And so the disheartenedness of the leadership class, of those in business, of those who have something. This week the New York Post carried a report that 1.5 million people had left high-tax New York state between 2000 and 2008, more than a million of them from even higher-tax New York City. They took their tax dollars with them—in 2006 alone more than $4 billion.The sales of Atlas Shrugged remain high after more than 50 years. Ayn Rand intended the book as a warning, so that the conditions compelling the producers, carrying the world on their shoulders, to shrug would not happen. The import of the book now is that those who have read it understand and recognize that it is already happening. Whether they can be energized by Ayn Rand's message to turn the tide remains to be seen.
You know what New York, both state and city, will do to make up for the lost money. They'll raise taxes.
I talked with an executive this week with what we still call "the insurance companies" and will no doubt soon be calling Big Insura. (Take it away, Democratic National Committee.) He was thoughtful, reflective about the big picture. He talked about all the new proposed regulations on the industry. Rep. Barney Frank had just said on some cable show that the Democrats of the White House and Congress "are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area." The executive said of Washington: "They don't understand that people can just stop, get out. I have friends and colleagues who've said to me 'I'm done.'" He spoke of his own increasing tax burden and said, "They don't understand that if they start to tax me so that I'm paying 60%, 55%, I'll stop."
He felt government doesn't understand that business in America is run by people, by human beings. Mr. Frank must believe America is populated by high-achieving robots who will obey whatever command he and his friends issue. But of course they're human, and they can become disheartened. They can pack it in, go elsewhere, quit what used to be called the rat race and might as well be called that again since the government seems to think they're all rats. (That would be you, Chamber of Commerce.)
Soon, very soon, those of us who have struggled for decades to fight off tyranny and exploitation will simply vanish (poof! -- like that!), flip hamburgers like Hugh Akston, or retire to our fishing boats and no longer build our wealth that incidentally supports "society."
So I have a question for Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi: I am a rich guy who produces, who generates beau coups jobs and creates wealth for myself and others. What are you going to do when I and my kind decide that it isn't worth it any more to suffer your crap, to give you any kind of sanction to steal from me?