Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘anticapitalism’

How unique is Obama’s cabinet?

Posted by Richard on May 4, 2014

This bar graph tells you everything you need to know about the Obama cabinet.



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EPA uses judicial jiu jitsu to expand its powers

Posted by Richard on August 17, 2012

Suppose you’re the Obama administration’s EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and suppose you wish the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act gave you more powers than they actually give you. You could go back to Congress and propose that they amend the legislation to expand your powers. Or instead, you could just circumvent the law like this:

  1. Get your friends in the environmental movement (like the Sierra Club, where disgraced former EPA employee Alfredo Armendariz now works) to sue the EPA for failing to do something that the law doesn’t allow it to do.
  2. “Negotiate” with the suing environmental group and enter into a “consent agreement” with them in which the EPA agrees to impose the extra-legal regulations that the environmental group asked for.
  3. Get the judge in the lawsuit (who’s probably in on the scam, since the plaintiff chose the jurisdiction with an eye on who the judges are) to sign the consent decree, since the parties to the suit are “in agreement.”

Shazam! Now the EPA has the power to impose regulations that the laws passed by Congress don’t give them!

This is how the coal industry is being destroyed — among others. This is how the Obama administration is subverting the rule of law, thumbing its nose at Congress, and expanding its ability to rule by executive decree.

The only thing left to do is to stonewall FOIA requests that might uncover the collusion with the environmental groups. See this NetRight Daily post by Rick Manning for more details.

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Jacobson: We have Warren to thank

Posted by Richard on July 19, 2012

Law prof William Jacobson noted that Obama’s attack on entrepreneurs was an echo of an earlier anti-capitalist, anti-individualist rant by Elizabeth Warren. Honest injun! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) He has video of Warren’s rendition and Obama’s take, along with a Romney response and the Romney internet ad I posted earlier. And he thinks this could cost Obama the election:

This collectivist view of our economic system is alien to the vast majority of Americans. It is beyond class warfare, which is the envy of others who are more successful. Obama has attacked success, not just the successful.

Obama has hitched his wagon to an alien ideology touted by a tainted candidate who might be too liberal even for Massachusetts.

I don’t think this is going away. It is a theme handed to Romney on a silver platter, a silver platter built, of course, on roads the rest of us paid for.

It is a game changer. And we have Elizabeth Warren to thank for it.

Update:  Paul Mirengoff quotes Pat Sajak as follows:

It’s as if President Obama climbed into a tank, put on his helmet, talked about how his foray into Cambodia was seared in his memory, looked at his watch, misspelled “potato” and pardoned Richard Nixon all in the same day.

Ooh, I like that! Let’s hear it for Pat Sajak!

(HT: Instapundit)

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Answering the Obama attack on entrepreneurs

Posted by Richard on July 19, 2012

The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass has answered the President’s contemptuous chiding of entrepreneurs in a personal and moving way:

When President Barack Obama hauled off and slapped American small-business owners in the mouth the other day, I wanted to dream of my father.

But I didn’t have to close my eyes to see my dad. I could do it with my eyes open.

All I had to do was think of the driveway of our home, and my dad’s car gone before dawn, that old white Chrysler with a push-button transmission. It always started, but there was a hole in the floor and his feet got wet in the rain. So he patched it with concrete mix and kept on driving it to the little supermarket he ran with my Uncle George.

He’d return home long after dark, physically and mentally exhausted, take a plate of food, talk with us for a few minutes, then flop in that big chair in front of the TV. Even before his cigarette was out, he’d begin to snore.

The next day he’d wake up and do it again. Day after day, decade after decade. Weekdays and weekends, no vacations, no time to see our games, no money for extras, not even forMcDonald’s. My dad and Uncle George, and my mom and my late Aunt Mary, killing themselves in their small supermarket on the South Side of Chicago.

There was no federal bailout money for us. No Republican corporate welfare. No Democratic handouts. No bipartisan lobbyists working the angles. No Tony Rezkos. No offshore accounts. No Obama bucks.

Just two immigrant brothers and their families risking everything, balancing on the economic high wire, building a business in America. …

Read the whole thing. Please!

And watch this Romney internet ad on the same subject:

[YouTube link]

I’ve never contributed to a Republican presidential candidate (only congressional candidates, and those mostly via Club for Growth). But I’d contribute to the Romney campaign if my contribution could be earmarked toward airing that ad on TV.

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Al “crucify them” Armendariz resigns

Posted by Richard on April 30, 2012

Last week, Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) released a video in which EPA administrator Al Armendariz talked about crucifying oil and gas companies. According to Christopher Helman at Forbes, the EPA tried just that with Fort Worth’s Range Resources until a federal court slapped them down.

Armendariz’s apology didn’t quiet the furor over his remarks, so over the weekend he was apparently persuaded to spend more time with his family:

The EPA Region 6 administrator who boasted of his “crucify them” philosophy of enforcement for oil and gas producers has resigned from his post at EPA. Al Armendariz announced Monday that he had submitted a letter of resignation Sunday.

Prior to his resignation the EPA administrator had more than half of the representatives from the states contained within Region 6 calling for his ouster.

(Region 6 includes Texas and the surrounding states, the heart of America’s oil and gas industry.)

Sen. Inhofe wasn’t satisfied by Armendariz’s resignation:

The ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works said that while it was right for Al Armendariz to resign in the wake of his comments positively comparing oil and gas regulation enforcement to Roman crucifixions, the EPA, under President Barack Obama, still has a problem with how it treats America’s energy producers.

“It is not just Armendariz. There are a lot of other Armendarizes around,” Inhofe told TheDC, explaining the problem has not been solved with the Region 6 administrator’s exit.

“We watch these guys. We get the complaints from people who are being run out of business by the EPA, and he’s one but there are several others also,” he said.

I’d wager a pretty penny that Armendariz is replaced by someone just as dedicated to the Obama administration’s War on Fossil Fuels, but more circumspect about what’s said in public.

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Life imitates art, Atlas Shrugged edition, episode 137

Posted by Richard on January 23, 2012

Here’s some news you may have missed last week. From The Hill:

Six House Democrats, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), want to set up a “Reasonable Profits Board” to control gas profits.

The Democrats, worried about higher gas prices, want to set up a board that would apply a “windfall profit tax” as high as 100 percent on the sale of oil and gas, according to their legislation. The bill provides no specific guidance for how the board would determine what constitutes a reasonable profit.

The Gas Price Spike Act, H.R. 3784, would apply a windfall tax on the sale of oil and gas that ranges from 50 percent to 100 percent on all surplus earnings exceeding “a reasonable profit.” It would set up a Reasonable Profits Board made up of three presidential nominees that will serve three-year terms. Unlike other bills setting up advisory boards, the Reasonable Profits Board would not be made up of any nominees from Congress.

Co-sponsoring the bill are five other Democrats: Reps. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), Bob Filner (Calif.), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Jim Langevin (R.I.), and Lynn Woolsey (Calif.).

Pam Geller called it “Post-American Statism” and asked:

This is straight out of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged — what next? The “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule,” and “The Equalization of Opportunity Bill”?

Didn’t Obama already appoint an Equalization of Opportunity Czar? I’ve lost track.

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Canada, Keystone XL, and national insanity

Posted by Richard on January 23, 2012

When President Obama nixed the Keystone XL pipeline project, Robert Samuelson called it “an act of national insanity.” Besides the several reasons Samuelson cites for why this decision was idiotic, there’s the fact that it isn’t even going to stop the project.

The company behind it, TransCanada Corp., said in effect, “Just because we’ve got Canada in our name doesn’t mean the pipeline has to begin in Canada, eh?” So they’re looking at a slightly shorter version, running from Montana to the Gulf. It would carry oil from the Bakken field. And since it wouldn’t cross borders, it wouldn’t require federal approval:

The Bakken shale-rock formation is estimated to hold as much as 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in North Dakota and Montana, according to a 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report. Oil production in North Dakota surged 42 percent to 510,000 barrels a day in November, exceeding the output of Ecuador.

Production in the Bakken field may reach 750,000 barrels a day this year, Edward Morse, managing director of commodities research for Citigroup Inc., said at a conference in Calgary today.

The original Keystone XL plan was based on carrying up to 830,000 barrels a day, so the Bakken output alone may be plenty to make the project economically feasible. TransCanada can always ask for approval to extend it into Alberta later, perhaps after there is a less insane administration in Washington.

For a look at what some of our neighbors to the north think of Washington’s idiocy, check out this excellent video commentary by Ezra Levant:

[YouTube link]

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Anti-capitalist conservatives

Posted by Richard on January 10, 2012

Yesterday, I mentioned in passing the leftist-sounding attacks on Romney by Gingrich and Perry. Bobby Eberle has much more:

In their quest for the Republican nomination, it seems these “conservatives” will embrace any idea in order to attack another candidate. The latest is an assault on capitalism… yes, capitalism! What’s next? Supporting higher taxes and bigger government?

As noted in a story on, GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is under attack by his fellow opponents, namely Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Why, you ask? Because Romney ran Bain Capital, which would restructure and reorganize companies in order to make them profitable. In doing so, everything that would be involved in saving a company was on the table: selling assets, trimming work staff, modernizing… you name it.

Oh the horror of it all! Gingrich and Perry are blasting Romney for not relying on the government, not going for corporate bailouts, but rather, for handling corporate woes in the private sector.

In National Review, Jay Nordlinger writes, “The last two presidential election cycles have revealed a stinking hypocrisy in conservatives: They profess their love of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but when offered a real capitalist and entrepreneur, they go, ‘Eek, a mouse!’ And they tear him down in proud social-democrat fashion.”

I’m not writing this column as a Romney supporter. I too would prefer someone more conservative. But in this race, the so-called conservatives are sure NOT sounding conservative to me. They are blasting Romney for engaging in capitalism. They are hounding him for turning companies around. That was his job, and apparently, he was good at it.

I said there’s no Reagan in this Republican field and no clearly best choice. The “conservative alternatives to Romney” have been making themselves less and less palatable to me.

Ron Paul is great on economic and fiscal issues and on the size and scope of the federal government, but he has some serious flaws: (1) that unfortunate association with the Lew Rockwell paleo-libertarians, (2) flirtations with 9/11 Trutherism and Bilderberger/CFR conspiracy theories, and (3) a dangerously mistaken and ignorant view of the Islamofascists.

I hate to say it, but Romney is beginning to look like the best (or least bad) that the GOP can offer this year.

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Luddite in Chief

Posted by Richard on June 16, 2011

I guess after two and a half years, the Obama administration figures the "blame Bush" rhetoric just isn't working anymore. So now they have a new explanation for the unemployment, underemployment, and generally sucky state of this so-called recovery: blame technology and automation. It's all those infernal machines and devices that are preventing you from getting a job! The Prez explained it thusly:

“There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”

Man, the economy would be going gangbusters if only we didn't have ATMs or airport kiosks. Or self-service elevators. Or long-distance phone calls that don't require an operator. Or online shopping … online bill-pay … and the whole damn job-destroying internet, actually!

Now I understand why $800 billion worth of stimulus didn't turn things around. It's all those bulldozers, graders, dump-trucks, jack-hammers, and backhoes. Think of how many "shovel-ready" jobs would be created if we just destroyed all that diesel-burning, greenhouse-gas-spouting machinery and used men with picks and shovels and wheelbarrows instead!

Socialists are basically all Luddites. 

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US leads world in punitive tax rates

Posted by Richard on March 23, 2011

You know all that leftist carping about tax breaks for the rich and the rich not paying their share? As many of us have pointed out all along, it's bunkum. If they want the US to be more like Europe and the rest of the world, they could start by cutting taxes on the rich. According to the Tax Foundation, the richest 10% of households in the US pay more in taxes as a proportion of their share of income than in any other developed country (emphasis added):

The first column shows that the top 10 percent of households in the U.S. pays 45.1 percent of all income taxes (both personal income and payroll taxes combined) in the country.  Italy is the only other country in which the top 10 percent of households pays more than 40 percent of the income tax burden (42.2%). Meanwhile, the average tax burden for the top decile of households in OECD countries is 31.6 percent.

By contrast, column #2 shows that the richest decile in America earned 33.5 percent of the market income in the country in 2005 – the year in which this snapshot was taken, but little has changed since then. But, a few other countries do have a greater or similar concentration of income as does the U.S. For example, the OECD table shows that the wealthiest decile of households in Italy and Poland earn a greater share of their country's market income than do our "rich" – 35.8 percent and 33.9 percent respectively – while the share of income earned by the top decile of households in the U.K. is about on par with those in the U.S. at 32.3 percent.

The table then adjusts for the underlying allocation of income by showing the ratio of income taxes paid to the share of income earned by the top decile in each country. The ratio for U.S. households is 1.35, far greater than the ratio of taxes to income in any other country. Even in the three countries with a comparable distribution of income, the ratio of taxes to income was less, 1.18 in Italy, 0.84 in Poland, and 1.20 in the U.K.

(HT: TaxProf, via Instapundit)

As for that other boogeyman of the left, the corporation — well, the US currently has the second highest corporate tax rate among developed nations. But not for long. Come April 1, we're going to be number one:

According to a study by the Tax Foundation, America’s combined federal and state rate of 39.2 percent is only out paced by Japan’s rate of 39.5 percent – which Japan plans to lower next month. Without Japan in the lead, America’s 39.2 percent will render it the corporate tax rate leader in the developed world, aka the countries comprising the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In recent years, many OECD nations have been lowering their corporate income tax to create more favorable environments for business. The Tax Foundation notes that since 2000 Germany, Canada, Greece, Turkey, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Iceland, and Ireland have all lowered their corporate rates by double-digits.

I'm sure all the Socialist Democrats will celebrate on April 1, chanting "We're number one! We're number one!" as we sink further into a 70s-era stagflation. Or worse.

I suspect Instapundit is correct when he opines that a Carter rerun is now the best-case scenario. 

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Michael Moore vs. Abraham Lincoln

Posted by Richard on March 4, 2011

Fat cat (no pun intended) movie mogul Michael Moore, interviewed on something called Grit TV, has declared that the money of wealthy Americans isn't theirs, it's a "natural resource" that the government should seize and redistribute. I can't help but wonder why the interviewer didn't ask what Moore has done to redistribute the tens of millions of dollars of this "natural resource" that reside in his bank accounts.

[YouTube link]

Moore and those like him are guilty of two egregious errors. The first is an error of ignorance (willful ignorance, I'm tempted to say). They seem to believe that wealth (or money, which they seem to think is the same thing) is just a fixed pile of stuff that somehow, magically, exists — and that all that's necessary is deciding how it should be distributed. 

The second error is even more egregious, and it rests on the first — because it requires one to be ignorant of (or indifferent to) how and why wealth is created and even of the fact that there are those who create wealth. It's the moral error of believing that it's OK to take wealth from those who've created it to give it to someone else. As I noted, people like Moore can believe and justify this because they don't view those who've created the wealth as its creators, and thus don't view them as its rightful owners. Wealth just exists, or appears magically like manna falling from heaven, so it's a "natural resource" that we all collectively own.

Peter Wehner contrasted Moore's perspective with that of Abraham Lincoln, and quoted Lincoln: 

I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. …. I want every man to have the chance — and I believe a black man is entitled to it — in which he can better his condition — when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.

Allowing individuals the chance to better their condition is a legitimate moral claim that citizens demand of government. Government’s goal should be to ensure equality of opportunity instead of equality of outcome; to work toward a society where everyone has a fair shot rather than one where government enforces equality.

This issue — equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome — is one of the great dividing lines between modern conservatism and liberalism. If given the choice between the philosophy of Michael Moore and the philosophy of Abraham Lincoln, my hunch is that the public will side with Lincoln.

I think the public sided with Lincoln in last November's elections. I think — I hope — enough people understand that increasing the total wealth of our society depends on ensuring that people have the opportunity to create wealth. And that the redistributionist philosophy of Moore and those like him destroys that opportunity. And thus makes us all poorer in the long run. 

Besides, it's not just that it would do more harm than good — it's just plain wrong. The person who creates something that didn't exist before is the rightful owner of that creation. Calling it a "natural resource" and redistributing it is theft, plain and simple. 

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More green supremacist imagery

Posted by Richard on October 7, 2010

On Tuesday, I posted the environmentalist 10:10 Campaign's execrable little movie, "No Pressure," and quoted James Taranto, who dubbed these anti-human slimeballs "green supremacists." On Wednesday, Ed Driscoll posted about green supremacists, too, and added another disturbing example of the mindset:

And of course, as was the wont of the original White Supremacists, the Green Supremacists really dig fantasizing about a few lynchings, as Australian journalist Andrew Bolt recently discovered. …

Writing in Australia’s Herald Sun, Bolt notes that the photo below is a screen capture of a flier promoting a tradeshow last year put on in Cannes by ACT-Responsible — the ACT stands for “Advertising Community Together.” Not at all surprisingly, Kofi Annan was announced as attending, meaning that presumably he was OK with this image:

green supremacist lynching ad

Read the whole Driscoll post, which has much more fascinating information. This image is apparently admired by the leftist advertising community and enviro-bloggers.

Then be sure to check out this Photoshopped version of the above ad, which says all that needs to be said. 

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Eco-fascist humor

Posted by Richard on October 6, 2010

The big-name, big-budget environmentalist mini-movie "No Pressure" has drawn sharp reactions in the last few days, with criticism coming from both the right and the left. James Taranto did the most thorough job I've seen of taking apart this light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek, gory eco-fascist murder fantasy. He observed that in the past, white supremacists have blown up children, as have Islamic supremacists. "Green supremacists" are still only joking about it — for now: 

There's a new kind of supremacist on the scene: green supremacists. They haven't blown up any children–not in real life. But they've been thinking about it.

A British outfit called the 10:10 Campaign hired Richard Curtis, a writer and producer of cinematic comedies, to produce a four-minute video promoting its effort to encourage people to cut "carbon emissions." The result, titled "No Pressure," struck James Delingpole, a global-warming skeptic who writes for London's Daily Telegraph, as "deliciously, unspeakably, magnificently bleeding awful." He's being too kind.

Read the whole thing. And watch the movie: 

[YouTube link ]
[alternate YouTube link]
[another alternate YouTube link]

Taranto closed with: 

One may hope that Jim Edwards is right when he denies that "this is actually what environmentalists want." But it's bad enough that this is what they fantasize about–and that they manifestly felt no inhibition about airing such a depraved fantasy in public.

But we have plenty of evidence that this — or much worse — actually is what quite a few environmentalists want. We have their own words

We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion — guilt-free at last! — Stewart Brand

Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed. — Pentti Linkola

I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems. — John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs. — John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing….This is not to say that the rise of human civilization is insignificant, but there is no way of showing that it will be much help to the world in the long run. — Economist editorial

We advocate biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake. It may take our extinction to set things straight — David Foreman, Earth First!

If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS — Earth First! Newsletter

Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planets…Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. — David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans. — Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project

If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels. — Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

That's just a portion of the quotes collected at one site. There are many more here, here, and elsewhere. 

The leadership of the environmentalist movement is full of people who are anti-capitalist, anti-industrial-revolution, anti-modernity, anti-progress, and ultimately anti-human. There's nothing amusing about the sick self-loathing that causes a person to wish most or all the members of his species were dead. 

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“We want to go back to work”

Posted by Richard on July 23, 2010

The Obama administration doesn't want a government of laws, it wants a government of men. And there's no better illustration of that than the ongoing struggle over off-shore drilling in the Gulf. Despite the fact that the administration's own hand-picked experts opposed a moratorium on deep-water drilling and in essence said the administration lied about their recommendations, despite the fact that two separate federal courts have slapped down the administration's moratorium, the administration merely rearranged a few commas in their edict, and the moratorium continues.

And it's not just the deep-water moratorium. By refusing to approve or renew permits and throwing up other regulatory and bureaucratic roadblocks, the Obama administration has also effectively imposed a moratorium on shallow-water operations — a moratorium that no reasonable person thinks makes sense. Because it fits their ideological agenda, and because they never want to let a crisis go to waste, the Obama administration has used the Deepwater Horizon spill to effectively end all energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Yes, this is the same administration that dithered and delayed for weeks, refusing foreign assistance that could have ameliorated the situation. Ameliorating the situation wasn't their goal. Remaking the American energy economy was their goal. 

On Wednesday, over 11,000 people attended the Rally for Economic Survival in Lafayette, LA. Gov. Bobby Jindal was one of the speakers. Here is a portion of his remarks: 

[YouTube link]

More of Jindal's speech here. As he said, the oil rigs are already starting to leave the Gulf for places like Nigeria and Brazil. In the words of Bruce Springsteen, "these jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back." President Obama isn't stupid or ignorant. These aren't unintended consequences, this is what he wants. 

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The tyranny of the public interest

Posted by Richard on July 23, 2010

Yaron Brook in Investor's Business Daily:

In the years leading up to 2008—09's financial meltdown, government control over mortgages, interest rates and America's banking system was at an all-time high.

And yet when crisis struck, free enterprise took the blame.

The cure, therefore, was to give government even wider powers. Washington can now bail out any company, fire CEOs, override contracts and print billions of dollars to "stimulate" the economy — all in the name of the public interest. The result? Our deficits and debt continue to mount, and there's a real possibility of a future like Greece's.

This is the state of our world today. It's remarkably similar to the state of the world in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," a mystery story about a future America whose economy is disintegrating and whose government is accumulating power faster than anyone thought possible. This parallel is a big reason a record 500,000 people bought "Atlas Shrugged" last year.

So what can we learn from a book that foresaw in 1957 what few believed possible in 2007? We can learn a lesson the heroes of the novel learn: the cause of the government's greater, destructive control of business. And we can learn how to oppose it.

Read. The. Whole. Thing.

From the comments, a great quote: 

The pursuit of wealth generally diverts men of great talents and strong passions from the pursuit of power; and it frequently happens that a man does not undertake to direct the fortunes of the state until he has shown himself incompetent to conduct his own.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America," 1835

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