Wednesday, June 03, 2009

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.

Back Ache

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.


Blogger Sad_Dad said...

The top 1 percent also have way more tax shelters and many more ways to avoid paying taxes all together. I read an article on CNN that 3/4 of the Corporations in the USA don't pay their fair share of taxes while the little guys are paying what they are supposed to and more.

12:33 PM, June 04, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Sad, corporations NEVER pay taxes. Taxes are just counted into the expense of the item or service. You and I pay taxes, corporations never do.


3:21 PM, June 04, 2009  
Blogger jimbino said...

Rand's fantasy is my reality. In spite of the fact that the US gummint has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars educating me in physics, math and law, I have worked only 19 weeks per year since age 24, 41 years ago, when I first read and adored Rand.

So I now collect Social Security, renovate houses and build cabinets, escaping income and FICA taxes entirely. Far cry from the rocket science I did in 1969. Big loss to the country and an even bigger loss if a foreign country were to hire me to design rockets, free of outrageous taxes.

The biggest loss to the USSA will occur when all our young scientists read Rand and figure out they'd be better off working in India, China and Brazil. Many have already left.

3:31 PM, June 04, 2009  
Blogger Sad_Dad said...


That's what I'm saying I was being generous. What the hell is our elected officails doing? Ah.. Maybe taking care of themselves and the hell with everybody else maybe?

4:58 PM, June 04, 2009  
Blogger Jay Hammers said...

The top 1% pay a higher percentage of taxes partly because they receive a higher percentage of income in the U.S. In 1928 just before the stock market crashed and the Great Depression ensued the top 1% received 23.9% of the nation's income. It fell to about 10% for many years until it began to rise again in the 1980s. In 2006 the top 1% received 22.9%. High levels of income disparity like this are bad for consumption and bad for our economy.

Someone in the top 1% of earners makes 20 times as much on average as someone in the remaining 99%. They can afford a few more taxes and they do not dissuade anyone from achieving success.

11:17 PM, June 04, 2009  
Blogger newton said...

"They can afford a few more taxes and they do not dissuade anyone from achieving success."

They can also afford one-way plane tickets and moving vans or cargo boxes for transport to their favorite new destinations... far away from those taxes you so love for them to pay.

Case in point: Maryland. The state legislature had Exactly Your Same Argument a year or two before, and passed their Millionaires Tax to pay for their budget deficit.

The result, a year later? Same budget deficit... lots of "Go to Hell, I'm moving" millionaires.

11:10 AM, June 05, 2009  

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