Atlas Shrugs on My Home Turf
I was born and raised in lowerAlabamaand whenever there’s a wacky leftist story down there, it really perks me. In Birmingham Alabama there was a hearing to get public input on some environmental issues. There were protestors and environmentalists there in force. “We don’t want no damned coal mines” they shouted and waved their signs. The mine operator was a quiet and patient man. He had had enough. He stood up to speak to the protesters.
He patiently waited until all the jeers and boo’s died down. Then he said, “my name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator. I’ve been issued a permit to open a coal mine. I have gone through all of the red tape and paid all the fees, and now, after a long struggle, I have finally been granted the permit. After standing in this room today listening to the comments, complaints, and nasty things being said by the people here…. nearly every day without fail… well, now I have a different perspective… I see men streaming in to my mining operation looking for work. Good work here inWalker County. I was prepared to give them work. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just … you know … hell, what’s the use? I got a permit to open an underground coal mine that would employ probably 150 people in good union jobs with benefits, retirement and health coverage. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And now my only thought today is to give up and go home. What’s the use? I don’t know. I mean, I see these guys… I see them with tears in their eyes… looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys simply making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stand against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting… thank you”. Then he quietly walked back through the protestors, and left.
This strange phenomena is happening all over America. The business world is being covered with a web of complicated rules, incomprehensible regulations, draconian restrictions, burdensome taxes and leftist protests. Fewer and fewer businesses are able to tread the murky regulatory soup in which they are forced to swim. More and more are saying “screw it, I can retire and live off what I have in savings. Why should I bother with trying to create more capital, more jobs, more for my community when I could just retire with a little less money and a lot less stress? In today’s market, most new business that are created, are usually done so off shore. It is falsely claimed that jobs are going to China because of greedy companies looking for cheap, non-union, foreign labor. In reality, it is to get away from the government bureaucracy, over-regulation, and endless lawsuits from liberal fringe special interest groups. The unbearable overregulation of all commercial companies here in Americais at a tipping point. As if it is not enough to wade through the briar patch of OSHA, EPA, or the Labor Board regulations, there are the environmentalists, PETA, ELF, and a slew of well funded, yet government protected, domestic terrorist groups to deal with too.
Meanwhile, our elected officials and the designers of these regulations scratch their heads and wonder why there are no new jobs in the private sector.