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Atlas Shrugged…Who is John Galt?

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Atlas Shrugged


Who is John Galt?

Atlas Shrugged was written by the Ayn Rand in the 1950’s.  It is a long 1168-page novel. I just finished reading it and it took weeks to get through it. The longer I read the more engaged I was as I realized so much of what Ayn wrote is pertinent for today.

When I was at Borders and picked it up, the clerk said, “We sure have been selling a lot of these books this year.”

Atlas Shrugged is now at the Top of Amazons’ Best Selling Classic books and is the story of what happens in the United States economy as it collapses under the weight of government regulations and intervention.  As the government intervenes the crisis goes deeper and deeper.     (Think HVCC, Stimulus 01, GM, TARP)

A Classic

I was inspired to purchase the book by this article in the Wall Street Journal by Stephen Moore, from Fiction to Fact in 52 years.

“The moral of the story is that politicians act out of crisis, (usually created by themselves) creating more and more programs to get us out of a mess, which creates more and more government intervention. Under the burden of more taxes, the entrepreneurs are also forced into poverty. In the book they escape to continue using their minds.” Stephen Moore

Living it today

Altas Shrugged is an accurate portrayal of the stupidity of Socialism. Socialism does not work. This has proven true everywhere socialism and communism have been tried in the last 100 years.  Throughout the book it is obvious that under the crushing role of more government intervention the U.S. economy is destroyed.

The quote below is from John Galt’s speech. (Which are 70 pages long and toward the end of the book). Really a book in and of itself as John Galt doesn’t appear himself until close to the end.

“You know that you can’t give away everything and starve yourself. You’ve forced yourselves to live with undeserved, irrational guilt. Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it’s your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. This country wasn’t built by men who sought handouts. In its brilliant youth, this country showed the rest of the world what greatness was possible to Man and what happiness is possible on Earth.”

Do I agree with everything written in Atlas Shrugged? No not at all but the story is fascinating and relevant during the times we are living in and well worth the read.

Don’t have time to read a novel this large?

Read the Cliff Notes, however you will miss the development of the characters which reveal how different people handle the crisis.

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Todd Waller

    July 10, 2009 at 9:23 am

    @missycaulk too poignant by half! I picked up AS to read a second time the end of last year. The first time I read it, I was in high school and couldn’t put the book down for 2 and a half days.

    At that point in time, it seemed that Rand was “making up a plausible story.” Frightening to think that in such a short period of time, the darn story has nearly come to life…

    You ask, “Who is John Galt?”

    “He is Prometheus who changed his mind…he broke his chains and he withdrew his fire-until the day when men withdraw their vultures.”

    Great book…it just mirrors today too much to be a made up story…

    Todd

  2. Missy Caulk

    July 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I am on my second reading of this and John Adams both huge books. This time I am underlining. The first time I was just enjoying the story…now studying it.

    The times may have changed,the setting by human nature remains the same.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    July 10, 2009 at 10:03 am

    @missycaulk I am a big fan of Ayn Rand’s work and read Atlas Shrugged once every two years or so (in between I usually read The Fountainhead). I think one of the greatest things I ever took away from her books is that every relationship/action must have value in it for both parties. Many disagree and use charity as an example of there being no personal gain in the action. I disagree and say there is great value there – the person giving gets something out of it, whether it is pride, a good feeling, a pat on the back, or their own somewhat questionable intentions (let’s face it some give to charity just so they can get their name in the paper or on TV, some do it for ego, some do it so they can cleanse themselves of their own sins, etc.). There is value in everything you do and if there isn’t, you might want to rethink why you do it. Value does not have to be a dollar sign, although it often is.

    Even love is a two way value proposition in Ayn Rand’s books. Even if you don’t like the “message” I still think they are some of the best written stories of all time.

  4. Joe Loomer

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am

    My mother lived and died in London. The socialized health care system over there is more third world than first. She was killed by a blood clot in her thigh that travelled to her heart.

    Prior to this, her medical team of nut-jobs had taken her off her blood thinners because they wanted to try a new insulin delivery system and thought it might not interact. This for a woman of eighty years, three strokes, several mini-strokes, and a heart attack.

    What has this got to do with Missy’s post? We are in the infant stages of converting to a national health care system. The model? Britain’s National Insurance. A few years ago, as my mother’s health deteriorated, we had her put on the free meals delivery from the National Health Service. On a visit shortly after that, I tasted one of the dinners they’d delivered – alarmed that my mother had lost 40 lbs in six months. I do not have the eloquence of Missy or others on AG, but I will tell you it brought this former rugby player and Initiated Navy Chief to his knees. I couldn’t stomach it, and I’ve held down limburger cheese on dog biscuits chased by a shot of Thai fish sauce. Cancelled the service that day.

    I hope beyond hope that this is not OUR future in this Great Country – a deteriorating, government-run country of former greatness, punishing it’s citizens for paying their taxes. Look no further than the British Empire for a glimpse of what could be.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  5. MIssy Caulk

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Matt, I have not read the Fountainhead but it is on my list to do so. We all give for many reasons, but America is great about responding to need. Look at how much we raised for Katerina and the Africa from American Idol. Well there are hundreds of more examples but those come to mind first.

    Regardless what motivates we are still THE most giving nation in the world, but we don’t like to made to give.

  6. MIssy Caulk

    July 10, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Joe,

    I sold a home 2 years ago to a physician in England, the stories he told. They love it here. Celebrated 4th of July. I am going to try to do a flip video interview with them.

    I am sorry about your mom, tragic. Not surprising from what D told me about the health care there.

    Not saying our system doesn’t need fixing…it does. Patients should have the ability to choose their care, physicians should be allowed to treat and order ANY tests they want for the patient.

    Even now you have to go through insurance companies to get approval for some things, and sometimes they say no.

    So stupid to be forced for everyone to carry drug treatment and mental health treatment on every policy. Those who don’t need it are paying for it in their premiums.

    Now don’t get me started on the attorneys and the high malpractice premiums the physicians pay.

    Some have NEVER been sued, yet they ALL have to pay because we are such a litigious society. Why not just the Dr.’s who have been sued have their premiums go up.

    It is just passed along to the consumers.

    Lots of options out there but Universal is not the answer.

  7. BawldGuy

    July 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Good stuff, Missy. When my kids reach 16 they were both required to read AS. Neither one of them has had a liberal thought since. 🙂

    Something for nothing is a myth. It’s ALWAYS something from somebody else, taken by force, direct or indirect.

  8. Lesley Lambert

    July 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I LOVE reading and re-reading Ayn Rand’s works, especially Atlas Shrugged.

    I agree with you that it is still pertinent in today’s society where so many people are expecting a bailout, handout or do-over.

    Thanks for this terrific post!

  9. Brian Block

    July 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Missy,

    Best Book Ever!

    I recommend it to everyone.

    First time I read it was 14 years ago.

    Second time was last year. Believe it or not, I read the entire book OUT LOUD to my wife over a period of a couple of months! Talk about a commitment.

    The better part of my life is based on the philosophies in Ayn Rand’s masterpiece.

  10. Missy Caulk

    July 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    @bawldguy Yes it is, we are like frogs in the water where the heat is turned up so slowly we just boil away. Although it seems to heating up quickly these days.

    Thanks Lesley for the RT too.

    Brian, LOL they do have it on CD too.

  11. Brian Block

    July 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Sure, could have found the CD, but would they have read it with as much enthusiasm as I did?

    You should have heard my Dagny voice.

  12. Brandie Young

    July 10, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Missy – thanks for the reminder …. I read that book years ago, and think it’s worth revisiting. Thanks!!

  13. Elaine Reese

    July 10, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I received an email this week – it’s probably making the rounds – about a professor teaching students about socialism. Kids thought it was a good idea to spread the wealth around. Professor said OK that he would average the grades for the tests. By the time the final test was graded, everyone failed because the smart students quit trying because there was no incentive to succeed, and the underperforming students never did study.

    I read today on Twitter that the Congress is proposing to tax the rich to pay for health care. Socialism here we come!

  14. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 10, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    #agnow Sure, could have found the CD, but would they have read it with as much enthusiasm as I did?

    You should h… https://cli.gs/ZLSsb

  15. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    #agnow Missy – thanks for the reminder …. I read that book years ago, and think it’s worth revisiting. Thanks!! https://cli.gs/GTQDb

  16. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 1:07 am

    #agnow I received an email this week – it’s probably making the rounds – about a professor teaching students about … https://cli.gs/QTYa2

  17. Tim Norris

    July 11, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Atlas Shrugged…Who is John Galt | Real Estate Opinion MAG … https://bit.ly/vgfcC

  18. Missy Caulk

    July 11, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Elaine, that is true and they are also considering taxing the health care that your employees pay for you, which in now non taxable.

    Yep give a word picture to kids who don’t get it, grades was perfect for the kiddo’s in school to understand it.

  19. Burke Chester

    July 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    If you liked Atlas Shrugged, you should not stop there. You should read everything she wrote, including her non-fiction works. Atlas, for those who like to think, is an introduction to another world. It has changed the lives of many, including me.

    Browse the web site for the Ayn Rand Institute at:

    AynRand.com

  20. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    #agnow Elaine, that is true and they are also considering taxing the health care that your employees pay for you, w… https://cli.gs/NnT97

  21. Ken Montville - MD Suburbs of DC

    July 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    OK, time for the radical, left wing crazy to weigh in.

    Lest we forget, Alan (“I’m shocked”) Greenspan was a direct protege of Ayn Rand’s, basking in the glow of her wisdom from her personal inner circle. While it can be said his tenure as Fed Chair bought untold riches to a few, it also has bought about the worst economic downturn in decades and all he can say is “I’m shocked” and that he made a mistake thinking that the financial services industry would regulate itself in its own self-interest.

    Let’s take this down to a more relevant, micro level. How many real estate professionals (mortgage people, Realtors, title companies) act out of unfettered greed to the detriment of the home sellers and buyers and, by extension, the housing market. Let’s not forget the home sellers and buyers themselves who are hard at work squeezing every penny out of the transaction to the detriment of an amiable transaction and, possibly, the completion of the transaction itself.

    I am not a huge fan of the type of government intervention on the scale we see today. However, it seems clear to me that, left to act without restraint, large corporations and the few (mostly men) who run them will act without regard for the society at large. This will eventually lead to political and social unrest and upheaval. This is not something anyone wants (at least anyone on AG), I hope.

    But, hey, what do I know? Let’s just those AIG whiz kids (those geniuses that came up with Credit Default Swaps) another several million to stay on the job. How many schools could you help with that money? How many roads/bridges? Nah.

  22. Brian Block

    July 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Ken,

    Alan Greenspan stopped being a disciple of Ayn Rand a long time ago.

  23. Elaine Reese

    July 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I may be totally incorrect, but in response to Ken’s 3rd paragraph, the Democratic Congress implemented programs that encouraged those lending programs so EVERYONE could participate in the American Dream of home ownership. Homeownership is a priviledge not a right.

  24. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    #agnow OK, time for the radical, left wing crazy to weigh in.

    Lest we forget, Alan (“I’m shocked”) Greenspan w… https://cli.gs/P7JAp

  25. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    #agnow Ken,

    Alan Greenspan stopped being a disciple of Ayn Rand a long time ago. https://cli.gs/AQv0L

  26. Arlington condos Jay

    July 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs this is interesting to hear people in their own words who now want to assume leadership on fixing the economy. Crazy.

  27. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    #agnow If you liked Atlas Shrugged, you should not stop there. You should read everything she wrote, including her… https://cli.gs/8Zpp8

  28. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    #agnow I may be totally incorrect, but in response to Ken’s 3rd paragraph, the Democratic Congress implemented prog… https://cli.gs/AVPmq

  29. Erion Shehaj

    July 11, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Joe

    Isn’ t that what British food tastes like, anyway? 🙂

  30. Erion Shehaj

    July 11, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I don’t mean to agree or disagree with anyone in particular, but my experience has been that those who speak of socialism in this country really do not understand the term. How is the current proposed health care reform flicking the switch to socialism exactly? And don’t even start with “do you want some government bureaucrats making your decisions?”

  31. jacklewitz

    July 13, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Missy,

    I must confess I read the book and enjoyed it but reading that many pages gets to me. But what I did read I enjoyed. I thought the book was commenting about Government Control VS Capitalism. The US rail system today is still controlled by the Government. Too bad we could have used a modern train system in this country like Japan or Germany.

    I have some other books to suggest.

    “The Riches Man in Babylon” by George Clason

    “Creating a World without Poverty” by Muhammad Yunnas, banker to the poor and Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on Micro-Economics.

    “Creative Capitalism” by Michael Kinsley

  32. Linsey

    July 13, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I read A LOT but this is one of those books that stays with you and even changes you in ways. Rare.

    I’ve thought about that book a lot in the last several months. My personal views and political views certainly are influenced by it and it’s a book that sticks with you in a way that few do.

    Consider it required reading.

  33. Bill Rice

    July 13, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Atlas Shrugged…Who is John Galt | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius https://ow.ly/gYGf << Should I read this book? Why?

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Small businesses angry at depletion of COVID-19 relief funds without warning

(ENTREPRENEUR) Small businesses are in shock when they find out COVID-19 relief funds are no longer available, with an email update from the SBA.

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Small businesses are no longer offered EDIL loans from the SBA.

In May, the Small Business Administration (SBA) sent out an update to borrowers of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 relief. The EIDL program is now out of funds, according to an email sent to borrowers.

The loan program formally closed back in December 2021, but there was a period when small businesses who had already received funding could request additional money. That period is now officially over, and the $345 billion that was allotted for COVID-19 relief is gone.

The impact of EIDL

Many owners and entrepreneurs are outraged and frustrated with the lack of transparency from the SBA. There was no warning that the funds were almost depleted and many businesses were relying on that loan money to keep their businesses afloat as the economy rebounds. However, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman praised the program,

“The SBA has delivered historic economic relief to millions of America’s small businesses through the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program…”

According to an SBA press release, over $390 billion in aid was distributed to nearly 4 million businesses.

Small businesses still need help

In May, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), told health ministers that COVID-19 and its effects are not over. Here in the United States, life seems to be getting back to normal, if you discount the horrific inflation and gas prices, which are further impacting the recovery of small businesses.

Congress has been wrangling with legislation (H.R. 3807) that would offer more funding for those that were hit hard due to covid. Getting the House and Senate to agree on this legislation is expected to be difficult. So, no guarantees that more help is coming.

The SBA recommends that businesses who need more resources contact their local SBA office. Virtual appointments can be made for those who wish to avoid contact.

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Regularly update your succession plan – it isn’t for setting and forgetting!

(ENTREPRENEUR) You may think that once you have a succession plan in place, you’re set for life, however, it’s recommended to continually update them!

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We’ve written before about how the everlasting success of the business will need to outlive you, and this is best conjured up in a succession plan. This is especially true for small business owners and entrepreneurs that have built an empire for themselves but aren’t sure what the future will hold beyond their passing. This is the exact reason that succession plans shouldn’t be set and forgotten, but instead consistently updated.

What are some of the obvious reasons that you may need to update your succession plan?

  1. Health Issues
  2. Marriage or Remarriage
  3. Changes in health in executors or guardians
  4. Changes in the law
  5. Changes in Residence

Now, for the not-so-obvious reason: It should be updated when any personal circumstances changes, which most likely happen often. This is why a will is like your home, an investment that needs to be properly maintained, and if it is, it will last a very long time.

Examples include changes in economic or parental status, as well as designations or fiduciaries. Elders could be aging, siblings may be having their own life changes, as well as if any dependents are born with or develop special needs.

“Every state has different laws regarding the administration of a will,” he said.?“For instance, states vary regarding the required residence of an executor, inheritance tax laws, and whether a child can be disinherited by omission.”

The recommended procedure is to review wills and powers of attorney at least every five years.

Lastly, when should a will update to a trust?

  1. When you have some significant assets (more than $500,000) in your own name.
  2. If you have special needs beneficiaries.
  3. If you have properties in multiple jurisdictions (multiple states or even counties).
  4. If you have beneficiaries you want to control distributions to (e.g., distribute at ages 25/30/35).
  5. If you have kids from a previous relationship you want taken care of.
  6. If you may want asset protection (special trust needed).
  7. If you are a big dog (over $22M if married), to save taxes.

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Should your severance agreements include confidentiality clauses?

(ENTREPRENEUR) Confidentiality clauses and NDAs have long been tied to severance agreements – but is that notion becoming outdated?

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severance agreement

Severance agreements and their ilk have long included confidentiality clauses, often comprising an exhaustive list of actions former employees may not take should they desire to keep the benefits listed in the agreement. Carey & Associates P.C.’s Mark Carey breaks down the knowledge you’ll need to successfully incorporate a severance agreement – including a stern warning about the future of confidentiality clauses.

There is a long list of things you’ll need when curating a severance agreement, but we’ll start with Carey’s honey-do-nots.

Carey’s primary recommendation is avoiding a non-compete clause where, previously, there wasn’t one.

“As employment lawyers, we see this tactic used every day, but you do not,” he says.

This is because most employment lawyers will advise that a non-compete agreement is largely unenforceable, which sets a poor precedent for an otherwise airtight document.

Carey even recommends against reviewing prior non-compete clauses for the same reason.

He also eschews what he calls the “21 days to sign – or else” philosophy, and he advises that employers should loop themselves into the non-disparagement clause so that employees cannot be blacklisted – something he refers to as “a very real phenomenon.”

What a severance agreement should include is a non-admission provision, a payment provision, a release of all claims to cover any feasible scenarios regarding employee disclosure, a challenge to agreement, a “no other amounts are due” section to release the employer from future responsibility, and a mandate to return any company property. This is a truckload of information, so you’ll want an employment lawyer to help you through the process.

But what Carey warns against is the future of confidentiality agreements, or NDAs. While these provisions have long accounted for employee silence in the face of abusive or corrupt employers, Carey posits that, one day, “confidentiality provisions in employee severance agreements will be banned as a matter of statute and public policy.”

This assertion comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the uncovering of the manner in which powerful people were using NDAs to buy silence from the people who suffered under their direction. Carey points out that it’s a non-partisan issue; corruption isn’t aligned with one specific political party, and the option to come forward with allegations of misconduct is a courtesy that should be afforded to all.

Whether or not confidentiality agreements are ethical is a moot point, and Carey does recommend continuing to use them when necessary – but, sooner or later, one can safely assume that the landscape of severance agreements will change, arguably for the better.

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