The 'Atlas Shrugged' Guy Has His Full Say

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I open the electronic mailbag to find 150 or so reader replies about the 'Atlas Shrugged' guy, who plans to close his business and eliminate its "$500k total payroll" if Obama wins today. First Atlas post here; second here; third here.

For now, I say thanks for the messages, and I'm letting them sit. But following yesterday's one-time-only all-day Festival of Posts™, here is the one-time-only Election Day Plan:

1) I will post a full statement from the Atlas Shrugged businessman in standalone form, since many people criticizing him have been heard and may yet again.

2) I will go out and vote.

3) When I get back I will put up a one-time-only, explicitly non-precedent-setting "Election Day Open Thread" post, allowing people to post their comments. UPDATE: Never mind! This turns out not to be technically possible at short notice. Probably for the best.

Here is the reply from the 'Atlas Shrugged' business person, who says he will close down if the election goes Obama's way tonight. This came after he read the long preceding string of criticisms:

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.

And when I wrote back asking if I could quote the material above:

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.

Just one more note for now. If I were to encourage you to revisit a single item from yesterday's Festival™, it would be this. Or maybe this. Happy Election Day.

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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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