Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, a read so turgid it makes Das Kapital seem like a John Grisham novel, is the acknowledged inspiration of some leaders in the House of Representatives such as Paul Ryan. Even House Speaker Boehner the other day made a reference to this Rand ideological pot boiler, suggesting that America’s present economic malaise is related to the rich going on a kind of strike (the theme of Rand’s shrugger) in response to threats of tax increases.
Are Rand acolytes reading their master right when it comes to taxes? Perhaps not.
There has, in fact, been something that while not exactly a strike by millionaires, was a public protest by millionaires about taxes. A group calling itself Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength came to Washington the other day to urge lawmakers to raise taxes of wealthy Americans like themselves to help reduce deficits, in order that deeper cuts in programs for the poor and seniors need not be made.
Do members of this group really represent the views of most millionaires? One has to assume they do because no other group of millionaires has come forward publicly to protest higher taxes. The only people who are making this case are think tankers, some trade groups, and right wing pols. Surely, millionaires, if they were so opposed to very modest tax hikes on themselves, wouldn’t be too ashamed to say so publicly. Would they?
The reasons most millionaires aren’t against modest tax increases are obvious. They are not only patriotic and don’t want to see the social fabric of their country more fractured than it already is, they are decent people who don’t want to wallow in wealth while so many around them are sinking further into poverty. In purely economic terms, they also know that widespread falling consumption is a threat to everyone’s wealth. Above all, they don’t want their country to resemble more and more third world nations where huge disparities of wealth are the rule.
So to all ye Rand followers I say: Harken! The very rich, the capitalists, the creatives, the job generators you so admire, have spoken. It’s time for the rabbit hole ideologues to step aside.
Randians of the world unite! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a little common sense, mixed with a a better understanding of basic economics, and a bit of common decency thrown in!
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