Ed Hudgins

Atlas Shrugging In Late 2012

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Atlas Shrugging In Late 2012

By Edward Hudgins

December 14, 2012 -- As we approach the end of 2012 we continue to see the scenario that Ayn Rand dramatized in Atlas Shrugged playing out in our world. As predatory politicians penalize and vilify the most productive members of our society (who are, on average, the most prosperous, too), those would-be victims flee.

French fail

Starting in France, we see that film legend Gérard Depardieu has taken up residence in a small Belgium town in order to avoid the high taxes imposed by his country’s socialist government. French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault whined that “Those who are seeking exile abroad are not those who are scared of becoming poor.” Rather, these individuals are leaving "because they want to get even richer," he said, adding "We cannot fight poverty if those with the most, and sometimes with a lot, do not show solidarity and a bit of generosity.”

Wrong! The prosperous don’t grow rich when they refuse to let you take their money. They simply keep what’s theirs. Further, it is your statist and socialist policies, Jean-Marc, that keep people impoverished by limiting economic opportunities and punishing those who do manage to prosper by producing. It’s not the duty of the prosperous to make up for your failed policy mistakes.

Limeys losing

Meanwhile, across the Channel, the British government has lost another victim of its rapacious policies. Singer James Blunt has decided he wants to become a citizen of Switzerland, where he’s lived since 2005. The multimillionaire says he likes the skiing and he’s even opened his own restaurant. But living in a tax haven seems to be the real motivation. He wants to keep what he’s earned.

His exit from the UK should be no surprise. In April 2010 then-British PM Gordon Brown proposed hiking the marginal tax rate by 10 percent, up to 50 percent, on those making more than £1 million (about $1.6 million). The result: The number of people declaring incomes of £1 million or more fell from 16,000 to 6,000 in the 2010-2011 tax year.

Sorry Sacramento

Let’s move across the pond and across the country to California. In November voters approved Proposition 30, which raises the state sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent and hikes the top marginal income tax rate from 10.3 percent to 13.3 percent.

This move is likely to accelerate the net migration from California to other states, which totaled 865,444 from 2004 to 2010. What’s interesting is that IRS data that shows that folks fleeing the Golden State head for for states with lower individual income taxes. Texas, which has no income tax, welcomed 185,122 former Californians during that period. California’s neighbors Arizona, which has a top income-tax rate of 4.5 percent, and Nevada, with no such tax, were the next most popular destinations for refugees. Among the top 15 destination states for ex-Californians, the migration-weighted average of the highest marginal tax rate was just 3.9 percent. That's almost a 10 percent tax cut, in effect.

Of course, businesses as well as individuals are leaving for more freedom-friendly locales. Recently Comcast announced it was closing its three call centers in Northern California. And the Campbell Soup Company will shut its Sacramento plant, which has operated since 1947, transferring production to its facilities in lower-tax and less-regulatory locations like Texas and North Carolina. No wonder. The Tax Foundation rates California’s business tax climate number 48 in the nation, close to the worst. The worst, by the way, is New Jersey. Campbell has announced it is closing its plant in that state as well.

Moral fight

It is clear that when governments punish production, producers flee. So why do politicians continue with such policies? It’s because of their warped moral premises.

They believe that some individuals are entitled by their need to the wealth of others and that it is the duty of those others to serve their needy neighbors or to be forced by government to do so. Worse, they often resent achievement, vilifying rather than thanking and congratulating productive, prosperous individuals. They envy the prosperous and would rather see everyone in society poorer than to see all people more prosperous but some much more prosperous than others.

The only way to stop the politicians who are destroying us is to fight these premises and to arm all producers with the moral certainly that they have a right to their own lives, liberty, and prosperity. The purpose of government is to protect that right, not destroy it.

------------

Hudgins is director of advocacy for The Atlas Society.

For further reading:

*Edward Hudgins, “France Needs Victims.” August 9, 2012.

*Edward Hudgins, “California’s Choices: Austerity, Expropriation, Or Liberty.” May 16, 2012

*Edward Hudgins, “New Yorkers Shrug.” May 31, 2012.

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James Blunt has just used up all the blondes in Britain. Switzerland has lower taxes than the Scandinavian countries, so what is a rational pop star to do? Does he intend to stop performing anywhere else than in Switzerland, or to withdraw his recordings from everywhere else in the world but there?

Ireland has long had no taxes for writers, yet world literature has somehow survived in distant outposts far from John O'Galt's Gulch.

Businesses have always relocated when it was to their economic advantage (short-term anyway) and they always will, and other businesses will take their place or not.

I'm not turning in my moocher's badge for a Gulch dollar just yet.

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I live in Maryland close to the Delaware state line. The newspaper just ran a story about people crossing into Delaware to buy things because there is no sales tax in The Blue Hen State and it is six percent in Maryland. I mostly shop in Delaware. People who buy large quantities of liquor or cigarettes across state lines are occasionally stopped and arrested. The border stores are under surveillance.

There is a reciprocal state agreement that cars and other large purchases bought in Delaware by Maryland purchasers are subject to MD sales tax. I know some people who have bought cars and even modular homes in Delaware, while claiming to have a Delaware address. In the case of the home buyers, they were built in Greenwood, Delaware by a lot of younger Amish gentlemen then delivered to a town just on the Delaware side of the Mason Dixon Line. Then after a wait, it was transported into Maryland. Pretty slick. I don’t know if the home was “re-bought” before it was transported across state lines. It was done quite publicly so I don’t think I am divulging any secrets. I never did find out if it was actually legal, but I know it has been done several times.

If I were going to immigrate to a freer state it might be a town in Texas that is warmer in the winter. Florida is too crowded, expensive, and regulated.

On a related but different topic, has anyone SERIOUSLY thought about buying gold, silver, or other commodities to survive the coming crash or hyper inflation? The way to think about gold for example, is that its *value* stays relatively the same. If in 2012, ten ounces of gold will buy an automobile which costs $20,000.00 then ten ounces of gold will buy the same model in 2014 even if the cost due to inflation rises to $30,000.00. It is the paper money that is devalued. That is an interesting concept to wrap your mind around. I recently sold a silver coin collection to my satisfaction partly just to see how easy it would be. It was very easily done, with no haggling, at a local jewelers.

I got a packet from The Atlas Society so I think I will contribute in January 2013.

Peter Taylor

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Sorry Ed, but this doesn't do much to support the notion that Atlas is shrugging in 2012. Some B movie star from France moving across state lines to avoid taxes is hardly decent evidence of Atlas shrugging. Under that theory, Atlas shrugs-- nay merely twitches--every time somebody takes advantage of the mortgage interest deduction on their tax return. I don't even know what the English fellow does for a living, but the fact that he likes skiing and wants to "keep what he has earned" is hardly a stirring call to action, or anything out the ordinary. Most people like skiing and want to keep what they earned--last time I checked--but most can't afford to move to Switzerland as their Plan B. So what? This neither proves or disproves anything.

Your articles of late have suffered from "a bridge too far" syndrome (Atlas sure didn't seem to sway the 2012 election much, did it?).

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Yes Ed, you need to pep it up. Like that Perigo fellow, he is calling on Yaron Brook and Don Watkins to risk their lives, fortunes and sacred honours in a second American Revolution. It would not be a civil war he explains, just Americans vs, antiAmerican traitors. Now that is stirring stuff! and he is not even American. I suppose he will be the one to identify the Americans and the traitors, as he is a neutral.

First they came for the heavy metal rockers...

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Yes Ed, you need to pep it up. Like that Perigo fellow, he is calling on Yaron Brook and Don Watkins to risk their lives, fortunes and sacred honours in a second American Revolution. It would not be a civil war he explains, just Americans vs, antiAmerican traitors. Now that is stirring stuff! and he is not even American. I suppose he will be the one to identify the Americans and the traitors, as he is a neutral.

First they came for the heavy metal rockers...

Like we need some New Zealand-er to tell us how form a more perfect union.

We put up with Canadians doing this because they seem much more charming, would probably join in the bucket line if our fire gets too far out of control, and (in non-lockout years) provide us with great sports entertainment.

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Yes Ed, you need to pep it up. Like that Perigo fellow, he is calling on Yaron Brook and Don Watkins to risk their lives, fortunes and sacred honours in a second American Revolution. It would not be a civil war he explains, just Americans vs, antiAmerican traitors. Now that is stirring stuff! and he is not even American. I suppose he will be the one to identify the Americans and the traitors, as he is a neutral.

First they came for the heavy metal rockers...

Here's doubly horrific case for Pigeronians, from Wikipedia's list of Canadian school shootings:

"A shooting at a vocational High School in Winnipeg occurred when a 17-year-old student shot a 16-year-old to death at Sturgeon Creek Regional Secondary School in Winnipeg, allegedly for ridiculing the rock group Kiss. He was found not guilty of first-degree murder by reason of insanity."

If only it had been the other way around: It would have been an act of Pigeronian heroism if the 16-year-old had shot the 17-year-old for liking Kiss.

J

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Yes Ed, you need to pep it up. Like that Perigo fellow, he is calling on Yaron Brook and Don Watkins to risk their lives, fortunes and sacred honours in a second American Revolution. It would not be a civil war he explains, just Americans vs, antiAmerican traitors. Now that is stirring stuff! and he is not even American. I suppose he will be the one to identify the Americans and the traitors, as he is a neutral.

First they came for the heavy metal rockers...

Here's doubly horrific case for Pigeronians, from Wikipedia's list of Canadian school shootings:

"A shooting at a vocational High School in Winnipeg occurred when a 17-year-old student shot a 16-year-old to death at Sturgeon Creek Regional Secondary School in Winnipeg, allegedly for ridiculing the rock group Kiss. He was found not guilty of first-degree murder by reason of insanity."

If only it had been the other way around: It would have been an act of Pigeronian heroism if the 16-year-old had shot the 17-year-old for liking Kiss.

J

It would have been triply horrific if the band in question were Rush. In Canada, they call that a hat trick.

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Yes Ed, you need to pep it up. Like that Perigo fellow, he is calling on Yaron Brook and Don Watkins to risk their lives, fortunes and sacred honours in a second American Revolution. It would not be a civil war he explains, just Americans vs, antiAmerican traitors. Now that is stirring stuff! and he is not even American. I suppose he will be the one to identify the Americans and the traitors, as he is a neutral.

First they came for the heavy metal rockers...

Here's doubly horrific case for Pigeronians, from Wikipedia's list of Canadian school shootings:

"A shooting at a vocational High School in Winnipeg occurred when a 17-year-old student shot a 16-year-old to death at Sturgeon Creek Regional Secondary School in Winnipeg, allegedly for ridiculing the rock group Kiss. He was found not guilty of first-degree murder by reason of insanity."

If only it had been the other way around: It would have been an act of Pigeronian heroism if the 16-year-old had shot the 17-year-old for liking Kiss.

J

It would have been triply horrific if the band in question were Rush. In Canada, they call that a hat trick.

lol. You shot, you scored.

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It is good to see that Dog and Pig have agreed on priorities for the New Order, Once the revolution is underway, Pig will be rushed to America in sealed submarine, after purging the Bjorlingites and Carusists from the Party, and join Dog and the real Americans to establish Reason and Liberty better the second time around.

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Yes Ed, you need to pep it up. Like that Perigo fellow, he is calling on Yaron Brook and Don Watkins to risk their lives, fortunes and sacred honours in a second American Revolution. It would not be a civil war he explains, just Americans vs, antiAmerican traitors. Now that is stirring stuff! and he is not even American. I suppose he will be the one to identify the Americans and the traitors, as he is a neutral.

First they came for the heavy metal rockers...

Like we need some New Zealand-er to tell us how form a more perfect union.

We put up with Canadians doing this because they seem much more charming, would probably join in the bucket line if our fire gets too far oeut of control, and (in non-lockout years) provide us with great sports entertainment.

Apparently the swamp dwellers do not agree with you. There is a drive on our fave GP site to revive his media career by getting the ARI to hire him as a Leading Objectivist Spokesperson, where he would do a better job than Brook because of his "authoritative" accent. Of course he would have to refrain from exhorting the Fox audience to shed their blood for Mario, or to hang the President, but such initial sacrifices would be well worth it, Soloists one and all agree (well, three and all and counting,).

They seem to forget that Americans do not care much about rugby.

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Apparently the swamp dwellers do not agree with you. There is a drive on our fave GP site to revive his media career by getting the ARI to hire him as a Leading Objectivist Spokesperson, where he would do a better job than Brook because of his "authoritative" accent. Of course he would have to refrain from exhorting the Fox audience to shed their blood for Mario, or to hang the President, but such initial sacrifices would be well worth it, Soloists one and all agree (well, three and all and counting,).

They seem to forget that Americans do not care much about rugby.

As to the question "Why Isn't Lindsay Pigero on Fox News?" I can think of two possible explanations: One, Fox News resents Pigero's greatness because even they are infected with hating the good for being good, or, two, Pigero has a public track record of very hatefully and vindictively turning against people who allow him to get close to them, so, therefore, anyone considering hiring him can quickly and easily discover the hazards of doing so.

Probably the latter.

J

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While enjoying Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2ViODi6aUI <<< Deck the Halls - crank up the volume

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJq_OaVJbiA oops this is the proper link <<< this piece is exquisite

I came across this excellent explanation of "assault" weapons, semi auto weapons and hunting rifles...

Fact s are so damn troubling ...

A...

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Yes, Adam, those semi-autos still look quite exotic to me as a bolt-action

shooter when young.. They will have a higher rate of fire, and be more

accurate (for consecutive shots) in the hands of most users. Still, a few experts I've known could likely match them with their bolt actions.

"Semi-auto" is a bit ambiguous. "Self-chambering", maybe?

(May your nachte be stille.)

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