It's Time: Return of the Atlas Shrugged Guy

Nearly a year ago, just before Election Day in the Romney-Obama contest, I began receiving emails from a person I eventually referred to as the Atlas Shrugged Guy. The name of course referred to his threat-and-promise that if the American public returned Barack Obama to the White House, this man would, like Atlas Shrugged's John Galt, withdraw his labor and creativity from a leveling, confiscatory society that didn't realize its true dependence on its productive class.

You can read his series of explanations from last year, along with responses, support, and jibes from other readers, in the compendium here.

Since then people have kept writing in asking what became of the man and his threat. For months I just didn't get around to collecting his messages; as you will see, they are voluminous. But now I have, and my purpose is to provide an archive of an extended, detailed expression of what, as the shutdown fight showed, is obviously a significant point of view.

This post is extremely long. I don't expect anyone to read it in one crack. But it may be a useful political/cultural reference source about this element in our current politics.

The hard-line GOP forces in our latest shutdown fight felt that the Obama healthcare plan, and Obama policies generally, were such dire threats that extreme steps in opposition were justified. The man I'm quoting here was not recommending resistance, a la Ted Cruz, but withdrawal, a la John Galt; yet both responses spring from the shared sense that the country has become something alien to them.  You'll see the depths of that outlook expressed here.

For the record: From the start I have known the real name of this person, because he told me. I have figured out the location of the personal website on which he develops many of these same themes, and where he lives and what line of work he's in. (You'll see an exchange in which I reveal this to him.) I can't independently confirm what he says about his business plans.

Without further comment, here we go with the first tranche. Some of these overlap with ones I quoted before, but I am including the whole sequence. Meanwhile, we're heading off on another American Futures trip, to the far northeast.


November 3, 2012, three days before the election.

From: D….

To: James Fallows

Subject: What happens if Obama wins?

I will tell you what happens, I close my business of 10 years and lay off my employees. I am done. Thats what happens. You might consider me one of those know nothings but I am highly educated, run a high technology company with several very high paying positions and am very much steeped in US History and am a stalwart in the notion of individual liberty and self reliance.  Freedom and liberty built this nation, not parasites like Obama and ilk. Obama has never produce anything in his life. Nothing, zero. Yet he is qualified to lead? Really? I have worked for leaders and he is no leader.

The economy picking up is a joke. Really? Where? 100% debt to GDP and counting and for every job created 75 food stamp recipients?  I have never seen it this slow and a second Obama term will spell the end. The tax increases alone are enough for me to call it quits. Why, I make to much so pay more of my fair share? Maybe you should attempt to understand the concept of a S Corp and how it's income becomes, for tax reasons, my income. Hence while my income may look very good on paper the vast majority of my income stays as operating revenue. So much for the fat cat theory, no?

Why should I continue to work myself into the dirt just to have it confiscated to transfer wealth to a parasite class? The work requirement for welfare gutted, Obamaphones, the taxes in Obamacare alone are enough to throw in the towel.

This OP ED [in response to something I had written] is a fantasy of deranged and feckless liberal gibberish. What your now calling the mainstream is terminal unemployment and lower standard of living for all but then again, we all know that is the lefts dream right? After all, when your mentality is zero sum gain then making the rich poorer the poor become richer, correct? WHy let reality get in the way of your fantasy? Had the housing market, for example, been left to market forces without government intervention the housing bubble would have never happened but hey, another brilliant idea from the left. Good intentions are all that matter right?

Try this. Open a business, deal with all the headaches for a few years, payroll, taxes, permits, employees and then come back and explain to me how Obama has helped me?

You want jobs, you create them because I am finished. Atlas will indeed shrugand I have no clue whom you and other democrats think is going to pay the tab because there is no money left to burn.

Then again, for the left the end justifies the means. As Milton said;, "better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven?"

November 3, 2012. I wrote back asking if I could quote the note, and whether he really owned a business.

Yes I do own one. I started in 2002 in my spare bedroom and now have a payroll of almost 500k per year. I will close it if he wins.


November 5, 2012, after I had posted some critical comments from other readers, including one calling him a spoiled child.

I am glad to privately provide website, not publicly. I enjoyed the spoiled child comment best. Spoiled children usually work 60 to 70 hours a week? What the readers fail to grasp is that the market is shrinking. I will do just fine, I am highly skilled. What I don't want to deal with is declining growth and growth is revenue driven. I don't understand why people cannot grasp that we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending and regulatory problem.

Simply put, why should I work myself into the dirt for no return? This is, or was, my dream. Why is that suddenly something I didn't build nor deserve to reap reward from?

Maybe your readers should ask, whom are they to take the fruits of my labors? Is not creating jobs a form of sharing wealth?

I will gladly rebut anyone whom wished. One man said no and all of Rome trembled? I am no afraid to stand my ground....
 


 November 5, 2012, in further response to critical comments from other readers.

I just had a chance to sit and read this on large screen. Funny, I'm am to be burned at the stake? Spoiled child? 

I put myself thru college selling scrap metal and working. I have a degree in physics from Seattle University. I worked avionics and fly by wire systems and missile technology for 16 years and switched to embedded systems, gps and wireless telemetry (no not wifi, wifi is for pussies) for the past 10 with a emphasis on extreme ruggedization. We do research and development into new technologies and guess what funds that; r&d? Profits which apparently are now a resource better allocated by the geniuses in government than I.

The comments are mere bitter mockery. I treat my employees very well, the issue at hand is growth. Growth is fueled by profits, not regulation and taxation. The national issue is not taxes it is spending and over regulation. Maybe you and your readers could enlighten me as to the 18 tax cuts I got that I have no clue about?

Is it so unreasonable to advocate a government to leave me alone and live within its means? Is it necessary that to insure a few requires the control of a entire industry? Student loans are now the business of the federal gov? Really?

Since when is, or was, a college education assured? I paid me way, I am paying my children's way? I am the spoiled child? What but a child are you to expect, demand, I pay for secondary education?

No, I stand as a man whom is proud to know the virtue of hard work and thru work alone i expect to reap the wealth of my labors. Giving back implies I took something. I took nothing and created something. I feel no guilt, why should I?

Your readers can pound sand.

I stand by my assertions. I will be fine, will they? Maybe they should vote for the business guy? The business of America is business, isn't it?

I appreciate a chance to respond. So seldom does anyone do such.


November 6, 2012 -- election day, after I asked whether I could quote his latest comments.

Quote away. It is not as if I relish this thought of moving on but the decline in business is a reality I must, as a business owner, deal with. I didn't get here by being lazy nor stupid. What I am is tired. I made a promise to myself long ago that if it starts to decline I am not riding it down to the bottom. 

I should point out I am not opposed to a reasonable means tested safety net nor the usual responsibilities of govt. What I am opposed to is a ideology that promotes redistribution of wealth simply on some moving target of "fairness" and a debt that is unsustainable and that, despite claims of the pols, is not going to be fixed by taxing the rich.

If your down on your luck or cannot make it, that is one thing. However, a lifestyle generation after and after on public assistance is just plain wrong.

I could pontificate ad infinitum, we shall see tonight which vision for America prevails. 


November 6, 2012, as the returns came in.

FYI, just talked to a large moving company owner.... Said same thing I did. Read it and weep.... Atlas is indeed going to shrug. Enjoy poverty.

Shortly thereafter: 

Well looks like I am closing up shop. So be it. You wanted jobs, LOL, you make them. I will survive no matter what. It is sad, apparently our fathers died for nothing more than a check. Wow. My fathers died for liberty, you traded it for security. How does that feel? All those lives wasted on a generation of takers.....

We gave you a Republic, if you can keep it?

And then.

Lol looks like you we're right. I guess the concept of individualism has died. No problem, hope you enjoy socialism, it is probably best. After all, shared misery trumps unequal prosperity...

After the race was called:

Notices start tomorrow. Welcome to poverty...


November 7, 2012

Well, the beginning of the end.... I weep for what was, and fear for what we are becoming. If I wanted to live in a socialist nation then I used to have a choice.

So this is how freedom dies, to applause..... 

More after the jump. 


November 7, 2012.

It would appear my original email struck a chord with your readers, hence I am to be crucified as Spartacus lest I defy Mother Rome?

Perhaps in their souls they understand a shred of reality? I had not intended to seek 15 minutes of fame. All glory is fleeting and I prefer obscurity, In any event, I read the other business owners post and his thoughts had no relation to mine whatsoever. He was opining upon the social issues and the Republican party having social issue voters whom had led to this loss.

While I could weigh in on that big time (and the left does not vote social issues?) I shall give you the crux of my reasoning. In a nutshell, I was recently told by a very successful person, who's industry is slated for destruction, "tell me the rules and I will win". Social issues play no part in my decision processes.

My hopes for a Romney victory were rooted in his proven ability to balance budgets. Cash flow management is a key element of any business and Romney had a proven record of management of budgets and cash flow.

Agree or not, is this not the case? Managing cash flow means making tough decisions and often, as in my case, very scary ones. Do you not think I have walked way out on a limb before? Way out. I have risked it all before. Do then I not deserve to reap rewards for risk? Is not the right to succeed also the right to fail?

Without pointing fingers of blame, I had very high hopes that we would achieve a degree of political unity that would allow for adoption of a sound national fiscal policy, stability in the tax code and a reduction in the size and scope of government. The Obama administration and the democrat party has shown absolutely no propensity to address the deficit issue with any approach other than tax increases. The problem is math. No oddly complex math is needed, no genius. No Harvard grads in Unified Field Theory. A dime store calculator, IRS data and some historical data is all that is needed.

The democrat party appears stuck in the notion of static zero sum gain thought. Hence they imagine a world where they just carve off a larger chunk and the entire pie remains the same size. In reality when taxes become higher and higher the government essentially is competing with business for a smaller pie while the roles of non-producers expand.

Are you really entitled to a free cell phone? The economy is not static. I this a dynamic entity that reacts, like all dynamic systems to input.

We now know in no way that tax policy will be favorable to business.

Taxes are going up and going up a lot. What I find a tad amusing is that even the 10% rate goes to 15%, a 50% increase. I was not aware that the lowest rate was also deemed the rich. In any event, I still don't know the rules, do I? It will be months and months and in the mean time businesses languish in some inner circle of Dante's Inferno waiting to know which way to turn. Tell me the rules and I shall win?

The deficit is completely out of control and to think tax increases alone are going to solve it, in 10 or 20 years, is delusional at best.

We don't have 20 years. There is not enough revenue at 100% to control the debt. This means that the Obama administration looks at taxes not as a revenue stream but as a tool of social engineering. The Obama administration debt policy has been essentially, print money.

QE3, QE5, QE32, does it matter? At some point this insanity will manifest itself and nothing good can come from it. Inflation will strike and is not inflation a form of taxation? I knew in 2005 that housing would bust and I am a nobody. One merely look at historical home prices (inflationary growth) between 1800 and 2010 to see that market forces were not in play. It was unsustainable, no? Interest only loans, drive by appraisals, no risk to banks because the government backed it up with the, as one liberal told me, "the infinite wealth of the US". Infinity appears to be a finite number hovering now at about 16 trillion no?

So we now have a debt beyond comprehension. In fact, I am convinced that vast majority have no clue as to the magnitude of the numbers. It is staggering and I see no end in sight, do you?

Then, lets toss in Obamacare. We have a administration that is now set to "impose" upon the masses a medical system in which the primary focus is taxation and control. I have not managed to find a single accountant nor business owner whom has a clue what Obamacare means. I can tell you it means massive new taxes, massive fines, IRS agents, reporting requirements and regulation of an industry that has given us the finest medicines and care in the world. Now all that has changed and what are the rules?

So lets look at the three items. Taxes are going up meaning less revenue in an already depressed marketplace.

Increased taxes on investments so there is no place to have your saved money work for you.

The debt will come home to roost. It is a given, it is unsustainable.

Denial is the purview of fools.

Third, Obamacare. What are the rules? Why are they even needed?

In other words, I know not the rules in a nation in which the masses elect a man who has no clue where the creation of wealth stems. Where a majority now considers abortion and free access to birth control more important than individual liberty and sound fiscal policy. Yes, individual liberty, that apparently imaginary myth of the ages...

In the mean time I am left to sit and scratch my head and wonder, do I take risks in a world in which we are ruled by fools? Tell me the rules and I shall win. It is going to be a interesting ride. Systemic economic decline and collapse is not what I would wish for the future.

The good news for the left, well all be equal now won't we? Equally poor that is.

I appreciated the opportunity to weigh in. Maybe, should luck have it, I will end up somewhere along the Appian Way on a crucifix. In the mean time I hear Nero fiddles and Rome burns..


November 7, 2012. I pass along a request from an editor at another magazine to be put in touch with the reader.

LOL, I might after I handle the winding down. I am deeply committed to my employees welfare. I realize that caring and being a business owner is a oxymoron in the Obama world but I do. As such, I cannot address this until I have let them know my intentions and prepared for this. It would be wrong to do otherwise.... I have contractual obligations that require me to finish. I was prepared to let one go today but I decided, in rder to help him, we would finish some "specialized credentials" that will aid his search. Probably Feb before I am done with this.

I will let them know such, maybe my forte is not in business but opining? LOL, I never get a response. Now I am wanted in [the magazine]? Funny, since I read that mag.

I will advise. In the mean time, been up for 50 hours and counting. I take politics very seriously. I was raised by a simple man whom was the most wise in politics of anyone i have known. My Dad voted against Roosevelt because he said it was the path to socialism. Apparently, he was right.

I have been a little dismayed by all this, hard to accept your world is a antiquity to be cast aside for the ones we have been waiting for. Somehow I was Ok with picket fences and work as a virtue. I guess free shit is where it is at. Why work hard, were all equal now...


November 7, 2012. He writes asking why his messages have drawn such interest.

Might I ask, why did my responses stand out? I opine often, suddenly this. I have opined often, been published once. Is it because I took a stand?

I wrote back saying that his original note had arrived at the same time as one from another business owner, and I quoted them both as part of a pre-election roundup. I also said, "Many, many people doubt that you are a 'real' person. I have looked into enough of the company background to tell them that you are."

November 7, 2012.

From: D….

To: James Fallows

Subject: What happens if Obama Wins?

So you managed to find my company via my name, etc....

 

From: James Fallows

To: D...

Subject: What happens if Obama Wins?

I have been in this business a long time.


November 8, 2012.

Subject: My final thoughts ...

I appreciate the opportunity to opine. However, I realize my original post seemed rash (I have a passion for this nation), my decisions are based upon what I now see as a very lousy business outlook and further economic contraction. I am, and must be, extremely sensitive to my employees and how I formulate a rational transition plan. My decisions are based on what I saw as two roads, one of economic expansion fueled by a return to fiscal sanity or a continued expansion of debt and taxation. If I seemed angry it is because to me the path was clear.

We, as a nation, cannot afford what is being offered. I cannot fathom what part of were broke doesn't the public get? I make business decisions based upon market conditions and I don't see it improving, perhaps now for a decade or more. Unless the president and all parties get off their asses and make some tough decisions were doomed. I don't see that happening either. Someone once told me, "tell me the rules and I shall win". Well, what are the rules? This is why business is slow. Nobody knows the rules.

I had no intention of starting a firestorm of controversy. I appreciate the opportunity to opine. Best wishes and good luck.


November 9, 2012.

Subject: Funny

A litany of layoffs today. Entire industries slated for elimination. It is a brave new world you have created. Better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven? I was used as red meat to the wolves yet my predictions are manifesting right before your eyes. None are so blind as those who refuse to see...


November 11, 2012

Subject: Thank you.

I see you posted all but my final thoughts. I appreciate your posting my thoughts. I am not afraid to stand my position in matters I strongly believe in. It is rare I get a response. I am passionate in my beliefs and relish debate. To bad honest debate is so rare and I did resent a tad being more meat to the wolves than a honest dissenter. In any event, best wishes.


November 15, 2012

Subject: Great It's so warming to see all the positive economic news since the election. Being such a extremist I am sure I misread the math? Perhaps 2+2 really doesn't equal 4 after all...

And shortly thereafter:

Perhaps the best analogy i have heard on voting for Obama is like chickens voting for Col. Sanders...

Not that I have anything against chickens...


November 16, 2012

Subject: Great

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/11/14/fiscal-cliff-fallout-how-the-amt-would-hit-taxpayers http://www.businessinsider.com/the-alternative-minimum-tax-is-heinous-2012-11

It gets better every day. Do me a favor and give me a heads up when to pop my corks?

To bad though about Hostess , deep fried Twinkies and Dom are decent together. Sort of like a blend of Elvis and Voltaire?

Then

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/11/16/thousands-of-lax-workers-set-for-walkout-on-thanksgiving-eve/

I confess, I like marshmallows and Rome presents a nice set of glowing embers in which to obtain the perfect brownness and crust.

If I was a Hollywood movie star or perhaps capable of a Manhattan apartment I might enjoy the view. Instead I get to see my life's work dissolve like sugar in a cup of hot water....

Fun stuff, huh? Perhaps my extremist position of survival and self reliance can produce a repeat burn in effigy?

Cheers, it is a brave new world?


November 21, 2012

Subject: FYI

One of my closest friends is on the edge of closing up shop. He is despondant after nearly a decade of 12+/7 work. Yup, welcome to the brave new world. I guess he can suck hind tit for 99 weeks no? Wait, he won't because some of us won't and the self employed don't qualify.

Yeah, I am angry because all this was so utterly unecessary and such a waste. I am so glad my parents are not here to see this.

Milton was right no? Better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven?

I replied five days later, asking whether this shutdown was because of the election.

No he is upset because the election means ansolutely no chance of real growth. Just more dependancy and psychobabble about teachers, infrastructure. Some of us realize that we're on a spiral path to fiscal collapse. Where exactly do people like you and Obama think wealth comes from? Government? The nations busted and the best you can offer is the election of a feckless fool and more entitlement spending? Oh and higher taxes on the rich LOL.

I know, math is hard and reality is harder.... How about I put it in a riddle? What process results in the creation of wealth? Hint: value added?

I could go on but what's the point. The only saving grace now in the economy is the new oil boom but I am sure if you liberals work really hard you can kill that off to?

Then

Perhaps we should try a different approach. Justify a trillion plus welfare state to me? Lets take 99 weeks of unemployment as a example? My take is, if you cannot get a job in 99 weeks your a total loser. I have been unemployed one week since I was 19. I am a engineer with decades of experience yet I would dig ditches if that's what it takes. I am not above physical work.

So justify it? Take a stab.... Can you do it? How about welfare? Really?

When its all gone who's going to pay the tab then?

And then

I didn't think so. No, I doubt you will rebut. I was raised by a father who went from nothing with no formal education to a Fortune 500 position. AKA self made? A concept alien to the left. Oh sure we have our wealthy liberals. A enigma to me. In any event, you ever pour concrete? Split firewood? Haul lumber, sell scrap metal? No, I doubt it. I did not read your bio so I am guessing but I meet and know a lot of self made men (yes and women) and none of them are happy right now.

You can joke and laugh at the obtuse foolishness of my opinions but the reality is, I built something from nothing and I had my own dreams. Now those dreams are at risk and at my age, that is a deep concern. Obama is a fool and you are to blinded by your ideology to see it. The ruling classes are selfish morons, I mean Biden? Really? Your going to advocate Biden as a intellect to me? LOL. Biden is a ass, in fact, a amusing ass.

Here is a poem my father taught me.... I think it is says it all and is why this nation is in deep decline. The Chinese are going to build the worlds tallest building in 90 days and we cannot rebuild the WTC in 10 years, LOL. The poem is the apex of extremism. Why, I suspect I could be tried for treason for this:

I am the foundation of all business and the font of all prosperity.

I am the parent of genius.

I have laid the groundwork for every fortune in America.

I must be loved before I can bestow my greatest blessings and achieve my greatest ends.

Loved, I make life purposeful and fruitful.

I can do more to advance a youth than his own parents, no matter how rich they are.

Fools hate me. Wise men love me.

I am represented in every loaf of bread that comes from the oven, in every newspaper that comes off the press.

I am the mother of democracy.

All progress springs from me.

Who am I?

I am Work.

LOL, enjoy.

And then

Lol, no spending cuts, only tax increases. The whole mess is because we're not taxed enough. Why the genius of liberal thought is astounding.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. Marcus Aurelius

A day later

Yeah didnt expect a response. Watching Rome burn is depressing, no?

Enjoy, some of us will never succeed to mediocrity.


November 29, 2012 Most of these messages (like, sadly, most email I get) I didn't answer, or gave brief responses. For whatever reason I did send a real answer to this one, which in fairness I quote too.

From: James Fallows

To: D....

It's possible that Obama is to blame for all of your and your friend's business problems.

There are other possibilities. One of my immediate relatives founded a tech company ten years ago, with one partner. In California no less, with its onerous taxes. (It also was not involved in any way with government business or defense contracting, though it is an Internet-based company.) It has become a very substantial business and is expanding now. The same is true of another immediate relative, also based in California, who started his tech business more recently and has fewer employees. But every year he has done more business and hired more people, and in the past two months I know that he has taken more new employees than the ones you say you have laid off.

So, it could all be the fault of Obama and "the 47%" that your business is struggling. There are other possibilities too.

And his response.

Never said I was doing bad, I said a friend and no, he is not defense related. He is struggling because demand in manufacturing is at a ebb. You know, that industry that creates wealth as in, value added?

Defense is not all my business is defense either by any means.

Anyone can cherry pick examples, I know some companies that are doing well because of the new oil development (which I am sure the left hopes to end) Fine, I concede, why since your relative is doing so well the economy as a whole must be thriving as well? Why growth is just around the corner and up the shining path?

It is a matter of principle. The economy could be growing briskly if we had a sane fiscal policy, period. Instead we get unlimited entitlements and taxes. Hell, Obamacare will be a unmitigated disaster and it has not even kicked in yet.

Since government revenue regardless of rates typically average about 18% of GDP regardless of tax rates why the big push for more taxes that, unless your very mathematically challenged, will not amount to squat relative to the deficit why all the hot air about taxes on the rich? The upper 50% pay 84% or so now? I mean, what is it about reducing the size and scope of government that is so hard to accept? Why, in any world, should half the nation pay little to no taxes? They get all the same benefits of the roads, fire, police and have no skin in the game? How about everyone pay taxes? Is asking able bodied people to work a offense? Oh, well there are no jobs? Why the economy is slow? Then we come full circle no?

Since revenues never exceed 18% of GDP then why should the size of government be any larger than 18% of GDP? I suppose that is to simple. Instead we need 25, 30, 40% of GDP? I am very curious, at what percentage do you see as fair?

I see your site is now advocating an end to the 401K "subsidy".

Interesting since allowing me to keep my own money is a subsidy? I love the choice of words. It is sort of like government spending are "investments" and "budget cuts" are a reduction in increases....

The 401K I have saved in is my money so how is that a subsidy unless your pandering to the ignorant?

One of my favorite lines is "you need to give back". This implies I took something, no? So if I make a payroll and provide benefits, what did I take?

It is absurd. Really, the entire socialist dogma can be summed up in the Seven Deadly Sins.

Here is a comment from your site that sums it up well...

"That is pigdog talk from a capitalist hoarder. We need to reallocate the money from these greedy hoarders and give it to those that would spend it, which, in addition to being sound economic policy, would reduce income inequality, the ultimate goal of any federal government."

Such brilliant thought. It must be interesting to play host to thinking so astoundingly profound as this. The amount of grey matter devoted to this comment might equal the solar mass? I especially love the last line. Imagine the shock to discover that the goal of the federal govt is not to protect and uphold the natural rights of men but income inequality...

LOL, what the hell does income inequality mean anyway? Really? LOL, if not so feckless it would be funny. Is this implying that we should ALL make the same amount of money?

Or is this Norwegian for "nobody has to much and nobody has to little"? All this inequality crap is predicated on envy (one of those sins, no?).

Why, yuk yuk, "if Romney wins well be working in the fields again"? Sigh, this is pointless.


December 2, 2012

Subject: Btw

http://community.machinedesign.com/blogs/editordesk/archive/2008/08/11/top-us-export-waste-paper.aspx

Might be interesting to note. In the last days of Rome the number one export was dung....

Forward!


December 5, 2012

Subject: FYI


http://allthingsd.com/?p=275002&ak_action=printable

I am sure this is lost on your readers, maybe you but I found it interesting since you talked about your relative.

Why is keeping the fruits of our labors a sin. Please tell me because I am to stupid to understand.

You mocked me about John Galt..... Have you considered the consequences if I am right?
 


December 7, 2012

Subject: Info

I apologize it I write to often but:
http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/12/there_is_no_party_of_principle.html

Since math is hard, when is your party going to step up to the plate and accept reality? We're broke and taxes ain't gunna fix it?

Why is reality so impossible to swallow?


Dec 13, 2012

Subject: Well

http://www.gallup.com/poll/159212/small-business-owners-pull-back-capital-spending-plans.aspx

Being a extremist is hard work, LOL, it means having to wake up every
day and face something called reality.... I feel OK though because I
know Obama cares. He really cares about me, right?

January 16, 2013

An exchange over several hours.

Subject: FYI 

I began downsizing as promised. It amazes me that people prefer this crap to limited government.

Maybe you can answer me a question? When have we spent enough? 20 trillion? 30 trillion?

My response:

Thank you. Could you give me details about the downsizing, please? Many people have asked.

His:

Naaaah, I see nothing to be gained. 

From me:

I ask because, to be honest, most people who write in are skeptical that you did what you said you would do. (I'm just reporting what people have written in.)

From him:

The details involve real people and so I am not willing to elaborate.

I will say the decisions are economic, not personal. Business is hard,
it is my life's dream and BTW, it was the dream of my father (unlike
our president).  Since I was 18 I wanted to own a business.  I simply
had no choice. Cash flow management is a vital skill for business
owners. Declining revenues mean you have to cut somewhere. Payroll is
by far the single largest expense in business, especially in mine
where nothing we do is easy or simple. I don't know a single business
owner not concerned worried. Nobody knows the rules...

In any event, this is what the voters wanted. A vast nanny state. So
be it. I personally opt for freedom. I will never participate in any
of this. I have never been, nor will I ever be, a follower.  I never
ever follow the crowd and I could care less what people think.  The
truly needy aside, there is no moral or intellectual justification for
the current situation. Leaders lead, they don't dictate...

Why not answer my question? What amount of debt is enough? Lets make
it simpler. What percentage of GDP is the liberal dream? 25%? 50%?
75%? 100%?

In addition, it bugs me and nobody will answer it. Why does it bother
liberals so much when people make lots of money? If I am smart, work
16 hours a day, save, invest, make good choices, why is that a sin?

A few hours later, from him:

Predictably you did not answer my questions. Thanks for confirming my theory...

The next morning, from me, showing myself in a frazzled moment. This isn't the way I normally want to sound (and that was an exceptional email day, more than twice the normal harvest)/

If you answer details about your business, I will happily answer details about the proper fiscal balance.

Actually, I have done so in several books and recent articles. Short answer: the level of revenue AND expenditure that prevailed during the 1990s, measured as % of GDP, was sufficient to balance the federal budget. 

I received >1000 emails yesterday. I can imagine your annoyance that I did not answer yours immediately.

From him:

LOL, you mean 17-21% of GDP in revenues = expenditures? Hmmm, didn't they call this the Laffer Curve?

I will think about it. It really is pretty straight forward. When
Obama won reelection I knew things would not improve and predictably,
they have not.  Call me what you want, I didn't get here by being naive. I was lucky as well, I had a very politically wide father who taught me.  Overall, Obama is pretty easy to figure, it amazes the Republicans cannot. His weakness is easy to see. I could only wish to be Speaker, it would be fun to exploite this weakness...

"The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. "
Sun Tzu

And

Funny you answer mine immediately when it is expedient? Feeding the sharks hoping you get eaten last? Or merely feeding the aquarium?


January 17, 2013. I had done an item about the battery problems in the 787. In reply:

I read your brief on the 787.... Really, the Comet? Are you kidding?
Next time you fly on a 777, relax and know I played a major role in
the fly by wire system. Seriously, it is called ARINC 629 and is a
superset of MIL-STD-1553... I am sure that will make you relax and
feel safe... In the early days it was called DATAC and was invented by
a brilliant engineer named Hans Herzog.

The Comets flaw was structural and related to pressurization. This is
an ancient issue and is well understood issue and has no bearing on
the 787 at all.  I have no idea why this is worthy of mention.....

If you want a dissertation on Li batteries I can opine as well. I have
witnessed, in fact instrumented, destructive Li battery tests. I
understand then well....

As to outsourcing, labor costs and regulation. In the post WW2 era we
had the advantage of a intact economy unlike the rest of the world,
now we do not. The era of the lunch box worker has passed. Unions are
a artifact of a by gone era as well..... Why is the liberal left and
the democrat party rooted in this notion of the "worker"? The economy
is global and US labor costs are unrealistic. The advantage we had is
productivity per worker and the small business spirit which is now the
primary target of this administration. Hard to imagine why when you
have a president who couldn't tell you which end of a shovel hits the
dirt... Can you?

The fuel leaks to me are more worrisome. Fuel is primarily stored in
the wings and the center tank. This also is driven by the need for a
fixed center of gravity as the wings represent, ideally without trim,
the forward aft CG point of rotation. Wing construction is extremely
complex and leaks are hugely non-trivial although likely not
dangerous... Wings must flex and fixing a leak is a mess.  JP is not
volatile overall fortunately Bruce Willis withstanding. The SR-71
leaked like a rusty ship until airborne, thermal expansion sealing the
leaks.

I have been involved in many complex engineering projects, the 787
will be OK. This is par normal. Your premise is outsourcing is the
cause? No, it is just a complicated machine.  The question really is
why outsource?

Could it be labor costs? Regulatory costs? EADS is going to build in
Mobile. While I realize that Alabama is polyhedron of ignorance oddly
here they shall build aircraft. I wonder why? Hmmm, I wonder why....


Cheers.... I know I easily annoy. I just cannot help it.

January 18, 2013

Subject: Funny

Everything with you liberals is give me something. You will exchange ideologic thoughts as long as I provide red meat to your carnival of followers. Isn't that kinda shallow? Sigh, yes, I believe it is but your a leftist.

I relish a leftist who would engage in real debate. How disappointing as always...

I expected nothing less...

January 22, 2012.  I wrote an item about Obama's second inaugural address. In reply:

Subject: Congrats

You made American Thinker today over your predictable gushing review
of Dear Leaders usual decrees of knowing whats best for all humanity.

My personal favorite;

"Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action,"
Obama

This is pure psychobabble... Do you really believe this crap? I guess
Milton said it best, no? Better to rule in hell than to serve in
heaven?

January 22, 2013.  This was the following morning.

So a response to a query requires I offer up details about my business? Bit unfair no? I agree to burn in effigy before your minions for the cause lest I merit a mere tepid response to valid ideogical questions?

I have yet to meet a liberal who does anything more than get pissed off and I find you no exception. The end justifies the means, period. There is no debate. Pity those that argue with a fool.

Your all the same. Imagine my surprise at getting no response except when it suits your needs. LOL, liberals. So predictable and such bores. God I hate the modern era...

I wrote back testily

What exactly is your beef now? I have been on the road for the past 24 hours and don't know what is bothering you now.

From him the next morning:

Sorry, I like debate, hard to find a decent debate. I am pissed about the state of affairs and you seemed initially like a reasonable person but being fodder for the torch laden mob is not my trip. I apologize. I take my politics very serious and I am the antithesis of what is today. 

Is it so wrong to seek out explanation or justification for being expected, in fact vilified for refusing to abandon ones principles?

In any event my beef is a nation that has abandoned its principles. You seem like a source of insight into ideas that are antithetical to mine. You can't get that can you? It's cool, I will keep searching for a decent debate... Beer and politics are fun, but usually disappointing. Hard to find someone willing to spar. Bums me out. I am intense at debate. I do love it so.

And, for reasons I can't recall:

FYI huntsville is more than a moderately high tech area. Like between 2 and 4 high tech? Just not as public.... Flame me all you like but know your facts. This is a very high tech area, just less visible?


January 30, 2013

Subject: Extremist or Realist?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324156204578273611039517142.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

You were the ones you have been waiting for, right?

February 1, 2013 

Subject: Love it  The now-discredited charges about Sen. Robert Menendez had just made the news.

God I so love the media. Menendez is screwing little girls and it is crickets and Harry Reid is right there... Reid is LDS as is my wife. It is amazing the total hypocrisy of this old fool.  I know a lot of Mormons and don't know one yet that would defend a pervert. Then again, it's just another sexual orientation, no? Why morality has to bend and change with the times...

Sorry to be the ever sarcastic. I have serious challenges wrapping my mind around a ideological standard devoid of humanity. I keep pushing the quest for answers but all I get is name calling. Then again, better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven?

And I am a extremist, lol...

Downsizing to continue. Had a offer to move to Asia. Considering it, I like hard work and making money. Something this nation was known for. Wonder who is going to pat the tab?

February 3, 2013

Subject: Phoniness

Do you people who support Obama ever get embarrassed? Just curious? The skeet shooting image is second hand embarrassment for me, it makes me curious, like so many things....


February 5, 2013

Subject: Fyi

Talked about how to close business today. My CPA told me 75% of his customers lost money last year and they are a large firm.

75%. Just how long can this bullshit keep up before it folds the entire economy? I mean what friggin planet do you so socialists live on?

Go tell your minions what a extremist I am again. Do I seem pissed? Your damn right I am pissed. 

February 5, 2013, two hours later. 

Subject: Yup

To busy to respond? Must be nice... I guess your occupation is last man down?

Lol the great society. What a fucking joke. I will be fine, I am to skilled and to driven to fail. Funny though. What are the kids going to do? Be journlists?

February 16, 2013

Subject: Funny

So one of your guys likes little girls? Menendez? Funny, and I am a extremist?

I have to admit how the left circles the wagons... If he were Republican the pyres would be ablaze....

Lol, what's it like to live a ideogy that ignores morality for the cause? Must be a vapid and lonely place....

Orwell would be proud. 

I asked him for evidence of people circling around Menendez.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/02/03/harry-reid-expresses-confidence-sen-menendez-did-nothing-wrong/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/nyregion/partisan-push-led-to-troubling-revelations-about-senator-menendez.html

Partisan push, lol, say it ain't so?

In addition, I hear mostly crickets, no? If let's say McConnell had done this the press would be in a firestorm?

Dozens of pro-Dorner protesters rally at LAPD HQ - Yahoo! News
http://news.yahoo.com/dozens-pro-dorner-protesters-rally-lapd-hq-014013324.html
I love this story. The moral rot in this nation is so profound brought to us courtesy of the modern left... 


February 20, 2013 

Looks like Obama's entire strategy is make things as utterly bad as
possible and then merely blame Republicans, perhaps thinking by doing
so he can take congress in 2014.

Amazing, strategy. Selfishness and total ideological devotion at any
cost. Why worry, he pays nothing personally and lives like a king.
Looks like I am going to shut her down. Better to walk off with cash
in hand than ride it down. Personally, I think until things get so bad
people in our lifetimes cannot imagine nothing will change.

The only bright star in the economy is oil and gas and I am sure the
liberal left can manage to ruin that soon as well. Unreal. Just
unreal....


Was I wrong? Lol the nation is doomed. Blaming Republicans for everything may be good politics but it hardly pays the bills and is a strategy of a coward. Talked to two small business owners today in retail. Both are looking at tossing in the towel. My daughter was cut to less than 28 hours due to Obamacare...

Brave new world Mr. Fallows. Your side is going to get thier wish. It is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven.....
Enjoy! 


February 22, 2013

Subject: Lies 

Everything is a lie. Sequestration is a lie. I am curious, on the liberal left , is there some point where reputation matters? I am old school. To me a handshake means something.

A cut in the increase in the budget is a crisis? Yet I am pondering extinction?

What's my beef? How about the truth? You see I have  degree in physics. That means I can add and subtract and most importantly I am not afraid of big numbers.

What the fuck does it take for you people on the left to realize it has never and will never work? Geesh Obama is a moron. Lets spend our way to prosperity... Yeah and crack is health food?

Oh well no matter. You can't keep a good individualist down.

February 25, 2013

Subject: FYI

Well just got smaller today. Yup, what a banner economy... Taked to a
large long time vendor, they lost money for the first time in 20
years. Talked to a local jeweler, he is looking at closing his doors.

All this crap for what? Oh, the one we have been waiting for. The good
news is when Obamacare kicks things will get even worse... 

February 28, 2013

Subject: Lol

Yeah I know, you get 12000 emails a day. Unless I lay my neck on the alter of your minions I am to be cast aside like the sodomites... Funny.

You leftist really can't deal with debate can you? Good. Enjoy, history is on my side... Freedom never be imposed, only defended...

Back to Sun Tzu...  Good read. So is Socrates and, if you have spare time defending the "one" we have been waiting for, I can recommend a multitude of other good reads. Funny, history is a bitch.

On the other hand, I forgot! Your the ones you have been waiting for?

I replied, again sounding a little churlish. (I am tempted to leave these out, but in the spirit of warts-and-all transparency...)

I am going to China today and on the flight will try to do a post catching up on your views and arguments. I will post that tomorrow.

I agree that Sun Tzu is important. A lot of my book National Defense, back in the 1980s, was based on applying his work to our modern military.

A few hours later, from him:

I can't figure you. You have common sense yet you espouse leftist views in inconsistent with what I hear?

It would be interesting to have a discussion sometime? Would you entertain a meal at some nice location or am I to low on the food chain?

I appreciate the response.

And a few hours after that:

Kinda boring debating with most people. Sigh, it is a curse...

Btw why china? I am working on expanding my business to that market. Lost my most senior guy, business sucks but I cannot imagine working for someone else... Some of use are just not cut from the cloth?


March 2, 2013. This note was, I believe, in response to this post by me, on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion. 

Subject: Interesting read you posted

Since the sequester is essentially only a reduction in the rate of increase exactly why is your "employee" blaming only republicans? In addition, if memory serves me, the sequester was Obama's idea...

Spend must be cut. I am down two employees since the election and it looks grim. Why not tell the truth? If cutting spending would be a disaster to the economy the why hasn't massive spending caused a boom.

I am so tired of the lies.  Give me a example of one nation in which socialism has worked? Then show me liberty and I will show you success...

The problem with freedom is it requires responsibility, no?

March 22, 2013

Subject: Funny 

Well lets see, down to two of us, I just took a pay cut and my long
time manager is going to 4 day weeks. In 10 years I have never seen it
this bad.

Headlines: 
OBAMACARE: 6 in 10 physicians will retire earlier than planned...
Biden's One-Night Paris Hotel Tab: $585,000.50...
Chicago school system closes schools, expands sex education.

I could go on and on. WHat a brave new world Obama and ilk have
brought us. Not that I liked Bush but for gods sake, really?

Yup, every single thing I expected is coming to fruition... Funny, I
am a extremist yet my predictions are usually spot on. Odd huh?

March 24, 2013

I wrote asking about developments in his business:

All right, I would like to do an update on your news. I was going to do it before my trip to China, but now I am back.  I will update the developments in your business (without naming it or you) and your observations on political trends. 

His reply:

Trends? I have a advantage over a lot of the public in that I get calls daily from dozens of vendors and companies seeking work as well as visits. I even have a few overseas contacts.

Invariably that always comes up is the question; "how is business?".
Almost universally it is the same answer, terrible. Demand is not
there, everyone is hungry and with the exception of oil and gas (and
Boeing export sales) virtually no sector is growing.

In the mean time we have 200 mil in aid for this group and 500 mil for
that group. The VP has 1 million for hotel rooms in Paris but WH tours
are closed for lack of funds. We print money like drunks but the debt
is no problem. The idea seems to be that liquidity will spur demand.
The issue is demand in what? Liquidity does not create demand...

Then add in regulatory costs? My brother owns a building and a client
wanted to lease it for 10 years and put in a small diner. He got
estimates to do the updates and then the government stepped in. No
less than nine (9) government agency ranging from the EPA to the
Neighborhood Committee and his costs were more than double to the
point he said screw it. Seriously, what the hell does the EPA care
about a small diner? This is why the nation is slowly turning into
Detroit. What incentive is there to take risks?

In Chattanooga, TN Volkswagon built a large plant and it has brought
in a lot of jobs and so Audi decided to also move there and build cars
primarily for export. Well the Obama administration stepped in and
told Audi that there would be a tax, 10% I believe, on each car
exported and so Audi built in MX (I got this from inside sources not
the media). I mean, how stupid is this?

I study great men and this weekend I studied Andrew Carnegie, JP
Morgan, Conrad Hilton (great man of immense integrity) and Martin
Luther.

Of the first three I the underlying theme is that they lived in a age
in which hard work and lack of roadblocks allowed them to succeed.
Hilton is absolutely what is needed in this nation now. You can say
what you want about the first two (although I found both to be men of
deep conviction) but Hilton was absolutely a great man and where is
that spirit today? Rags to riches, risk taking, rewards for that risk.

I realize I am mere fodder for your readers but nobody where is the
justification for todays mess? What happened to the Horatio Alger
America? Why is it preferable to live in a nation of sheep than a
nation of opportunity?

I simply don't get it. When I was a boy I always thought I could be
anything I wanted, do anything I wanted. I had great dreams and I
still do. However, the roadblocks now to getting there are becoming so
high that I know some seriously successful people saying screw it and
quitting or retiring.

Was it worth it?

A few hours later:

Well it is disappointing that there is no dialog. Cannon fodder for a audience of fools...

Oh well. Best wishes. I am moving forward, I like to make money and I like to work. I am not letting a utter dipshit like Obama keep me down.
Asia is the future, adios... Time to make money.


May 16, 2013

Subject: Tired yet? 

So you sick of carrying water for the most inept and corrupt president in history or as I suspect does the end merely justify the means?

Been reading Will Durant. Funny to see history repeat itself but tragic.

October 15, 2013 I wrote saying that I wanted finally to tell readers the finale of his story. 

From me:

If you have any update, I will be happy to share it with our readers. 

From him:

Rome burns, Nero fiddles?

From me:

OK, will do a compendium with that as the update. 

Him:

LOL, what do you want to know?

Two hours later:

Oh well, no sense of humor?

From me, the next morning:

>>Oh well, no sense of humor?

I was flying from San Diego to DC yesterday afternoon and am just looking at mail now.

Could you let me know whether you have closed your business or any other relevant update information?

From him:

I will ponder your request. There have been significant changes. I expect to make more in the next few months. However, being red meat for the "starving masses" looking to excoriate anyone who dare think outside the leftist Establishmentarian box is hardly appealing?

There was a movie once, "The Last King of Borneo". The king is a US sailor stranded on Borneo by the Japanese occupation. When it is all over the US Navy orders him to return at which point he refuses and says; "this is my home now".

His closing was the line that struck me(to paraphrase); "Just because the world cannot make peace with itself does not mean I cannot make peace with the world"...

 The current administration is a abject disaster but in a nutshell, Rome burns and I have learned to appreciate the violin... 

A few hours later:

I have decided not to participate in the circus... I appreciate your interest but I see nothing to be gained and the next years will be taxing to say the least. The stupidity of our leaders is astounding and I am sick of hearing it is more complex than I can understand.


I was just told that by a political genius from DC... Well so I can design flight systems, I can discern complex problems but politics is to complex for me to understand? Give me a break. Politics is the obfuscation of the obvious...

Anyway, best wishes. Nice experiment in self governance but it is over...
 

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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