Back in the 1960's, I recall #1 all time Hall O' Fame Science Fiction Writer Robert A Heinlein saying that as the United States drifts toward socialism, and as USSR is gradually forced to accept degrees of capitalism, USSR would surpass the US in the degree of freedom by, I think it was, approximately 1980. While part of sci-fi writers jobs is to suggest possible futures, this area is fraught with danger. While Heinlein came very close to being right, after President Reagan drove them broke trying to keep up with us in the arms race Russian President Vladimir Putin (Modern Russia's near-equivalent to Germany's Adolf Hitler), is now saying "we'll have no more of this freedom crap" or words of similar meaning.
Putin appears to be restarting the Cold War. That's a big danger now, because recent weak-kneed US Administrations have no will, nor do they really have enough extorted cash, to engage in such a battle. President-elect Obama gives indications that he'd rather switch than fight. Or, the masochist's version: he'd rather be switched than fight.
Meanwhile, the wheels of the bus go round and round, and the bus has long since turned left. We can thank every Administration since Reagan's for that. By the end of Obama's term, the argument may not be about who will win, but how the spoils will be divided, and whether it'll be Putin or Obama who'll be selected World Dictator for Life. These, of course, are merely pessimistic musings on my part. I hope I'm wrong.
The world's productive individuals, those of them who are not scrambling over each other's backs for government bailout cash, are wondering where they stand.
There's been a lot of banter on the net and probably in other venues about "going John Galt." Since entrepreneurs who earn $250k and over have been declared the enemy by Obama, it's no surprise that small business owners in that category, or are working toward that category, are concerned.
Some, according to this entry on the Instapundit blogsite, are planning to "relax." That is, simply lay off employees and work only hard enough to stay below that threshold.
Others speak of liquidating their assets and leaving the country. There are many parts of the world, while perhaps even more socialistic than the US, offer pleasant country areas in which an individual or family can live in peace, tinkering, painting or writing with out much interference from that government.
Well, it's going to be tougher to outsmart the Reich than it used to be. According to a New York Post story, Americans who want to leave America and to retire to Italy (for example) will have to pay a hefty tax.
Thanks can be given to a bill that passed Congress recently and was quietly signed by President Bush two weeks ago.
Called the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Act of 2008 (the HEART bill, for short), the main part of the new law deservedly gives benefits to soldiers. But the last part of the bill, under "revenue provisions," sticks it to anyone who no longer wants to live the American dream.
Now, one has to be very crafty about getting his assets liquidated and removed from the country. Even British rock stars and Canadian actors will have to pay the tax to return to their own countries.
This, of course, is patterned directly after the taxes that needed to be paid by citizens of the USSR who wanted to expatriate during the Cold War. Which brings me back to Heinlein's prediction. Pay attention to science fiction writers. Sometimes they're right.
Tip of the old gray fedora to Noodle Food and Instapundit for
People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.