Saturday, March 21, 2009

Going Galt

Almost overnight a new term has entered the American language: Going Galt. Ayn Rand's hero from Atlas Shrugged, was a man who got sick of the corruption of politicized markets and went on strike. He convinced other true entrepreneurs, not those who rely on political pull for their profits, to join him. In her novel, Rand used the phrase, "Who is John Galt?" Catchy, but not as catchy as "Going Galt."

Michelle Malkin, not one of my favorite people, said:
...untold numbers of America’s wealth producers are going on strike financially. Dr. Helen Smith, a Knoxville forensic pathologist and political blogger, dubbed the phenomenon “Going Galt” last fall.
Lisa Schiffren, at National Review, similarly writes:
So, what happens when the heart surgeons, dentists, litigators, and people who employ 10 or 20 other people in their mid-size businesses decide that they don't want to pay for the excessive, pointless spending that the president finds so compelling? Instapundit speculates on people "going John Galt." I think golf — a time-intensive sport that the hard-working have eschewed for the past decade or two because it took too long — will make a comeback. But while we're watching, "working affluent" is a far more useful and less loaded moniker than "the rich," which has overtones of dilettantes, poodles, and yachts.
Glenn Reynolds:
Can you say “going John Galt?” Upper-Income Taxpayers Look for Ways to Sidestep Obama Tax-Hike Plan. “A 63-year-old attorney based in Lafayette, La., who asked not to be named, told that she plans to cut back on her business to get her annual income under the quarter million mark should the Obama tax plan be passed by Congress and become law. So far, Obama’s tax plan is being looked at skeptically by both Democrats and Republicans and therefore may not pass at all.”
Sales of Atlas Shrugged are skyrocketing. The Economist wrote:
Reviled in some circles and mocked in others, Rand’s 1957 novel of embattled capitalism is a favourite of libertarians and college students. Lately, though, its appeal has been growing. According to data from TitleZ, a firm that tracks bestseller rankings on Amazon, an online retailer, the book’s 30-day average Amazon rank was 127 on February 21st, well above its average over the past two years of 542. On January 13th the book’s ranking was 33, briefly besting President Barack Obama’s popular tome, The Audacity of Hope. Tellingly, the spikes in the novel’s sales coincide with the news (see chart). The first jump, in September 2007, followed dramatic interest-rate cuts by central banks, and the Bank of England’s bail-out of Northern Rock, a troubled mortgage lender. The October 2007 rise happened two days after the Bush Administration announced an initiative to coax banks to assist subprime borrowers. A year later, sales of the book rose after America’s Treasury said that it would use a big chunk of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Programme to buy stakes in nine large banks. Debate over Mr Obama’s stimulus plan in January gave the book another lift. And sales leapt once again when the stimulus plan passed and Mr Obama announced a new mortgage-modification plan.
The last time I read Atlas Shrugged, it was still fiction. I fear that by the time I get around to reading it again it will be history.

Don't have it? Order if from Laissez Faire Books toll free at 1-866-686-7210.

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