April 27, 2011
QUICK: Someone take Boehner to Atlas ShruggedBy C. Edmund Wright
If you happen to be some congressional bureaucrat on the staff of the Speaker of the House and you are reading this, please kidnap your boss and take him to the nearest theatre playing Atlas Shrugged Part 1. Why, you ask?
Because in the same week that unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats cost Shell Oil four billion dollars and ran them out of drilling off Alaska -- and more bureaucrats began their attempt to cost Boeing over a billion dollars and South Carolina a thousand jobs -- our feckless Speaker of the House sided again with the wrong team.
So grab the Speaker and please go see Atlas Shrugged today. Do not wait. Do not walk. Run. Please go see it, and take Mr. Boehner some notes, before he becomes totally irrelevant and takes the free enterprise system down the drain with him.
In a life-imitates-art period like few others I can remember, we have seen the following happen in the few days since the movie was released:
-Jesse Jackson Junior publicly blames the iPad for a loss of jobs. His econ babble speak reasoning is not worth repeating here.
-The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sues Boeing to keep America's largest exporter from opening a plant in South Carolina that will create over a thousand new jobs, because the state is a non union (Right to Work) state. By the way, Boeing has already built the plant and has added 2,000 union jobs in Seattle in the last couple of years to boot.
-President Obama orders Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate oil companies and speculators (known as investors) over the rise of gasoline prices. Holder will not be investigating the EPA or any other bureaucrats who have halted or slowed down oil production, however.
-Seven more oil rigs are run out of the Gulf of Mexico by government regulations and headed to Brazil -- where crony capitalist extraordinaire George Soros will make a killing. Soros supports Obama of course.
What the juxtaposition of Atlas Shrugged's release and the events described above shows, if nothing else, is that we understand them more than they understand us. And by us, I mean freedom-loving supporters of the free enterprise system. By them, I mean liberal statists and socialists. And Ayn Rand, for all of her quirks, understood both the free market right and the big government success-punishing left. She also saw crony capitalism coming down the pike with scary prescience.
In short, in 1957 Rand understood the America of 2011 better than our current Speaker of the House does. This is inexcusable on the part of Boehner, who was elected to Congress in the early 90's as a small businessman. It's one thing for an elected Speaker to make poor political calculations and/or to negotiate weakly with the opposition. The unhappy nuances of the realities of the legislative process -- which Boehner did not invent -- can also be forgiven to a certain degree by thinking supporters.
But when a Republican Speaker -- with a business background no less -- flunks the very basics of Economics 101 on an issue as critical to our republic as energy production, it is a cardinal sin.
It's bad enough for former Speaker Newt Gingrich to sit on a park bench and wax eloquent with Nancy Pelosi on manmade global warming. It's quite another when the sitting Speaker "goes Pelosi" on us at the very moment we need a clear voice in Congress on the realities of the market and the realities of the self inflicted wounds from our very own government.
The irony of Boehner's cluelessness this week is that he and those like him were very clearly predicted by Rand in the mid 1950's. Without beating the analogy to death for those who haven't seen the movie, Shell Oil fits almost perfectly the situation "Wyatt Oil" faced in the movie. Boeing is part "Taggart Transcontinental/John Galt Line" and part "Reardon Steel." You could switch Colorado with South Carolina.
There is no specific Boehner character, but he certainly fits the mold of a politician who just finished his visit from "Wesley Mouch." This week in an interview with ABC News as reported by The Hill, Boehner said:
This is eerily reminiscent of the line in the movie where a government bureaucrat said "in an age of steel shortages, we can't have one company producing too much." That is classic liberal logic if I've ever heard it. The idea was that fairness, as defined by the government, is more important than production. And Boehner stepped right into Rand's 54 year old trap. And nowhere in this statement is any evidence that Boehner is at all concerned that the EPA is forcing Shell to walk away from their four billion dollar investment in the waters off Alaska.
But he wasn't through stepping in it. He added:
Pay their fair share? There was a lot in Atlas Shrugged about the heavy hand of government propelled by "fairness." So what is their fair share? Who decides that? Are they not subject to tax laws now, or do they have the GE plan? Or the Tim Geithner plan? How about the Charlie Rangel plan? And if they pay more in taxes, how will that produce more oil and how will that help me at the pump?
So we have to ask just what's next Mr. Speaker? Will you side with the NLRB against the Boeing Corporation? Or the state of South Carolina? Where does your siding with government against private companies stop? What do you think about states' rights?
In short, Mr. Speaker, Ayn Rand saw you coming. She warned us about the likes of you. Go see yourself on the silver screen. She knew you in 1957 better than you know yourself. And if you don't start to understand yourself today as well as she did 54 years ago, the power of your office means that we will all suffer from your ignorance.