Go Galt

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Go Galt

Informal; to cease working in response to punitive taxes. That is, when taxes become sufficiently high as to disincentivize work, one goes Galt as a form of protest. For example, if taxes are 100% on all income over $90,000, no one has an incentive to earn more than $90,000 and one may therefore work less. Going Galt under a marginal tax system is generally irrational because one's post-tax income is almost always higher than it would have been had one stopped working and gone Galt. The term derives from a major character in Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged.
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The site says this about "Going Galt": "A phrase derived from the iconic Ayn Rand novel 'Atlas Shrugged.' In the book, the 'producers' or 'men of the minds' — as the famed author put it — decide to go out on 'strike' as a protest against those who would attack them politically."
BioShock, released in 2007, imagines a corporate magnate named Andrew Ryan going Galt and building his own objectivist paradise under the ocean; his self-interested society has collapsed and descended into a Hobbesian horror that the player must escape.
Many political bloggers this year have preferred to invoke one of Rand's heroes by spreading the idea that more and more people may soon be "going Galt"--that is, following the example of Atlas Shrugged hero John Gait by going "on strike" against an overly statist America.
The Atlas Society's webpage defines "going Galt" more mildly than what Rand's characters actually did.
While Malkin has come up with a handful of self-reported examples, and blog comment threads on the subject of "going Galt" generally include a person or two who claims she or an acquaintance is deliberately working less, the evidence is anecdotal at best.
Despite his intimate connections with many other productive people and their money, several of whom also have Randian sympathies, he has seen zero sign of anyone "going Galt." Asness adds: "Even if I wanted to 'go Galt,' I wouldn't know how.
This spring, some conservative and libertarian bloggers, aghast at Barack Obama's expansive government agenda, began calling on investors and entrepreneurs to protest by "going Galt"--that is, withdrawing their money and productive energies from the economy.
Was it different than the off-grid hippies who frolic in Mendocino or the Randian Going Galt movement favored by Fox News pundits?
Since then, "going Galt" has become, as the Cato Institute's Will Wilkinson quipped, "a certain kind of libertarian-conservative's version of progressives threatening to move to Canada." After all, if right-wingers are no longer in a position to shrink government to the point where, as Grover Norquist once proposed, they can "drown it in the bathtub," they can still take their rubber duckies and go home.
I am using the money to pay off all of our debt." A commenter on the Going "John Galt" website suggested that going Galt might mean planting a garden.
Of course, if taken to its logical extreme, going Galt means embracing a situation commonly known as unemployment.