While I have always respected Ayn Rand's political philosophy, I have never been a huge proponent of Rand's work'primarily because I'm just not that familiar with her work. But last month, I started reading Atlas Shrugged
, Rand's novel depicting several industrialists' struggle against a nation's push toward socialism. The parallels to what is happening in modern America are chilling.
In Rand's novel, business leaders fight a losing battle against a society intent on using the creations, innovations, and wealth of the rich to bring "fairness" to society. In the process, they turn a once prosperous nation into a den of poverty and lawlessness.
I haven't finished the book, so I don't yet know how it ends, but I have read enough to see the parallels between socialism as envisioned by Rand and the modern Democratic Party.
One of President Obama's mantras during his presidential campaign has been that "this isn't socialism" or "this isn't wealth redistribution." Then, in the very same breath, he pushes for the so-called Buffett Rule, a redistributionist policy that would do nothing to fix our nation's debt problem. In fact, the entire premise of the Buffett Rule is ridiculous'the theory is that since billionaire Warren Buffett allegedly pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, the government needs to swoop in and make the situation fairer by raising taxes on the rich. Buffett himself has even advocated for the policy, and President Obama, in an attempt to sound magnanimous, has even lumped himself in with the evil rich while pushing for its enactment.
The closer you look, the more the argument falls apart. For starters, they compare the tax rate on Buffett's investments to the tax rate on his secretary's income'the two are completely separate sections of the tax code, so they're comparing apples to oranges. Throw in the fact that Buffett is currently fighting the IRS, which is coming after a billion dollars in unpaid back taxes. If he's truly okay with higher tax rates, why not fork over the billion? He can afford it. And finally, Obama's magnanimity is just an act, as the Buffett rule wouldn't even apply to him.
And then there are the economic consequences of the Left's anti-rich crusade. As the progressives keep demonizing the rich, levying higher taxes and imposing more and more regulations on businesses, business owners and the people who invest in businesses, they will just make it more difficult for investors and business owners to create jobs and bring real economic recovery to America.
The Rise of the Looters
Today's Democratic Party is the party of free stuff. Want some government cheese? Vote Democrat. They're the party of Robin Hood. They'll take from the rich, and give you whatever you may want'just give them enough time to get rid of the current system and grant themselves the power to create the dictatorial utopia they envision for America. It works, just as long as you pay no attention to what those policies do to the rich who drive economic prosperity.
And just like in Atlas Shrugged
, things aren't going to work out for the Left like they hope. Just look at the microcosm known as the People's State of California. I live in California, and I love it here. California used to be a great state, and it could be again, if only the state government would get out of the way. California was once one of the most prosperous states in the nation'we've got the film industry, Silicon Valley, and major agriculture and oil industries here. California truly is a state that's got it all...or would have it all, except for the liberal state legislature and a constant stream of Leftist governors (including Arnold Schwartzeneger, who ran as a Republican but governed as a moderate liberal). They pass regulation after regulation, piling rule after rule on the state's businesses. Businesses have been leaving the state for a while now. It's only now that the state is running out of money (sooner than expected) that they are finally beginning to recognize that there might be a problem.
The situation in California is so ridiculous it's difficult to laugh about it anymore'last summer, I was down in Los Angeles doing some work at USC. One day while I was there, I went to a sandwich shop across the street from the campus to get some lunch. In the same shopping center was a Taco Bell with a huge sticker in one window announcing "We now accept EBT." For those of you who don't know, EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, which is a fancy way of saying food stamps. That's right: the tax dollars of hard-working Californians are now valid for the purchase of Nachos Bell Grande.
Food stamps: not just for groceries anymore.
I'll never forget the day I was standing in a checkout line at the Wal-Mart nearby where I live and overheard a conversation between two women. Each had a child, and one was obviously pregnant. Both had highlights in their hair and fake nails. From their conversation, it soon became obvious that neither was married, or even lived with the fathers of their children. The pregnant woman, whose young daughter smelled like she hadn't had a bath in about a week, was going on about the fact that after she gave birth, she would get double the welfare. The look on her face as she talked about it was like what I would expect from one of my employees who had worked hard for some time and earned a raise. As a hard-working taxpayer, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. No wonder people are leaving California in droves, when the governor and the legislature continually want to raise taxes so that people with jobs can subsidize the lifestyles of people who don't care to work.
This is how it works in Liberal America: Life is all about the best intentions, but no one seems to care about the consequences. President Obama made a rather audacious statement the other day'he basically stated that we've tried capitalism, it failed, and it's time to move on. He left out the fact, of course, that the biggest reason why our capitalist system crashed and has failed to recover thus far is because of big government policies and regulations making it more and more difficult for businesses to be profitable...because just like in Rand's fictional world, modern Leftists treat profit as evil.
This is why, even though I'm not a big fan of Mitt Romney, I would prefer to see Romney as President of the United States than to see President Obama win a second term. The Left alleges that Romney is out-of-touch with everyday Americans, but we don't need a community organizer as President. Today, we need a businessman. We need someone who understands the realities of running a business and who has seen how a constantly overreaching government can suck profitability out of businesses and spoil the economic atmosphere of an entire nation.
This is what makes Buddy Roemer such a great candidate, because he is focused in on getting big money out of America's political process so that our representatives will actually represent the people again, instead of being slaves to every special interest with a PAC in Washington.
America cannot afford a second Obama term. We cannot afford to keep Harry Reid in charge in the Senate, which hasn't passed a budget in three years. We cannot afford even the chance of having Nancy Pelosi become Speaker of the House again. We must put a stop to the looters before they ruin our once great nation and turn it into just another pit of perpetual poverty and dependence on government bureaucrats. If we don't put a stop to our current course, it's only a matter of time before Atlas shrugs.