There’s a stirring out there in the ether, it seems the wingnuts have come up with a new tactic for dealing with their various displeasures as concerns their loosening grip on political power.
They are now threatening to “go Galt” on us, meaning they’re talking about dropping out of the economy to which they say they contribute so much, in protest of the fact that our new president is thinking of raising their marginal tax rates.
For those of you who haven’t read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, John Galt was a brilliant inventor, one of her book’s heroes. It is John Galt who first decides to protest society’s tyrannical repression by dropping out, thus depriving society of his creative talents. Galt’s revolt spreads and society declines as all the best and brightest wise up and drop out.
The wingnuts would have us believe that those who are now mulling over the threat to “go Galt” are, like the heroic characters in Rand’s book, the most creative and productive in our society and that in face the of monumental tax hikes and the obvious wasteful use to which those taxes are being put, dropping out and refusing to lend their productive capacities to society is a rational choice.
The only problem with the plan to “go Galt” is that our president has suggested raising taxes only on those whose income is over $250,000 per year and we all know that the income of most wingnuts falls far below that figure.
Why is it that wingnuts have so much trouble understanding that the Republican Party’s actual constituency is not the folks at the bottom of their electoral base. If we’re ever to get honest discussion of our economy, the wingnuts are going to have to be apprised of the fact that the Republicans do not represent their interests in Washington, the Republicans simply use their votes to get elected.
The Republican Party has, since the 1960’s, learned to play on the anger and fears of the wingnut population in order to deliver an election turn-out reliable enough to assure a fair amount of Republican success, but that does not mean that Republicans have rewarded their wingnut friends with any sort of meaningful improvement in their lives. As a matter of fact, real wages over the last almost forty years have stagnated to the point where working men and women are making less today, in real dollars, than they did in the 1970’s.
The wingnuts would be much better off if they realized that the Republican party has done nearly everything in their power to stifle their lowly wingnut aspirations to middle class incomes, and that their delusional fixation on, and adherence to the policies put forth by Republicans is a self defeating behavior that in essence, is the most reliable evidence that wingnuts are not the best and brightest, and they are not the most productive and dynamic members of society.
This whole story would be less pathetic if we didn’t have some real evidence, backed by scholarly investigation as to who really contributes the most to the dynamism of our economy, and who are the real looters and moochers who only take and do not give.
For the sake of my argument, I’d like to compare the work of Richard Florida, published in his book, The Rise of the Creative Class, with the statistical data available about the differences between the ratios of federal tax revenues flowing from particular states compared to the level of federal tax dollars returned to those states.
In a nut shell my argument goes like this; Florida posits the existence of a creative class who is responsible for most of the innovation and productivity gains made in our country’s economy, he further examines the fact that members of this creative class are a well educated and diverse bunch who prefer the dynamic living conditions offered by urban centers with many opportunities for cultural stimulation, a populace tolerant of the unconventional lifestyles of some of their neighbors and possessing highly developed technological infrastructure.
Stated in the most simplistic sense, it is this constellation of preferences that has led the creative class to a gradual migration away from the beautiful but boring rural areas of the country, often populated by folks with a decidedly insular frame of mind, to the more dynamic, diverse and tolerant cities, which by the way is where the best jobs have migrated too.
Yes, the Southern states are more likely to loose their best and brightest in this model, although there are notable exceptions.(mostly the more progressive Southern cities.)
The Brain-Drain that Richard Florida describes, is a possible reason for the lack of economic vitality existing in the regions unattractive to the ‘Creative Class’.
The tax data indicates that far from carrying their own weight, the reliably wing nutty Southern states take in far more federal aid dollars than they pay in taxes; of the 25 states receiving the most return for their tax dollars, 18 of them are in the south, the region most reliably in the sway of the Republican myth-making machine.
The facts would seem clear enough even without my elaboration; the wingnut’s threat to “go Galt” is an empty threat, it would harm no one more than themselves, in fact as far as the greater economy, and the job market goes, a mass exodus of wingnuts would provide a welcome boost in the numbers of jobs available.
Remember this too, though Rick Santelli might be able to afford a few years of protest-by-slacking, Joe the Plumber can’t.
What about the ‘real’ Republican base, those that ‘W’ described as “The haves, and the have mores”? They aren’t dropping out of our economy, they aren’t really hurt, let alone threatened by Obama’s proposed tax policies, after all Obama is proposing to raise their top tier to 39.6%. During the Eisenhower administration, the top tier was over 90%, Nixon’s was never below 70% and for most of Reagan’s term they were at 50%.
Wise up wingnuts, the more you listen to Republican propaganda, the more unhappy and marginalized you will be.
Going “Galt”, that’s just a fairytale, there is no secret underground peopled by brilliant millionaire drop-outs waiting for the return of lower taxes and freer markets. Even if there was, just like the country club, you wouldn’t be welcome there.