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Dr. Helen

Zoning Out or Cashing In?

January 11th, 2014 - 6:47 am

I read with interest Roger Simon’s post on Americans going John Galt:

Tell all your “Objectivist” friends and the libertarian gang at Reason magazine to break out the champagne. Americans may have skipped the movie of Atlas Shrugged, nor have many read any of Ayn Rand’s works, but they have taken the author’s advice anyway and gone John Galt, quitting the work force in record numbers. According to Zero Hedge, the latest figures show the labor participation rate at 35 year low…..

The implications of this are actually terrifying. What are those nearly 92 million people doing with their time, other than sitting around depressed?. Many, of course, are on some version of welfare. Some are panhandling. We see the homeless on the streets of all our big cities. Others are moving into a shadow economy, much of it illegal (drugs, prostitution), not paying taxes on whatever they earn. It’s truly a sad situation. No wonder so many states are moving toward legalizing grass. Everyone wants to zone out.

I tend to agree with commenter “tea party doc,” who says:

Many of those 92 million are working–off the grid. A friend of mine has estimated that as much as 30% of the local housing construction involving remodels here is bartered labor and cash transactions that don’t show up on anyone’s W-2. I would bet that when the health care bubble begins to burst there will be many home births that will never be reported to the government and we will have citizens that live their entire lives off the grid.

I do think that many people–and not just illegal immigrants–are working off the grid and collecting government benefits. This means that for many Americans, today’s economy can be providing them with more spending money, not less. Those who wish to stay under the radar might even be doing better. The big problem will be for those who wish to get ahead in conventional ways, such as through college and then with a W-2 paying job. Perhaps the elite will do well as they have connections, but for everyone else this route will be tougher.

What are your thoughts?

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Yes. We turned a corner in the nineties and we're now in full fledged distrust, the conservatives and libertarians because we saw it all along and now, interestingly, the liberals, who are starting to understand that the left is not their friend.

Finally, the left itself distrusts government because they know who its made up of. It's why they fight like hell to maintain power. They don't want to fall prey to the cohort and machinery that they have put into play.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
When a government becomes too obtrusive and oppressive, people try to avoid it. Submission to what the government demands at any given time does not work to get them off your backs, because they can and will always come up with yet more oppression if you yield. Part of the avoidance can involve going off grid, as the government becomes more viewed as a "them" rather than as being something of "ours". As more of the people try to avoid government impositions, the government works harder and more coercively to bring them back into the abattoir. Which creates more avoidance and increasing resistance. Eventually, the government comes to be considered a totally hostile foreign entity, and the resistance becomes an existential matter for both. It is a process, and it is progressing now.

Working under the table is someone trying to maintain their freedom. Denying a government that in no way respects us or is under our control the fruits of your labor is patriotism. If you are an American [sorry, foreign invaders are not] and you are taking benefits while working, you are just reclaiming part of what has been stolen by the government that claims sovereignty over you.

That is stating it bluntly, but that is where our country is going.

Subotai Bahadur
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a millennial and I've made 95% of my money in the "shadow" economy. Like Helen said, unless you have a hook up in the formal economy, a formal job in America doesn't make much sense. I still haven't seen a good argument that the economy isn't going to collapse, so, you might as well do whats best for yourself. In most situations for men, being a low spender and making money in the cash economy taking on no debt is definitely the smart move.

With American girls, additionally, there is an added incentive to have a lot of free time. The hot girls (the young ones) have, for the most part, adopted a culture of debauchery and degeneracy and if you don't have the free time to party with them you won't have a good sex life. Basically they see responsible middle class young guys paying taxes and going to bed by 11 as eunuchs. They go for rich kids and bad boys. Girls add major bonus points if you sell drugs. Which I have never done, I might add, but can attest to this from first hand observation.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (60)
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Speaking as an Objectivist, there is nothing POSITIVE about America Going Galt. It's a sign that things are very, very bad. Going Galt is a proper response to the situation in which many people find themselves, but in and of itself it is not good, just the best of a bad situation.
So while I celebrate the fact that Americans still have spines, I don't celebrate that they must demonstrate the fact in this way.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
OT
I have a new post on the nature of free will [http://humancivilizations.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/higher-order-animals-have-been-naturally-selected-to-possess-free-will-enabled-mind-constructs/], the Marxist view on free will and the larger implications to society.
I would really appreciate it if PJ Media readers would give me your feedback on my post. As Marxist culture continues to progress, I believe that defending free will and agency would become necessary.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, I know a contract employee that got layed off from a Fortune 60 corporation. He didn't want to get layed off. He told our boss that he would make more under the table fixing computers hardware and software and collecting unemployment than working
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Helen Smith,
I have read your book "Men on Strike". I too am very concerned about what is going on with the family and offer this letter for your thoughts.

I wish to address the apparent disintegration of the American family. Most studies I have found trace this condition to begin about 1970. Since then, birth rates have declined, out of wedlock births have increased, half of marriages are ending in divorce and church attendance has been steadily on the decline. It is said that this is but a proper realignment of the role of women in society. But, the political significance causes me to look a little further.
Church attendance has declined significantly since 1970. But, survey responses reflect no substantial change. Half of survey respondents who indicated attendance did not in fact attend. It appears that while attendance is not considered important, portrayal of attendance is. Marriages are in decline and cohabitation is on the rise. Most surprising are the results of a survey revealing that the participation of a father in church activities is overwhelmingly more important to the later year behavior of children than a mother’s.
If we then look forward to the adulthood of the 40.7% of babies born out of wedlock in 2012 and growing up without fathers and the formative years of children with an out-of-home father as the result of a divorce, what happens to our society with a declining influence of one of the foundations of the nation, a belief in our Creator?
Big government increasingly influences the political actions of those who would have been part of a family unit. The state increasingly becomes the husband, father and provider without the influence of a faith based foundation.



14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm going Galt by quitting my job and running a male client only counselling practise. I've had it with incompetent, bitchy, drama ridden, and passive aggressive sexism from female managers. As a single man, I'm always belittled, but they're always strangely fascinated by my private life, and they think I'm immature just because I enjoy myself. Every day I am accused of being bitter and scarred, just because I'm not, and never will be, married. Although I take things quite calmly I'm sick of being told I can't multitask by yet another female having a panic attack over nothing important whatsoever. Any feminist who says a man cannot understand discrimination is talking crap, but rather than wait for change to be gifted to me, I manned up and took control, studied, saved, and now a business risk is in order! And despite me being jaded and cynical, I still wake up with a smile on my face.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
John Galt when he was not in Galt's Gulch worked. He just didn't work any harder than he had to for the basics.

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The American Constitution is remarkable for its simplicity; but it can only suffice a people habitually correct in their actions, and would be utterly inadequate to the wants of a different nation. Change the domestic habits of the Americans, their religious devotion, and their high respect for morality, and it will not be necessary to change a single letter in the Constitution in order to vary the whole form of their government."

When did this start? Maybe as far back as the proto-Democrat Aaron Burr, but we have certainly seen the effects of it since the middle of the 20th century.

The founders wrote, and I think ardently believed, that virtue is the foundation stone of liberty and a government that can govern a free people.
Over two centuries, the best people in our culture bring this concept into their speech and writing. Since the 1950s, I notice that morality and virtue are cited, with less and less mention of the importance of religion as a basis for learning and maintaining virtue. Until today, when to speak of religion in the context of American virtue, morality and liberty is to blaspheme against the deity of politically correct speech.

We have seen fit to send men without virtue, and worse, politicians without ability, to hold the chief offices in our local, state and federal governments, and we should not wonder that these people, without changing a word of the constitution, are turning us into a third world, tinpot dictatorship. We should also not wonder that individual citizens might follow the immoral examples provided by the people we send to government, and scheme to evade taxation, even to the extent that they leave the "official" economy.

You can't keep a republic when the citizens are without moral and civic virtue.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
At its fundamental level the crime started with motor voter. Which of course BHO championed. We now have entire states issuing drivers licenses to illegals. That is the gateway document. If you look at the federal regulations concerning identification required for welfare (and tons of other benefits), it is purposely worded like this:

"A state issued identification card."

So the millions of illegals on welfare now is about to explode. That ID will get you fully subsidized health care with obamacare, which at sign up time will sign you up for welfare, and send you a voter registration card whether you want one or not.

Of course the one trick pony for obamacare is that there is no longer any state level verification. In fact, there is no verification what-so-ever.

If I hear another story about how someone who signed up their dog for obamacare I think I'm gonna hurl. Buy, hey, at least the dog can register to vote. Maybe do the illegal trick and claim your nephews and neices in Mexico as dependents on your bogus tax return and collect a chunk of that 20 billion wasted on that scam every year. If they can claim imaginary children, then of course I don't think there is any problem counting my dog as a dependent.




14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"At its fundamental level the crime started with motor voter."

Given the narrowness of this perspective, I wonder if the problem really began with progressive education and the concrete-bound mentality it gives rise to in its victims. In any case, politically, the crime started in the progressive era of the 1890s, and things went downhill from there -- major milestones being creation of the Fed and income tax in 1913, the New Deal of the 1930s, and the Great Society of the 1960s. So, no, it didn't start with motor voter.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I owned a small country grocery for several years, I saw firsthand the type of fraud that goes on with benefits. I could have earned a virtually untraceable extra income by buying food stamps (and later, EBT credits) at a steep discount for cash. I chose not to do that. But I also saw the fraud in other ways, especially those with off-grid income or property drawing benefits.

And given that food stamp (now SNAP) recipients feel comfortable offering their credits for sale at discount on Craigslist now, I am certain the fraud is not on the decline.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you're really on UI, you're just collecting insurance you and your employer paid for. What the beef is about is a form of welfare from the federal government that is meant to keep you unemployed and voting Democrat as long as possible.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Art, dead to rights again. There is no such thing as Federal unemployment benefit insurance program. Simply does not exist. It is straight up front welfare.

But then again, we might want to lay low on this. If BHO gets wind of the idea of employer funded unemployment benefits on the federal level....

Well, you know what will happen. 20,000 new federal employees, thousands upon thousands of pages of regulations, and an operating budget around 40-50% of revenues for administration only.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Disagree. By public law, the US Treasury is required to setup a separate Unemployment Trust Fund. See http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/tfmp/tfmp_utf.htm for a running summary of deposits and withdrawals state by state.

The problem with extending unemployment benefits is that all existing employers will be required to pay more into the fund for a longer period of time. It is yet another hidden but rising tax on an economy that is barely moving. Expect more business closings and more unemployment by our 3$#@$% politicians who claim to help the needy by robbing others as the same politicians go on expensive junkets and vacations at taxpayer expense. TINSTAAFL.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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