So I met some old friends for a few beers over the weekend. One of them is a very successful lawyer, with a nice Park Avenue firm with his name on the front door. Small - he works a niche - but profitable and busy.
So what's new, I ask.
Plenty, he tells me. I'm thinking of closing up shop.
WTF? I'm shocked. So he explains:
I'm doing fine, but running a business is exhausting and time-consuming. I'm in it for the money - mostly, I do love my field - but I'd also like to leave a legacy behind for my kids if they choose to enter law.
But I dump a huge amount of my profits back into the business. I have eight lawyers, a receptionist, and a handful of paralegals that need to get paid and have medical coverage. Fair and good as it stands. But when I look at how my taxes are going to go up over the next year or so, I get sick. The taxes on my business profits will go up, my taxes on my personal income will go up, and I will be forced to pay even more into health and medical benefits for my employees. Not to mention whatever other family-based repsonsibilty the government feels I need to cover in the future...
There's another company, a larger firm, that has been chasing me for years. They've made me an offer for an amount significantly larger than the salary I take out of my business for myself now. I've blown them off for years, but now...why work my ass off running a business when the harder I work, the more the government plans to take, and the less I have to show for it?
I hate to do this to my employees, but I'm not working for them. And I hate to lose what I hoped would be my legacy, but at least I'll get to spend some extra time with my kids. And that'll have to be a legacy of its own, I guess.
So what happens when the government penalizes hard work? This guy is closing his business, putting eight lawyers out of work (and no, there is little demand for them in this economy either), people who may likely lose their homes and will need federal dollars in unemployment and possibly homeowners assistance. Not to mention the secretaries and the paralegals - mostly minorities, all making between $40-$80K/year. I believe that's a "living wage", right? Where are they going to find comparable jobs in this economy? And of course, there's the empty office space that will be created. Big demand for that these days.
This is the grand fault of the Obama Plan - the assumption that people will work just as hard and produce just as much even when they are effectively penalized for it. And this is where John Galt was right - the the loss of the men of the mind, the loss of businessmen, is the most fatal blow an economy can suffer.
Sure, Galt did it on purpose, in order to hasten the end, and my friend reached the same point in a more roundabout fashion. But the end result is the same - liberal economic policies creating not wealth, but joblessness, homelessness, and ruin.
Are you listening, Barack Hussein Obama?
Galt is rising - see the letter from the resigning AIG executive here - one who was not a crook and one who obviously got the job done - who essentially asks, "what do I need this sh*t for?" as he departs a firm that desperately needs his talents.
And here - Chicago rises, perhaps not Galt-like, but apparently the Second City will no longer stand for being gouged for the simplicities of life - like parking a car - and have taken to a violent pushback.
Who is John Galt?
Why, it looks as if we all are.