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America’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Second Has Already Arrived, New IRS Information Present – OpEd

5 min read

By Jon Miltimore*

Final September, billionaire Ken Griffin introduced he was pulling up stakes and transferring Citadel—his gigantic hedge fund—from Chicago to Miami.

The Windy Metropolis was uncontrolled, he instructed Bloomberg, one thing that dawned on him after a colleague made a espresso run and was robbed by a thief who put “a gun to his head.”

It’s no secret that Griffin’s exit is a part of a a lot bigger migration going down throughout America.

Information present that a number of populous blue states—California, New York, and Illinois amongst them—have been dropping inhabitants and corporations for years. In 2021 Forbes wrote about “leftugees” fleeing blue states for purple ones. A number of years earlier than that, a headline in The Hill touched on “the nice exodus out of America’s blue cities.”

New IRS information, nevertheless, present the velocity with which blue states are dropping taxpayers—and their adjusted gross earnings (AGI)—is growing. A current Wall Avenue Journal evaluation discovered that greater than 100,000 folks left Illinois in 2021, taking with them some $11 billion in AGI, practically double its 2019 complete. For New York it was $24.5 billion, a rise of greater than 150 p.c from 2019. California, in the meantime, noticed its AGI loss ($29 billion) greater than triple since 2019.

That persons are migrating from these states is vital. However who’s migrating is equally vital, and the info paint a bleak image for these states. Taxpayers giving up on the Prairie State and the Empire State made about $35,000 extra per yr than new arrivals. For Florida, the info are much more stark. The common earnings for a brand new arrival to the Sunshine State was roughly $150,000—greater than double these leaving.

“In different phrases, the geese with the golden eggs are flying away,” writeseconomist Daniel Mitchell, referring to the IRS information.

For sure, these information don’t bode effectively for the way forward for these states. However not everybody is anxious.

The Atlantic accepts the truth {that a} main migration is underway, one which undercuts the standard knowledge that “Democratic states are the longer term,” however rejects the concept they’re “dying.”

“New York Metropolis isn’t some dystopian wasteland the place nobody can see their future,” writes Jerusalem Demsas.

Demsas could also be proper, but it surely’s arduous to disclaim there’s a dystopian character to what we’re witnessing in lots of main US cities—together with surging crime, failing colleges, and social unrest.

But there are causes to imagine these issues are going to worsen, not higher. Dropping wealth-creators and prosperous employees doesn’t simply have an effect on the financial panorama. It additionally impacts the political panorama.

In a current WSJ op-ed, Allysia Finley identified this primarily works to the political advantage of public sector unions and welfare activists.

“Cities are dropping the voters who hold their leaders from going off the rails,” Finley writes, noting that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was defeated by mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, who ran to her left.

Johnson’s margin of victory was comparatively skinny, some 20,000 votes. That’s a fraction of the 175,000 individuals who left Prepare dinner County from 2020-2022, Finley factors out, and it stands to cause that these are the very folks town must get again “on the rails.”

One can see the cyclical nature of this phenomenon. As cities and blue states develop into extra confiscatory and hostile to property rights, they drive out wealthier folks and wealth creators. And as affluent folks depart, the politics develop into extra confiscatory and hostile to property rights. And the cycle continues.

There’s one thing very Randian on this phenomenon. In spite of everything, the essential plot of Atlas Shrugged includes a small group of industrialists dwelling in a dystopian future through which they wrestle to maintain their companies afloat whereas preventing in opposition to an oppressive authorities and mooching politicians. Finally they are saying to hell with it and stroll away, taking with them their wealth, creativity, and improvements.

That is similar to what we’re witnessing, besides that we’re not speaking about just some wealthy industrialists like Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden (two of the heroes of Atlas Shrugged). It’s not simply the Ken Griffins who’re leaving, however a whole lot of 1000’s of wealth creators who’re voting with their toes, and choosing greener pastures of alternative.

It is a extra life like model of Atlas Shrugged. The novel was in some ways an epic thriller, Agatha Christie meets Cecil B. DeMille. Individuals are disappearing, and we don’t know why. As Taggart and Rearden wrestle (and finally type a love affair), we hold listening to about some mysterious determine: John Galt.

Finally we after all study that Galt is a disgruntled visionary and entrepreneur, and he’s inviting the perfect and brightest in society to hitch him in abandoning the looters and leaving them to their very own destiny. He explains why in a protracted speech close to the tip of the novel, which touches on Rand’s philosophy of voluntaryism, individualism, and capitalism.

“All the boys who’ve vanished, the boys you hated, but dreaded to lose, it’s I who’ve taken them away from you. Don’t try to seek out us. We don’t select to be discovered. Don’t cry that it’s our obligation to serve you. We don’t acknowledge such obligation. Don’t cry that you simply want us. We don’t take into account want a declare. Don’t cry that you simply personal us. You don’t. Don’t beg us to return. We’re on strike, we, the boys of the thoughts. We’re on strike in opposition to self-immolation.”

It’s good story-telling, but it surely’s not precisely plausible. What we’re witnessing, nevertheless, is: a mass motion of people who find themselves bored with having the fruits of their labor seized to fund more and more dysfunctional authorities programs.

We regularly overlook that entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of an economic system. Societies with out it wither away. And plenty of of those states and cities have develop into hostile to entrepreneurship and wealth creation.

“I don’t put firms right here in New York anymore…or California,” Shark Tank entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary lately instructed CNN. “These states are uninvestable. The coverage right here is insane. The taxes are too excessive.”

As Griffin’s exit from Chicago exhibits, it’s not simply excessive taxes which are driving folks out of cities.

There are different prices—ethical, social, and cultural—while you create communities that spurn property rights and have fun looting.

IRS information solely inform us a lot. If you wish to higher perceive these prices, choose up Atlas Shrugged.

*Concerning the creator: Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of (Comply with him on Substack.) His writing/reporting has been the topic of articles in TIME journal, The Wall Avenue Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox Information, and the Star Tribune.

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