For those who don’t get the reference, “going Galt” points back to the masterpiece novel “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. In it, one of the characters is named John Galt, and part of what he does, early in the novel, is convince those whom create jobs, and wealth in the country, to abandon their efforts, as the government lurches harder and farther to the redistributionist world view. Indeed, the country eventually goes full on socialist in the story, where people are not allowed to quit work, take a better job, and so forth.
This was a work of fiction, and it had a set of very strong, very powerful moral plays within it.
“Going Galt” has become an expression meaning “why not just give up and close down the business”, which many did during the recessions. When working harder means you pay more taxes without gaining any advantage to you … that is, you get no additional benefit from this hard work, then … the obvious question … why work hard? Or at all?
Against this backdrop, we have the most alarming viewpoint coming out of the white house.
The New York Post has an article here, that points out some recent comments from the current president’s staff.
Many people have been warning that Obamacare will do nothing to reduce costs, and everything to increase them. It penalizes workers by requiring higher contributions to health care, it penalizes companies by increasing the cost of labor.
Any time, for whatever reason, you increase the cost of labor, you get less labor. This is true in minimum wage increases, it is true in additional required contributions from employers. Its a very basic reality of economics.
When an employer looks at a large increase in their costs, they look for ways to reduce expenditures to keep the cost outlays constant if at all possible. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in rocket science to figure out what happens next.
Obamacare aka ACA strictly only increases costs, and quite substantially at that. Activists and supporters of it may argue. I write/sign the checks. I know what its impact has been. Or maybe I shouldn’t believe my lying eyes?
But if this weren’t bad enough, it gets worse … way … way worse … from there.
One side of the political aisle here in the US likes to claim that the other side of the political aisle only cares about reducing spending and doesn’t care about the human impact of reducing spending, such as providing assistance to all those displaced workers looking for jobs. Well, that same side of the aisle making those specious ridiculous claims just advocated for the most extremely fearful thing imaginable by the other side. A class of permanent non-seekers of jobs, consuming our tax dollars. Not looking for work, or trying to create something that people will buy or …
That is, for everyone working hard like me, like my team, we are going to be funding them. Effectively forever.
To decide if they “will work”.
So, at this point in time, with my taxes massively on on the upswing, with my costs skyrocketing, I and many many other small business folks have to ask some deep and fundamental questions.
Like, this: Does it make sense to continue?
Going Galt means shutting down.
We won’t. If the business climate in the US continues to deteriorate, we can always move the company to Canada with little loss of generality, and just a longer commute. And likely far saner laws. I’ll have to look at the outcome of the 2014 election cycle … early views are very promising with repect to countering the political insanity over the last few years by the current ruling party.
But for many not within 30 ish miles of the border, this might not be an option. If the trajectory the small business climate appears to be on continues, it would not surprise me to see many small businesses call it quits.
As the NYPost notes
I expect to see many “Going Galt” signs up soon. Unless we reign in this failed economic policy from a failed president.