More Atlas Shrugged
Amity Shlaes: "Rand's Atlas is shrugging with a growing load":
But "Atlas Shrugged" is becoming a political “Harry Potter” because Rand shone a spotlight on a problem that still exists: Not pre-1989 Soviet communism, but 2009-style state capitalism. Rand depicted government and companies colluding in the name of economic rescue at the expense of the entrepreneur. That entrepreneur is like the titan Atlas who carries the rest of the world on his shoulders -- until he doesn’t.
You get the feeling plenty of Atlases are shrugging these days, in part because their tax burden is getting heavier. It’s interesting to compare sales of “Atlas Shrugged,” provided by the Ayn Rand Institute, to Internal Revenue Service distribution tables.
In 1986, a year when “Atlas Shrugged” sold between 60,000 and 80,000 copies, the top 1 percent of earners paid 26 percent of the income tax. By 2000, that 1 percent was paying 37 percent, and “Atlas Shrugged” sales were at 120,000. By 2006, the top 1 percent carried 40 percent of the burden.
Yet President Barack Obama has made it clear he would like to see the rich pay a greater share. Anyone irked at that prospect can find consolation in Rand’s fantasy, in which the most valued professionals evaporate from the work place because of such demands.